Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The US does not expect the Arab League to cancel direct negotiations. The New York Times reviews a new film about the death of Rachel Corrie. The Israeli military is facing more abusive videos mocking Palestinian prisoners. A deal may be brewing on settlements. Palestinian citizens of Israel condemn a proposed new loyalty oath. Hamas' military wing vows revenge after Israel kills two operatives in Hebron, and demands the PA stop suppressing violence. Pres. Abbas is threatening to resign if settlement activity continues, and Palestinians say that would mean dissolving the PA and transferring authority back to Israel. The US and Israel finalize a deal on F-35 stealth fighters. D. Bloomfield says Israel needs a real foreign minister. Hamas declares a “war on drugs.” Jewish Americans have a mixed reaction to a new film about Palestinian nonviolent protests. Osama Al Sharif says PM Netanyahu must realize Israel's interests are under threat from the status quo. Faisal Abbas says online videos have exposed Israeli abuses. Rami Khouri says unconditional US support for Israel's security undermines diplomacy.

U.S. Believes Arab States Won’t Scuttle Mideast Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner, Mark Landler - October 7, 2010 - 12:00am

The Obama administration believes it has persuaded Arab states not to scuttle the fledgling Middle East peace negotiations, officials said Thursday, despite the Israeli government’s refusal to freeze Jewish settlements and a vow by the Palestinians to walk away if Israel did not. With the Arab League’s meeting on Friday expected to deliver a pivotal decision on the future of the talks, the United States has appealed to Jordan and other Arab nations to stop short of pushing the Palestinians to break off the negotiations.

Examining an Activist’s Death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Andy Webster - October 7, 2010 - 12:00am

“Rachel,” Simone Bitton’s fascinating if uneven documentary about Rachel Corrie, the activist killed in Gaza in 2003, shares a goal with “My Name Is Rachel Corrie,” the controversial Off Broadway play from 2006. Both lionize this 23-year-old protester from Olympia, Wash., who was crushed under a mound of dirt pushed by an Israeli bulldozer clearing a Palestinian area.

For Israeli army, tests of accountability
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - October 7, 2010 - 12:00am

A YouTube video showing a dancing Israeli soldier shimmying near a bound and blindfolded Palestinian woman went viral on the Internet this week, embarrassing the Israeli military and fueling fresh debate about morals and accountability in the armed forces. The army's chief legal officer ordered a military police investigation of the clip, which was posted two years ago but publicized this week on an Israeli television program. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued an emphatic condemnation.

Will Abbas get, and accept, a two-month settlement freeze?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ben Lynfield - October 7, 2010 - 12:00am

A senior aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has signaled that his side will not abandon peace talks if Israel extends a West Bank settlement construction slowdown for two months.

Israel loyalty oath bill stirs Arab-Israeli unease
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - October 7, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's cabinet next week will consider a bill that would require non-Jewish candidates for Israeli citizenship to pledge allegiance to the country as a Jewish state. The bill, backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calls for an amendment to Israel's citizenship law to include "a Jewish and democratic state" in a mandatory oath of loyalty.

Al-Qassam vows revenge over Hebron killings
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Hamas' military wing the Al-Qassam Brigades vowed Friday that it would respond to the killing of two senior commanders during an Israeli raid in Hebron. Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Ubaidah said the militia would "reply in a suitable way to such a crime," to the killing of Nashat Al-Karmi, a senior military commander and Maamoun Al-Natsha, a local Hebron commander. The killings, the spokesman said, would not "break the resistance and the fighters ... resistance fighters are free to reply at any time at any place."

Hamas tells PA to 'unleash West Bank resistance'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Hamas has called on the Palestinian Authority to "unleash the resistance in the West Bank" by releasing political prisoners from jail and ending security coordination with Israel, a spokesman said. Sami Abu Zuhri said "Israel's continued offenses and invasions in Hebron come within the context of escalating Israeli crimes and attacks," following the killing of two Al-Qassam Brigades leaders on Friday, a statement read. "This attack comes with talks that the occupation is using as a cover to continue these crimes," the spokesman said.

Source: Abbas hints at resigning if talks fail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 8, 2010 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud may submit his resignation after meeting with Arab leaders for an emergency Arab League session in Sirtre, Libya, a source told Ma'an on Friday. The source said Abbas hinted at resigning from his post if peace talks with Israel failed during a meeting of the Palestinian National Council of Amman, which he attended before heading to Libya for the session.

