Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The New York Times says all parties must stop playing games and endorses Sec. Clinton's comments at the ATFP Gala. Israeli relations with Morocco are strained. Israeli police round up Palestinian children in occupied East Jerusalem. The CSM says Pres. Obama should allow Palestinians to seek UN recognition. Arab states may lead the way. The PA says settlement removal is a national priority. Shootings have become a daily routine at Gaza's borders. Israeli security officials worry about new technology. PM Netanyahu will visit the United States and meet with VP Biden. Israel condemns UNESCO's decision to recognize West Bank sites as holy to both Jews and Muslims, and the Arab news says Israel is trying to steal Palestinian heritage. France says it's indignant over Israeli withdrawal from a meeting including Pres. Abbas. The PA says it's unaware of any Israeli plans to attack Gaza. The US may be proposing Israel lease parts of the occupied territories from a Palestinian state. Gaza's donkey market collapses. A new hotel in Ramallah symbolizes revival. Kieron Monks says the PA should control parts of Area C. The Independent profiles a rabbi who helps Palestinians with the olive harvest.

Enough Game-Playing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) October 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been suspended for four weeks, about as long as they were on. The more protracted the impasse, the harder it will be for the parties to get back to the negotiating table. More delay only plays into the hands of extremists. Both sides are at fault. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has refused President Obama’s request to extend a moratorium on construction in the Jewish settlements for a modest 60 days. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has refused to negotiate until building in the settlements stops.

ISRAEL: Officials find Morocco a tough room these days
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - October 31, 2010 - 12:00am

Officially, diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel are "suspended," according to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is the way things have been since 2000, when Morocco (along with Tunisia and Oman) closed "interest offices" opened only six years earlier, in better days. Still, relations continue, quiet and generally fair. Besides the several thousand tourists every year and warm sentiments Israel's Moroccan Jews maintain still today, Israeli academics, journalists and sometimes politicians travel frequently enough to Morocco.

As stonethrowing escalates, Israeli police round up Arab children in E. Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ben Lynfield - October 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Jerusalem — Amid rising Israeli-Arab tensions, Israeli police are waging a crackdown on Palestinian youths – many not yet teenagers – in East Jerusalem’s most volatile neighborhood, Silwan. In a recent incident, M., a slightly chubby 10-year-old with dark eyes, was harmed by a group of plainclothes forces who sprang out of an unmarked car and grabbed him off the street, according to his father's account, which was backed up by other residents. (M.'s full name could not be used because of an Israeli law protecting juveniles.)

Obama can let Palestinians seek state recognition at the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
(Editorial) October 29, 2010 - 12:00am

President Obama may soon have an unusual chance to serve the cause of Middle East peace by remaining silent. He could quietly acquiesce to a move being considered by Palestinian leaders to ask the United Nations to recognize a state of Palestine. Such a request would only be necessary in one case: if Israel effectively ends any hope of renewed peace negotiations by continuing to build Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory in the West Bank.

Erekat: Arabs to bring Palestinian issue to UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 1, 2010 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Egypt has proposed a joint Arab initiative to bring Palestinian demands for statehood to the United Nations, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has told Ma'an. He told Ma'an Radio that one aim of this plan, which he said is close to being finalized, would be to force Israel to stop expanding West Bank settlements before resuming negotiations. Erekat said the idea of approaching the UN stemmed from the US government's failure to stop Israel from expanding settlements.

PA economy minister: Settlement removal is priority
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 1, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Eliminating settlements from occupied Palestinian territory is the national objective and the basis for the government-led settlement boycott, Palestinian Authority National Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh said Saturday. Since taking office a year ago, Libdeh has led a campaign to end the sale of settlement produce in the West Bank. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced the boycott in January 2010, and it was implemented across the West Bank in May.

Daily shootings in Gaza's border zone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Jared Malsin - November 1, 2010 - 12:00am

UMM AN-NASSER, Gaza (Ma'an) -- A string of shootings of Palestinian workers, many of them only teenagers, in the northern Gaza Strip has brought renewed attention to a live-fire exclusion zone imposed by Israel on the Gaza side of the Green Line. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon removed settlers and most soldiers from Gaza in 2005, but Israeli forces still patrol the buffer zone, a swath of Palestinian territory along Gaza’s northern and eastern borders.

Google Earth, IPhone trouble Israeli security chief
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
November 1, 2010 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Civilian Internet applications now offer militant groups access to intelligence that rivals what government spies can get, Israel's domestic security chief said on Monday. Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin, in a rare public address, identified cyber technologies as an ascendant international security threat.

Israeli PM to visit US next week
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Josef Federman - October 31, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel's prime minister said Sunday he will head to the U.S. next week to discuss Mideast peace talks with Vice President Joe Biden, in a possible sign of movement for the troubled diplomatic process. Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in late September over renewed Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, and U.S. and Israeli officials have been working feverishly since then in hopes of finding a formula to revive the negotiations.

