Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Andrew Bacevich says US-Israel relationship is imbalanced. Only 51% of Israelis support equal rights for Palestinian citizens. A civil service program allows Palestinian citizens of Israel public, but not military, service. Turkey pledges support for a Palestinian state. Human Rights Watch urges the PA to release a blogger. Pres. Abbas says he expects new US proposals shortly. Palestinian firefighters aid Israel's battle against a massive fire, prompting a rare phone call between Abbas and PM Netanyahu. Abbas says as a last resort Palestinians might dissolve the PA, but an official says it's not under active consideration and welcomes Brazil's recognition. Bradley Burston says Israel depends on a Jewish majority, which is incompatible with the occupation. Akiva Eldar says trouble battling the fire has undermined Israel's military deterrence. A leading British politician says settlement goods must be labeled. Sec. Clinton is due to issue a major statement on negotiations. Palestinians plan to rebuild a West Bank road destroyed by Israel. John Whitbeck says linguistic clarity is needed for peace.

Israel and the U.S.: A lopsided relationship
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Andrew J. Bacevich - (Opinion) December 6, 2010 - 12:00am

The widely reported deal negotiated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — Israel committing itself to a nonrenewable 90-day freeze on settlement activity in return for 20 F-35 fighters and a U.S. promise to block anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations — illuminates with startling clarity the actual terms of U.S.-Israeli relations.

Q&A: Why only 51 percent of Israelis support equal rights for Arab minority
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - (Interview) December 4, 2010 - 12:00am

Tel Aviv The Israeli Democracy Institute (IDI) this week published their annual survey on democratic practices in Israel, which characterizes itself as both democratic and Jewish. But as Israel's Arab minority grows – already it accounts for 20 percent of the population – the compatibility of those dual ideals is being challenged. Skip to next paragraph Related Stories For Israeli Arab teens, a way to serve the country – without joining the army Israel loyalty oath bill stirs Arab-Israeli unease Gaza flotilla raid pushes unknown Knesset member into spotlight

For Israeli Arab teens, a way to serve the country – without joining the army
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - December 4, 2010 - 12:00am

Shfaram, Israel Six years ago, Rabah Rizik quit his banking career to help reverse decades of public neglect toward Israel's 20 percent Arab minority. His new job? Helping to implement a pioneering civil service program akin to AmeriCorps in the United States. The initiative gave Arab high school graduates – who are exempt from the draft faced by Jewish 18-year-olds – the opportunity to contribute to their state, just as most of their Jewish counterparts do through military service.

Erdogan pledges support for '67 state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 12, 2010 - 12:00am

ANKARA, Turkey (Ma’an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas visited Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan in his Ankara home on Sunday, to discuss developments in the peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators. Following the meeting, Ambassador of Palestine to Turkey Nabil Ma’roof told the official PA news agency WAFA that Erdogan pledged to support a bid for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. The official said he would speak with the leaders of all those nations with which Turkey had diplomatic relations.

HRW urges PA to release West Bank blogger
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 5, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Human Rights Watch on Sunday urged the Palestinian Authority to release a blogger detained over his religious opinions. PA intelligence officers arrested Walid Hasayin on 31 October at an internet cafe in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya. Ahmad Mbayyad, the head of the PA's military judiciary, told HRW that Hasayin was suspected of posting online messages criticizing Islam and other religions.

Abbas: US proposal for peace talks expected soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 5, 2010 - 12:00am

AMMAN (AFP) - A US proposal to bolster troubled Middle East peace talks was expected within days, President Mahmoud Abbas said following a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II on Sunday. "His majesty and I agreed to continue our cooperation and coordination in light of an expected US position in the coming few days, and we should examine it together," a palace statement quoted Abbas as saying. Abbas did not elaborate. Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have faltered following the end of a temporary ban on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.

Netanyahu, Abbas hold rare phone chat over fires
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - December 6, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed condolences in a rare telephone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday over the deadly fires raging in northern Israel, Israeli officials said. The two leaders were not believed to have spoken since they last met in September when U.S.-backed peace talks stalled in a spat over Jewish settlement construction.

