Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinians say Israeli forces shoot a 65-year-old Gaza farmer. PM Netanyahu rebuffs Sec. Clinton's criticism of Israel's destruction of the Shepherd Hotel, while UNSG Ban deplores the move. Clinton asks Arab states to support the PA. Poor Israeli diplomacy is harming its image. The CSM looks at five crucial Jerusalem settlements. Rob Danin criticizes the demolition. Palestinians are working to persuade the US and others to support a UN resolution on settlements. More strains emerge between Netanyahu and FM Lieberman. Palestinian officials arrived in Washington. The One Voice campaign launches a “wake-up call” project on peace. Yossi Sarid says Lieberman is the new Kahane. Yagil Levy says Israeli NGOs are inadvertently entrenching the occupation. Gershon Baskin says Israel's dilemma is clearer from the diaspora. Hamas urges other extremist groups to stop attacking Israel from Gaza. The PA is encouraging Fatah officials to return to Gaza. Aryeh Cohen says Israel is responding violently to nonviolent Palestinian protests. The National says Jerusalem must be shared between Christians, Muslims and Jews. Essa Bin Mohammed al-Zedjali says international recognition of Palestine is a good thing. White House Middle East peace advisor Dennis Ross will visit Israel this week.

Gazan Reported Killed by Israeli Forces
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinians accused Israeli forces on Monday of shooting a 65-year-old Gazan on his farm near the border with Israel. The Israeli military said it had no knowledge of the shooting. The farmer’s son said that three gunshots were fired from an Israeli watchtower overlooking the family’s property, which is close to the security fence that marks the border, and that one of the bullets hit his father in the neck. Israeli forces, wary of Palestinian militants’ trying to come into Israel, have warned people in Gaza not to approach the fence.

Netanyahu rejects Clinton criticism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - January 11, 2011 - 1:00am

Rebuffing U.S. criticism of a new housing project for Jews in an Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office said Monday that the project was a private initiative in which the government "was not involved." Bulldozers tore down a wing of the former Shepherd Hotel on Sunday to make way for the project. That drew a rebuke from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said the action undermined peace efforts.

Clinton asks Arabs to oppose Iran nukes, support Palestinian government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton lobbied Arab governments on Monday to help tighten the screws on their Iranian neighbors, saying that sanctions and other measures are hurting Tehran and undermining its ability to acquire components for its nuclear program. Clinton, in the Middle East for four days of talks, also pushed oil-rich Persian Gulf states to do more to back fragile governments in the West Bank and Iraq to create stability in a region that has so frequently veered into war.

Bulldozers begin work for Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Bulldozers began tearing down a former hotel building Sunday to make way for a Jewish housing development in an Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem, pushing ahead with a contentious project that has raised concerns in Washington. The work drew a rebuke from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and sharp condemnation from Palestinian officials, further souring the diplomatic atmosphere as the Obama administration works to sustain peace efforts despite a breakdown of direct talks in a dispute over Israeli building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

ISRAEL: Poor diplomacy strikes foreign relations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - (Blog) January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel's foreign relations are suffering these days from an outbreak of poor diplomacy. Not necessarily bad; just poor. Foreign Ministry employees say they are just that, poor. Their basic salaries have been devalued by about 40% since last being updated in the early 1990s, and many of them rely on help from welfare services, say activists from the ministry workers' union.

Five controversial Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ariel Zirulnick - January 11, 2011 - 1:00am

In 2000, then-President Bill Clinton suggested that one of the thorniest issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – the division of Jerusalem to create two capitals for two states – should be decided along demographic lines. In other words, Jewish neighborhoods would be incorporated into Israel and Arab neighborhoods would become part of the future Palestinian state.

Israel hotel demolition escalates fight for East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Christa Case Bryant - January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The demolition of an East Jerusalem hotel to make way for Jewish homes in a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood has sparked concerns from Europe to Egypt, which suggested a new intifada could break out as a result. The Shepherd Hotel project will bring only 20 Jewish homes to Sheikh Jarrah, but it is at the forefront of a broader, intensely controversial Jewish campaign to establish a foothold in Arab neighborhoods circling the heart of Jerusalem.

Guest Post: A Capital For One State, or Two?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Council On Foreign Relations
(Blog) January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The Shepherd Hotel, partially bulldozed yesterday by private Israeli builders, is located just a few hundred yards from what had been my Jerusalem office until a few months ago. For the past several years, while I was based there working for the Quartet, I would pass the fenced off property daily thinking that the slightly dilapidated structure, built in the 1930s, must have once been elegant and grand. It has been fenced off and unused while its fate was being fought out in the Israeli judicial system.

US not convinced on settlements-Palestinian envoy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Louis Charbonneau - January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian U.N. envoy said on Monday that his and other U.N. delegations have yet to persuade Washington to support a Security Council push to condemn Israeli settlement work, but they will keep trying. Riyad Mansour, the permanent Palestinian observer to the United Nations, said that an initial draft resolution that condemns and calls for a halt to all West Bank settlements was delivered to the 15-nation U.N. Security Council in December.

UPDATE 1-UN's Ban "deplores" Israel demolition of hotel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Louis Charbonneau - January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The U.N. chief "deplores" Israel's demolition of the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem and said it only served to heighten tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, a U.N. spokesman said on Monday. The Shepherd Hotel, torn down as part of a settlement project first announced in 2009, was declared "absentee property" by Israel after it captured and annexed East Jerusalem. Israel views all of Jerusalem as its capital, a claim that is not recognized internationally.

