Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Israeli NGO Peace Now highlights settlements with West Bank flights and its American affiliate APN issues an iPhone settlements app. Israeli officials reportedly offer to exchange a settlement freeze for Jonathan Pollard. John Hughes says Syria may be the key to peace. Pres. Abbas meets with Pres. Peres. The EU contributes €3.5 million to Gaza reconstruction. PM Netanyahu says Israel wants to keep troops on the eastern border of a Palestinian state. A Palestinian citizen of Israel accused of espionage accepts a plea agreement. The Quartet urges Israel to extend its partial settlement moratorium. US officials are concerned talks may collapse over the issue. Hanan Ashrawi says Hamas is trying to replace the PLO. Interior Minister Yishai calls negotiations “completely pointless.” Israeli and Palestinian chief negotiators will meet soon. Abbas says Israel is free to define itself. The controversy over a book authorizing the killing of non-Jews continues. A Gaza water park temporarily shut by Hamas is torched. Linda Heard says Arabs must get involved in the negotiations.

Peace Now Flight Highlights West Bank Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - (Analysis) September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV — Local leaders often take visitors to Jewish settlements occupying the high ground of the northern West Bank to lookout points from where, on a clear day, they can see the glass towers of Tel Aviv, the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean and the contours of Israel’s heavily populated coastal plain. The aim is to underline the strategic dangers that the leaders say would be inherent in any Israeli withdrawal from the area to make way for a Palestinian state.

Israelis Float Settlement Deal Involving Spy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - (Analysis) September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israeli officials have tried to float a trade-off in which they would extend the temporary moratorium on settlement construction in exchange for the release by the United States of Jonathan Jay Pollard, the American who pleaded guilty to spying for Israel and is serving a life term in an American jail, Israel’s Army Radio reported Monday.

Could Syria become a force for peace?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by John Hughes - (Analysis) September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

After decades-long hostility, Israelis and Palestinians are tiptoeing their way, at the urging of the United States, through talks toward a peace that has been as elusive as a desert mirage. The goal is to provide security for Israel and nationhood for the Palestinians, ordered by boundaries yet to be defined and agreed upon. Ironically, the wild card in all this may be the nation not even seated at the negotiating table: Syria.

Peres meets Abbas in New York
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) September 21, 2010 - 12:00am

NEW YORK (Ma’an) -- All Israelis are watching negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians attentively hoping for success, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Monday in New York. At a news conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Peres addressed questions from the Palestinian press as to whether he was taking a leadership role in the ongoing talks, and whether he had intervened in the process.

EU pays €3.58 million to rebuild Gaza economy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) September 21, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The EU has contributed over €3.58 million in its second disbursement to the Palestinian Authority to aid rebuilding of Gaza's private sector, a statement issued Monday said. The EU will contribute a total of €22 million towards the project, the statement added. The Private Sector Reconstruction in Gaza program was launched by the PA following Israel's December 2008 offensive on the coastal enclave, Operation Cast Lead. The program targets businesses whose buildings and assets were destroyed in the war.

Premier wants Israeli troops at Palestinian border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - (Analysis) September 21, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel's leader is demanding that Israeli troops remain on the eastern border of a future Palestinian state, further antagonizing the Palestinians at a time when they are already threatening to walk out of peace talks. The negotiations, which resumed this month in Washington after a two-year breakdown, are foundering over Palestinian demands that Israel extend a curb on Jewish construction in the West Bank. That curb, in place for 10 months, is to expire Sunday.

Israeli Arab accused of spying freed in plea deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
(Analysis) September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — An Israeli Arab charged with spying for Hezbollah has been released from jail in a plea bargain. Courts spokeswoman Nitzan Eyal said Monday that Omar Sayid was freed last week after five months behind bars. He pleaded guilty to contact with an enemy agent — a crime that could have carried up to seven years in prison.

