Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel has a mixed blessing in the GOP midterm successes. Palestinians issue a report questioning the history of the Western Wall. Israel refuses to allow Palestinians to use a road they have built in Area C. Italian officials call for easing restrictions in Gaza. Occupation forces seize parts of Nablus. Islamists claim the PA is discriminating against them. A Gaza boy recalls being used as a human shield by Israeli troops. Israeli plans for a train line deep into occupied territory spurs Palestinian concerns. US efforts to restart peace talks stumble. DM Barak says the Israeli cabinet may have to change. Israel will allow limited exports from Gaza. Activists try to reenergize the Israeli left. AB Yehoshua says Zionism is not an ideology. Settler schools agitate against any settlement freeze. Israeli scholars say Jews are now a minority between the river and the sea. Two new books look at the refugee issue. Khaled Diab says the EU should pressure Israel on peace. The Forward says the proposed settlement freeze deal is bad for both Israel and the US. George Hishmeh says it's high time for the UN to include Palestine as a member state.

G.O.P. and Tea Party Are Mixed Blessing for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - November 25, 2010 - 1:00am

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel came to the United States recently for another round of tense talks with the Obama administration, he got a decidedly warmer welcome from one of the rising Republican stars on Capitol Hill, Representative Eric Cantor, the incoming majority leader of the House. But while Mr. Cantor and other newly empowered Republicans are eager to promote themselves as Israel’s staunchest defenders in Washington, the reconfigured American political landscape is a more complex and unpredictable backdrop for Middle East peacemaking.

Western Wall Feud Heightens Israeli-Palestinian Tensions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - November 25, 2010 - 1:00am

The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Thursday strongly denounced a Palestinian Authority paper that denies any Jewish connection to the Western Wall, the iconic holy site and place of Jewish worship in the Old City of Jerusalem, describing the report as “reprehensible and scandalous.” The episode appeared to signal a worsening atmosphere after a two-month hiatus in peace talks.

WEST BANK: Israel bulldozes Fayyad’s Freedom Road
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - November 25, 2010 - 1:00am

On Sept. 1, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad celebrated with the residents of Qarawat Bani Hassan the inauguration of a mile-long road linking the small West Bank village to a spring its residents consider the lifeline of the community. It was called Freedom Road. While Fayyad was on a trip to Japan this week, hoping to get more funding for his two-year “Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State” program, of which building that road was one project, Israel on Wednesday destroyed the road, which is located in Area C of the West Bank.

GAZA STRIP: Italian minister calls for Israel to relax border restrictions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Rushdi Abu Alouf - November 24, 2010 - 1:00am

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini toured the Gaza Strip on Wednesday and called on Israel to facilitate more movement of goods and people between the seaside enclave and the West Bank. During a visit to a U.N. school in northern Gaza Strip, Frattini said Israel must do more to open the crossings. "It is true that there have been improvements on the situation, but this is not enough." The Italian minister arrived after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and a number of Palestinian officials, as well as leaders of Israel.

Israeli forces re-take Nablus during op
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Following an official hand over of military control to Palestinian Authority Security forces one week earlier, Israeli military vehicles were reported moving near the former government compound toward Joseph's Tomb. Informed Palestinian security sources said the Israeli military had informed the appropriate officials ahead of what was described as a "security activity" in the eastern sector of Nablus, in the region of the Balata refugee camp mid-morning on Friday.

Islamist group angered over PA 'discrimination'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Officials from the Islamist movement Hizb Ut-Tahrir (Liberation Party) in the West Bank accused the Palestinian Authority of carrying out politically-motivated arrests targeting members, a statement said Friday. PA assertions that security forces do not target Islamist parties are untrue, the statement said, adding that claims of non-bias by the Fatah-run government "are falsified by the realities on the ground."

Gaza boy used as human shield: I'll always remember
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Jared Malsin - November 23, 2010 - 1:00am

Majid Rabah, 11, says he will always remember the "black day" that Israeli soldiers ordered him to open bags they thought were rigged with explosives. "Every moment I remember what happened," he said in his home in Gaza City's Tel Al-Hawwa neighborhood Tuesday. An Israeli military court gave a suspended sentence and a demotion Sunday to the two soldiers who used Majid as a human shield, in a ruling he and his family said did not do justice to the trauma.

U.S. efforts to restart Mideast peace process stumbling
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Adam Gonn - November 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Two months after the direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations broke down, effort by the U. S. to restart them seems stumbling. When Israel's 10-month freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank ended in September, so did the U.S.-sponsored peace talks between the two parties. The Palestinians insist that the negotiations can only be continued after settlement construction halts.

