Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Competing claims continue over the death of a Palestinian protester at the hands of Israeli forces. The CSM asks if Israel is still a democracy. Aaron David Miller urges a stronger role for Sec. Clinton. Rob Danin analyzes Palestinian state building. Violence continues on the Israel-Gaza border. PM Netanyahu will meet Pres. Mubarak. Muslim, Christian and Jewish clerics meet in Ramallah. Palestinians seek quick action at the UN on settlements, as a draft resolution is finalized. Israel may have charged bribes for access to Gaza. Disputes continue about a new Palestinian planned city in the West Bank. Reports say Palestinians have presented proposals on borders and security but Israel has ignored them. Palestinians urge the US to pressure Israel to accept a Palestinian state. Netanyahu may be investigating his senior aides. Jordan's king says swift action is needed on peace. The Knesset decides to investigate Israeli human rights groups. JJ Goldberg says Netanyahu is losing support of the Israeli senior military. Michael Young says the US needs to proceed very carefully on peace. Chile warms to a Palestinian state.

Israeli army investigating Jawaher Abu Rahma tear-gas incident in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - January 5, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israeli army, which had questioned reports by Palestinian witnesses and doctors that tear gas led to the death of a woman after a protest against Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank on Friday, said Wednesday that it is still conducting its own inquiry into the death and will make an announcement after its completion.

Is Israel a democracy? Five actions in 2010 that fueled the debate.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ariel Zirulnick - January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Rabbis' wives: Don't date Arab men A group of rabbis' wives penned a letter Dec. 29 urging Jewish women "not to date Arab men, not to work in places where Arabs are employed and not to volunteer for national service with them," the Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.

Wanted: Adult Supervision
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) January 5, 2011 - 1:00am

Call me a foreign-policy geezer, a traditionalist from back in the day. But when it comes to conducting the affairs of the country abroad, particularly toward the seemingly endless, seemingly intractable Arab-Israeli peace process, one historically proven bureaucratic model trumps all others: the willful president empowering the strong secretary of state who, in turn, runs everything.

A Third Way to Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Affairs
by Robert Danin - (Opinion) January 1, 2011 - 1:00am

This past September, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat down in Washington to dine with U.S. President Barack Obama, a barely noticed event took place in Ramallah. With little fanfare, the 13th Palestinian Authority (PA) government, headed by Salam Fayyad, issued its one-year countdown to independence. This brief and understated document is likely to prove far more significant for the future of Palestine than the White House dinner and reflects nothing short of a revolutionary new approach to Palestinian statehood.

Violence on Gaza border continues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Three mortar shells were said to have been fired toward an Israeli military base along the Gaza border on Thursday morning, an armed group affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said. The Jihad Jibril Brigades said the mortars targeted the Kissufim military zone northeast Al-Qararra near Khan Younis. An Israeli military spokeswoman said she had reports of a projectile landing at approximately 7:30 a.m. in the Negev regional council area, north of the Gaza Strip, but said she was not aware of any attacks in the area of Kissufim.

Netanyahu to meet Mubarak in Sharm
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads Thursday to Egypt for talks with President Hosni Mubarak on ways to break the impasse in peace negotiations with the Palestinians, his office said. The two leaders will meet in the Red Sea resort of Sharm Ash-Sheikh for talks that will also focus on threats facing the region. "On the agenda for the talks is the advancement of the political process, regional issues and other subjects of interest to the two countries," a statement from Netanyahu's office said.

Muslim, Christian and Jewish clerics meet in Ramallah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Muslim, Christian and Jewish clerics met in Ramallah on Wednesday to declare a joint stance on Israel's occupation of Jerusalem. The religious leaders met at the offices of the Islamic Christian Commission in Support of Jerusalem and the Holy Sites. In a news conference at the Ramallah office, the commission's secretary-general Dr Hasan Khatir welcomed the religious officials, in particular Rabbi Yisrael Hirsch, head of the Neturei Karta group. Khatir said the press conference was held to refute "Zionist lies."

Palestinians seek quick UN action on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

The chief Palestinian U.N. delegate said on Wednesday that Arab states had launched negotiations on a resolution condemning Israeli West Bank settlement activity and aimed to have a final draft soon. An initial text, prepared by more than a dozen countries, was delivered to members of the 15-nation Security Council in December. A group of mostly Arab nations met this month's council president, Bosnian ambassador Ivan Barbalic, in New York to discuss progress on the draft resolution.

WikiLeaks: Israel charged bribes for Gaza access
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Josef Federman - January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

A U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks on Thursday quoted American officials as saying a key Israeli cargo crossing for goods entering the Gaza Strip was rife with corruption. The June 14, 2006, cable, published Thursday by Norway's Aftenposten daily, says major American companies told U.S. diplomats they were forced to pay hefty bribes to get goods into Gaza. It was unclear whether the practice still continues. There was no immediate comment from Israel.

