Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel is expanding a settlement near Nablus. Israeli police and Palestinian citizens clash over a right-wing rally. Palestinian MKs are among the injured. A Palestinian man is killed in a Gaza explosion. Senior Egyptian officials will visit the West Bank. Jordan's PM says resolving the Palestine issue is key to fighting terrorism. Amira Hass says Israel's policies only strengthen Hamas. Ha'aretz asks what a ³Jewish state² really means. Israeli officials row over cutting off water to Bedouins. The UN demands Israel curb settler attacks. An influential Israeli think tank backs the Arab Peace Initiative. Settler leaders complain of a ³silent building freeze.² As settlement construction resumes, some Palestinian laborers go back to work. Jonathan Freedland says the administration needs a new Middle East approach. The JTA says Israel does not know how to respond to Palestinian talk of international recognition for statehood. Ghassan Khatib explains why Palestinians object to PM Netanyahu's demands for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, but Yossi Alpher finds the positions of both parties problematic.

Israel expands West Bank settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel is expanding a settlement in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, Ma'an has learned. Shvut Rachel Alt. 804, part of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, was built on Palestinian land in the Jalud village. The village's total area is some 16,000 dunums. Settlers have confiscated about 80 percent of the land to expand six settlements, residents say.

Israeli police, Arabs clash over rightist march
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Douglas Hamilton - October 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli police on Wednesday fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse Arabs who were protesting against a rally by ultranationalist Jews in an Israeli-Arab town. Riot police, some on horesback, charged about 200 Arabs who threw stones at them before retreating, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Ten masked Arabs were arrested. About 30 Jewish demonstrators had travelled from Jerusalem to Umm el-Fahm in northern Israel, the seat of an Islamic movement whose leader, Sheikh Raed Salah, says Israel endangers Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

Blast kills Gaza militant
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 27, 2010 - 12:00am

An Israeli strike has killed a Palestinian militant at noon Wednesday in northeast Gaza Strip, residents and medical sources said. Adham Abu Selmia, spokesman for the medical services, said that Jihad Afana, 20, was killed in the attack. Abu Selmia told Xinhua that Israeli troops fired a tank shell near Erez crossing point and killed Afana. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement said Afana was a member of its armed wing. In a statement posted on its website, the Al- Quds Brigades of the Islamic Jihad revealed that Afana was conducting "a holy mission."

Senior Egyptian officials to visit West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Senior Egyptian officials will visit the West Bank on Thursday to discuss stalled peace negotiations, a Palestinian official said Wednesday. Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman would be leading the Egyptian delegation, said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a Palestinian negotiator. The Egyptian officials will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the peace talks reached "total impasse," Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine Radio.

Resolving Palestinian issue key to ending terrorism, extremism: Jordanian PM
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Jordanian Prime Minister Samir Rifai stressed on Tuesday that ending the problems of terrorism and extremism necessitates serious efforts to resolve the Palestinian issue, the state-run Petra news agency reported. In a lecture at the Royal Jordanian National Defense College ( RJNDC) Tuesday, Rifai said Israel's refusal to accept a fundamental political solution to the Palestinian issue means more conflicts and tensions and "lost hopes" to resolve the conflicts in the region.

Want to weaken Hamas? Open Gaza's gates
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) October 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Do you really want to weaken Hamas? Surprise it. Go back and open Gaza's gates - to ordinary human movement, not just to cherries, shavers and a handful of pious Muslims who manage to wend their way past the Egyptian bureaucracy. Open the Erez checkpoint. Then you'll see how Gazans yearn for life.

Israel's proposed loyalty oath raises new question: What, exactly, is a Jewish state?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
October 26, 2010 - 12:00am

If Israel had Words of the Month, October’s would be “Jewish,” as in “a Jewish and democratic state,” or medina yehudit ve’demokratit, in Hebrew. This is what — if a controversial cabinet decision is adopted as law by the Knesset — anyone becoming an Israeli citizen will have to swear loyalty to.

