Middle East News: World Press Roundup

US diplomacy on Israeli-Palestinian peace appears stalled. An Israeli panel finds the Gaza flotilla attack to have been lawful. Egypt links Palestinian extremists based in Gaza to the bombing of a church in Alexandria. Al Jazeera releases documents purporting to show Palestinian concessions to Israel during negotiations several years ago. Intolerance is reportedly increasing in Israel. Aaron David Miller says the Obama administration must proceed cautiously. Mohammed Khatib and Jonathan Pollak say Palestinian nonviolent protests will continue despite an Israeli crackdown. FM Lieberman proposes an interim plan. A Palestinian village in "Area C" of the West Bank is cut off from the outside world. A Palestinian reporter may be tried for mocking Pres. Abbas. Akiva Eldar and Jonathan Freedland both say the leaks prove Israel has had a peace partner all along. The US says it cannot vouch for the leaks' veracity, and UN officials say they create an "inaccurate impression" of the Palestinian leadership. The Guardian purports to explain how and why the papers were released. The Washington Institute releases maps of possible land swaps. Robert Grenier says the leaks may show the peace process is over.

President Barack Obama’s efforts in the Middle East hit deep freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Ben Smith - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

For two years, the Obama White House has tried to give Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the benefit of the doubt as a prospective peace partner — viewing him as a leader who shared U.S. goals but faced tough domestic political constraints that Washington felt obliged to help counter. That’s over.

Israeli Panel Rules Flotilla Raid Legal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

An Israeli commission that examined the deadly raid on a flotilla bound for Gaza last May concluded Sunday that Israel had acted in accordance with international law when its military enforced its naval blockade by intercepting the ships in international waters.

Egypt Links Palestinians to Attack at Church
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Michael Slackman - January 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Egypt’s interior minister charged Sunday that a Palestinian extremist group with links to Al Qaeda was behind the Dec. 31 bombing outside a church in Alexandria that killed 21 people and set off days of sectarian rioting around the nation. In a nationally televised speech, the minister, Habib el-Adly, said the authorities had “conclusive evidence” linking the attack on Egyptian Christians to the Army of Islam, a militant group based in the Gaza Strip.

Word of Palestinian Concession in 2008 Roils Mideast Debate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - January 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Despite longstanding protests against the construction of Jewish developments in contested areas, Palestinian negotiators agreed to cede large tracts of Jerusalem to Israel during peace negotiations in recent years, according to a set of documents Al Jazeera says it has obtained. The materials suggest that the chief Palestinian negotiator at the time, Ahmed Qurei, “proposed that Israel annexes all settlements in Jerusalem,” except for the Jewish district known as Har Homa.

Israeli intolerance shows up on Internet, in Knesset, on the street
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - January 23, 2011 - 1:00am

The intent of the anonymous Internet video was unambiguous: "This person should be killed — and soon," read a message underneath a photo of Israel's deputy state prosecutor, Shai Nitzan. His alleged offense? "Betraying" his Jewish roots by opening a criminal inquiry into racist threats and hate speech expressed on two Israel-based Facebook pages with statements in Hebrew such as "Death to Arabs." It was the latest, and most overtly violent, sign of what many here are calling a wave of intolerance toward people of different races, religions, orientations and viewpoints.

Best Mideast option: Muddle through
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) January 21, 2011 - 1:00am

The Obama administration’s options on a major foreign policy issue, the Arab-Israeli peace process, range from bad to worse. Those options mirror the choices contained in a semi-mythic State Department memo, which lives on in the hearts of all of us who served the interests of the Republic there: option #1 go for the breakthrough; option #2 disengage, and the infamous option #3 – muddle through.

Palestinian Nonviolent Movement Continues Despite Crackdown
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Mohammed Khatib - January 21, 2011 - 1:00am

The January 1st death of Palestinian protester Jawaher Abu Rahmah from Israeli tear gas, and efforts to imprison people like us illustrate the Israeli government's intensifying crackdown on the unarmed Palestinian protest movement. Though threatened, this movement of Palestinian men, women and children, along with Israeli and international supporters, has grown too much to be easily stopped.