Israel Signals Settlement Compromise to Save Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Gwen Ackerman - October 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel signaled that a compromise may be reached in a dispute over settlement construction in the West Bank that threatens to derail U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians. Incentives offered by the Obama administration to Israel may allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to push through his Cabinet a limited renewal of the 10-month freeze on West Bank settlement construction that expired last month, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. said.

Israel kills two Hamas militants in W.Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Yosri Al-Jamal - October 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli troops shot dead two Hamas commanders in the West Bank on Friday, in a raid against militants Israel blamed for the killing of four Jewish settlers a month ago. Security forces killed the two militants in an early morning raid in Hebron, a city in the occupied West Bank which has long been a focal point of Israeli-Palestinian confrontation. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the operation was "a quick response to the murder of the four Israelis".

No easing of Palestinian demand seen at Arab League
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Douglas Hamilton - October 7, 2010 - 12:00am

Arab League foreign ministers meet in Libya on Friday to hear Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's case for suspending peace talks with Israel until it extends a moratorium on settlement building in the West Bank. Launched in Washington just five weeks ago, the talks veered into a cul-de-sac on Sept. 26, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nentayhu refused to extend a halt to construction of Jewish settlements, which he had said would last 10 months.

Palestinians open to US proposal on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Josef Federman - October 7, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinians said Thursday they have accepted a U.S. proposal calling on Israel to extend a West Bank settlement slowdown for two months, the latest indication that a deal is emerging to keep peace talks from collapsing. Israel has so far declined to extend the slowdown, despite American pressure and pledges. Negotiator Nabil Shaath said the period would be used to try to hammer out an agreement on a border between Israel and a future Palestinian state and another extension would be required if the sides failed to reach agreement.

Abbas to Mitchell: I will resign if settlement construction continues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - October 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas informed U.S. envoy George Mitchell last week that the renewal of settlement construction will not only bring about the collapse of peace talks but it will also induce his resignation from the post of Palestinian Authority president. According to Palestinian sources close to the PA leadership, Abbas told Mitchell of his plans during their last meeting together.

Israel, U.S. finalize F-35 stealth fighter purchase
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shlomo Shamir - October 7, 2010 - 12:00am

The purchase of U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighters ushers in a new era in Israel's ability to face security challenges, both near and far, a top Israeli security official said at a ceremony Thursday which finalized Israel's purchase of its first batch of advanced fighter jets. Under the contract signed in New York on Thursday by Ehud Shani, director general of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Israel will get 20 of the warplanes for nearly $3 billion and will receive the jets in 2016. It has an option for 75 more.

Washington Watch: Israel needs a real foreign minister
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by D. Bloomfield - (Opinion) October 6, 2010 - 12:00am

It appears that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will once more be dragged kicking and screaming to the peace table. In exchange for briefly extending the settlement moratorium, he is expected to get a generous package of American military aid, weapons systems, security guarantees, and political backing for years.

Gaza burns as Hamas declares war on drugs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - October 8, 2010 - 12:00am

They made an incongruous sight, piled on to trestle tables in the car park outside a government office. Long bundles of dried marijuana branches – known as Bango here – the chocolate bar-shaped slabs of hashish, a few still half-covered with the blue Action cheese wrapping used to smuggle them in, and the smaller grubby blocks of off-white cocaine.

How Will Jews React to ‘Budrus’?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Josh Nathan-Kazis - October 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Protesters in the Palestinian town of Budrus were growing frustrated. After months of nonviolently demonstrating against the Israeli separation barrier being built through their olive groves, the demonstrators faced increased force from Israeli border police who were firing tear gas and swinging batons. Young Palestinians began tossing rocks at the soldiers despite pleas from protest organizers, and Israeli forces occupied the town, sending live ammunition down the narrow streets.

Abbas has to make tough decisions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Osama Al-Sharif - (Opinion) October 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Several days ago the leader of the Israeli opposition Tzipi Livni said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "must choose the real long-term interests of Israel rather than his own personal political interests." She was commenting on Netanyahu's refusal to extend the colony freeze moratorium which prompted the Palestinians to carry out their threat to walk away from direct talks barely a month after they were ceremoniously resumed in Washington.

Israel's democracy rings hollow
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Faisal J. Abbas - (Opinion) October 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Within hours, the YouTube video showing an Israeli soldier belly-dancing around Ehsan Al Dababsi, a Palestinian detainee who was bound and blindfolded, became headline news all around the Middle East.

Bizarre blend of politics and diplomacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) October 8, 2010 - 12:00am

The revelation here in the United States last Wednesday that Washington was offering Israel new security-related guarantees in return for a two-month extension of the partial moratorium on new Jewish colonies in the occupied Palestinian territories is neither surprising nor encouraging.

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