Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Pres. Abbas meets with 60 prominent Israelis. An Israeli rabbi fights against anti-Arab discrimination. Palestinians seek international recognition. Israel seizes a West Bank village and expels its inhabitants. Human Rights Watch says settlements are displacing Palestinians. An Israeli airstrike in Gaza kills five Palestinian militants. An American tourist is stabbed outside Jerusalem. Pres.Mubarak and PM Erdogan blame Israel for the failure of talks. Arab states may present a Security Council resolution against settlements. The PLO says it's not considering withdrawing recognition of Israel,but the peace process is moribund. A meeting of the Geneva Initiative invigorates peace camps. Rep. Howard Berman is interviewed by Ha'aretz. Jewish extremists demonstrate against “Arabs dating our sisters.” Tzachi Hanegbi says diplomacy is in real trouble. Hamas objects to the UN teaching Palestinian children about the Holocaust. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Abbas. Adel Safty says Sec. Clinton is right that Palestinian statehood is inevitable. Ziad Asali says giving up on peace is not an option. The Global Post profiles Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.





Palestinian Leader Has 60 Israelis to Lunch
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - December 19, 2010 - 12:00am


RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, hosted a two-hour meeting with about 60 Israeli politicians, public figures and activists at his headquarters here on Sunday in an effort to reach out to the Israeli public at a time when the official peace process is at a standstill. Enlarge This Image Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times President Mahmoud Abbas. “In the end, we want to make peace between the people, the Israeli and Palestinian people,” Mr. Abbas said, not just the governments.


In Israel, a rabbi who argues that anti-Arab measures are un-Jewish
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ben Lynfield - December 17, 2010 - 12:00am


At first glance, Arik Ascherman seems more like a soft-spoken university lecturer than a combative crusader for the rights of the “other,” be they Palestinian or African refugee. Yet the American-born rabbi is embroiled in two of Israel’s main conflicts today: the struggle with Palestinians over the West Bank and, within Israel, a rising tide of anti-Arab and anti-foreigner sentiment. The latter is starkly illustrated by an unprecedented rabbinical edict calling on Jews not to rent or sell property to non-Jews.


Disillusioned Palestinians seeking new path
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Philippe Agret - December 19, 2010 - 12:00am


Disillusioned by the collapse of talks and disappointed by the US administration, the PLO is turning away from negotiations and seeking international recognition for a Palestinian state. In the days since the US administration acknowledged it had failed to chart a path back to direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, senior Palestinian officials have made clear that they think negotiations are dead. "The peace process is in a deep coma," PLO negotiator Nabil Sha'ath told journalists Saturday night. "I don't think anyone wants to continue this negotiation."


Israel orders evacuation of Nablus village
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 20, 2010 - 12:00am


Israeli forces have ordered residents of Khirbet Tana, a tiny Palestinian village to the east of Nablus in the northern West Bank, to evacuate their homes and depart the village within the next 24 hours. Israeli forces threatened to confiscate property, including sheep, once the deadline passed. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority officer following settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that Israeli authorities informed residents that their properties would be confiscated if they stayed after warning.


HRW: Israeli settlements 'displace' Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 20, 2010 - 12:00am


Palestinians in the occupied West Bank lack basic amenities and are effectively being forcibly displaced by discriminatory Israeli policies, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Sunday. The New York-based rights group called on the United States to penalize Israel by withholding from its massive annual aid a sum equal to the amount the state gives in subsidies to West Bank settlements.


UPDATE 1-Israeli air strike kills five Gaza militants
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
December 18, 2010 - 12:00am


An Israeli air strike killed five Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. The Israeli military said in a statement that its aircraft "targeted and identified hitting a squad of terror operatives who were preparing to launch rockets towards Israeli territory". Palestinian hospital officials said the five were militants. The Hamas Islamist group, which rules the Gaza Strip, says it has tried to curb rocket fire at Israel, but smaller groups continue to carry the out such attacks.


Slain American tourist had deep ties to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Amy Teibel - December 20, 2010 - 12:00am


An American tourist killed in a forest outside Jerusalem had deep spiritual ties to Israel through her involvement with an evangelical ministry that promotes Christianity among Jews. Kristine Luken, who was in her mid-40s, was stabbed to death Saturday while hiking with a friend. Israeli police had originally identified her as Christine Logan. Luken was involved with the "Church's Ministry among Jewish people," first in the U.S., then in England, where she became a ministry staffer. The church is active in Israel.


Mubarak blames Israel for Mideast peace crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Maamoun Youssef - December 19, 2010 - 12:00am


Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday blamed Israel for the stalemate in peace negotiations with the Palestinians in a speech before a joint session of the Egyptian parliament's two chambers. Mubarak also warned Israel that the security of its people hinged on peace rather than "occupation or arms."


Arab nations prepare to present draft resolution to UN General Assembly
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 19, 2010 - 12:00am


The Arab states plan to present a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council against the Jewish settlements and they will turn to the UN General Assembly if the United States vetoes the draft, a Palestinian official said. Nabil Shaath, a Palestinian negotiator, said that the UN General Assembly is similar to the UN Security Council in its ability to call for sanctions on the state that does not implement its resolutions.


