Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinians and Israeli settlers struggle over West Bank olive groves. The CSM asks what's behind PM Netanyahu's latest proposal. The Economist calls it a gimmick. The US urges Palestinians to make a counteroffer and says it does not want a two-month delay in a peace talks impasse. Hamas shuts down the journalists syndicate in Gaza. Israel says flotilla detainees were treated well. Bradley Burston lists 10 mistakes Israel is making. Human rights groups ask Netanyahu to pledge not to transfer populations. There is widespread anger at Israel's sentencing of a Palestinian nonviolent protest leader to one year in prison. Jewish American groups are largely silent about Israel's new loyalty oath for non-Jews. George Semaan says buying time won't fix problems with negotiations. Michael Brull says Israel needs to end the occupation. Hussein Ibish says the US needs a game-changing plan to get talks back on track.

In West Bank, Peace Symbol Now Signifies Struggle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinians from villages like this one in the West Bank governorate of Ramallah still remember when the olive harvest was a joyous occasion, with whole families out for days in the fall sunshine, gathering the year’s crop and picnicking under the trees. “We considered it like a wedding,” said Hussein Said Hussein Abu Aliya, 68.

In West Bank, olive groves are on the front line in struggle over land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

When members of the Shalabi family went out recently to harvest their olives, they discovered that a few dozen trees had been chopped down, their branches hacked by vandals. In other groves belonging to this Palestinian village, there were scores of dead trees that had apparently been poisoned, with holes drilled in their trunks. The groves are near Adei Ad, an unauthorized Jewish settlement outpost, and villagers, citing past incidents of assaults and harassment, pointed an accusing finger at the settlers.

A new Israeli settlement freeze? What's behind Netanyahu's offer.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revived a previous offer Monday, saying he would support a new settlement freeze if Palestinians would recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The offer is consistent with a demand Mr. Netanyahu made when he first endorsed a Palestinian state a year ago. But Israeli analysts and former diplomats disagree as to what the prime minister, who acknowledged that the offer had already been turned down in private negotiations with Palestinians, sought to achieve by raising the issue in parliament's opening day of winter session Monday.

Hamas shuts down journalists syndicate in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Security forces in the Gaza Strip closed the headquarters of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate without explanation Tuesday, a member of the press union's general secretariat said. Tahseen Al-Astal told Ma’an that forces arrived in civilian clothes and told them that the Ministry of the Interior had issued a decision to close the syndicate. He added that they were informed of the decision orally and received nothing in writing. The syndicate's Ramallah office condemned the move and is investigating.

US nudges Palestinians to answer Israeli proposal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

The United States nudged the Palestinian Authority to make a counter-offer to Israel's proposal for a new freeze on building in Jewish settlements if the Palestinians recognized Israel as a Jewish state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said if the Palestinian leadership recognized Israel "as the homeland of the Jewish people," he was ready to ask his government to extend a freeze on West Bank settlement building. The Palestinians immediately rejected the proposal, which they have long opposed.

Israel says flotilla detainees were treated well
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli officials have denied allegations in a U.N. report that international activists detained during a deadly raid of a Gaza-bound flotilla were abused. In testimony to an Israeli investigative committee in Jerusalem on Monday, Interior Ministry official Yossi Edelstein, who was in charge of processing detainees, said everyone was treated "with restraint and respect." He also said he had received no formal complaints of mistreatment. The U.N. report accused Israel of "extreme and unprovoked violence" against detainees.

U.S.: We want clear path, not two-month delay of peace process deadlock
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

The United States doesn't want a two-month delay on peace process but rather achieve a clear path that allows Israel and the Palestinians to continue negotiations, the U.S. State Department said Tuesday in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's offer to extend the settlement freeze in return for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. "We don't just want to push the can down the road two months," U.S. State Department Spokesman Philip J. Crowley said.

Top 10 worst errors Israel is about to make
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Blog) October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

1. The Loyalty Oath. What it is: A proposed amendment to Israel's Law of Citizenship, which, if approved by the Knesset, would require non-Jews seeking citizenship to pledge allegiance to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state." The bill does not require Jews to make the same declaration. Why it matters: A watershed measure which has been widely condemned as formally racist, passage of the bill, a key demand of Avigdor Lieberman's Israel Beiteinu party, could also fuel Lieberman's drive to head the Israeli right, and eventually, run for the premiership.

Rights group asks Netanyahu to make 'no population transfer' pledge
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Liel Kyzer - October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has written to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking he make clear his government has not discussed the transfer of Israeli Arab citizens to the Palestinian Authority as part of a peace agreement, and that the government will not bring the subject up in the future.

Anger at West Bank protester's sentence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

The British Foreign Office last night expressed concern over a one-year prison sentence handed down by a military court to Abdallah Abu Rahma, a leader of unarmed anti-occupation protests in the West Bank. Mr Abu Rahma, 39, was given the jail sentence along with a further six months suspended for three years and a 5000 shekel (£760) fine after being convicted for incitement and organising demonstrations against the separation barrier in the village of Bil'in. The demonstrations often end in clashes between stone-throwing protesters and youths using tear gas and gunfire.

Loyalty oath law, causing stir in Israel, met by U.S. Jewish silence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

A day after Israel’s Cabinet announced that it would consider making a loyalty oath mandatory for non-Jewish immigrants, the question put to The Israel Project’s president and founder was simple enough. “How did your organization react?” Natasha Mozgovoya, the Washington correspondent for Israel’s daily Haaretz, asked Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi at a news conference last week announcing an expansion of The Israel Project’s activities. “We didn’t put out a press release” was all Mizrahi would say at the time.

Cheap gimmickry
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
(Analysis) October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

ISRAEL was defined as the "Jewish state" in 1947 by the UN resolution that brought it into being. But now Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants the Palestinians to confirm it: both the Palestinian leaders who are supposed to be negotiating with him over a state of their own, and individual Palestinians (and other non-Jews) who apply for Israeli citizenship.

Buying “Time” Will Lead Negotiations Out of Predicaments?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by George Semaan - (Opinion) October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

The ball is now in Washington’s court, knowing it never exited it in the first place, after Washington decided to be the sole sponsor of the new round of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian authority.

Where is Israel going?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from ABC News
by Michael Brull - (Opinion) October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Shortly after Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza, one of Israel’s most brilliant intellectuals, Yeshayahu Leibowitz called for an immediate withdrawal from the occupied territories.

Biding time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) October 12, 2010 - 12:00am

The United States will most probably succeed in convincing Israel to extend its partial and temporary settlement moratorium for another two or three months. It has already offered a package of benefits that seems completely disproportionate to what is being asked for, and which even US newspaper The New York Times has described as “overly generous.”

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017