Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Hanan Ashrawi And Ian Williams both say the US should support a Security Council resolution condemning settlement activity, but the US says it is unhelpful and faces the prospect of vetoing language with which it basically agrees. PM Fayyad's strategy confounds both Israelis and Palestinians. The FBI has been investigating AIPAC for espionage for many years. Israel expresses concern about instability in Lebanon. The French FM is accosted in Gaza. Elliott Abrams says Pres. Obama needs to seriously reconsider his whole Middle East approach. The Palestinian flag is raised that the PLO mission in Washington. Hussein Agha and Robert Malley catalog the difficulties facing the peace process. Israeli soldiers kill an armed Palestinian militant. The OIC hosts Israeli-Palestinian sports talks. UK officials consider PM Netanyahu "untrustworthy." Eitan Haber says a Palestinian state is coming soon. Racism and hatred is a reportedly spreading quickly among Israeli students. US officials Dennis Ross and David Hale are in Israel to discuss security concerns. The PA pledges to stop court marshaling civilians. A senior Israeli military figure is being investigated for massive land theft.

Palestinians, America and the U.N.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Hanan Ashrawi - (Opinion) January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinians are well within their rights to bring the issue of Israeli settlements and their illegality before the United Nations Security Council. Our decision to do so follows both Israel’s refusal to cease all settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, and America’s failure to ensure Israel’s compliance with international law and existing agreements. The United States should support such a move, not block it.

Leader confounds both sides with plans for Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - January 21, 2011 - 1:00am

No one seems to know what to make of him. Israelis puzzle over the cleanshaven technocrat who denounces violence. Palestinians see an outsider who never cut his teeth on the tear-gas-choked streets of intifadas. Now, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad hopes to confound expectations even further, pursuing what some see as a quixotic goal of laying the groundwork for an independent country by August. No matter that peace talks are stalled. If Palestinians build the trappings of a state, he believes, a real state will follow.

FBI took long look at AIPAC activities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Eli Lake - January 18, 2011 - 1:00am

FBI agents thought they were hunting a spy for Israel in 2004 when they sought to raid the offices of a top lobbyist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by The Washington Times. The 27-page document, which is still under court seal, provides an extraordinary look at what the agents considered to be espionage activity in a nearly five-year counterintelligence probe of one of the pro-Israel lobby's top officials.

Israel concerned about possible fallout from Lebanon government split
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

The Lebanese political crisis, triggered by Hezbollah's departure from government last week, has Israel worried that the situation could become violent and spill over the Israel-Lebanon border. Regional efforts to mediate between Prime Minister Saad Hariri's bloc and the Hezbollah-led opposition failed today, with Turkey and Qatar giving up a day after Saudi Arabia pulled out.

French FM accosted on her way into Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
January 21, 2011 - 1:00am

A crowd of furious Palestinian protesters have tried to block the French foreign minister on her way into the Gaza Strip, jumping on her vehicle and lying on the road. Dozens of protesters surrounded Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie's convoy and tried to block her passage through the Erez Crossing from Israel on Friday. The protesters were relatives of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons. They were angry about comments made by Alliot-Marie on Thursday in support of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held by Hamas militants in Gaza since 2006.

Obama at Half Time: Two Years in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Council on Foreign Relations
by Elliott Abrams - (Blog) January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

There will be many assessments of what President Obama has achieved in the Middle East during his two years as President, and few will be positive.

PLO Flag Raised in Washington, D.C.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CBN News
January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) raised its official flag for the first time outside its Dupont Circle offices in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. The Obama administration granted permission to fly the flag last July, despite the mission's lack of embassy status. PLO official Maen Ariekat raised the flag at a ceremony marking the occasion. "It's about time this flag - that symbolizes the struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination and statehood - be raised in the United States," Ariekat said.

Who's Afraid of the Palestinians?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Hussein Agha, Robert Malley - (Book Review) January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

During the last two years, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has suffered serious setbacks. Other than for a brief, fleeting moment, Israelis and Palestinians have had no direct political contact and there is little hope, for now at least, that this will change. Any faith Israelis and Palestinians may have in the possibility of an agreement is collapsing.

Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian gunman - army
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian gunman opened fire at Israeli soldiers, who shot back and killed him, near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank on Thursday, the military said. The incident seemed likely to fuel concern in Israel that Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the occupied West Bank, which have largely subsided in the past few years, could increase if peace talks remain frozen. Major Itamar Ashkenazi, a deputy battalion commander in the area where the shooting took place, said the attacker was on a donkey when he approached the guard post near the Jewish settlement of Mevo Dotan.

Palestinians defy US with Security Council request
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian request to have the U.N. Security Council condemn Israeli settlements looks at first like another declarative gambit that changes little on the ground. But much more is at stake. Palestinians hope their Security Council initiative will give them an idea of how much support they have for future moves. These include seeking international recognition of a Palestinian state as early as this fall.

IOC hosts Israeli-Palestinian sports talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Graham Dunbar - January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli and Palestinian Olympic officials met Thursday to begin building closer ties and help send stronger teams to the 2012 London Games. IOC President Jacques Rogge brokered a five-hour gathering at Olympic headquarters that addressed lifting Israeli travel restrictions to allow Palestinian athletes and coaches more access between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinian athletes were promised IOC funding and Israeli support to prepare for the London Olympics.

U.S.: Possible UN censure of settlements 'not helpful' to peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be resolved through direct peace negotiations, not by submitting resolutions to the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlements, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday. The United States has opposed a move by Arab countries to bring a resolution condemning the settlement, but has not said it would use its veto to block passage.

Ex Blair aide: U.K. believed Netanyahu was untrustworthy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair did not trust then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a former Blair aide was quoted as writing in his newly published diaries on Thursday, adding that the former premier also suspected he was being recorded by Israeli security during a visit to the country. In the second volume of his diaries, former Downing Street communications chief Alistair Campbell wrote candidly of the British view of then, and current, Prime Minister Netanyahu, saying Foreign Office officials had nicknamed Netanyahu "the armor-plated bullshitter."

Settlement issue isn’t Israel's problem, it's Obama's
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - (Opinion) January 21, 2011 - 1:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday the U.S. administration doesn’t see the proposed resolution which demands an immediate freeze of all construction at the settlements, discussed at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, as helpful to the peace process. In fact, it’s mostly unhelpful to the Obama Administration.

Palestinian state looming
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Eitan Haber - (Opinion) January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

In recent weeks, the Israeli and global media have been publishing a series of boring, repetitive stories: Ecuador has recognized the Palestinians state. Argentina has recognized the Palestinian state. And Brazil as well. And Bolivia too. And, ouch, also Uruguay. What’s going on here? It’s the same boring story every time, with only the country’s name changing. Big deal. Who cares about Uruguay anyway? And Bolivia, come on! As to Brazil – well, we overcame Pharaoh; we shall overcome Brazil as well. And what about Argentina? Did they even solve their own Maradona problems?

Student's answer on civics test: Death to Arabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Tomer Velmer - January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

Three weeks after the publication of a petition calling on Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar to take action against racism spreading within schools and the general public, teachers told Ynet about the harsh reality they are forced to face daily.

PM: Israel will work to disconnect Gaza from power grid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority’s insistence on confronting Israel in international forums at every opportunity cannot go on forever, and will lead to a breakdown in ties between Israel and the PA, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a meeting Thursday with new French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot- Marie. He told his French counterpart that there was a “dangerous gap” in relations between Israel and the PA.

Obama must call Israeli settlements illegal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
(Opinion) January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

"To veto or not to veto?" That is the agonising question that has President Barack Obama pacing the battlements of the White House waiting to dodge the slings and arrows of outraged Aipac. Provoked by the latest demolition in East Jerusalem, no fewer than 120 countries have sponsored a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity. Hillary Clinton has also condemned it as "illegitimate", but the resolution introduces precision by terming the settlements as "illegal".

Israel's top soldier faces 'land grab' investigation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Aron Heller - January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

Government watchdog investigation into an alleged land grab by Israel's incoming military chief could threaten the appointment of the decorated general, a justice official said. After winning an internal battle to become Israel's top soldier, Maj Gen Yoav Galant must answer the state comptroller's inquiry into how he expanded his large property in northern Israel. A hearing is scheduled for next week.

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