Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel's cabinet approves a new loyalty oath for new non-Jewish citizens only, angering Palestinians of all persuasions. The Guardian says it is overtly discriminatory. Israelis are transfixed by documents from the 1973 war. The civil trial in the death of Rachel Corrie continues. PA officials say Hamas is ignoring its own security failures. Israel keeps the door open to a settlement freeze extension. Shas is split on the issue. Israel is still not allowing an access road to the new West Bank city Rawabi. An ancient mosaic is unveiled in Jericho. Pres. Abbas is examining alternatives in case negotiations fail. The French and Spanish FMs express outrage over FM Lieberman's conduct in Europe. The PA adopts a textbook, banned in Israel, that presents both national narratives. The French FM refuses to rule out UN creation of a Palestinian state. An Israeli ministerial committee passes potential legislation that any territorial agreements must be approved by popular referendum. The easing of the Gaza blockade is damaging some businesses. Dubai's police chief says an arrest has been made in the Mabhouh assassination.

Israeli Cabinet Approves Citizenship Amendment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - October 10, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved a contentious draft amendment to the country’s citizenship law that calls for non-Jews seeking to become citizens to pledge loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and a democratic state. Decried by opponents as unnecessary, provocative and racist, the amendment, which is subject to approval by Parliament, encountered a storm of criticism and drove open divisions within the ruling coalition.

Transcripts on ’73 War, Now Public, Grip Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - October 10, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — For many Israelis, the 1973 Arab-Israeli war was their single most terrifying moment, when a woefully unprepared nation, deluded into believing that its neighbors regarded it as impregnable, suffered a devastating attack and struggled back to victory at enormous cost with last-minute American help. Last week, the confidential discussions of Israel’s top leaders in the first days of that war, known here as the Yom Kippur War because the attack began on that Jewish holy day, were declassified and gripped the public.

Rachel Corrie trial continues in Israel, reviving controversial case
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ben Lynfield - October 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Haifa, Israel — Seven years after an Israeli military D-9 bulldozer buried American pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie under sandy soil near Gaza's border with Egypt, her family has effectively put the Israeli army on trial for her death. The Corrie family is demanding a symbolic $1 in punitive damages from the state for wrongful killing and negligence.

PA official: Hamas ignoring internal security crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 10, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority security department spokesman Adnan Ad-Dmeiri said Hamas was failing to deal with intelligence collaborators among its members. Ad-Dmeiri said security weaknesses within Hamas had enabled a series of assassinations of Hamas leaders. Israeli forces killed two leaders of Hamas' armed wing in Hebron on Friday, Nashat Al-Karmi and Maamoun Al-Natsha. Hamas leader Ali As-Suweiti was killed by Israeli soldiers in Hebron in April, and in March Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was assassinated in Dubai.

Israel keeps door open to new settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Jeffrey Heller - (Analysis) October 10, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Israel is not closing the door on a further freeze of new construction in West Bank settlements after the Palestinians, backed by Arab powers, gave Washington a one-month window to save peace talks from collapse. Much could depend on whether the United States opts to sweeten incentives to Israel to agree to a proposed 60-day partial building moratorium, Israeli political sources said on Sunday.

Palestinian dream city hits snag from Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Ben Hubbard - October 10, 2010 - 12:00am

ATARA, WEST BANK — It is billed as a symbol of the future Palestine: a modern, middle-class city of orderly streets, parks and shopping plazas rising in the hills of the West Bank, ready for independence, affluence and peace. But the $800-million project has hit a snag: Palestinians say construction of the city of Rawabi depends on getting an access road, which can't go ahead without Israeli permission.

Jericho unveils massive ancient mosaic
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Karin Laub - October 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Visitors to ancient Jericho got a rare glimpse Sunday of a massive 1,200-year-old carpet mosaic measuring nearly 900 square meters (9,700 square feet), making it one of the largest in the Middle East. The small red, blue and ochre square stones laid out in sweeping geometric and floral patterns cover the floor of the main bath house of an Islamic palace that was destroyed by an earthquake in the eighth century. Since being excavated in the 1930s and 1940s, the mosaic has largely remained hidden under layers of canvas and soil to protect it against sun and rain.

Abbas seeking alternatives if Mideast talks fail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Salah Nasrawi - October 9, 2010 - 12:00am

SIRTE, LIBYA — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday sought Arab backing for possible fallback options in case troubled peace talks with Israel collapse, including urging the United States to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state. For now, the Obama administration is still trying to salvage the negotiations that began in Washington five weeks ago. The Arab League, meeting in Libya over the weekend, gave the Americans another month — just past midterm elections in the U.S. — to try to break the deadlock over Israeli settlement expansion.