Negev councilor cuts off 4,000 Bedouin's water supply
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yanir Yagna - October 27, 2010 - 12:00am

A Negev politician cut off the water supply of some 4,000 Bedouin for 24 hours this week because he did not want his town to shoulder their nearly NIS 2 million water bill. The water was turned back on Tuesday afternoon, by order of the Be'er Sheva District Court, pending a hearing set for Thursday. "They're not under the jurisdiction of Lakiya, but their water bills are sent to us," said Lakiya town council head Khaled al-Sana, referring to the Bedouin residents. "I have 10,000 residents in the town, and I have to pay the bills of another 4,000 residents? That just isn't right."

Commander: Police forces were in danger
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Sharon Roffe-ofir - October 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Northern District Police Commander Shimon Koren said Wednesday following the violent clashes in the northern Arab town of Umm al-Fahm that the police forces, some of them members of special units, "acted with determination and courage while risking their lives." The forces left the town in the afternoon hours as the riots came to an end. Four policemen were lightly injured in the clashes with Arab residents hurling stones at the police forces securing a right-wing protest against the Islamic Movement.

UN envoy demands Israel act against settler attacks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
October 26, 2010 - 12:00am

A senior UN official condemned attacks by Jewish "settler extremists" on Palestinians' olive trees in the West Bank and called on Israel to "combat violence and terror by Israelis." Robert Serry, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, also said he was alarmed that work had started on hundreds of new homes for settlers in the occupied territory since the end of Israel's settlement freeze last month.

Israeli think tank supports Arab Peace Initiative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Michal Toiba - October 27, 2010 - 12:00am

A think tank at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya has given its support to the Arab Peace Initiative, Professor Galia Golan-Gild of the Lauder School confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. According to a report released by the IDC's Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, Israel's security, economy, and international standing would improve if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government accepted the Arab peace plan.

Settler leaders warn of ‘silent building freeze’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - October 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Settler leaders warned Tuesday night that building would soon come to a grinding halt in nine of the largest settlements unless the relevant government ministries immediately authorize 4,321 planned units. “The cities of Judea and Samaria are effectively frozen,” Naftali Bennett, director-general of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, told The Jerusalem Post. “The government has promised to stop the freeze, yet it is continuing it.” The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on Tuesday night.

Palestinians work on West Bank settlement boom
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Wyre Davies - October 26, 2010 - 12:00am

For men like Abdel Salam Alami it is good, well-paid work. They even get insurance if they're injured on the job. Yet this construction is extremely controversial. The issue of settlements is at the heart of the faltering peace talks. The Palestinians say they take up land needed for a viable future state. The international community says they are obstacles to peace. Israel is under pressure to renew at least the partial freeze on building in the occupied West Bank, which expired last month.

Credit to Obama for sticking with the Middle East. But it's gone very wrong
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jonathan Freedland - (Opinion) October 26, 2010 - 12:00am

The august ranks of those who form the conventional wisdom in American politics are as one: Barack Obama's Democrats are going to take a hammering in next Tuesday's midterm elections. One of the few elements of the Obama record not blamed is also, paradoxically, one of those areas that need to change on 3 November. It is the administration's handling of the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.

Palestinian gambit for statehood puts Israel against wall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - (Analysis) October 26, 2010 - 12:00am

With talks at a stalemate and no agreement from the Israelis to reinstate a settlement freeze, the Palestinians are playing a new card: an end game to statehood through an appeal to the international community. The card hasn’t actually been played, but the mere threat that the Palestinians would push for international recognition of a state from the United Nations has been enough to push the Israeli government to reconsider options to return to the negotiating table.

A consensus of opposition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) October 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Although Palestinians explain in various ways their rejection of the recent demand by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, there appears to be a consensus of opposition. When Netanyahu recently repeated this request as a condition for implementing an internationally-required settlement freeze, there were two Palestinian approaches.

A popular but problematic position
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) October 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's "Jewish state" or "nation state of the Jewish people" demand is popular with the Israeli public. The right wing likes it because it is patriotic and seemingly "anti-Arab". The left and center cannot easily oppose it because it dovetails with their emphasis on ending the occupation in order to maintain Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in view of the demographic threat. Netanyahu can even take credit for getting US President Barack Obama to endorse the Jewish state demand.

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