Israel, Palestinians argue over building new city in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Osama Radi - January 4, 2011 - 1:00am

Arguments between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) mounted on Monday over building a new city north of the West Bank city of Ramallah, which involved several private Israeli housing companies. Several months ago, the Palestinian Developing Company of Beiti, the major Palestinian company responsible for building the city, and around 12 Israeli construction companies signed the contracts to build the first-ever new Palestinian city called Rawabi. However, the contracts valued billions of Israeli shekels have been opposed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

Palestinian official urges US to oblige Israel to accept Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 2, 2011 - 1:00am

A senior Palestinian official on Monday urged the United States to oblige Israel to accept an independent Palestinian state to end the ongoing conflicts. "The United States should carry out its pledges to find a fair solution to the Palestinian cause and achieve peace and stability in the region," said Tayeb Abdel Rahim, chief secretary of the Palestinian presidency, when addressing on behalf of Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a rally held in Ramallah to mark the 46 anniversary of the establishment of Fatah movement.

Israeli PM ignores Palestinian peace map: report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 3, 2011 - 1:00am

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared on Sunday his willingness to discuss all core Mideast issues with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, he is de facto ignoring the Palestinian National Authority's efforts to present him with its peace plan, local daily Ma'ariv reported on Monday. Israeli representatives, including Netanyahu, have repeatedly turned down in recent weeks their Palestinian counterparts' requests to review official documents drafted by the PNA which detail their position on essential issues of the conflict.

Report: Netanyahu ordered Shin Bet to investigate senior aides
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Shin Bet security service a few months ago to investigate senior members of his bureau suspected of passing sensitive information to the media, Army Radio reported on Thursday. Netanyahu's suspicions were aimed at some of his closest aides and he thus made a personal request to the Shin Bet and to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to look into the matter, according to the report.

Jordan: Swift action needed for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
January 5, 2011 - 1:00am

Jordan's King Abdullah II on Wednesday urged "swift action" to help push forward the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, warning against wasting more time, a palace statement said. "Efforts for having serious and effective peace talks should continue, based on a two-state solution, which is the only way to achieve regional stability and security," the statement quoted the king as telling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the telephone. "The deadlocked peace process threatens the entire region."

Arab states work to finalize anti-settlement draft
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

A group of Arab states launched negotiations on a resolution against Israeli building in West Bank settlements and aimed to finish a final draft in the near future, chief Palestinian UN delegate, Riyad Mansour was quoted as saying by Reuters on Wednesday. "We are beginning the process of text negotiations, and we hope that we can finish this exercise as soon as possible ... to pave the way for action by the Security Council," Mansour said.

Knesset approves investigation of Israeli human rights groups
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - January 5, 2011 - 1:00am

The funding of Israeli human and civil rights groups is to be investigated amid claims they are acting against the country's interests, members of the Israeli parliament decided today – a move described by opponents as "McCarthyite". A bill brought by members of the rightwing Yisrael Beiteinu party, whose leader is the controversial foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, proposed a parliamentary commission of inquiry into groups monitoring the activities of the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank.

Protest Death Spurs Scrutiny of Israeli Tactics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Danielle Cheslow - January 5, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israeli army’s alleged killing of Jawaher Abu Rahmah, the unarmed woman who reportedly died from tear gas inhalation during a protest of Israel’s West Bank separation barrier, is putting the army’s tactics at such demonstrations under greater scrutiny, along with its moral credibility. At the same time, the army is attacking the protesters’ credibility. It is challenging accounts from Abu Rahmah’s family members and other protesters, from medical personnel at the scene and from contemporaneous press and Twitter accounts all reporting on Abu Rahmah’s fatal encounter.

Israel’s Top Military Brass Is Marching Away From the Prime Minister
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - January 5, 2011 - 1:00am

A year after Israel’s military brass was briefly jolted by scenes of banner-waving recruits protesting against settlement evacuation, there’s another round of political murmuring emerging from the ranks. This rebellion couldn’t be more different from the last one, though. These soldiers aren’t speaking out against compromise with Israel’s Arab neighbors — they’re endorsing it. And they aren’t new recruits, but some of Israel’s most renowned military leaders.

Only a canny America can force a Middle East peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Michael Young - (Opinion) January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

The Obama administration's inability to bring about a settlement between Israelis and Palestinians has prompted a search for new ideas. The latest was voiced most confidently this week by The Economist, the British news magazine.

Chile warms to a Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Matthew Chung - January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

When the latest round of direct negotiations with Israel stalled, the Palestinian Authority turned its attention to securing help some 10,000km away from the Middle East. In the past month a wave of support has emerged across Latin America as its heavyweight Brazil, along with Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Uruguay, have proclaimed they formally recognise an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders. They join about 100 countries that already recognise a Palestinian state.

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