Arab nations prepare to present draft resolution to UN General Assembly
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 19, 2010 - 12:00am


The Arab states plan to present a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council against the Jewish settlements and they will turn to the UN General Assembly if the United States vetoes the draft, a Palestinian official said. Nabil Shaath, a Palestinian negotiator, said that the UN General Assembly is similar to the UN Security Council in its ability to call for sanctions on the state that does not implement its resolutions.


Does Israel have a peace partner after all?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - (Opinion) December 20, 2010 - 12:00am


It may be that the big news from Sunday's visit to Ramallah of the Geneva Initiative supporters is that somewhere, out there in the Palestinian territories and in Israel, there is still a peace camp that appeared to have entirely disappeared. In other words, to use the slogan of the Geneva Initiative, "there is a partner." More than 200 people, Israelis and Palestinians, crowded the conference room of the Muqata yesterday to hear their host, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and have lunch.


'Palestinian hurting their cause by pursuing unilateral statehood'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - (Interview) December 20, 2010 - 12:00am


The outgoing chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Howard Berman (D-CA), talks to Haaretz about the Palestinians' plan for unilateral declaration of statehood, Turkey's ties with Israel and the U.S., and President Barack Obama's foreign policy. There are some fears of a stalemate in foreign policy following the midterm elections. What are the chances of cooperation between the parties, especially as the 2012 elections approach?


Bat Yam rally: 'Arabs dating our sisters'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yoav Zitun - December 20, 2010 - 12:00am


An organization called Jews for a Jewish Bat Yam is expected to protest on Monday against the "assimilation of young Jewish women with Arabs living in the city or in nearby Jaffa." The protest will be held around 7:30 pm near the Bat Yam mall, not far from the police station. The organizers are also expected to show support for the controversial rabbis' letter. Prejudice?


Erdogan: Israel is to blame for failed peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
December 20, 2010 - 12:00am


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that while there were recently high level talks between the Turkish Foreign Ministry and Israel in Geneva, there were no changes in Turkish demands regarding the "Israeli aggression against the humanitarian aid ships in Gaza" and the "murder" of nine Turkish citizens, Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.


Abed Rabbo: Peace process may die if doesn't get boost
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
December 20, 2010 - 12:00am


The peace process is frozen but it might die if it does not get a real boost, top PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo said during an interview aired Monday on Army Radio. Abed Rabbo added that US Mideast envoy George Mitchell "did not bring us any new proposal" during his last visit to the region, following a deadlock in negotiations. "We submitted a complete portfolio to the Americans about our perceptions on the issue of borders and security, and we expect the Israelis to do the same," the Palestinian negotiator said.


A double freeze in Washington
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tzachi Hanegbi - December 20, 2010 - 12:00am


Haim Saban has a dream: Help the Israelis and Palestinians adopt a pragmatic vision that will advance the goal of peace between the two nations.


Hamas in dispute with UN over school trips for Palestinian pupils
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
December 20, 2010 - 12:00am


Hamas, the Islamist movement ruling the Gaza strip, has asked the United Nations to stop exposing Palestinian children to the Holocaust during trips organised for outstanding students from Gaza, and instead concentrate on Palestinian victims. "The UNRWA [the agency for Palestinian refugees] has to stop the visits they do, where they teach the Holocaust and where they promote solidarity with Jewish suffering created by the Nazis," said a statement from the department for refugee issues.


Ecuador Next to Recognize Palestinian State – Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali al-Saleh - (Opinion) December 18, 2010 - 12:00am


Bolivia is the latest country to recognize the State of Palestine after it officially announced yesterday that it recognized a sovereign Palestinian State along its 1967 borders. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday welcomed Bolivia’s recognition of a Palestinian state and praised the bilateral relations between the two countries..


Establishment of independent Palestinian state is inevitable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Adel Safty - (Opinion) December 20, 2010 - 12:00am


The so-called peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to be more about process and less and less about peace. The refusal of the Netanyahu government to renew the moratorium on colony construction in the Occupied Territories (described by various American administrations as obstacles to peace) has led to the collapse of the negotiations.


Giving up on an Israeli-Palestinian settlement is simply not an option
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Ziad Asali - (Opinion) December 20, 2010 - 12:00am


The Obama administration has mercifully, and honestly, admitted that the time has come to abandon its policy of seeking a settlement freeze as a path to negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The administration will pay a political price for this. It will be blamed for having failed, and it will endure the gloating of its critics. However, the United States will remain, in the end, the single party that everyone else will look to for providing answers and for defining which policy direction to take.


Building a Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Global Post
by Fredy Gareis - December 17, 2010 - 12:00am


RAMALLAH, West Bank — It was a couple of minutes after 10 on a Saturday morning when the Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, stepped onto a rainy stage in Bethlehem and voiced his support for the enemy. Fayyad urged the people not to hold all Israelis responsible for the actions of some fanatical settlers. The day before some of them had burned down a Palestinian olive grove. The audience at the Olive Harvest Festival clapped their hands cautiously. Maybe they were expecting something else: rallying cries, slogans, boasting. But their prime minister is not the inciting type.





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