Israel: UNESCO West Bank decision 'absurd'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Ian Deitch - November 1, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — A decision by the U.N. body in charge of preserving historical sites to define West Bank shrines sacred to both Jews and Muslims as Palestinian is "absurd," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday. One of the sites, in the city of Hebron, has been a flashpoint for decades. Jews call it the Cave of the Patriarchs, where the Bible says the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were buried along with three of their wives. Muslims call it the al-Ibrahimi mosque, reflecting the fact that Abraham is considered the father of both Judaism and Islam.

French indignant with Netanyahu over freeze: report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 1, 2010 - 12:00am

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is outraged at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for withdrawing his participation in a Paris summit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Ha'aretz daily reported Sunday. The two leaders held a telephone conversation 10 days ago, during which Sarkouzy had asked Netanyahu to extend the construction moratorium in West Bank settlements in a bid to resume peace talks with the Palestinians, the report said.

PNA unaware of possible Israeli assault on Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 31, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is unaware of Israel's plans to launch a military operation in the Gaza Strip, a senior official said Sunday. Recent reports about possible fighting in Gaza "aim to turn the attention of the West away from the main issues," said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official. The main issues were the Israeli occupation and its measures "to make Jerusalem more Jewish," he said.

'PM agreed to lease Jordan Valley from Palestinians'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
November 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli sources on Monday confirmed that the US proposed that Israel lease parts of the Jordan Valley from the Palestinians for an additional seven years, Army Radio reported. According to the Monday report, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to the idea, but demanded that the arrangement be for a longer period of time than the original offer. "Seven years is not enough - an arrangement like this needs to last for dozens of years," Netanyahu said in closed talks, according to Army Radio.

Gaza's donkeys under threat from tuk-tuks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jon Donnison - October 30, 2010 - 12:00am

With the sun rising through the dust and detritus, farmers go toe to hoof jostling for space with sheep and goats. Traders tout and tussle to get the best prices. To add to the chaotic atmosphere, a huge bull bucks violently through the crowd having slipped its leash. And it is also here that you find, in considerable number, Gaza's most iconic beast - the donkey. Through decades of conflict, poverty and instability in Gaza, the donkey has proved to be an ever-dependable means of getting about.

Mövenpick's West Bank hotel is testament to political stability
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - November 1, 2010 - 12:00am

An international five-star hotel opens for business today in Ramallah in testament to political stability and economic growth in the West Bank city once synonymous with Yasser Arafat's besieged headquarters and Palestinian militancy. The Mövenpick Ramallah – part of the Swiss chain – boasts five restaurants and bars, 171 rooms including two presidential suites, a range of luxury banqueting and conference facilities, a heated outdoor pool, a gym and – eventually – a spa.

Let Palestinian police control Area C
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Kieron Monks - November 1, 2010 - 12:00am

When Israeli officials say security is their highest priority, they do not mean in Area C. The 60% of the West Bank placed under their military control since the 1993 Oslo Accords has descended into lawlessness on their watch. Israel could stabilise areas plagued by violence and crime, and further its own interests, by conceding security responsibilities in these areas to the Palestinian Authority.

A rabbi struggles to protect his Palestinian flock
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - November 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Arik Ascherman is sitting inside a fortified and heavily guarded Israeli police compound in the West Bank. With him are two Palestinian farmers he has persuaded to report a theft, and a uniformed officer whom he is educating in the story of Alexander the Great and the Gordian Knot.

Bibi, Biden To Meet at Sidelines of Federation GA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
October 31, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Vice President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the General Assembly of The Jewish Federations of North America. Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet Sunday that at the New Orleans conference he will discuss with Biden and other senior U.S. administration figures”a series of issues, including of course the resumption of the diplomatic process in order to reach a peace agreement with security for the future of the State of Israel.” Netanyahu and Biden are featured speakers at the annual General Assembly, which is being held Nov. 5-9.

Secret Negotiations: Palestinian State in Return for Israeli Land Lease?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali El-saleh, Nazar Majli - October 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Asharq Al-Awsat has learnt from informed sources that secret talks have been talking place between the US and Israel on the formation of a Palestinian state. Washington and Tel Aviv have discussed a Palestinian state being established in return for Israel leasing land from the Palestinian Authority; this includes land in occupied eastern Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley. The sources informed Asharq Al-Awsat that this land-lease deal would last for a period of time between 40 and 99 years.

Editorial: Hijacking the history
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) October 31, 2010 - 12:00am

Athough it won’t say so, the recent decision by UNESCO to define two mosques in the occupied territories as Palestinian is a reply to Israel that earlier this year registered the mosques — the Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque near Bethlehem, and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron — as its national heritage sites. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the sites would be renovated “in order to reconnect Israelis to their history” even though the two mosques are located in the heart of Palestinian population centers where no significant Jewish population exists.

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