Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Sec. Clinton leads US Middle East peace efforts. Palestinian youth campaign for good governance. Israel allows the importation of 20 cars into Gaza. FM Lieberman again proposes stripping Israeli citizenship from some Palestinians. Former PM Olmert describes peace offers he claims to have made. A senior Hamas official is arrested in Egypt, and others arrested by the PA. A PA court suggests Palestinians who sell land to Israelis may face the death penalty, and Hamas imposes it on drug dealers. Hamas says it told the US it would accept a state on the 1967 borders. Ha'aretz describes the Palestinian plight in the face of settler violence and the occupation. Manuel Hassassian and Edward Edy Kaufman say Israeli-Palestinian peace may be a key to dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions. Jacqueline Rose reviews a new book by David Grossman. The Netherlands cancels a visit by Israeli mayors because some are settlement leaders. Adel Safty says peace must do justice to the Palestinians. Joel Beinin looks at the struggle over Silwan. Nathan Thrall looks at Palestinian state building and the new security forces.

Hillary Clinton faces huge challenge in Mideast talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Paul Richter - September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders 11 times in three Middle Eastern cities last week, a diplomatic marathon that produced only promises that the adversaries remain committed to the latest U.S.-led peace initiative. Clinton couldn't extract the result she needs: that the two sides put aside their differences over Jewish construction in the occupied West Bank and move on. "All of this is complicated," Clinton acknowledged at the end of a disappointing week.

In West Bank, corruption-busting teenagers shake up local government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Christa Case Bryant - (Analysis) September 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Ramallah, West Bank — Fatmeh Abu Afifeh doesn't look like someone who could intimidate tough bureaucrats. Demure and only 17, she had never even spent a night away from her family until now. But armed only with fine pearl pins that keep her head scarf firmly in place, Fatmeh is here in Ramallah with dozens of other students who exposed significant corruption across the West Bank.

Israel to allow 20 cars into Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel will permit the entry of private vehicles into Gaza on Monday for the first time since 2007, a Palestinian crossing official said. Raed Fattouh said 20 cars will enter the Strip, as well as oil, spare parts and rubber tires. Israel has slowly allowed the entry of car parts and oil for the first time in four years over the past week.

Israeli FM wants to exclude Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for Israel's borders to be redrawn to exclude some Palestinian citizens, the Associated Press reported Sunday. Speaking ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting, Lieberman proposed a shift in the principle of peace talks, which he said "must not be land for peace, but an exchange of land and people," AP said. The border should be redrawn, Lieberman explained, so Israel's Arab citizens, who make up 20 percent of the country's population, would be on the Palestinian side, while Jewish settlements would be incorporated into Israel.

Former Israeli premier details failed peace offer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Matti Friedman - September 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's former premier gave his most detailed description yet of his 2008 peace offer to the Palestinians, saying in a lecture Sunday that if the current talks are to succeed, the agreement would have to resemble the plan the Palestinians turned down two years ago. The Palestinians deemed Ehud Olmert's offer insufficient at the time, but wanted the more hawkish premier who replaced him, Benjamin Netanyahu, to use it as a starting point for negotiations. Instead, Netanyahu has taken it off the table.

Top Hamas official arrested in Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Sarah El Deeb - September 19, 2010 - 12:00am

A top Hamas security official was arrested at Cairo airport for using falsified travel documents, Egyptians officials said Sunday. Mohammed Dababish's relatives said he was returning from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia when he was stopped. Dababish is a top official in Hamas' internal security unit, which oversees intelligence matters in Gaza. Hamas officials declined to comment. Egypt has arrested a string of Hamas figures since one of its soldiers was killed in a border shooting early this year, including the son of a Hamas Cabinet minister last month.

PA court: Sale of Palestinian land to Israelis is punishable by death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

The sale of Palestinian land to Israelis is punishable by death, a Palestinian Authority court ruled on Sunday, in what Palestinian officials are saying is a necessary measure to ensure the founding of a future state. Judge Ta'et At-Twil, according to a report by the Palestinian news agency Ma'an, ruled that selling, or attempting to sell, land to a foreign country was a criminal offense which could result in the death penalty.

