Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Tom Friedman says neither Israelis nor Palestinians are serious about peace. Sec. Clinton indicates the failure of direct negotiations, and analysts predict more difficulties. Palestinians continue to hope for national reconciliation. The Palestinian nonviolent protest movement may be waning, as Israel releases one of its leaders. PM Netanyahu welcomes the US focus on core issues. Rights groups protest Israel's treatment of Palestinian minors. Some Palestinians doubt the possibility of a two-state solution. Pres. Abbas asks the US to intervene with Israel over the expulsion of a Hamas politician from Jerusalem. The Israeli military intensifies activities on the Gaza border. Palestinians may be able to use indirect negotiations to pressure Israel. Akiva Eldar says negotiations provide a cover for deepening the occupation. Former Israeli soldiers recount abuses. Former EU leaders demand the creation of a Palestinian state. Tony Karon says Palestinians must increase the cost of occupation. Raghida Dergham looks at Palestinian strategy. Ian Buruma praises nonviolent protests in occupied East Jerusalem.

Reality Check
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Thomas L. Friedman - (Opinion) December 11, 2010 - 1:00am

The failed attempt by the U.S. to bribe Israel with a $3 billion security assistance package, diplomatic cover and advanced F-35 fighter aircraft — if Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu would simply agree to a 90-day settlements freeze to resume talks with the Palestinians — has been enormously clarifying. It demonstrates just how disconnected from reality both the Israeli and the Palestinian leaderships have become.

Hillary Clinton signals failure of direct talks on Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - December 10, 2010 - 1:00am

The Obama administration will continue to try to negotiate the outlines of an eventual peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians through indirect talks, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday evening, implicitly acknowledging that the direct talks launched with fanfare just three months ago had failed.

Hopes of Fatah-Hamas reconciliation still alive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - (Interview) December 11, 2010 - 1:00am

Reporting from Ramallah, West Bank — With reconciliation talks between leading Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas apparently at another impasse, hopes of an accord are fading fast. In the wake of a violent split in June 2007, when a coalition government collapsed, the more moderate Fatah has been in control of the West Bank and the militant Islamist Hamas has run the Gaza Strip, in effect dividing the Palestinian cause.

Palestinian nonviolence: Is the Budrus model still viable?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Mahmoud Abbas - (Analysis) December 10, 2010 - 1:00am

With Middle East peace talks on the brink after the US this week gave up on an Israeli settlement freeze, Palestinians are reevaluating their options for securing statehood. Amid disappointment with both negotiations and violence, a documentary film now showing around the globe highlights the nonviolence protest movement as a hopeful alternative.

Israel releases non-violent protest leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 13, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Sunday released anti-wall activist Adeeb Abu Rahmah after detaining him for 18 months. Adeeb was convicted of "incitement" for his role in organizing non-violent weekly protests against the separation wall in Bil'in, which annexes 60 percent of the village's land. The International Court of Justice and the Israeli Supreme Court ruled the route of the wall illegal. An Israeli military court sentenced Adeeb to 12 months in prison, but a military judge extended his sentence to 18 months after an appeal by army prosecutors.

Rough road ahead for new U.S. Mideast peace push
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Tom Perry - December 12, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Neither Israeli nor Palestinian officials showed any enthusiasm on Sunday for a U.S. proposal of a return to indirect peace talks after the swift collapse of face-to-face negotiations. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, looking ahead to Washington's next steps in the troubled peace process, said in a speech on Friday the United States would push for the resolution of the core issues of the six-decade-old conflict.

Israel PM welcomes US backdown on settlement curbs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
December 13, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM (AP) — Washington's Mideast envoy is returning to the region on his first mission since the United States abandoned efforts to salvage direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. In the absence of direct talks, George Mitchell will mediate between the two sides, meeting the Israeli leader on Monday and the Palestinian president on Tuesday. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wants Israel and the Palestinians to detail their positions on the major issues dividing them.

Israel group blasts arrests of Palestinian minors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Ben Hubbard - December 12, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Heavily armed Israeli police dragged the Dana brothers from their home before dawn, tossed them in armored jeeps and hauled them in for interrogation, the Palestinian boys and their father told The Associated Press. While Israel has long relied on night raids like this to nab Palestinian militants who seek to kill Israelis, the Dana brothers didn't fit the bill. Their alleged crime: throwing stones. Their ages: 14 and 16.

