Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Coverage continues of Sec. Clinton's remarks at the Fifth Annual ATFP Gala. MK Tibi says Israel's new loyalty oath is a repudiation of Palestinian citizens. Settlers race to construct housing in the West Bank. Palestinians say negotiations are on hold until the US midterm elections. Settlers attack Palestinian olive harvesters. Pres. Peres says peace with the Palestinians would help the US deal with Iran. The PA uncovers a Hamas arms cache in the West Bank. Bradley Burston says FM Lieberman is the new Kahane. Israel prepares for possible unilateral measures. PM Netanyahu says Kadima is not joining his government. The US is also mulling a “plan B” on peace. George Hishmeh asks what maneuver Netanyahu will come up with next. IPS profiles former Israeli soldiers opposed to the occupation.

Clinton calls for release of Gilad Shalit—Palestinian American audience applauds
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - (Blog) October 21, 2010 - 12:00am

This moment, at about 23 minutes into the video* was not an extraordinary one, to those familiar with the American Task Force on Palestine. It's a group that works closely with the Mahmoud Abbas Palestinian Authority, that rejects Hamas, that engages Jewish groups that also embrace two states. Here it is from the transcript of the secretary of state's remarks to the group's dinner:

The Palestinians' Ploy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National Interest
by Paul Pillar - (Blog) October 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Whatever is your opinion about the issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians, you have to give the Palestinians credit for having hit upon a clever idea to inject into the current impasse. That idea, currently a subject of discussion among Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, is to appeal to international bodies for some kind of affirmation of Palestine as a state on land Israel conquered in the 1967 war.

Clinton: We promise not to 'turn our backs' on Palestinians or Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Paul Rogin - October 21, 2010 - 12:00am

In a rousing 30-minute speech Wednesday night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton implored attendees at the annual gala for the American Task Force on Palestine not to give up on the struggling Middle East peace process, despite past, current, and future obstacles.

Clinton Speaks Warmly of Palestinian Statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Tablet Magazine
by Allison Hoffman - October 21, 2010 - 12:00am

If there is one Palestinian outreach event on the Washington calendar that the city’s establishment is likely to attend, a senior Hill staffer told me earlier this week, it’s the annual gala of the American Task Force on Palestine, a seven-year-old group that advocates for a two-state solution.

‘No magic formula for resuming Mideast talks’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Barbara Ferguson - October 21, 2010 - 12:00am

High ranking members of various administrations, including presidents, routinely address the powerful Israeli lobby, AIPAC (American Israeli Political Action Committee), but when it comes to addressing Palestinian-Americans, various US administrations have kept them at arm’s length…. sending lower-ranking dignitaries, but never a secretary of state. So, when Clinton walked up the podium on Wednesday night to address the American Task Force on Palestine annual gala, it was hugely symbolic of the Obama administration’s position on the current Mideast peace talks.

Clinton Reaffirms US Commitment to Middle East Solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Voice of America
by Mohamed Elshinnawi - October 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Fifth Annual Gala of the American Task Force on Palestine in Washington, 20 Oct 2010 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to a two-state solution and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the path to security and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis lies in negotiations that result in two states, living side by side in peace.

Clinton Urges Arab Financial Support for Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Voice of America
October 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Fifth Annual Gala of the American Task Force on Palestine in Washington, 20 Oct 2010 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Arab countries should provide more financial support to the Palestinian Authority. Speaking Wednesday to pro-Palestinian group the American Task Force on Palestine in Washington, Clinton said it takes more than plans and commitments "to support making the state of Palestine a reality." The U.S. and the European Union are the Palestinian Authority's main donors. 2 state solution

The Other Citizens of Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ahmad Tibi - (Opinion) October 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Is there no limit to what the American government will accept from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his hard-line foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman? With Netanyahu’s backing, the Israeli cabinet voted in support of Lieberman’s loyalty oath for non-Jewish immigrants, which requires allegiance to a “Jewish and democratic state” of Israel. It was as if Mexican immigrants to the United States would have to swear allegiance to a United States that is white and Protestant, while immigrants from Europe would face no such oath.

Settlers Race to Build Units in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - October 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Less than four weeks since the end of Israel’s building freeze in the West Bank, hundreds of units are under construction in dozens of settlements there, settler leaders and anti-settlement advocates said Thursday. Foundations have been dug for 300 units and work is under way on a couple of hundred more, they report, many of the units in smaller settlements that would be most unlikely to remain as part of Israel in any future two-state deal with the Palestinians.

