Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel is going forward with a bill that would require a referendum for some withdrawals of occupied territory. Palestinians denounce the move. Pres. Obama faces a tough audience in the Middle East. Nablus' governor speaks about an alleged Hamas assassination plot against him. Right wing settlers are trying to force a Palestinian family out of their home in occupied East Jerusalem. Akiva Eldar says US will not allow Israel to build in Jerusalem flashpoints. Ha'aretz says settlers are turning water sources in the West Bank into tourist sites. A leader of Palestinian nonviolent protests is held in Israeli prison after completing his sentence. A Jaffa imam is released from jail. Larry Derfner looks at the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli legal system. Gershon Baskin says time is running out for Israel to make peace. The Israeli military prepares for more settler violence. Oliver Miles looks at the difficulties in applying international law to the conflict. The Independent profiles an Israeli-Palestinian marriage. The campaign to free convicted spy Jonathan Pollard continues. Mary Robinson and Lakhdar Brahimi say the Gaza blockade harms women. Ghassan Khatib says settlements make Israel less secure. Yossi Alpher says the US should promote Palestinian state building rather than focus on settlements.

Israel Enacts Bill to Force Referendum on a Treaty
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel’s right-leaning Parliament approved legislation late Monday that could hamper the leadership’s ability to seal future peace deals with the Palestinians or Syria. The measure requires that any peace deal involving the ceding of territory annexed by Israel — namely East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights — must be put to a national referendum. The West Bank, which Israel never annexed, does not fall within the scope of the legislation, but it would include other pieces of sovereign Israeli territory that might be ceded in the context of land swaps in a peace agreement.

View from Middle East: President Obama is a problem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Ben Smith - (Analysis) November 23, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Vowing to change a region that has resisted the best efforts of presidents and prime ministers past, Barack Obama dove head first into the Middle East peace process on his second day in office. He was supposed to be different. His personal identity, his momentum, his charisma and his promise of a fresh start would fundamentally alter America’s relations with the Muslim world and settle one of its bitterest grievances.

Palestinians slam Israeli referendum law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 23, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian leaders in Israel and the West Bank slammed Monday, the passing of a Knesset bill mandating a national referendum ahead of any pullout from zones occupied by Israel, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of the Knesset Jamal Zahalqa called the law “an Israeli invention which is unprecedented in world history,” while chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said with the passing of the bill “the Israeli leadership, yet again, is making a mockery of international law.”

Nablus governor speaks about assassination plot
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 23, 2010 - 1:00am

NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Nablus Governor Major General Jibrin Al-Bakri spoke out Monday for the first time about a plot revealed by PA security forces which aimed at assassinating the official. Delivering a public address in the municipality building to a visiting delegation of peace activists, joined by local officials and religious figures, Al-Bakri confirmed the media reports around the planned assassination, saying it aimed at "creating chaos in the region."

Israeli referendum bill could hinder peace moves
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Josef Federman - November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel's parliament passed a bill Monday that could complicate peace efforts with the Palestinians and Syria by making it very difficult for any government to make territorial withdrawals. The bill requires a two-thirds Knesset majority to cede land in east Jerusalem to the Palestinians or in the Golan Heights to Syria. Failing that, either withdrawal would become subject to a referendum, and polls show winning public approval would be an uphill battle.

Palestinians evicted from East Jerusalem home claimed by Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - November 23, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel Police forces on Tuesday evacuated a Palestinian family from their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, after right-wing activists claimed to have purchased the building. The non-profit group Elad, which intervened on behalf of the settlers, said that the family had agreed to evacuate after selling their home. East Jerusalem. The 16 residents of the home say that the sale was illicit as the name of the landlord written on the deal is no longer alive. They also claim that the landlord left the house to the family in his will.

Netanyahu has no choice but to freeze East Jerusalem building
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) November 23, 2010 - 1:00am

"There is no way we will give Bibi [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] a license to build in East Jerusalem," the American official said with unconcealed anger. "Our letter will not mention, or even hint at, the explicit word 'Jerusalem.'"

A new way to embitter Palestinian lives
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
November 23, 2010 - 1:00am

Settlers in the occupied territories have found a new way to embitter Palestinians' lives: converting springs and other water sources into memorials and tourism sites, as Zafrir Rinat reported in yesterday's Haaretz. As if it were not bad enough that Palestinians have no access to most of these springs since they are barred from using roads near the settlements, Israeli flags now fly over these water sources and they are walled off by fences and guards.