Strains emerge between Netanyahu, foreign minister
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Aron Heller - January 11, 2011 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuked his combative foreign minister on Tuesday for attacking members of the Israeli leader's Likud party, pointing to growing strains within Israel's coalition government. In a rambling press conference, Avigdor Lieberman criticized Likud leaders for opposing an initiative to investigate Israeli human rights groups critical of the government. He said it was a "strange spectacle" to see Likud members protecting groups that he described as "terrorist collaborators."

Palestinian envoy to visit Washington to revive peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 11, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat announced Tuesday that he will visit Washington to discuss reviving peace talks with U.S. officials. Erekat stressed that he will not meet the Israeli envoy who will also arrive in Washington this week. The bilateral discussions which involve Erekat and U.S. State Department officials will "look into how to get out of the current impasse which resulted from Israel's rejection to halt settlement construction," Erekat told Xinhua.

Israel tomorrow: Where will the Mideast be in 2018?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Late last year, Defense Minister Ehud Barak found an unusual message posted on his Facebook profile. It was sent to him by from an individual calling himself Future Ehud Barak and signed “you from the future”. Barak was told in the message that he would soon receive a package containing very important content. “If you use it wisely… we can do amazing things together”. One can only imagine the expression on his face when he found that package, waiting for him on the doorstep of his office at the Knesset – a copy of a newspaper called Israel Tomorrow, dated January 1, 2018.

Lieberman is the new Kahane
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Sarid - January 11, 2011 - 1:00am

There is no longer any doubt. Avigdor Lieberman is the big boss of the state, the new landlord. His venom has gone to his head even as he sprays it left and right - at "terror-enabling" leftist organizations and at "finicky" rightists who, with the blind conformity of Ionesco's rhinoceroses, "prevent the right from ruling." Apparently not everyone is willing to stick his nose into Yisrael Beiteinu's open sewer, sniff and enjoy it. Today, the evil spirit sets the tone, spreading the patriot-villain's radiocactive radiation.

Israeli NGOs are entrenching the occupation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 11, 2011 - 1:00am

The Knesset's decision to probe the human rights' groups funding sources, a move motivated by the right's desire to clamp down on the organizations' activity, should be denounced on several accounts. However, the right-wing parties should be interested in continuing these organizations' activity, for the simple reason that they - albeit unintentionally - are advancing those parties' long-term interest: entrenching the occupation.

Encountering Peace: The view is clearer from here
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Many Diaspora Jewish communities are already perceived us to be on slippery slope of xenophobia, racism and witch-hunts against human rights and peace activists. I am writing from Vancouver, the first leg of my North American speaking tour. My first stop is the University of British Columbia. Its student body, like much of Canada, is a rainbow of striking diversity. The cultural environment on campus is a proud blend of pluralism and politeness, acceptance and curiosity, a thirst for knowledge and academic achievement.

Hamas trying to stop Gaza groups from firing rockets
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
January 11, 2011 - 1:00am

As Kassam lands south of Ashkelon, 'Asharq Alawsat' reports that terror groups agree not to initiate escalation, refuse to commit to ceasefire. Hamas is trying to convince groups in Gaza to stop firing rockets at Israel, according to an Asharq Alawsat report cited by Israel Radio Tuesday morning. The report was published as a rocket from the Strip landed south of Ashkelon, causing no casualties or damage. According to the report, Hamas also deployed operatives along the border with Israel in order to maintain control over the Strip.

Palestinian Authority Urging Gaza Fatah Exiles to Return Home
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Miller - January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority is quietly encouraging officials from its ruling Fatah party who fled the Gaza Strip following the rival Hamas movement’s bloody takeover in 2007 to return home. “Hamas and Fatah are both present in the Gaza Strip, and I support all Fatah people returning,” Hussam Khadr, a Fatah leader from Nablus, told The Media Line. "The party leadership should be brave and force people who left without a justified reason to return."

A Moment in Bil'in
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Aryeh Tepper - (Opinion) January 7, 2011 - 1:00am

In hindsight everyone will be able to point a certain moment or event and say: “There, then, that is when it went off the tracks.” The incident will not necessarily be a large event, the place not always monumental or even memorable. It is only in hindsight, when it comes time to mourn or to write history, that it is clarified.

Muslims, Christians and Jews must share Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) January 11, 2011 - 1:00am

Very few come to Jerusalem without deep-seated beliefs about its significance. For Muslims, Jews and Christians, Jerusalem's narrative is part of their own, relevant to their past, their faith and their future. Members of these three faiths have managed to share Jerusalem and maintain a respect for each other's beliefs for centuries at a time. Israel's insistence on control of Jerusalem as its undivided capital breaks with this tradition and makes a resolution to six decades of hostilities with the Palestinians a near impossibility.

International recognition of the Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Essa Bin Mohammed Al Zedjali - (Opinion) January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The State of Palestine is on the road to becoming a reality, whether Israel likes it or not. The writing is on the wall for the Zionist entity. What has happened in the last few days has been an eye-opener for all those who routinely hum and haw when it comes to the issue of Palestinian independence and sovereignty.

U.S. Middle East peace efforts to resume
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen - (Blog) January 3, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday that U.S. officials led by White House Middle East peace advisor Dennis Ross will come to Israel this week to try to revive the Middle East peace process. Netanyahu made the announcement speaking to members of his right-wing Likud party, adding that all the parties share one goal -- “to strengthen security and reach peace,” Reuters reports.

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