Hamas: We told U.S. in the past that we would accept Palestinian state along 1967 borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

The Hamas militant group announced Monday that it had previously told the United States it would accept the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, according to Israel Radio. Citing the organization's semi-annual report, Israel Radio said that Hamas had also asked the U.S. administration to open dialogue. The militant group said in its report that it had passed that message along via American academics and politicians visiting the Gaza Strip.

For Palestinians, settler abuse is only the beginning of the ordeal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - (Analysis) September 19, 2010 - 12:00am

  Almost every few weeks (or days, depending on the season), the following ceremony repeats itself in Palestinian villages around Nablus: A group of Israeli settlers from one of the outposts in the West Bank hills attacks Palestinian farmers while they are grazing sheep or working the fields, hoping to throw them off Palestinian land.

Hamas: Death sentence for drug dealers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - September 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Hamas approved a law permitting the death sentence for drug dealers and up to seven years behind bars for drug users, thereby stepping up its war on drugs in the Gaza Strip. Ministry of the Interior spokesman Ihab al-Rasin said Sunday that Hamas had in fact adopted an Egyptian law. Al-Rasin, speaking during a ceremony to mark the end of a three-month campaign against drugs, also accused Israel of "continuing its efforts to swamp the Strip with drugs."

PA arrests Hamas men in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - September 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Ynet also learned Sunday that the Palestinian Authority carried out many preemptive arrests over the weekend after Hamas threatened to avenge the assassination of Iyad abu Shilbayeh by Israel. Among the detainees were members of Islamic Jihad. The PA held several meetings following the murder in order to prepare for Hamas' supposed retaliation, for fear that such a move would be especially desirable for the Islamist group due to the direct talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

The Tehran tangle in Middle East peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Manual Hassassian, Edward Edy Kaufman - (Opinion) September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Success in the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations will depend on active bridging by the third party, the United States. At the same time, we should not forget the destructive role played in the past and present by spoilers on both sides, as well as others further afield. As the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, stated last month, "the enemies of peace will keep trying to defeat us and derail these talks".

To the End of the Land by David Grossman
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jacqueline Rose - (Book Review) September 18, 2010 - 12:00am

For some time now, David Grossman has been describing his writing as a means of survival, as a way of no longer feeling a victim in the "disaster zone" of the seemingly eternal conflict that is Israel-Palestine. At moments he has talked of the risk of dispassion, of being paralysed with fear and despair. With the publication of this extraordinary, impassioned novel, such purpose or hope acquires a new meaning and intensity. It now seems that the life to be saved by writing, even though the struggle may be doomed, could only be – perhaps always has been – the life of a child.

Netherlands nixes visit by Israeli mayors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
September 19, 2010 - 12:00am

The Netherlands canceled a visit by Israeli mayors because the group included the leaders of West Bank settlements. Participants in the delegation, sponsored by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, included the heads of 30 small local councils, including several Arab communities. West Bank communities represented on the delegation include Kiryat Arba, Oranit, Beit El, Elkana and Efrat.

Mideast needs a peace of the brave
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Adel Safty - (Opinion) September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

The late Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) used to refer to the peace process he and the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin started in the early 1990s as the "peace of the brave". This was more of a colourful description than an accurate rendition of reality.

Contesting Past and Present at Silwan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Report
by Joel Beinin - (Analysis) September 17, 2010 - 12:00am

On September 1, Elad -- a Hebrew acronym for “To the City of David” -- convened its eleventh annual archaeological conference at the “City of David National Park” in the Wadi Hilwa neighborhood of Silwan. Silwan, home to about 45,000 people, is one of 28 Palestinian villages incorporated into East Jerusalem and annexed by Israel after the June 1967 war. It lies in a valley situated a short walk beyond the Dung Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Our Man in Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Review Of Books
by Nathan Thrall - (Analysis) September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

On August 31, the night before President Obama’s dinner inaugurating direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Hamas gunmen shot and killed four Jewish settlers in Hebron, the West Bank’s largest and most populous governorate. The attack—the deadliest against Israeli citizens in more than two years—was condemned by Palestinian and Israeli officials, who said that it was meant to thwart the upcoming negotiations.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017