Middle East News: World Press Roundup

A diplomatic incident exposes rifts between PM Netanyahu and FM Lieberman. Israeli Amb. Oren says Palestinians must recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” Palestinians say they will do so if Israel returns the 1967 borders. The US says Palestinians are right to ask for clarified borders, but must do so in negotiations. Israel's mayor in Jerusalem wants to rezone Arab neighborhoods. Israel says it may reconsider its demand for a long-term security presence in the Jordan Valley after Palestinian independence. Israelis and Palestinians try to bridge the divide in the Galilee. Stone-throwing Israeli settlers clash with Israeli soldiers and Palestinians. Larry Derfner says Netanyahu has revealed himself to be an extremist. Avner Cohen says Israel should be open about its nuclear arsenal. The Forward dismisses Israel's new loyalty oath for non-Jews. Israeli forces reportedly train for population transfer. Osman Mirghani says Netanyahu has shown he's not serious about peace. George Hishmeh says Israel doesn't know what it wants. Michael Jansen critiques Israel's new loyalty oath. Daoud Kuttab dismisses Israel's “Jewish state” demand. Hussein Ibish looks at the dangers of another intifada.

Israeli Minister Exposes Rift With Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — This week, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of Israel gave a dinner for the foreign ministers of France and Spain, who were here urging a West Bank settlement freeze to improve the chance for peace with the Palestinians. When the meal was over, Mr. Lieberman spoke.

An End to Israel’s Invisibility
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Michael B. Oren - (Editorial) October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

NEARLY 63 years after the United Nations recognized the right of the Jewish people to independence in their homeland — and more than 62 years since Israel’s creation — the Palestinians are still denying the Jewish nature of the state. “Israel can name itself whatever it wants,” said the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, while, according to the newspaper Haaretz, his chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said that the Palestinian Authority will never recognize Israel as the Jewish state. Back in 1948, opposition to the legitimacy of a Jewish state ignited a war.

Palestinians counter Israeli offer on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - October 14, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM - Responding to an offer by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to extend a freeze on building in West Bank settlements if Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, a top Palestinian official said Wednesday that such recognition could be granted to Israel within its 1967 borders, without the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. In media interviews, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior official of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, countered Netanyahu's offer in another volley of the verbal ping-pong that has taken the place of direct negotiations.

US backs Palestinian demand to see borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 14, 2010 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON (Ma’an) -- The US on Wednesday supported the PLO's request to see a map of Israel's borders, but said such demands must be made face-to-face, not through the media. PLO Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo on Wednesday called on Israel and the US to provide a map of Israel's borders before "asking anything else." "Israel is an unknown entity in terms of borders [so] how does it suggest to recognize it as a Jewish state? Israel and the US should first set out Israel's borders," he explained.

Jerusalem mayor pushes for rezoning of Arab areas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The mayor of Jerusalem asked Israel's prime minister on Wednesday to adopt his plan to rezone some of the city's Arab neighborhoods and suspend demolitions of homes built there without permits. In a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mayor Nir Barkat wrote that his plan would improve the lives of the city's Arab residents. However, critics said the rezoning plan would heighten tensions because it also involves demolishing 22 Arab homes in one of the most volatile areas of Jerusalem, near the walled Old City.

Israel could reconsider presence in Jordan Valley
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Karin Laub - October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

JERICHO, WEST BANK — Israel's insistence on maintaining a presence on the eastern border of a future Palestinian state could be reviewed over time, a government spokesman said Wednesday. Israel's demand for such a presence is one of the potential obstacles to a Mideast peace deal. The Palestinians say they will not accept any Israeli deployment in their future state, arguing that the presence of international forces during a transition period — an idea they support — should be sufficient to address Israeli security concerns.

