Middle East News: World Press Roundup

PM Netanyahu's proposal for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a "Jewish state" is met with widespread skepticism. Palestinians say Washington is not taking the idea seriously either. Israel sentences a leader of Palestinian nonviolent protests to a year in prison. The PA has submitted a formal request for a West Bank airport. Pres. Abbas' office dismisses rumors of his resignation. Deputy PM Ya'alon doubts peace is possible. The French FM says an initiative to restart talks is underway. Akiva Eldar says Netanyahu is trying to get the Palestinians to give up the right of return. Carlo Strenger says the new Israeli loyalty oath demonstrates a hatred of liberal values and MK Tibi says it's another instance of discrimination. Raja Khalidi questions whether conditions are right for successful state building. Hussein Ibish warns against another intifada. Gershon Baskin says more popular support is needed for peace. Israel continues to deport Palestinians from the West Bank. Israeli troops are accused of shooting children in Gaza. Sam Bahour and Charles Shamas say the OECD meeting in Jerusalem is an affront to international law. Columbia University establishes the first academic center for Palestine Studies. Gaza's prisons are chaotic.

Netanyahu’s Moves Spark Debate on Intentions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - (Analysis) October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — An offer on Monday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to freeze West Bank Jewish settlements in exchange for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state — instantly rejected by the Palestinians — was the latest complex maneuver engendering debate about his intentions.

WEST BANK: Israeli military court sentences Palestinian nonviolence activist to prison
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

An Israeli military court Monday sentenced Palestinian nonviolence activist Abdullah Abu Rahmeh to one year in prison and a $1,400 fine after it found him guilty of “incitement” and “organizing illegal demonstrations.” Abu Rahmeh’s arrest had provoked strong international reaction, with some describing it as an attempt to silence freedom of expression. The court gave the military prosecutor one month to appeal the decision and ask for a harsher sentence. The prosecutor had sought a sentence of more than two years to make an example of Abu Rahmeh.

PA submits request for new airport
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority has submitted a request to the Israeli Prime Minister's Office for the construction of a new Palestinian airport in the central West Bank district of Jericho, Hebrew-language media reported Tuesday. The four square kilometer airport, 10km southeast of Jerusalem, includes plans for a single terminal, six gates for boarding, a large parking lot and international airport facilities and was submitted by the PA transport minister, Israeli daily Maariv reported.

President's office rebuffs rumors of Abbas resignation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas will continue on as leader of the Palestinian Authority, the secretary-general of the president's office said Monday. Abdul Rahim said reports of Abbas' resignation and the dismantling of the PA were "all rumors to lower the spirits of the Palestinians," as he received the Tunisian representative to the PA Shakib Ath-Thawadi at the presentational compound in Ramallah, central West Bank.

Deputy PM: Israel officials doubt peace reachable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Aron Heller - October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — An Israeli deputy prime minister says members of the Cabinet's decision-making circle doubt a peace deal with the Palestinians can be reached in the near future. Moshe Yaalon's remarks appear contrary to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stated commitment on trying to reach an agreement within a year. Yaalon spoke to Army Radio on Tuesday. The peace talks, which resumed last month, have stalled over Israel's refusal to renew a moratorium on West Bank settlement construction.

French FM: Peace initiative underway to resume Palestinian-Israeli negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- France is preparing an initiative that aims at resuming the stalled direct peace talks between the Israeli and the Palestinians, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Monday. "Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu asked the European Union to play a role in peacemaking and intervene to bridge the rift between the Palestinians and the Israelis," Kouchner told a joint press conference with his Spanish counterpart Miguel Moratinos in the French Consulate in Jerusalem. But Kouchner did not reveal the content of the plan.

Netanyahu asking Palestinians to cede right of return
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) October 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu is not satisfied with forcing gentiles who wish to obtain Israeli citizenship to formally declare their recognition of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Now he is demanding that the neighbors on the other side of the border also declare Israel to be a Jewish state (what about "democratic"? ). They will grant recognition in perpetuity, while he will grant a temporary settlement freeze for two months. Maybe three. Judaism for sale.

Strenger than Fiction / Loyalty oath is not about Arabs, it’s about hatred of liberal values
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

There is nothing left to say about how bad, harmful and useless the new citizenship law is: Labor Party Minister Isaac Herzog has warned that it is another step towards fascism; legal experts like Mordechai Kremnitzer have pointed out that it doesn’t serve any identifiable purpose except making Arabs feeling even less at home in Israel. Likud Ministers Benny Begin and Dan Meridor have pointed out how harmful the law is for the relation with Israeli Arabs and for Israel’s standing in the world.

