Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Mustafa Barghouthi says Palestinians should unilaterally declare independence and invite international recognition like Kosovo. PM Netanyahu approves 240 new settler housing units in occupied East Jerusalem. Hamas leaders are banned from entering Egypt. Pres. Abbas reiterates there is no alternative to a two-state agreement, urges Quartet action, and says Israel can call itself whatever it likes. Palestinian refugees are disillusioned. Arab states may ask the UN to recognize Palestine. Zeev Sternhell says Israel's right requires perpetual war, and Gideon Levy says they just hate Arabs. 36% of Jewish Israelis want to revoke Palestinian citizens' voting rights. Elderly Israelis claim former homes in occupied East Jerusalem. There is more criticism of Israel's proposed new loyalty oath, and Jonathan Cook says if he is forced to take it, he will be lying. Palestinian women make a living hitting Jewish skullcaps. The Forward asks if Netanyahu will have to choose between peace and his coalition partners. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid says Israeli extremists want to expel Palestinian citizens. Joseph Chamie says demographics are a threat to peace. Christopher Hayes looks at settler conduct and ideology in Hebron and Jerusalem.

Smothered by Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mustafa Barghouthi - (Opinion) October 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Negotiations between two unequal parties cannot succeed. Success in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations requires a reasonable balance of power, clear terms of reference and abstention of both sides from imposing unilateral facts on the ground. None of that existed in the talks that were re-initiated in September.

240 settlement units planned for East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has authorized construction for 240 housing units in the illegal Jerusalem settlements of Pisgat Ze'ev and Ramot, Israeli media reported Thursday. The units were included in a tender which listed 3,500 housing units across Israel, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. The fact that 240 of the units are to be built in East Jerusalem was made "as inconspicuous as possible."

Hamas leaders banned from entering Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Egyptian authorities will prevent a number of Hamas leaders from traveling through the country en route to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj. Hamas officials told Ma'an that among the leaders prohibited from accessing Egypt are lawmaker Salah Al-Bardawil and spokesmen Sami Abu Zuhri and Fawzi Barhoum. Abu Zuhri confirmed the ban, saying he was informed by Hamas' leadership that "an Egyptian official made contact and notified us of Egypt's refusal to allow a number of Hamas leaders to travel for Hajj."

Abbas: No alternative to 2-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that the Ramallah-based government had yet to rule out the 2-state solution to the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. "We fully support the 2-state solution, a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders living side by side with Israel in peace, security and stability," Abbas said after meeting with Finland's President Tarja Halonen. "We insist that this is the best solution for the future of both Palestinians and Israelis; there is no other option," Abbas said countering growing calls that the PLO give up talks with Israel.

Dismay, disillusionment prevail in Palestinian camp
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Crispian Balmer - October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

The stalemate in direct peace talks with Israel risks undermining the moderate Palestinian leadership and should force world powers to reassess their Middle East strategy, senior Palestinian officials say. The U.S.-brokered negotiations kicked off in Washington last month, but stalled less than 4 weeks later after Israel refused to extend a freeze on settlement building in the occupied West Bank, prompting the Palestinians to refuse to carry on talking.

Abbas urges the Quartet to realize Palestinian statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday urged the international Quartet for Middle East peace to find alternative solutions to end the Israeli occupation and give the Palestinians a homeland. Abbas made the comments at a joint press conference in Ramallah with visiting Finnish President Tarja Halonen. "We want a state on the lands occupied in 1967 and to live in peace with our neighbors, including Israel," Abbas said.

Arabs states may ask UN to recognize Palestinian state if settlements continue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Friday that Arab nations may seek United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state if Israel continues to build settlements in the West Bank. If Israel goes ahead with building settlements, the Arab League will study some other options such as going to the United Nations and ask for the recognition of the Palestinian state, Gheit said. The Arab League request to the UN could come next month.

Israel's right needs perpetual war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zeev Sternhell - (Opinion) October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

The facts must be acknowledged: The heads of the rightist parties have a strategic outlook and the ability to take the long view, and they also know how to choose the right tools to carry out their mission.

Time to stick it again to the Arabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Underneath everything is hatred - hatred and contempt for Arabs. The ideology of the right has been dead for some time, nothing of its former glory remains; primeval emotions are now its true driving force. This is what is behind the right wing's nationalist laws and its so-called "peace." Lurking beneath all the unpretty words are not just political considerations, but a lack of any systematic ideas - only dark and dangerous instincts.

