Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Controversy surrounds a planned Jerusalem marathon. The CSM praises the Obama administration for continuing intensive diplomacy. Pres. Abbas visits Egypt. Dennis Ross travels to Israel. The UN is concerned about Hamas' closure of a charity. Rock-throwing youths play cat and mouse with occupation forces in occupied East Jerusalem. Special Envoy Mitchell reiterates US commitment to Palestinian statehood and may have presented new ideas to the parties. PM Netanyahu says he's happy to discuss core issues. Hamas leaders say they will never recognize Israel. A soccer brawl highlights tensions between Jordanians and Palestinians. Pres. Peres says time is running out for peace. Israel is still seeking more F-35 fighter jets. The JTA looks at Jewish American tensions over Israel. Israeli policies stir debate at Brooklyn College. The long struggle of a Palestinian family chips away at Jewish-only housing policies in Israel. The Jordan Times says the diplomatic impasse may result in renewed violence.

Jerusalem Marathon runs into politics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

When Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat invited people to participate in the Jerusalem Marathon, he called it a "challenging sporting event." Still 100 days away, the city's first full marathon is already giving the mayor -- a five-time marathoner himself -- a run for his money. After someone pointed out to three city council members that the course ran through parts of East Jerusalem, they sent a letter of protest to Adidas, one of the international event's main sponsors.

Team Obama enters a new phase in Israel, Palestinian talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
(Editorial) December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

George Mitchell, special US envoy to the Middle East, is back in the region this week just days after the United States had to abandon its attempt at direct talks between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders. If nothing else, the US is dogged in its pursuit of peace.

Abbas to Cairo following Mitchell request
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak Wednesday to discuss a US request to return to indirect talks given Israel’s refusal to stop settlement construction in the West Bank. Abbas and Mubarak will also tackle the Palestinian national dialogue brokered by Egypt.

Report: Dennis Ross in Israel for secret talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Veteran US diplomat Dennis Ross arrived in Israel Tuesday evening and is scheduled to hold talks with Israeli security officials, Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday. Ross, a prominent US policy maker, was allegedly sent by US president Barak Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to check out what security coordination would be necessary if a final peace agreement was reached in the region.

UN concerned after Gaza charity closed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Almost one week after Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip closed the doors to a charity assisting children and teenagers, UN officials and international NGO Human Rights Watch released statements calling for the re-opening of the institution, and condemning the closure.

Palestinian kids play risky game with Israel police
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Jihan Abdalla - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

At the volatile heart of a volatile region, Palestinian children play a dangerous game. In the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan, small groups of boys hang around by the roadside, suddenly darting into the street to hurl rocks at passing Israeli cars, especially vehicles belonging to local Jewish settlers. Seemingly heedless of the risk they pose their targets and themselves, the youngsters also goad local Israeli security forces determined to keep order.

Envoy says US committed to Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

The U.S. will not be deterred by setbacks and will persevere until a Palestinian state is established alongside Israel, President Obama's Mideast envoy said Tuesday after meeting the Palestinian president. Envoy George Mitchell presented ideas on how to move forward, said Saeb Erekat, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He would not elaborate.

Israeli PM expresses willingness to discuss core issues of Mideast conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Gur Salomon - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

As U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell renewed his peace brokering efforts in the Middle East, Israel on Tuesday expressed its willingness to discuss core issues with the Palestinians while stopped short of settlement building freeze. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met Mitchell Monday evening, said Tuesday at a domestic conference that the two persons "spoke about ways to advance the peace process" and added that the meeting was "very good."

Hamas leader in Gaza vows group will never recognize Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Douglas Alexander - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas will never recognize Israel, Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday at a rally to mark the 23rd anniversary of the militant group's founding. "We say it with confidence as we said it five years ago when we formed our government, and we say it today: We will never recognize Israel," Haniyeh told a crowd in Gaza City numbering tens of thousands. A poster at the rally featured photographs of Hamas leaders assassinated by Israel in the last 10 years. "Hamas will be the faithful guard of the Palestinian people's rights and the basic Palestinian principles," Haniyeh continued.