Sha'ath: Talks on hold until US election
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 22, 2010 - 12:00am

A member of the PLO's negotiating team said Thursday that the Obama administration had all but given up its efforts to restart peace talks at least until US midterm elections next month. Fatah leader Nabil Sha'ath said the US position threw the Palestinian Authority into crisis through its handling of the talks, which ended in September when Israel opted to renew building settlements in the occupied territories.

Settlers attack family picking olives
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Dozens of settlers attacked a family who were picking olives in Yatta, in the West Bank district of Hebron, witnesses said. Locals said settlers attacked Othman Abu Sabha and his family, damaged his car and stole their olives. Meanwhile, settlers entered Kfir Qaddum village east of Qalqiliya, and wrote graffiti on the walls threatening revenge. Palestinian farmers across the West Bank have reported frequent settler attacks since the olive harvest began in early October.

Peace with Palestinians would help US on Iran-Peres
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
October 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel needs good ties with the United States to survive and must be more understanding of U.S. demands over securing peace with the Palestinians, Israeli President Shimon Peres said in remarks aired on Friday. Peres, Israel's elder statesman, said an end to the Palestinian conflict would improve the United States' own security position in the Middle East and help isolate Iran.

Lieberman is Kahane. And even the right senses it
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - October 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Is anyone on the mainstream Jewish right – anyone at all – willing to speak in defense of Avigdor Lieberman, the bully in the china shop of Israel's relationship with its Arab minority? In particular, is anyone on the mainstream right prepared to step up and support his fascism bandwagon's snorting, noxious draft horse – the loyalty oath initiative? Not the Zionist Organization of America. Normally a hair-trigger media machine, the hard-right ZOA has been uncharacteristically silent on Lieberman's showcase bill.

Report: PA uncovers Hamas arms cache in Ramallah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - October 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority security forces uncovered a large arms cache belonging to Hamas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on Friday. According to the report, PA security forces found rockets and automatic weapons in the warehouse, which may have been meant for use on PA officials as well as on targets in Israel. PA security forces spokesman Adnan Damiri confirmed that the arms cache belonged to Hamas and said that the matter will be further investigated.

Gov't officials: Prepare for unilateral steps
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Atilla Somfalvi - October 21, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinians' intention to seek international recognition of a Palestinian state did not catch Israel's political echelon by surprise. Amid deadlocked negotiations and an ongoing dispute over the construction in the settlements, senior government officials have begun discussing Israel's need for a plan B.

Netanyahu: Kadima isn't joining the coalition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
October 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he does not have plans to widen the coalition, in a statement released overnight Thursday, Army Radio reported. The prime minister met with opposition leader Tzipi Livni last week, and phoned her days later, fueling rumors that the two are negotiating terms for Kadima's addition to the coalition. However, Netanyahu has reportedly denied this assertion. According to Army Radio, Netanyahu said he called Livni because their meeting was cut short by an urgent situation. He added that he meets with Livni every three weeks.

A Search for Plan ‘B’ as Hopes Fade for Direct Mideast Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - October 20, 2010 - 12:00am

As Israelis and Palestinians continue to reject compromise on the extension of a Jewish settlements freeze on the West Bank, all eyes are turning to Washington to see what happens next. With each side digging in on its demands regarding the settlements before they will agree to resume direct negotiations, diplomats and analysts are increasingly discussing the possibility of the Obama administration issuing its own “terms of reference” for such talks. It is an act that would mark a new phase in American involvement, but would still fall short of a full-fledged Obama peace plan.

New bag of tricks?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) October 22, 2010 - 12:00am

While all the world was watching, silently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu managed to sabotage the US-sponsored “peace talks” with the Palestinians, led by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. Most governments and many international organisations, particularly the United Nations, seemed handcuffed, but the right-wing Israeli government has still lost significant support at home and abroad for its extremist views and shortsightedness.

This Peaceful Position Takes Courage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Mel Frykber - October 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Yonatan Shapira, 38, was fired from his job, has been verbally abused in public, subjected to death threats in newspaper talk-back comments, called a traitor by many Israelis, falsely charged with assaulting Israeli security forces, and interrogated by Israel's domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet. While Israel often gets a lot of negative publicity for its brutal treatment of Palestinians and the inherent racism within its society, there is a growing core of Israeli human rights activists who are challenging government policy -- and paying a high price for their courage.

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