Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel resumes negotiations with Hamas over a prisoner swap. Israeli settlement building surges, although Israeli officials claimed to be restraining thousands of other new units. Pres. Abbas says PM Netanyahu fears a collapse of his government. An Israeli soldier is jailed for looting following the flotilla attack. The Moroccan king refuses to meet the Israeli president. Abbas says Palestinians will renounce all further claims upon independence. One Palestinian is killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza. Gaza children place messages to the world in cork boats. Ha'aretz says settlement building in Jerusalem is intended to destroy the peace process. Akiva Eldar says the Israeli right is not making Israel more Jewish, but is making its Palestinian citizens more Palestinian. Michael Herzog says Israel is torn between its “Jewish” and its “democratic” characters. Mudar Zahran says Arab states must do more for peace. The Jerusalem Post asks if the PA is capable of independence. Raghida Dergham says Israel and Iran benefit from their rivalry at the Arabs' expense. The Arab News says there is no connection between settlement activity and Israel's “Jewish character.”

Israeli settlement building surges as US pushes for a new freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Beitar Illit, West Bank — In the two and a half weeks since Israel's settlement freeze expired, there's been a surge in construction on new West Bank homes, dimming prospect the Palestinians will agree to resume peace talks. "The resumption at this scale makes it more complicated to make arrangement that will allow a resumption of talks," says Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib. "They are putting more sticks in the wheels.''

Israel Renews Bid to Free Soldier Held by Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - October 17, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM —Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel had recently renewed contacts with a German mediator to negotiate the release of a captured Israeli soldier, Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit, who is being held by Hamas. Related “We are working all the time and in various ways to try to bring Gilad back,” Mr. Netanyahu told Israel’s Army Radio. “One of those ways, even the main way, is through negotiations, which indeed resumed a few weeks ago.”

Abbas: Netanyahu fears govt collapse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 18, 2010 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu told him he could not extend the settlement moratorium "because he fears his government might collapse." In an interview with Israel's Channel 1, Abbas further said "the government isn't more valuable than peace, neither is it more valuable than the future of both peoples."

Israeli soldier jailed for stealing from raid ship
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
October 18, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct 18 (Reuters) - An Israeli military court sentenced a soldier to five months in jail on Monday for stealing from a ship where nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists were killed in an Israeli commando raid. The soldier, who did not take part in the May 31 assault, admitted he stole a laptop and camera lenses from the Mavi Marmara after the Turkish-flagged ship, which had been trying to run an Israeli blockade of Gaza, was seized and brought to an Israeli port.

Israeli official: Moroccan king won't meet Peres
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Amy Teibel - October 18, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The king of Morocco has rejected a request to meet with Israel's president because of the impasse in Mideast peacemaking, an aide to the Israeli statesman said Monday in a new diplomatic fallout from the deadlocked peace talks. President Shimon Peres had asked to meet with King Mohammed VI on the sidelines of an upcoming international conference in Marrakech. But the monarch — citing the stalled talks — said the timing wasn't right, the aide said.

With statehood, Palestine ready to end all claims
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Karin Laub - October 17, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK — The Palestinians are ready to end all historic claims against Israel once they establish their state in the lands Israel occupied in the 1967 Mideast War, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday, addressing a long-standing Israeli demand. In an interview with Israel TV, Abbas also said negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remain his preferred choice, but that he will consider other options if talks break down over Israel's continued settlement expansion.

Palestinians say 1 dead in Israeli strike in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Dalia Nammari - October 16, 2010 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP — An Israeli airstrike killed one person and wounded two in northern Gaza early Sunday, Palestinian officials said. Hamas officials said Israeli forces opened fire at a militant training ground north of Gaza City. Palestinian hospital official Adham Abu Salmia confirmed one dead and two wounded, one of them critically. The Israeli military confirmed it targeted a squad of militants preparing to fire rockets toward Israel.

Gaza children deliver dreams, hopes to outside world through mini-boats
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 17, 2010 - 12:00am

GAZA, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- Around 30 mini cork boats floated on the water of Gaza Strip sea heading to the outside world with local children's messages of their dreams and suffering and calling for ending the Israeli blockade.

Building to destroy the peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
(Opinion) October 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Why did the Israeli government see fit to approve, at this particular juncture, the construction of 240 housing units in Jerusalem neighborhoods east of the Green Line? The only explanation is an attempt to sabotage the efforts to renew direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

West of the 'Auschwitz borders'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) October 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Not long ago, during a meeting with foreign reporters, Avigdor Lieberman quoted a statement attributed to Abba Eban describing the 1967 borders as "Auschwitz borders." Immediately afterward, the foreign minister presented the "plan" to move territories west of those "Auschwitz borders" so they would be under the jurisdiction of a foreign element (namely, the Palestinians ) which, he claimed, seeks to throw the Jews into the sea. In order to be rid of the Arab population in Israel in return for annexing the "settlement blocs," Lieberman proposes contracting Israel's narrow waist even further.

Debasing a foundational idea
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Michael Herzog - (Opinion) October 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that until Israel apologized for its May attack on a Gaza-bound aid ship in which nine Turkish citizens were killed it would remain isolated in the Middle East. “Israel must apologize to Turkey and pay compensation for the state terrorism in the Mediterranean," Erdogan said while addressing members of his Islamic-oriented party at a weekend retreat, adding that "If it does not, it will be doomed to remain isolated in the Middle East.”

Netanyahu's, Barak's silent freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ofer Petersburg - October 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Despite the end of the West Bank building moratorium, the construction of thousands of planned homes are frozen in practice, as top government officials refrain from granting them the final go-ahead, Yedioth Athronoth reported Monday. Palestinian Side Among other homes, about 1,300 housing units in Jerusalem, which passed all the planning and construction procedures, are not getting the green light that would turn them from blueprints to active construction sites.

Do the Arabs want peace?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Mudar Zahran - (Opinion) October 17, 2010 - 12:00am

Arab League states have announced their support of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s call for a complete halt of all settlement activity in order to resume negotiations. This decision is not all support for Abbas, as freezing the settlement activities has recently been an Arab states’ demand rather than a Palestinian one. Recently, King Abdullah II of Jordan addressed the United Nations and said the settlements posed a major threat to the peace talks, and could actually lead to a major war. This sentiment has been promoted heavily by the government-controlled Arab media.

Does the PA fulfill the criteria for an independent state?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Dan Izenberg - October 18, 2010 - 12:00am

According to the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, which is now part of customary law and therefore binding on all countries, a state must possess a permanent population, a defined territory, a government and a capacity to enter into relationships with other states. Furthermore, the convention states that “the political existence of the state is independent of recognition by other states.” Thus, there is nothing in international law to prevent the Palestinian Authority from unilaterally declaring itself an independent state.

Iran and Israel are in Need of Mutual Enmity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - (Opinion) October 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Perhaps Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad truly believes that the Islamic Republic of Iran is capable of bringing down the United States of America and of wiping Israel out of existence. Perhaps this is why he wages escalation campaigns amid the international media attention gathered around him and the popular rallies organized for him, like the one prepared by Hezbollah to welcome him in Lebanon.

A devious plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) October 17, 2010 - 12:00am

With the Palestinians already threatening to walk away from the Middle East peace talks unless Israel renews its partial ban on West Bank settlements, the unveiling of 238 new homes for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem could well kill off the negotiations.

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