Is Fayyadism working?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Raja Khalidi - October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Donor nations and the Middle East Quartet met in New York last week to renew commitments to the beleaguered Palestinian economy and budget support to the insolvent Palestinian Authority. Paving the way, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad presented a midterm report on his government's program. He has coined the forthcoming second and final year of the program as the "Homestretch to Freedom." In tune with Fayyad, the Quartet reaffirmed support for the PA's plan and commended its significant progress toward the statehood goal.

No to a third intifada
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Whether or not a solution to the crisis over settlements is achieved in the coming weeks, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are in serious trouble. Haaretz quoted unnamed Western officials as saying the talks are “going nowhere.” And the most cautious, sober and measured member of the senior PLO leadership, Yasser Abed Rabbo, who is a member of the negotiating team, has been moved to declare that “there will be no serious political process with Netanyahu’s government.”

Chronicles of peace or epitaphs of failure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

The Arab League rescued Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama from being boxed into a corner. The one month extension granted to the peace process during which they have to find a way back to negotiations provides a little room to breathe and avoids having Obama take the direct fallout from a foreign policy failure prior to the crucial midterm elections on November 2.

Palestinians: US not taking Bibi seriously
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Neither the Palestinian Authority nor Washington are taking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's demand for Palestinian recognition of Israel prior to a renewed movement freeze seriously, a senior Palestinian official told Ynet Tuesday. The source went on to say that the PA viewed the demand as "unacceptable" and that the US sees it as "ridiculous."

The ethnic cleansing plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ahmad Tibi - (Opinion) October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that “Israel is a Jewish state, yet it maintains equality and grants rights to all its citizens.” He is so wrong. I head the parliamentary committee on hiring Arabs in the public service. The Arabs constitute 20% of the population, yet make up roughly 6.5% of all public service employees. This figure says it all. It is very from equality and expresses social exclusion, marginalization, neglect, and mostly discrimination.

Israel Continues Deportation of Palestinians with Gaza ID
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Miller - October 7, 2010 - 12:00am

When 31-year-old Farid Sha’aban was driving with his friend near the Israeli city of Beer Sheva in late October 2008, he could not imagine how drastically his life was about to change. “The police stopped us. They came right at me, handcuffed me, and drove me directly to the Gaza Strip,” Sha’aban told The Media Line. Sha’aban, whose father was born in Gaza and who lived there for only one year at age 11, was deported to Gaza because his address was registered in the town of Jabalia in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli troops accused of shooting children in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

At least 10 Palestinian children have been shot and wounded by Israeli troops in the past three months while collecting rubble in or near the "buffer zone" created by Israel along the Gaza border, in a low-intensity offensive on the fringes of the blockaded Palestinian territory. Israeli soldiers are routinely shooting at Gazans well beyond the unmarked boundary of the official 300 metre-wide no-go area, rights groups say.

Can the OECD stand up to Israel?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Sam Bahour - (Opinion) October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

What can be said for the state of international law when international organisations such as the OECD find themselves unable to prevent a member country from bringing its unlawful practice into the life of the organisation itself? In such situations, how can law-abiding member countries avoid being drawn into acquiescence? Later this month, these questions may find answers when Israel hosts an OECD gathering in Jerusalem to discuss global tourism.

Columbia University Establishes First Academic Center for Palestine Studies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Forward
by Joy Resmovits - October 8, 2010 - 12:00am

America’s first academic center devoted to Palestinian studies launched to huge applause – and with apparent Jewish support – at Columbia University the evening of October 6. Rashid Khalidi, the noted Palestinian American historian of the Middle East who will co-direct the center, told a capacity filled 335-seat lecture hall that he hoped the center would serve to connect Palestine scholars across the globe. Another of its goals will be to build up its library collections. “A great lacuna in Palestinian history is the lack of archives,” Khalidi said.

Israeli blockage stifles Gaza prisons
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - October 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Naser Suleiman admits that the prison system he runs is chaotic. The man in charge of jails in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip made no effort to disguise the fact during an interview recently with reporters in his office at a prison in downtown Gaza City. While responding to questions, Mr Suleiman had several conversations on his mobile phone and, at one point, jokingly waved around his pistol.

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