The view from the hilltops
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Esther Zandberg - October 14, 2010 - 12:00am

"At school I studied [Hebrew poet Haim Nahman] Bialik and not [medieval Arabic poet] Al-Mutanabbi; I learned about [the Jewish commander] Bar Kochba and not [the Muslim commander] Salah a-Din ibn Ayyub; I studied the Bible and not the Koran. But from the Jewish sages' admonition to 'respect but suspect,' only suspicion remains. When people say they are going to 'develop' the Galilee, I hear 'disinherit.' Develop the Galilee?

Demolition, clashes and 'price tag' at West Bank outpost
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yair Altman - October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Some 50 youngsters, some of them hooded, blocked the entrance of security forces to Ramat Migron on Wednesday. Soldiers and police officers arrived at the West Bank outpost to demolish five illegal structures. During the ensuing clashes, which involved settlers, Palestinians and security forces, at least four people were lightly hurt by pepper spray and stones thrown by Palestinians. Some of the settlers hurled rocks at security forces and set tires on fire at the entrance to the outpost.

Rattling the Cage: Any more doubts about Bibi?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Until this week, the question posed by “neutral observers” about Binyamin Netanyahu was whether he was going to follow the examples of Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon, or that of Yitzhak Shamir. Would he transform himself into a peacemaker like Begin and Sharon by uprooting settlements and relinquishing occupied territory, or would he be an immovable object like Shamir, aiming only to keep things “quiet” so he could build more settlements and close the door on Palestinian statehood?

Should Israel Abandon Policy of Nuclear Ambiguity? A New Book Argues Yes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

It’s a policy that has been around for so long that most Israelis and Americans cannot imagine a world without it. For the past four decades, Israel has adhered, almost religiously, to the idea of nuclear ambiguity, or opacity. It has refused to either confirm or deny it has the bomb, and it has repeated the same vague mantra that “Israel will not be the first country to use nuclear weapons” in the Middle East.

An Unworthy Oath
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

The Declaration of Independence approved on May 14, 1948, heralds the new nation of Israel as a “Jewish state” but never defines what that actually means. There’s no mention of religion, indeed no mention of God.

Israeli forces train for Arab transfer riots
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - October 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel secretly staged a training exercise last week to test its ability to quell any civil unrest that might result from a peace deal that calls for the forcible transfer of many Arab citizens, the Israeli media has reported. The drill was intended to test the readiness of the civil defence units, police, army and prison service to contain large-scale riots by Israel's Arab minority in response to such a deal.

Why Not Just Submit to Netanyahu?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Osman Mirghani - (Opinion) October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Those who predicted that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was serious in his pursuit of peace should now engage in some self-reflection. Netanyahu is a manipulative and deceitful man of the highest order, and it is a fact that he does not want to achieve a genuine peace settlement, which would lead to a viable Palestinian state. Instead, he has demanded complete Palestinian and Arab submission, to all his prohibitive conditions, and provocative maneuvers.

Israel doesn't know what it wants
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) October 14, 2010 - 12:00am

It is generally recognised that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), now a 100,000-member pro-Israeli lobbying group, has had an impressive record since the ‘50s in advocating pro-Israel policies mostly to Congress. But of late several key officials, all American Jews in sensitive government positions, have outpaced this lobbying group established in 1950.

Israel is taking a dangerous direction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Jansen - (Opinion) October 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The adoption by Israel of a loyalty oath to be applied to non-Jews seeking naturalisation was inevitable. It was inevitable because Israel is a “Jewish state” founded by Zionist Jews for Zionist Jews.

Danger of Israel’s racist demands
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) October 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Without any reason, the Israeli government has created a totally artificial problem for all future persons wishing to get citizenship: they will have to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Once again the Israelis are trying to push their internal problems and their hesitation to pay the needed price for peace onto others.

No to a third intifada
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Common Ground News Service
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) October 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Whether or not a solution to the crisis over settlements is achieved in the coming days, it's becoming increasingly clear that the direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are in serious trouble. The Israeli daily Ha’aretz quoted unnamed Western officials as saying the talks are “going nowhere.” And the most cautious, sober and measured 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.”

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