Abbas: Last resort _ I'll ask Israel to take over
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - December 4, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has warned he may dissolve his self-rule government and ask Israel to resume full control of the West Bank if troubled peace talks fail. Dismantling the Palestinian Authority would be a last resort, Abbas told Palestine TV in an interview broadcast late Friday. However, his comments marked the most explicit warning yet that he's considering a step that could crush lingering hopes for a Mideast peace deal.

Palestinian official says not yet to dissolve PNA, welcomes Brazil's recognition of state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Saud Abu Ramadan - December 6, 2010 - 12:00am

A senior Palestinian official announced on Sunday that dissolving the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is an option, but will not be taken for the time being, while the Islamic Jihad (Holy War) movement slammed Hamas for accepting a referendum in case of a peace deal with Israel. Nabil Shaath, member of the Palestinian negotiation team said in a press statement emailed to reporters that dissolving the PNA might be carried out only when the Middle East peace process with Israel collapses, "but it is not planned for now."

Auschwitz borders are here
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) December 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Auschwitz borders. That ominous phrase, so elegant in its horror. A go-to mantra of the right for more than four decades, it has proven so durable in linking a West Bank withdrawal to the annihilation of the State of Israel that it has outlasted countless anti-peace process ad campaigns ?(“Yesha zeh kan” the ubiquitous signs once read: Judea, Samaria and Gaza are right here?).

Unraveling another myth about the State of the Jews
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - December 6, 2010 - 12:00am

In everything that pertains to locating the source of fires, water shortages, flight safety, earthquakes, etc. - subjects that require long-term planning - our decision makers prefer to use a method of pinpoint handling. It is known as "putting out fires." Yet the disaster in the Carmel has shown that we are also far from being able to be called world champions in putting out fires.

Palestinian firefighters come to Israel's aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
December 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Firefighters and firefighting personnel from all over the world came to Israel's aid over the weekend, responding to the most devastating fire the country has ever seen. While most of the aid that arrived had to be flown in, early Sunday morning, four fire engines manned by 21 firefighters began a five-hour drive to the Carmel mountains.

Yvette Cooper calls for Israeli settler labelling on food imports
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Kai Bird - December 5, 2010 - 12:00am

Britain should step up pressure on Israel to stop building illegal settlements in the West Bank by pressing for greater Europe-wide transparency on food exported from the occupied territories, Yvette Cooper says today. In an interview with the Guardian, she calls on the government to persuade the EU to introduce labelling that would identify goods produced by Israeli settlers. Cooper, who spoke after her first visit to the Middle East as shadow foreign secretary, wants the EU to follow the example of supermarkets which identify goods produced in the occupied West Bank.

Clinton to issue statement on Israeli-Palestinian talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
December 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States will issue a declaration this week on Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. "I will be making a very formal set of remarks about that next week," Clinton said in a interview over the weekend with Al Hurra, the U.S.-run Arab language broadcaster. "We have been talking with both parties very substantively, and I think that the United States can play a role to help each make decisions about very difficult matters that then can be presented to the other side."

Palestinians battle bid to bulldoze road to statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - December 6, 2010 - 12:00am

As Husam Assi describes it, it was an important battle on the road to Palestinian statehood. It began in late November when Israeli soldiers took positions protecting bulldozers sent to this otherwise sleepy West Bank village to destroy a recently laid strip of asphalt. Then, Mr Assi said, Palestinian youth swarmed the Israelis from the surrounding hills. "From the village mosque we called on the community to defend the road against the Israelis," the 49-year-old manager at Qarawat Bani Hassan's municipality said as he surveyed the area a few days later.

‘New language for Middle East peace’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by John V. Whitbeck - December 5, 2010 - 12:00am

The recent passage by Israel's Knesset of a law requiring either a two-thirds Knesset majority or approval by an unprecedented national referendum before Israel can "cede" any land in expanded East Jerusalem to a Palestinian state or any land in the Golan Heights to Syria has been widely recognized as making any "two-state solution", as well as any Israeli-Syrian peace, even more inconceivable than was previously the case. It also highlights the need for a concerted effort by politicians, negotiators and commentators to adopt a new "language of peace".

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