Abed Rabbo blasts Emir of Qatar
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

PLO executive committee member Yasser Abed Rabbo on Monday blasted the Emir of Qatar over documents leaked by the Doha-based Al-Jazeera TV network covering a decade of Israel-Palestinian negotiations. According to documents released Sunday, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erakat offered Israel huge concessions, including "the biggest Yerushalayim [Jerusalem] in history" during 2008 negotiations.

Israel FM confirms interim Palestinian state plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Matti Friedman - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel's foreign minister confirmed Monday that he has drawn up a plan for the creation of an interim Palestinian state with temporary borders in the absence of a full peace agreement. Avigdor Lieberman argued that an interim arrangement was the only option, saying the Palestinians have turned down previous Israeli offers and no agreement is possible at present. "There is no other way. We must go back to an interim agreement," he told Israel Radio, adding, "The plan is ready." He offered no details and did not say when and if the plan would be made public.

West Bank village in Area C blocked from modern life
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Omer al-Othmani - January 23, 2011 - 1:00am

For the residents of a remote Palestinian village, located near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, it seems that the hands of the clock has stopped moving. Around 1,200 people live in the village with no water or electricity supply. The first ten years of the 21st century have passed, while the villagers of Froosh Beit Dajan in southeast of Nablus still lives in the "middle ages" -- isolated, gloomy, with no sign of modern life, because it was classified as part of the Area C by Israel.

Palestinian reporter faces trial for insulting PA President Abbas on Facebook
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

Reporter who works for Al-Quds TV, which is sympathetic to Hamas, said he was held for over 50 days in Palestinian lockup after he was tagged in a Facebook image that mocked Abbas. A Palestinian reporter tagged in a Facebook image that mocked the Palestinian president said Saturday he faces trial for insulting a public figure despite already being detained for more than 50 days.

The Palestine papers: Al-Jazeera trumps WikiLeaks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

While the leaked documents on Middle East negotiations are received in Israel and in the world as incisive evidence of the moderate positions of the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas, the Hamas leadership as well as Abbas' rivals in Fatah will see the documents as additional proof of what they call the "defeatism" of the PA. Abbas is constantly treading the thin line between his will to acquire the sympathy of the Israeli and international public and his need to guard his back from the knives of his rivals at home.

Crowley: US cannot vouch for 'Palestine Papers' veracity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

State Dept. spokesman says US is reviewing leaks, adds Washington committed to two-state solution, will continue working with on core issues. Responding to Al Jazeera's release of over 1,000 PA documents relating to negotiations with Israel, US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that the US cannot verify the documents, via his Twitter account.

Serry: Leaked papers 'convey an inaccurate impression'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Lahav Harkov - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

UN coordinator responds to 'The Palestine Papers,' saying PA is committed to securing "the legitimate rights and interests" of Palestinians. The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said on Monday that the commentary on the leaked "Palestine Papers" is inaccurate. "I welcome robust political debate, but some of the commentary I have seen conveys an inaccurate impression," Robert Serry said in a statement.

The story behind the Palestine papers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ian Black, Seumas Milne - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

How 1,600 confidential Palestinian records of negotiations with Israel from 1999 to 2010 came to be leaked to al-Jazeera The revelations from the heart of the Israel-Palestine peace process are the product of the biggest documentary leak in the history of the Middle East conflict, and the most comprehensive exposure of the inside story of a decade of failed negotiations.

Palestine papers: Now we know. Israel had a peace partner
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jonathan Freedland - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

The classified documents show Palestinians willing to go to extreme lengths and Israel holding a firm line on any peace deal Who will be most damaged by this extraordinary glimpse into the reality of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process? Perhaps the first casualty will be Palestinian national pride, their collective sense of dignity in adversity badly wounded by the papers revealed today.

Washington Institute unveils land swap proposals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

A pro-Israel U.S. think tank released proposals that would reconcile allowing a majority of the settlers to stay in place with a Palestinian state through commensurate land swaps. The detailed proposal, released Jan. 20 by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, nods to longstanding Palestinian demands for a return to 1967 lines by adhering to one-to-one land swaps. Under the proposal, 68 percent to 80 percent of settlers would remain in place, and the Palestinian state would receive Israeli lands adjacent to the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Desert and parts of the West Bank.

The Palestine Papers - Risks for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera Arabic
by Robert Grenier - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

The overwhelming conclusion one draws from this record is that the process for a two-state solution is essentially over.

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