Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The UN Human Rights Council endorses a report on the Gaza flotilla attack accusing Israeli troops of summary executions. Japan calls for a settlement freeze. The PA vows to support olive farmers. Baroness Ashton will join Mideast peace efforts. Palestinians reiterate their position on settlements. Analysts think another intifada is unlikely even if talks fail. Yossi Verter calls FM Lieberman's UN speech “petty politics.” Shlomo Sand says insecurity about identity is the heart of PM Netanyahu's demands on Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The US is pushing for a two-month moratorium extension. Netanyahu affirms that he is in charge of Israeli policy. Palestinians say Israel will be to blame if talks collapse over settlements. Jewish activists on a Gaza a boat claim they were abused by Israeli troops. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid calls Pres. Abbas "the world's worst negotiator." Randa Takieddine looks at the French role in negotiations. Daoud Kuttab says international “disappointment” with Israel's policies is not enough.

U.N. council endorses report accusing Israel of executions aboard aid flotilla
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Colum Lynch - (Analysis) September 29, 2010 - 12:00am

UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Human Rights Council voted Wednesday to endorse the report of a U.N. fact-finding mission that accused Israeli commandos of summarily executing six passengers on a Turkish aid flotilla last May, among them a 19-year old Turkish-American dual citizen who was shot five times, including once in the face. Upon its release last week, the 56-page report was immediately dismissed by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office as "biased" and "distorted." Israel's deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon characterized the report in a radio interview as "a big lie."

Japan calls for settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 30, 2010 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Japanese Foreign Ministry said the nation's government was disappointed that the Israeli moratorium on settlement activities has not been renewed," a statement issued on Wednesday said. "Japan urges Israel to return to a moratorium on settlement activities," the document read, and added that the government "reaffirms its basic position that Israel should freeze all settlement activities in the West Bank which includes East Jerusalem."

PA to support olive oil farmers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 25, 2010 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Agriculture will not fix olive oil prices ahead of the 2010 harvest season, the minister said, announcing a new mechanism of support for farmers. Minister Isma’il D’eiq told Ma’an on Saturday that rather than fix prices, the ministry would offer loans to organizations with tenders to purchase the oil for less than 20 shekels ($5.41) per kilo.

EU's Ashton to join Middle East peace push
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jeff Mason, Andrew Quinn - September 29, 2010 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she would depart for the Middle East on Wednesday as diplomatic pressure intensified to save faltering Israel-Palestinian peace talks. "I'm going to the Middle East tonight and and I'll meet (U.S. Middle East peace envoy) George Mitchell when I land tomorrow," Ashton told Reuters in an interview in Washington, adding that she also planned to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

US envoy plans more talks with Abbas, Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - September 30, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — A U.S. emissary racing against the clock to salvage Mideast peace negotiations scheduled another quick round of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders after talks Thursday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ended inconclusively. Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are deadlocked over Israeli settlement construction. Earlier this week, Netanyahu refused to extend a 10-month-old moratorium on housing starts in West Bank settlements. Abbas has warned he'll quit U.S.-sponsored peace talks unless the moratorium is extended.

News Analysis: New Intifada may not erupt if talks between Israel, PNA fail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly - September 30, 2010 - 12:00am

GAZA, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- The ten-month moratorium to freeze settlement construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem ended on Sunday. Currently the Israeli government has not offered any statement on whether or not to resume settlement construction. The unclear Israeli stance over the issue of settlement, has left the Palestinian side reluctant to make their mind as they decided to wait until the upcoming meeting of the Arab League (AL) Committee on peace talks with Israel to be held on Oct. 4 in Cairo.

Lieberman's speech / Petty politics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - (Opinion) September 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly that "petty politics" must not be allowed to get in the way of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Five days later, Israel's foreign minister addressed the same forum and showed everyone whom Obama was talking about. Petty politics is Israel's specialty.

A Jewish state or an Israeli democracy?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shlomo Sand - September 26, 2010 - 12:00am

A Jewish state or an Israeli democracy? In the talks that appear to be taking place between Israel and the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked his negotiating partner to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. One can understand the prime minister: A man so little observant of the Jewish religious tradition is unsure of his Jewish identity, hence his insecurity about the identity of his state - and the need to seek validation from our neighbors.

'Obama guarantees Bibi: Only 2 more months of freeze'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - September 30, 2010 - 12:00am

The Obama administration is pressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to extend the settlement construction moratorium by two months, Jewish senators were told at a White House briefing.

Netanyahu to US: I'm leading Israel's policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Atilla Somfalvi - September 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Wednesday with US special envoy George Mitchell, who arrived in Israel in a bid to save the peace talks following the end of the settlement construction freeze. The two officials were forced to deal with another issue – Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's UN General Assembly address on Tuesday, in which he mentioned his land exchange plan and said that it could "take decades" to reach a comprehensive peace agreement with the Palestinians.

PA official: Israel to be blamed if talks breakdown
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
September 30, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian officials on Wednesday expressed skepticism about the resumption of peace talks and signaled they would accept nothing less than an extension of the West Bank settlement construction moratorium ahead of the scheduled arrival of US Mideast Envoy George Mitchell and European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton to the region on Thursday. Veteran Palestinian negotiator Nabil Sha'ath said Israel should be blamed for any breakdown of the negotiations if it insists on expanding settlements on lands claimed by the Palestinians for their state.

Israeli forces 'Tasered' activist on Gaza aid boat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
September 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Yonatan Shapira, an Israeli air force pilot turned peace activist, said he was shocked with a Taser gun while passively resisting arrest. And a British journalist said he was "ambushed" and "almost strip-searched" by commandos on board the vessel. Israel's military had said the vessel was seized peacefully on Tuesday. It declined to comment on the activists' accounts. Earlier this year, Israeli commandos killed nine people in clashes on board a Turkish ship trying to reach Gaza.

Obama sets out guarantees to Netanyahu for 60-day freeze extension
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - September 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The Obama administration reportedly is promising Israel broad security and diplomatic guarantees in exchange for extending a settlement moratorium by 60 days. According to an article posted Wednesday evening by David Makovsky, a senior analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a letter from President Obama to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledges that the United States will: *Not ask for additional extensions on the partial ban on settlement building, which expired Sunday;

How did They Deceive Abu-Mazen?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed - (Opinion) September 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas deserves the award for the world's Worst Negotiator. Currently, he can celebrate one of two possibilities: either negotiations will be terminated, or settlement construction will be suspended. Despite my appreciation of the noble man, he made a mistake by simplifying the demands of the Palestinian people into one request; namely that all settlement constructions are ceased. This has now become the highest of his ambitions.

Paris’s Role in the Peace Talk
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Randa Takieddine - September 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu did not, and will not heed the calls of his friends and allies to freeze settlement building and suspend the decision to re-allow the construction of settlements after September 26. But in truth, no one in the Arab world had any illusions that Netanyahu will respond to the calls of the U.S. administration or the European Union (EU), specifically the calls of his friend French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who urged him to extend the freeze on settlements.

Disappointment with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - September 30, 2010 - 12:00am

A US State Department spokesman told reporters this week that Washington was disappointed with Israel because of its failure to extend the settlement moratorium for as long as the peace talks were moving. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon used the same words to describe how the United Nations feels towards Israel. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris, expressed the same sentiment vis-a-vis Israel's decisions.

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