Jordan soccer brawl highlights Palestinians' feelings of deprivation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

A soccer match played Friday between the Jordanian league's Al-Faisaly and Al-Wihdat ended in a 1:0 victory for Al-Wihdat. The real news, though, wasn't the score, but the skirmish that broke out, in which 250 fans and policemen were injured, after the wire fence that separates the spectators from the field collapsed. This wasn't just a clash between fans accompanied by stone-throwing, broken bones and arrests. It was a political battle pitting the Al-Wihdat fans, mostly of Palestinian descent, against the Al-Faisaly fans, mostly of Jordanian origin.

Mitchell presented Abbas with offers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell presented a document of "unofficial" offers to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper reported Wednesday. But the report adds Mitchell offered no US guarantees. Israeli Side Netanyahu welcomes US focus on core issues / Reuters Prime minister tells economic forum that Clinton's announcement of intention to focus on borders, refugees, rather than additional settlement freeze will move talks along. 'To reach peace, we have to discuss issues delaying peace,' he says Full Story

Peres: Time running out on peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ahiya Raved - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

The European Union expressed its faith in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on Monday, but President Shimon Peres believes there is not much time left. "We are starting the countdown for peace, and time is running out," he said Tuesday at a Galilee convention in the northern city of Beit Shean. "There are serious processes of de-legitimizing Israel, radical Islamization in the region and Iran arming itself. We must come to our senses now. There is not much time left for discussions," the president warned.

Oren: Still pursuing F35s from US settlement freeze offer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, said Israel is still seeking 20 additional F- 35 fighter jets even after the failure of a US offer to provide the planes in exchange for a freeze on settlement construction. The 20 jets would be in addition to the 20 Lockheed Martin Corp.-built F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, valued at about $2.8 billion, that Israel ordered in October, Oren told Bloomberg News reporters and editors in Washington yesterday. RELATED: US, Israel, PA fail to reach settlement freeze deal US refuses to confirm offer of 20 F-35 fighter jets

On Israel, can U.S. Jews disagree nicely?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Sue Fishkoff - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Laura Sutta says she doesn’t feel safe talking about Israel. Sutta returned to the United States in 2003 after 23 years living in Israel and found that while she was away, the vitriol over Israel had reached a fever pitch in her Jewish community in the San Francisco Bay area. “I’ve lost two friendships over it,” she said. “One was a friend from high school. When I talked to him about Israel, I could feel him judging me.” Sutta says she’s dumbfounded by the “fury of the volleys being exchanged.”

Anti-Israel Rhetoric Raises Alarms At Brooklyn College
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Week
by Doug Chandler - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

In a discomforting scene last month, three young Palestinians found themselves detained at an Israeli “checkpoint,” where an unsympathetic soldier ordered them to kneel on the pavement, hands behind their backs, and blindfolded them. As shouting began, both by the soldier and by the three detained Palestinians, the possibility of violence seemed to become a real possibility.

Arab family's home win blow to Israeli 'Jews only' policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

The pretty two-storey home with a red-tiled roof built by Adel and Iman Kaadan looks no different from the rows of other houses in Katzir, a small hilltop community in northern Israel close to the West Bank. But, unlike the other residents of Katzir, the Kaadans moved into their dream home this month only after a 12-year battle through the Israeli courts. The small victory for the Kaadans, who belong to Israel's Palestinian Arab minority, dealt a big blow to a state policy that for decades has reserved most of the country's land for Jews.

Untenable status quo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Now it is out in the open that the US has given up trying to convince Israel to stop its settlement activities on Palestinian lands, including East Jerusalem. It is either because Israel is not listening or that the US administration does not want to be forceful enough. The end result is that the euphoria generated earlier by the resumption of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians is short-lived.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017