Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The lull in Middle East peace talks may become permanent. Hamas says it will destroy “illegal” structures on public land. The PA says the new planned Palestinian city can absorb settlement workers. Saudi Arabia pledges $100 million in aid to the PA. Settlers confirm work has begun on up to 600 new housing units. Israel says talks are the only option. US midterm elections may affect policy and negotiations. Palestinians are angered by new incentives for settlers to move to Jerusalem. Akiva Eldar says the Oslo Accords have turned into a tool of the occupation. The Israeli military prepares for a possible PA ban on area A incursions. The Pope says peace is possible and urgently needed. Elyakim Haetzni condemns settler violence. Hamas is accused of turning a blind eye to extremist vandalism. Israel is investigating a Gaza war atrocity. Lawrence Wright has a one-man performance about the war. Abdullah Iskandar questions whether talks could lead to a Palestinian state. Gwynne Dyer says Israel's new loyalty oath is an effort to change the subject. The Arab News says only justice for the Palestinians can ensure Israeli security.

Halt to Palestinian peace talks could become permanent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler, Janine Zacharia - October 23, 2010 - 12:00am

In perhaps the shortest round of peace negotiations in the history of their conflict, talks between the Israelis and Palestinians have ground to a halt and show little sign of resuming.

Gaza govt to raze 'illegal structures'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 25, 2010 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The Gaza government announced Monday that it has given directives to its interior ministry to raze what it has termed illegal structures on public lands and enforce previous orders to arrest those trading the land. Head of the ministry's land department Ibrahim Radwan said those in violation of the order had been given a deadline which has now expired and that officers would maintain permanent checkpoints, supported by police, on public lands to prevent "any violation."

Abu Libdeh: Rawabi can absorb settlement workers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 24, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- PA National Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh said Saturday that the first planned Palestinian city in Ramallah could be "a real opportunity to absorb Palestinian workers employed in settlements," a statement read. The Rawabi City project, he said, could provide between 8,000 to 10,000 jobs during the construction period and up to 3,000 jobs in the city itself once complete.

Saudi Arabia pledges $100 million to PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 25, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Saudi Arabia pledged $100 million to the Palestinian Authority on Sunday, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said. Fayyad said President Mahmoud Abbas was notified that the donation would arrive within three days. The money was intended to ease the PA's financial difficulties, Fayyad said in a statement. The prime minister expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the king, government and people of Saudi Arabia for their constant support of Palestinian efforts to establish a state on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.

Settlers confirm work has begun on up to 600 homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Karin Laub - October 25, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — A senior settler official says that work has begun on up to 600 new homes in West Bank settlements since Israel lifted its curb on such construction Sept. 26, mirroring recent findings by The Associated Press and the Israeli watchdog Peace Now.

Israel tells Palestinians talks only option
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Amy Teibel - October 24, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel's prime minister on Sunday urged the Palestinians to avoid unilateral action and resume peace talks, a reflection of growing concern that the Palestinian leadership may be inching toward a "Plan B" in which they seek international recognition of an independent state without Israeli agreement.

Mideast sides eye US midterms and impact on talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Amy Teibel - October 25, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israelis and Palestinians are closely watching next month's U.S. midterm race amid a sense — rarely discussed openly but very much on people's minds — that the result could affect the U.S.-led peace effort, and President Obama's ability to coax concessions from Israel. Animating the discussion is the startling fact that the United States has failed, despite emphatic public appeals by Obama and weeks of increasingly frustrating diplomacy, to persuade Israel to extend the settlement-building slowdown that expired on Sept. 26.

PNA furious over Israeli legislation over Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 25, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- A Israeli draft bill ranking Jerusalem as a national priority zone has enraged the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The law encourages young Israelis to move to the city to benefit from a series of economic, education and social development plans. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said the law is another step forward to declare Jerusalem as Israel's undividable capital. The Palestinians claim the eastern part of Jerusalem as a capital for their future state.

The end of Oslo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - October 25, 2010 - 12:00am

What fate would have befell the Oslo Accords if Yitzhak Rabin had not been assassinated in a Tel Aviv square on the night of November 4, 1995? Would he have succeeded in overcoming opposition at home and kept his promise to reach a final-status deal before the dawn of the new millennium? Would nothing have changed his position regarding the division of Jerusalem, just as he changed his position on the issue of conducting negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization? Would the Palestinians have succeeded in adopting a realistic solution to the refugee problem?