'Anti-fence activist still in jail after completing sentence'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - November 23, 2010 - 1:00am

The president of the Military Court of Appeals Colonel Aharon Mishnayot accepted a military prosecution request Monday and ordered the arrest of Abdullah Abu Rahma who serves as the director of the Bilin village's popular committee against the seperation fence, despite the fact that he completed his prison sentence for his involvement in organizing the anti-fence protests last Thursday, Palestinian sources reported.

Jaffa imam released, cleared of terror charges
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yoav Zitun - November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

The Jaffa imam who was arrested on suspicion of involvement in undisclosed security offenses earlier this month was released Monday. "They made me out to be Osama bin Laden," imam Muhammad Ayash of the al-Bahr mosque told Ynet upon his release. "They want to make Jaffa into Umm al-Fahm and the Jaffa Arabs into terrorists. They are going to destroy the co-existence that we have build together with our Jewish neighbors over decades. "I have Jewish friends and neighbors, I studied at local schools; the investigators were even surprised at how good my Hebrew is," he added.

Rattling The Cage: Face of Israel in a West Bank courtroom
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Fund
by Larry Derfner - (Analysis) November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

This was justice as I’d never seen it, as very, very few Israelis have seen it. The judge was an IDF officer in a light-green uniform and knitted kippa. The prosecutor was an IDF officer in a light-green uniform, no kippa. The defendant was a Palestinian in a brown prison jumpsuit. This was last Thursday afternoon in a bungalow that serves as military appeals court on the grounds of Ofer Prison, the towering, concretewalled monstrosity on Route 443 between Modi’in and Jerusalem. Ofer is Israel’s prison in the West Bank for Palestinians.

Encountering Peace: Five minutes to midnight
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel is facing the most severe crisis in its history. Surprisingly, most of its citizens choose to ignore this reality. The growing movement to delegitimize our right to exist cannot simply be dismissed by calling it anti- Semitism. The reasons are more complex than that.

IDF flights over West Bank to continue ahead of freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - November 23, 2010 - 1:00am

The Civil Administration is continuing to conduct reconnaissance flights over Jewish settlements in the West Bank ahead of the possible implementation of a new freeze on construction in the coming weeks, senior defense officials told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. The flights over settlements were conducted during the previous 10-month moratorium that went into effect last year and expired in late September. RELATED: Poll: 51% of Israelis favor building moratorium Settlers to Netanyahu: Yes, you can say no to Obama

How international law affects the Palestine 'peace process'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Oliver Miles - (Analysis) November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

As a former professional diplomat, I regard international law, with all its shortcomings, as much better than the alternative, the law of the jungle. I have often argued this with Israeli officials in particular, but they tend to prefer the doctrine of the iron wall, which they hope their enemies are powerless to break down and behind which they may live in safety.

Gaza: A love that knows no boundaries
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - (Opinion) November 23, 2010 - 1:00am

When Nicole Hamdan, a Jewish Israeli citizen, failed to report for compulsory army service a couple years ago, the military police came knocking at the doors of her uncles in the Tel Aviv suburbs of Holon and Bat Yam.

Timing, noodging advance new push for Jonathan Pollard
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A combination of timing, diplomatic considerations and, above all, good old-fashioned noodging has culminated in the biggest push in years to free Jonathan Pollard. Insiders associated with the push, which resulted last week in a congressional letter to President Obama asking for clemency for the American Jew convicted in 1987 of spying for Israel, say the main factor was one man: David Nyer, an Orthodox activist from Monsey, N.Y.

Gaza’s blockade silences women voice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Lakhdar Brahimi, Mary Robinson - (Analysis) November 23, 2010 - 1:00am

We have just visited Gaza Strip where we met many courageous people trying to live relatively normal lives despite the crippling effects of the illegal Israeli blockade. The blockade was imposed to punish the Hamas-led government, but it is women and children who are paying the highest price. In our conversations with a range of women, we learned that despite the apparent “easing” of restrictions by Israel and Egypt, important socio-economic indicators such as poverty, malnutrition, unemployment and family violence are getting worse.

Settlements make Israel less secure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Blog) November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel presents security as its main concern and a major component of negotiations with Palestinians. It uses security to rationalize both justifiable and unjustifiable positions and acts. Palestinians, who live under Israel's military occupation in the least secure conditions imaginable, believe that in most cases, Israel uses the issue of security as a pretext for doing things that the world might not accept otherwise.

Fortifying Palestinian state-building
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Blog) November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

In the eyes of many knowledgeable Israeli observers, improved security in the West Bank and the role played therein by Palestinian security forces is the most important aspect of the Palestinian Authority's successful state-building program of recent years. We pay far less attention to the other aspects: creating judicial, financial and administrative institutions that work and are relatively uncorrupt. We don't particularly care whether the Palestinians have a national bar code system. Only a few Israelis have become involved in the renascent West Bank economy.

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