Poll: 36% of Jews want to revoke Arabs' voting rights
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Thirty-six percent of Israeli Jews are in favor of revoking the voting rights of non-Jews, Yedioth Ahronoth reported, citing findings by the Dahaf polling agency, headed by Dr. Mina Tzemach. The poll was held in the aftermath of an amendment to the Citizenship Act, approved by the government Sunday, which requires new citizens to pledge their allegiance to a "Jewish and democratic state".

Jews seek to reclaim houses in Shiekh Jarrah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yair Altman - October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

The leftist protest is gaining momentum, but rightist organizations are continuing to reinforce Jewish presence in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Three Jewish people on Thursday arrived at the east Jerusalem neighborhood and claimed they were the original owners of houses inhabited by Palestinian families, demanding their property be returned to them. "My grandfather built this house and the synagogue that was burned down by Arabs in 1948," said 76-year-old Elisha Ben-Tzur.

Ruth Gavison: Loyalty declaration bill is bad legislation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Dan Izenberg - October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Hebrew University law professor Ruth Gavison, an outspoken supporter of characterizing Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview Wednesday that she was opposed to the loyalty oath bill approved in the cabinet earlier this week. “It is possible to unequivocally support [the characterization of] Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, as I do, and still think that this bill, at this time, in this fashion and in this context, is a bad move,” she said.

Abbas: What Israel calls itself is none of our business
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that it was none of the Palestinians’ business if Israel wanted to call itself a Jewish state, or anything else. “If the Israelis want to call themselves any name, they should address the international community and the United Nations, because this is none of our business,” Abbas told reporters after meeting with Finnish President Tarja Halonen in Ramallah. Abbas said that the PLO had recognized Israel when the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.

Palestinians earn a living making Jewish skullcaps
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jon Donnison - October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

From the minaret of the next-door mosque, the call to prayer rings out as their fast-moving fingers click the needles at a rapid rhythm. Slowly forming in their laps are three small, round, white pieces of crocheted cloth. These three Palestinian Muslim women are making one of the most obvious symbols of Jewishness and Judaism - the kippa. Kippot (as they are known in the plural) are the small domed skullcaps that many Jewish men wear on their heads. Kippa literally means "dome".

Bibi's Tough Choices
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - October 13, 2010 - 12:00am

All eyes are on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as the world awaits his final response to calls for a further settlement freeze. But what happens if he agrees – will he be able to push it through his cabinet and keep his coalition together? Since the final days of Netanyahu’s first settlement freeze in late September, his right-wing coalition partners have been flexing their muscles. But a close examination of their stands suggests Netanyahu may have more flexibility than most perceive.

An oath for the few excludes the many in an ethnocracy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

In all likelihood, I will be one of the very first non-Jews expected to swear loyalty to Israel as an ideology rather than as a state. Until now, naturalising residents, like the country's soldiers, pledged an oath to Israel and its laws. That is the situation in most countries. But soon, if the Israeli parliament passes a bill being advanced by the government, aspiring citizens will instead be required to uphold the Zionist majority's presumption that Israel is a "Jewish and democratic state".

Will Israel Expel a Million Palestinians?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed - (Opinion) October 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The extremists in Israel are trying to build a case that aims to bring the peace process to a complete halt. [They are saying] if you want a Palestinian state, you must realize that we will expel a million and a quarter Palestinians who hold the Israeli nationality and live inside the Jewish state. This proposal means that Israel is for Jews only. Is it reasonable for a state to be established for three million people, whilst at the same time this results in the displacement of another million?

Demographics may scuttle Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Joseph Chamie - (Opinion) October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Countless words have been spoken and written, several wars and numerous armed clashes have taken place. Thousands have died, with even more injured and suffering. Yet, after more than 60 years of struggle, numerous diplomatic initiatives, agreements and peace offers, intergovernmental conferences and behind-the-scenes negotiations, comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains disappointingly elusive.

Postcard From Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Nation
by Christopher Hayes - (Opinion) October 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The first thing you notice when you drive into Hebron is the lack of cars. Since 1997 this second-largest Palestinian city in the West Bank, the only one with an Israeli settlement in its midst, has been formally divided. Within the Israeli section, which takes up much of the historic downtown, Palestinians are not allowed to drive, so they walk or use donkey carts. When people are ill or injured, they are carried to the hospital. It is not surprising, therefore, that many of the 30,000 Palestinians who once lived here have moved out.

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