Israeli defense minister mulls unity government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel's Labor Party chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday suggested that the current Israeli government should be widened so as to move forward the peace process. "If this government can't move towards peace talks, we must consider widening it and making a national unity coalition," Barak said in a speech before the Pensioners' Union in Tel Aviv. "We joined the government so it would go in this direction, but we still haven't reached the goal," he added.

Israel allows Gaza flowers, strawberries export
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian farmers in the Gaza Strip could ship flowers and strawberries to Europe though Israel starting from Sunday, Palestinian officials said Thursday. Gazans would be allowed to export their produce, by far only flowers and strawberries, through a commercial crossing between the Hamas-controlled territory and Israel, said Mahmoud Khalil, a representative of the farmers. It is the second year that Israel allows Gaza flowers and strawberries to be sold overseas since it imposed a nearly total blockade on Gaza in June 2007.

Left standing: Signs of life in Israel's peace camp
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shay Fogelman - November 26, 2010 - 1:00am

The road to the settlement of Kedumim passes through the center of the village of Al-Funduq. There's hardly any traffic there; the few cars that have to pass through the village drive very fast. It's only 8 P.M., but there's not a soul to be seen. The road that cuts through the village provides a livelihood for those who own or work in shops along it, but once darkness falls, it becomes dangerous for locals, too. A person could get run over, or stopped for inspection by a military patrol, and in the past there have also been violent raids by settlers there. It's best to stay home.

Zionism is not an ideology
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by A.B. Yehoshua - November 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Recently there has been exaggerated, misleading and perhaps even harmful use of the concept of "Zionism." The problem is prevalent both in Israel and outside the country; in the nationalist camp, the religious camp and the Labor movement; among liberals and ultra-nationalists; among Diaspora Jews as well as non-Jews; and mainly among Arabs.

Settlers to teach school kids about 'evils' of moratorium
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Akiva Novick - November 25, 2010 - 1:00am

A new Yesha Council initiative will bring the movement opposing the West Bank construction moratorium into the classroom: Elementary and high schools in Judea and Samaria will hold a special lesson next week on the "damage and consequences of the construction freeze." Tens of thousands of students attending 60 Judea and Samaria schools are set to take part in the project. Schools in the Ariel and Ma'aleh Adumim settlements and in haredi towns will not participate. Homeroom teachers in charge of the lesson will independently convey to the students their own opinions on the moratorium.

'Jews now a minority between the River and the Sea'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Shefler - November 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Jews no longer constitute a majority in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, according to an expert on Jewish demographics. Prof. Sergio DellaPergola of the Hebrew University told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that Jews – as defined by the government – now number less than half of the total population in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Memories and maps keep alive Palestinian hopes of return
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ian Black - November 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Refugees remain the most intractable issue of the Middle East conflict, as two new books show A Palestinian girl at a refugee camp in Jordan. 1948 is a key date in Palestinian collective memory. Memories and maps feature prominently in the experience of Palestinians – a people scarred by dispossession, dispersion, occupation and profound uncertainty about their future. So amid the latest wrangling over the stalled peace talks with Israel come two sharp reminders of the depth of the conflict and how difficult it will be to resolve.

How the EU could entice Israel to seek peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Khaled Diab - November 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Making Europe's cosiness with Israel dependent on commitment to fair peace would be more effective than a blunt boycott In Israel, the European Union is often regarded as too pro-Palestinian. But it would be a mistake to see the occasional criticisms of Israel delivered by European politicians as a sign of anti-Israeli sentiment. It may come as a surprise, for instance, to learn that the EU – not the United States – is Israel's main trading partner, with a relationship worth a handsome €20bn (£17bn) per year.

A Dangerous Link
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Forward
(Editorial) November 24, 2010 - 1:00am

The Obama administration’s offer of a package of advanced weaponry and military assistance worth billions of dollars in return for an Israeli commitment to freeze settlement construction for just three months marks a troubling development in the relationship between the two allies. There’s a reason that this deal has drawn criticism from an unusual chorus on both the left and the right among Americans who care about Israel’s security. It’s not beneficial to either nation.

Awaiting the final step
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - November 26, 2010 - 1:00am

The longer the standstill in the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority the further both are from a fair settlement and the more complex the terms will be in the future, especially now that Israel manages to up the ante almost daily. In the meantime, a war of words has emerged, among former US officials, some known to be sympathetic to Israel, and well-known commentators who regularly echo the Zionist position.

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