Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Pres. Abbas demands a complete halt to settlements, including in Jerusalem. Dan Kurtzer says the settlement freeze deal will be rewarding Israel's bad behavior. The West Bank settlement of Ariel could be a sticking point in the deal. South African performances in Israel stir controversy. Gazans are shocked at how many Palestinians are being arrested by Hamas for spying for Israel. Palestinians say Israel shoots to kill in Gaza. Settlers begin expanding a settlement near Nablus. The Palestinian price index continues to rise. There is little chance of a Palestinian unity deal. Palestinians object to Israel's planned renovation of the Western Wall. Israeli soldiers are sentenced for using Palestinian children as human shields in Gaza, but Palestinians say the punishments are too light. PM Netanyahu says there will be no settlement deal without US guarantees in writing. Israeli military officials say Tel Aviv may be a target in another war. Gideon Levy decries Israeli military censorship. According to a new survey, most Palestinians see two states as a precursor to one. The Israel Project releases a new poll of Palestinians. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed says Abbas has erred by focusing on settlements. Hussein Shobokshi says Israel is being led by a right wing that's not interested in peace. Shlomo Ben-Ami says citizen diplomacy is a key to peace.

Palestinian Leader Insists on Halt to Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - (Analysis) November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said Sunday that any American proposal for restarting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations must include East Jerusalem as part of a complete halt in Israeli settlement building. It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Abbas’s position, which is consistent with Palestinian policy, would scuttle a proposed deal that the Americans hope will lead to resumption of the negotiations. In the past the sides have found ways to surmount such difficulties.

With settlement deal, U.S. will be rewarding Israel's bad behavior
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Daniel Kurtzer - (Opinion) November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

It was only a little over a year and a half ago that the Obama administration demanded a freeze on Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, including even the "natural growth" of existing settlements. At the time, the administration called settlement activity "illegitimate" and appeared ready to go to the mat with Israel to show just how strongly the United States believed that settlements impede peace.

Hot-button issue: Performing in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Analysis) November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

When the Cape Town Opera's revival of "Porgy and Bess" toured Europe, its novel resetting of the American classic to apartheid-era Soweto won raves. When the touring production moved to Israel this month, attention turned sour. No less than Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu called it "unconscionable" for a South African opera company to perform in Israel, the target of an increasingly aggressive international cultural boycott organized by pro-Palestinian activists hoping to turn Tel Aviv into the new Sun City.

Gazans shocked at how many neighbors, coworkers, officials are 'spying' for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Kristen Chick - November 19, 2010 - 1:00am

Gaza City, Gaza To citizens of Gaza, the Hamas government’s campaign to uncover and uproot the network of collaborators with Israel has been shockingly effective. It began with a warning: the execution of two convicted collaborators in May. Then Hamas government officials, who were convinced that a wide network of spies was undermining their government, made an unprecedented offer: a two-month amnesty campaign. Collaborators could turn themselves in and be forgiven, their identities kept secret.

As Netanyahu pushes for settlement freeze deal, suburban Ariel could be sticking point
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - (Analysis) November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

Ariel, West Bank With some 20,000 residents, a new performing arts center, and a university-in-the-making, this sprawling suburb has fashioned itself as an everyday Israeli city rather than a settlement of religious fundamentalists. But because Ariel, the fourth-largest Jewish settlement, is located 11 miles deep into the West Bank, it could prove to be one of the thorniest points of contention in border negotiations that the US hopes will give momentum to stalled peace efforts.

Israel army showed 'intent to kill' in Gaza shelling
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Jared Malsin - November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip (Ma’an) -- On 13 September, a day after Israeli tank shells decapitated his 16-year-old son, Walid Abu Oda went back to his family's northern Gaza farm in a vain search for the head. Asked how he was coping with the loss, he said, "How do you think it feels to lose a son, to see your son without his head?"

Settlers begin expanding settlement near Nablus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Israeli settlers on Sunday started expanding the Rechalim settlement, illegally built on lands confiscated from farmers of the northern villages of Yatma and As-Sawiya south of Nablus, officials said. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that bulldozers began digging this morning. He explained that settlers from Rechalim occupied hundreds of acres.

Palestinian price index continues to rise
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 15, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Consumer Price Index for October rose by 0.52 percent over the month, a report issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said. Occupied East Jerusalem saw the strongest growth, experiencing a 0.83 percent rise in CPI, while in the West Bank the CPI rose by 0.36 percent. In the Gaza Strip however the CPI fell by 0.14 percent. The CPI across the occupied Palestinian territories stood at 131.36 in October, which was at 100 at its base year in 2004.

Israeli bill seen sinking future peace deals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Ben Hubbard - November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel's hawkish parliament is voting on legislation that could sink future peace deals with the Palestinians and Syria. Lawmakers are expected to approve Monday a bill that would make it harder for the government to cede east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in any future accords. The legislation would require a two-thirds majority in Israel's 120-seat parliament for territorial concessions to win approval. Without that super majority, the government would need to win approval in a national referendum.

Interview: Possibility of inter-Palestinian reconciliation within coming months slim: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly - (Interview) November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Wassel Abu Yousef, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF) and member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview that he rules out the possibility of a reconciliation to be reached within the coming months amid the current situation.

