Middle East News: World Press Roundup

15 years after his assassination, Israelis are divided on PM Rabin's legacy. Saeb Erakat says peace depends on an end to Israeli settlement activity. PM Fayyad says he's not running for president. The PA opposes Hamas involvement in peace talks. Pres. Abbas says Palestinians may be forced to seek UN recognition, but negotiations remain the first option. The US reportedly suggests Israel lease land in East Jerusalem from a future Palestinian state. Israel bars Palestinian children from a Tel Aviv film festival. Amnon Be'eri-Sulitzeanu says segregation of Jews and Arabs in Israel is “almost absolute.” Israel's settler population is growing at three times the national average. The Jerusalem Post says PM Netanyahu lacks a Cabinet majority for a settlement freeze. Egyptian officials say there has been no breakthrough on negotiations. Daphna Baram says a recent row over school textbook shows some Israeli thinking is evolving, but some not. Hassan Haidar says Israel's government and settlers are becoming obsessed with the Palestinian olive harvest.

Remembering Rabin, Some See His Legacy Fading
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - October 28, 2010 - 12:00am

In the 15 years since Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish militant after a peace rally here, blood seeping onto a song sheet in his breast pocket as he lost consciousness, his legacy in Israel has seemed clear — warrior turned peacemaker, symbol of a tough nation with an outstretched hand.

The Israeli-Palestinian settlement impasse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Saeb Erakat - (Opinion) October 28, 2010 - 12:00am

It comes as little surprise that Palestinian-Israeli negotiations are at an impasse. The lesson after nearly two decades of bilateral negotiations is that direct talks alone are not enough to guarantee peace. A principled, unshakable commitment to international law is also required. International law sets the benchmark for a just peace and helps ensure that Palestinians and Israelis are treated equally. It also maps a path toward lasting reconciliation rooted in a culture of rights and mutual respect.

Fayyad says not planning to run for president
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Appointed Prime Minister in the Palestinian Authority Salam Fayyad said an end to the Palestinian factional split could only be rectified by a turn at the ballot boxes, the Jerusalem daily newspaper Al-Hayyat reported Friday. An interview published by the newspaper quoted Fayyad as saying he believed the ballot box should be the Fatah-Hamas mediator, with Palestinians and the international community agreeing to accept the results.

PA opposes Hamas involvement in peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority opposes efforts to normalize ties between Hamas and the international community, a PA security official said Wednesday. Adnan Dmeiri, PA security services spokesman, said the US and EU were making efforts to engage Hamas in the peace process. "This is not the first attempt by some Europeans and Americans to present Hamas as the party that can 'provide the commodity,'" Dmeiri told Ma'an.

Abbas: We may seek UN recognition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 29, 2010 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that he would consider asking the UN to recognize a Palestinian state. Speaking in Ramallah after a news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Abbas said the move, one of "seven options," could come within months. “Among these options is to demand that the United States take a stance on recognizing a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and the possibility of going the UN Security Council,” Abbas told reporters.

Abbas: Resuming negotiations remains first option
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Resuming direct peace negotiations will remain the first option of the Palestinian leadership, Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday. "We are ready to go back to the negotiations as soon as Israel stops settlement activities," Abbas told a news conference in Ramallah after meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. Abbas said he has "seven options" to respond to Israel's expansion of Jewish settlement in the West Bank which caused the U. S.-brokered negotiations to halt after nearly three weeks since it restarted.

Report: U.S. proposes Israel lease lands from Palestinians under future deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
October 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel is conducting secret negotiations with the U.S. on establishing the future borders of a Palestinian state, the London-based Arabic language daily Asharq al-Awsat reported on Friday. According to the report, Palestinian sources confirmed that the two sides discussed an option wherein Israel may lease lands in East Jerusalem from the Palestinians in exchange for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Israel would lease the territories from the Palestinian state for a period of 40 to 99 years.

IDF bars Palestinian children from Tel Aviv film festival
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ruta Kupfer - October 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The army yesterday prevented children from the West Bank village of Umm al-Hir from entering Israel in time to watch a movie they appear in at a children's film festival in the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. The children, first- and second-graders, were supposed to enter via the Meitar checkpoint to watch the film they had appeared in as part of the Children Make Movies project, run jointly by the Education Ministry, the Children's Channel and the Lahav and Mifalot associations.

Segregation of Jews and Arabs in 2010 Israel is almost absolute
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Arabiya
by Amnon Be'eri-Sulitzeanu - October 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Under the guise of the deceptively mundane name "Amendment to the Cooperative Associations Bill," the Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee this week finalized a bill intended to bypass previous rulings of the High Court of Justice. If indeed this legislation is approved by the Knesset plenum, it will not be possible to describe it as anything other than an apartheid law.

Settler numbers rise at almost 3 times nat’l average
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - October 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The growth of the settler population slowed slightly in the first five months of 2010, but the numbers still rose at almost three times the national average, according to Central Bureau of Statistics data released this week. This despite the government’s efforts to dramatically curb construction in settlements.

PM lacks majority in any cabinet forum to renew freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Hoffman - October 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lacks a majority to pass a new moratorium on housing starts in Judea and Samaria in any possible forum of ministers, The Jerusalem Post has established. Netanyahu has been making an effort to gauge what kind of support he would have if he wanted to renew the freeze in order to satisfy US President Barack Obama and bring the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table.

Israelis Remain in Tug-of-War Over the Rabin Legacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Kalindi O'Brien, David Rosenberg - October 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Fifteen years after Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was gunned down at a Tel Aviv rally, the tug-of-war has yet to let up over the former prime minister’s legacy as the architect of a troubled peace process and a symbol of the dangers to democracy from extremism. Officially, Rabin is mourned by all of Israel. His name appears on city squares and streets as well as schools and hospitals. As in years past, he was memorialized at official government ceremonies earlier this month on the date of his assassination on the Hebrew calendar.

No breakthrough in Mid-East peace talks - Egypt envoy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
October 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Ahmed Aboul Gheit reiterated Arab support for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's demand that Israeli settlement building be frozen ahead of new talks. Israel has refused to renew the freeze despite pressure from Washington. Mr Abbas said he was still mulling an appeal to the UN, but said his first choice would be to return to talks. "We have discussed our options... but our first option is to return to direct negotiations if Israel halts all settlement activity," Mr Abbas said.

A shared story offers hope to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Daphna Baram - October 29, 2010 - 12:00am

A piece of news from Israel this week hides a grain of hope in a rather bleak reality: a group of high school students demanded to meet a senior official at the education ministry after one of their textbooks was banned from use in schools. The book in question, Learning Each Other's Historical Narrative, was the fruit of a joint project in which Israeli and Palestinian teachers constructed a text presenting both narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict alongside each other.

The Obsession with Olive Trees
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Hassan Haidar - (Opinion) October 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel, its government, army and settlers have become morbidly obsessed with olive trees. Rarely does a day pass by without a battle being waged against these trees, which turn into the number one enemy of the state at every harvest season, because they always remind it that it is occupying a land that is not its own. The stubbornness of roots that run deep makes Israelis lose their temper, frenziedly attacking to pull them out and break their branches, in a desperate attempt to erase this symbol from the memory of the Palestinians.

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