Palestinians express doubts over 2-state future
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Tia Goldenberg - (Analysis) December 12, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Conventional wisdom on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking has long held that Israel should relinquish most of the lands it occupied in 1967 in favor of a Palestinian state — the "two-state solution" that much of the world has supported for years.

Fatah, Hamas agree to meet in late December: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 13, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH-- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party agreed with Islamic Hamas movement to resume reconciliation dialogue by the end of December, a Fatah official said Monday. The two movements will meet by the end of this month for more discussions of controversial issues between the two rivals, said Azzam Al-Ahmad, a member of the Fatah Central Committee.

Abbas asks U.S. to press Israel to cancel Jerusalem evictions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 13, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday asked the United States to press Israel to cancel the eviction of a Hamas lawmaker from Jerusalem. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who is in Washington, carried a letter from Abbas to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which asked the U.S. administration to intervene, said Azzam Al-Ahmad, an aide to Abbas. On Wednesday, an Israeli court ruled to expel Mohammed Abu Tair from Jerusalem, who was later sent to the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Israeli army steps up operations along Gaza border as violence escalates
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 12, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM -- The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is deploying more troops along the Gaza border in response to recent cross-border clashes, and a spike in missile and mortar attacks against Israeli civilians over the last week. On Saturday evening, two Palestinian militants were killed and an IDF paratrooper was moderately wounded in an exchange of fire along the Gaza border after the former were spotted attempting to infiltrate into Israel. The army said the Israeli trooper was wounded by a Palestinian sniper.

Palestinians are planning to make Netanyahu sweat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - (Analysis) December 13, 2010 - 1:00am

Statements made on Sunday by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in an interview with Christiane Amanpour on American network ABC could open a window into the expected tactics of the Palestinians in the coming months. Following the U.S. announcement that efforts to resume direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority had come to an end, the Palestinians are planning to make Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sweat.

An end to the occupation first
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) December 13, 2010 - 1:00am

Like every year-end, once again they're promising that the next 12 months will be "a decisive year." Fact: Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that in August 2011, when Prime Minister Salam Fayyad finishes building institutions in the West Bank, the United Nations will recognize the Palestinian state.

'Our lives became something we'd never dreamt': The former Israeli soldiers who have testified against army abuses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - (Book Review) December 12, 2010 - 1:00am

For anyone who has covered Israel, the West Bank and Gaza over the past few years, reading "Occupation of the Territories," the new book from the Israeli ex-soldiers organisation Breaking the Silence, can be an eerily evocative experience.

Israel faces tougher line from EU after former heads call for Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Chris McGreal, Harriet Sherwood - December 10, 2010 - 1:00am

Twenty-six European grandees have urged the EU to adopt a tougher stance towards Israel including taking "concrete measures" and exacting "consequences" over continued settlement building on occupied land, which they say is illegal under international law.

Obama's dose of reality may be a cure for the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
December 13, 2010 - 1:00am

The Obama administration's announcement that it had capitulated before Israeli recalcitrance on a settlement freeze should be read as a cry for help. Mr Obama has, in fact, taken a bold step in acknowledging frankly that he has a problem. He has been repeating the rituals and catechisms of the failed Oslo peace process in the hope of producing a different outcome. Now, he's been forced to acknowledge that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a communication problem that can be solved by simply getting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas to talk.

The Palestinians’ Options after Obama’s Failure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - (Opinion) December 10, 2010 - 1:00am

The US Administration admitting this week its failure to convince Israel to agree to freeze what is under international law illegal settlement-building for a mere three months, until Palestinian-Israeli negotiations enter the phase of discussing the borders of the Palestinian state and the permanent situation, is tantamount to admitting President Barack Obama’s personal failure and his being forced to submit to Israel’s dictates.

Keeping alive a sense of decency in Arab East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Ian Buruma - (Opinion) December 11, 2010 - 1:00am

Every Friday afternoon for more than a year, hundreds of Israeli Jews have gathered on a dusty little square in the middle of Arab East Jerusalem. There are some Palestinians there, too, including a couple of boys selling fresh orange juice. The people gather there, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, to protest the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes to make way for Israeli settlers.

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