Israel approves millions of dollars for Western Wall facelift
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Israel on Sunday approved a plan to develop Jerusalem's Western Wall plaza which will cost 85 million shekels (about 23 million U.S. dollars), citing preservation of archaeological sites and the need to upgrade aging infrastructure as its main goals. The plan, slated to stretch from 2011 to 2015, is a "direct continuation of a plan that was approved in 2004," the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said in a statement following the cabinet' s weekly meeting on Sunday.

PNA slams Israel for "soft" verdict on soldiers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Sunday slammed Israel for handing down "soft" sentences against two soldiers accused of using a child as a human shield during the Gaza war. "Israel deliberately go easy with its soldiers who commit international law's violations against the Palestinian civilians," said Ghassan Al-Khatib, spokesman for the PNA. The two soldiers forced a nine-year-old boy to open a bag believed to have contained bombs. The incident happened during Israel's ground operation in January 2009 which followed a week of intensive airstrikes on Gaza.

Netanyahu: No settlement freeze vote without U.S. offer in writing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told lawmakers on Sunday that he had not yet received a written draft from the United States over a proposed package of incentives in exchange for a freeze on West Bank construction. "We still have not received from the Americans a written summary of the principle understandings," Netanyahu told eight MKs from his Likud party, adding that he would not bring the offer for cabinet vote until he saw the proposal in its entirety.

MI chief: Tel Aviv may be target in next war against Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel should not be misled by a recent lull in regional violence, outgoing Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin said Sunday, adding that Jerusalem's enemies were continually building up their military power. Giving farewell remarks during his final cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Yadlin said that "Israel's deterrence is very strong but the lull shouldn't mislead anyone, the opposite is true. Our enemies are strengthening and arming."

Israeli press is censoring the truth away
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

We’re meeting in Eilat this week for our annual conference; let’s use it for some soul-searching. There are many reasons to be proud of what we write, broadcast, uncover and express. Not everywhere can you find such a lively press, especially such a free press. But this freedom of ours is in great danger, friends, a freedom we don’t take proper advantage of. A dangerous fire is burning around us, and even if it hasn’t reached us, it’s on the way, yet we are complacent. The monster is coming, and there is no one to stop it.

Poll: Most Palestinians view talks as precursor to 1 state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - (Analysis) November 20, 2010 - 1:00am

The majority of Palestinians support direct talks and the two-state solution, but ultimately want the entire area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea to turn into one Palestinian state, a poll sponsored by The Israel Project, a Jewish-American organization, shows. The data, collected by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research in October, shows that the Palestinians blame Hamas for the current state of affairs in the Gaza Strip, and are hostile not only towards the Islamic organization but also towards Iran.

PA slams NIS 85 million Kotel development project
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

"This move preventing us from reaching solution," PA spokesman says; project to help accommodate 8 million annual visitors to Western Wall. The Palestinian Authority slammed a Sunday cabinet decision to allot NIS 85 million to a development project for the Western Wall over the next five years, AFP reported. Ghassan Hatib, a PA spokesperson reportedly said: "Israel does not have permission to make changes in the occupied territories, especially in Jerusalem." "This move is preventing us from reaching an agreement, because any solution must include Jerusalem," Hatib added.

Israeli troops demoted over Gaza 'human shield' boy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

Two Israeli soldiers convicted of using a Palestinian child as a human shield during an offensive in Gaza in 2009 have received suspended sentences and been demoted. The soldiers had forced the nine-year-old boy to open suspected booby-trapped bags at gunpoint. It occurred during Israel's three-week conflict with Hamas, which rules Gaza. It was reportedly the first such conviction in Israel, where the use of civilians as human shields is banned. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the pair will be on probation for two years, AFP news agency reported.

Pro-Israel Group Polls Palestinians on Peace Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - November 19, 2010 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON — Washington – A new poll of Palestinian public opinion offers a mixed bag in terms of supporting the Middle East peace process. The poll, conducted by The Israel Project, a pro-Israel organization based in Washington, found support for peace talks and for the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad, but also detected a reluctance to see a two-state solution as the final outcome in the region.

The Palestinian President's Gifts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed - (Opinion) November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

In return for a 90-day settlement freeze, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has gifted Israel with 20 fighter jets and 20 billion dollars, in addition to increasing the appetite of Jewish contributors around the world in supporting the construction of more houses and flats in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem.

The Meaning of Peace in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Hussein Shobokshi - (Opinion) November 21, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making a mockery of the entire world, by feigning to succumb to the pressure exerted upon him, and announcing his acceptance of a temporary freeze on settlement construction. According to the deal, Israel will only continue the construction process in the West Bank, with the exception of Jerusalem. At the same time, Netanyahu has received a substantial reward, in the form of significant military equipment, estimated to be worth billions of dollars, from the United States. This incentive has been financed by U.S.

Diplomacy’s darkest hours
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Shlomo Ben-Ami - (Opinion) November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

Diplomacy is not having its finest hour nowadays. Quite the contrary: resistance to diplomatic solutions is a common thread in most of today’s major conflicts. Afghanistan will continue to bleed until the allies finally recognise that only by engaging the Taliban do they stand a chance of ending the war. But the West will also have to recognise that conflicts with a potent cultural and religious component are simply not susceptible to a military solution - a realisation that points towards ending the ostracism of political Islam - Hamas and Hizbollah, for example.

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