Quartet to urge Israel to keep settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Andrew Quinn - (Analysis) September 21, 2010 - 12:00am

NEW YORK, Sept 20 (Reuters) - The Quartet of Middle East peace mediators will on Tuesday call on Israel to extend its settlement moratorium, saying the freeze has had a positive impact as the two sides seek a peace deal within the next year, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.

Hamas trying to replace PLO's role: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
(Analysis) September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- A Palestinian official on Monday accused the Hamas movement of trying to introduce itself to the international community as an alternative to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Member of the PLO Executive Committee, Hanan Ashrawi, told Voice of Palestine radio that Hamas "is trying to open dialogue with the United States and European countries by several means in order to gain legitimacy and the recognition of the United States. "

U.S. concerned peace talks will soon collapse over settlement construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - September 21, 2010 - 12:00am

The United States is concerned that the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians could collapse in the coming days over the dead end in the talks on the settlement building freeze. America's ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, on Monday told European Union envoys in a briefing that the Obama administration's worry stems from the fact that both sides are holding steadfast to their positions.

West Bank settlements can now be tracked on your iPhone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - (Analysis) September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Want to know what's happening in the West Bank settlements in real time? In addition to 'Sudoku' and 'Street Fighter,' iPhone owners will now be able to install the "Facts on the Ground" application, which monitors the expansion of settlements in Judea and Samaria, created by Americans for Peace Now.

Interior Minister Yishai: Direct peace talks are completely pointless
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
September 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Tuesday that he sees "absolutely no point" in holding direct peace negotiations with the Palestinians. In an interview with the Shas newsletter Day to Day, the party chairman said that "as long as there is no significant change on the Palestinian side, there should be no advancement in talks." "I do not in any way believe that these talks should be held, point-blank," said Yishai. Another summit, another conference, another meeting, from the Madrid conference to the Sharm conference, and nothing has come out of this."

Chief negotiators to meet soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

The heads of the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams, Yitzhak Molcho and Saeb Erekat, are scheduled to meet sometime during the next 48 hours, Palestinian sources told Ynet on Monday. The sources say the two will meet in order to prepare for another round of direct talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which has not been scheduled yet. Meanwhile, In New York Erekat is currently on a visit to New York, while Molcho is in Washington meeting with US officials. Netanyahu's office refused to comment on the report.

Abbas: Israel can call itself whatever it wants
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Analysis) September 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a Monday night interview with Palestinian news source Ma'an that "Israel was free to call itself the Israeli Zionist Jewish Empire." The PA leader made cynical remarks to Maan shortly after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called upon Abbas to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The Murder Midrash
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Kamoun Ben-Shimon - September 19, 2010 - 12:00am

ON A DAY IN LATE AUGUST, Rabbi Ya'akov Meidan, head of the Gush Etzion Yeshiva in Alon Shvut, a settlement south of Bethlehem in the West Bank, the most prestigious yeshiva of the moderate Zionist religious movement, began his daily lecture with a different lesson than the usual one on Jewish law. He held up a copy of “Torat Hamelekh” (“The King’s Torah”), a book with a marblepatterned cover and embossed gilt letters, to his students. “This is a challenging book, written by learned men,” he said to the assembly of students.

Gazans Want Justice Over Torched Water Park
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Omar Ghraieb - September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

[Gaza City] Gaza is abuzz over the torching on Sunday of the beleaguered strip’s sole water park on Sunday. What would in many other parts of the world be an unnoticed incident of vandalism, the attack on the Crazy Water Park has stirred a media frenzy, driving every local and international human rights organization in Gaza to make statements, followed later by responses from representatives of every Palestinian political faction. According to local police and witnesses, an estimated 25-masked gunman pulled up to The Crazy Water Park on Jeeps at 3 a.m.

Israeli Arabs pawns in a sham 'peace' gameli
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Linda Heard - September 20, 2010 - 12:00am

On Sunday, Israel’s unsavory Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened Palestinian negotiators that if they refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Arab Israelis could have their rights to citizenship withdrawn. This “needs to be one of the central issues on the negotiating table in light of the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state,” he told his Cabinet colleagues.

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