IDF planning for potential PA ban on West Bank raids
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - October 25, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israel Defense Forces is preparing for the possibility that soldiers may not be able to enter Palestinian cities at will, something the Palestinian Authority has been requesting for some time. Military sources told Haaretz they believe such a change would not significantly impact the security situation.

Pope: Mideast peace is possible, urgently needed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
October 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday called for greater religious freedom in the Middle East and said that peace there is possible, urgently needed and the best remedy to the exodus of Christians from the region. Benedict celebrated Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday to mark the end of a two-week meeting of Mideast bishops, called to discuss the future of embattled Christians in the largely Muslim region. He called freedom of religion "one of the fundamental human rights, which each state should always respect" and said the issue should be the subject of dialogue with Muslims.

Despicable Jewish revenge
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elyakim Haetzni - October 25, 2010 - 12:00am

What at first appeared to be individual mischievous acts, and later became methodical “hooliganism,” is increasingly taking the shape of a threatening phenomenon: The desecration of an Arab cemetery and the torching of mosques, schools, fields and vehicles. The perpetrators of these crimes refer to them as “price tag,” an infuriating term in terms of both morality and logic.

Gaza hardliners launch arson attack on family leisure park
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - October 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Crazy Water Park had already been closed down for two weeks by the Hamas government, over an "unlicensed water whirl", when 40 armed arsonists struck in the middle of the night last month. They set fire to the resort's two main buildings and a tented mosque, causing more than $300,000 (£191,000) worth of damage and leading the owners to wonder whether it was a doomed project.

It was the Gaza assault's worst atrocity. Now the truth may finally be told
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - October 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli military police are investigating whether an air strike which killed 21 members of the same family sheltering in a building during the Army's Gaza offensive in 2008-9 was authorised by a senior brigade commander who had been warned of the danger to civilians.

'Even if the Israelis confess, I don't expect any justice from them'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Said Ghazali, Donald MacIntyre - October 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Maysa Samouni, whose husband Tawfiq, 21, was killed and baby daughter Jumana, now two, was injured in the building struck by missiles on 5 January, 2009, was unmoved yesterday by the progress of the investigation into the attack. "The court wouldn't bring back my husband," she said. "Even if they [the Israelis] confessed that they shot at the warehouse crowded with the civilians, I didn't expect any justice from them."

Gaza, The Wright Way
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Forward
by Zohar Tirosh-Polk - October 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Lawrence Wright, the renowned author and longtime staff member of The New Yorker, seems surprisingly fragile standing alone onstage in New York City’s 3-Legged Dog Art & Technology Center. Considering he is about to take a long, hard look at the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially as it pertains to Gaza, one can forgive the jitters.

The Negotiations and the Illusion of the Palestinian State
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Abdullah Iskandar - (Opinion) October 24, 2010 - 12:00am

When former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip, he resorted when implementing the step in August 2005 to evacuating the settlements and the Jewish settlers by force. Sharon intentionally did not coordinate with the Palestinian Authority when taking this step, in spite of all of the US’s, and especially Egypt’s, attempts. This was in order to assert that dismantling these settlements had no connection whatsoever to the peace process or to negotiations with the PA, but rather was connected to Israeli interests alone.

A 'Jewish and democratic' state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Gwynne Dyer - (Opinion) October 25, 2010 - 12:00am

"With this law Israel buys an exit ticket from the family of nations," wrote Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea last week in the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. “The proposed loyalty law... is really racist. It obliges non-Jews to declare that they would be loyal to the Jewish state but exempts Jews from this obligation.” But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed new law is not racist, just shortsighted and nasty.

Wrong path
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Opinion) October 24, 2010 - 12:00am

It is high time Israel and Jews realized that the path they continue to tread is not calculated to achieve a Middle East settlement that is just and durable. Though the world community, the peace brokers and the parties involved have repeatedly called on Israel to be more flexible and settle for an acceptable and just peace in the region, the Jewish state’s intransigence and unbridled quest to change the demographics of the region with new settlements dashes all hopes for peace.

Israeli army officers investigated over Gaza air strike that killed 21
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - October 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Senior Israeli army officers are under investigation by military police over the authorisation of an air strike that killed at least 21 members of one family during the three-week Gaza war in 2008-9. The officers are reported to include the commander of the Givati Brigade, Colonel Ilan Malka. No decision has been made on whether they will be charged. The air strike took place on 5 January 2009, nine days after the war began. The extended Samouni family were ordered to gather in one house after a three-storey property belonging to them was taken over as a military position.

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