PNA, Hamas slam Israel's "loyalty oath" law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) slammed on Sunday the Israeli government's approval of the "loyalty oath" law, while the Gaza-ruling Hamas movement described it as "racist." Under the new law, non-Jews who seek Israel's citizenship have to take an oath of loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. "It's a dangerous ruling," spokesman for the Palestinian government in the West Bank Ghassan al-Khatib told Xinhua. "This will undoubtedly harm the Arab minority in Israel as well as the Jerusalemites."

French, Spanish FMs: Lieberman violated every rule of diplomacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

The foreign ministers of Spain and France were furious with their Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman, telling him Monday morning during a phone conversation that he had "violated every rule of diplomatic etiquette," an Israeli source reported on Monday. During a dinner meeting on Sunday, Lieberman told France's Bernard Kouchner and Spain's Miguel Angel Moratinos to "solve your own problems in Europe before you come to us with complaints. Maybe then I will be open to accepting your suggestions."

PA adopts textbook, banned in Israel, offering both sides' narratives
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Or Kashti - October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority's Education Ministry approved the use of a history textbook that offers the central narratives of both Palestinians and the Zionist movement, marking the first time that the accepted Israeli position is being presented to schoolchildren in the West Bank. The textbook, which has been banned from use by the Israeli Education Ministry, is the result of a joint Israeli-Palestinian-Swedish collaboration to promote coexistence through education. It will be taught in two high schools near Jericho, the Palestinian Education Ministry said.

Shas party split on settlement freeze extension
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yair Ettinger, Jonathan Lis - October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

The office of Shas chairman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai issued a statement on Sunday night that said Yishai had been instructed by Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef to "strongly oppose any form of a settlement freeze extension."

France 'can't rule out' UN creation of Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
October 10, 2010 - 12:00am

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Sunday that the option of the UN Security Council creating a Palestinian state cannot be ruled out. Kouchner told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam that France preferred a two-state solution to be negotiated with Israel, but said appealing to the Security Council to resolve the conflict remained a possibility. "We want to be able to soon welcome the state of Palestine to the UN. This is the hope and the desire of the international community, and the sooner that can happen the better," he said.

Ministerial C'tee passes J’lem-Golan land referendum bill
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Hoffman, Rebecca Anna Stoil - October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

A bill requiring a national referendum before relinquishing land in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights passed during a special meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Monday, laying the groundwork for it to become law within weeks.

Israel's loyalty oath: Discriminatory by design
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
(Editorial) October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

There are two narratives at work in Israel that have a bearing on the capacity of its leaders to negotiate the creation of an independent Palestinian state next to it. The first is official and intended for external consumption. It is the one that claims Israel is ready to sit down with the Palestinians in direct talks without preconditions and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, should not have wasted so much of the 10 month partial freeze on settlement building before he did so.

How good news became bad for Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - October 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Hasan Abu Dan still has at hand a single pair of trendy River Woman grey denim shorts, ending just above the knee and complete with Hebrew price label, to remind him of just what a traumatic year 2007 was for his family's garment business. For when Hamas seized control of Gaza after the collapse of its short-lived coalition with Fatah, and Israel imposed a total embargo on the territory in response, the Abu Dan factory was holding 100,000 pairs of the shorts, hitherto a hot-selling item in Israeli fashion stores.

New arrest revealed in Mabhouh assassination
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Wafa Issa - (Analysis) October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

The Dubai Police chief says a major suspect in the killing of Mahmoud al Mabhouh was arrested in a western country about two months ago – but authorities in that country asked that nothing be made public. “The suspect who was arrested played a key role in the killing, but we were informed by the ambassador during a meeting that they did not wish to release the information,” Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, who declined to give any further details on the identity of the suspect, said yesterday.

Palestinian President Presents Four Alternatives to Arab Follow-Up Committee
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Sawsan Abu-Husain - (Opinion) October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas presented four alternatives, which he described as "historic," concerning the prospects of the direct negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. This took place at the recent meetings of the Arab initiative committee in the Libyan city of Sirte on the sidelines of the extraordinary Arab summit. The alternatives are as follows: First: If Israel decides to halt the settlement activities, the direct negotiations will continue, and its pace will be accelerated.

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