Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Aaron David Miller, Daoud Kuttab and Yossi Alpher debate the wisdom of raising the settlement issue at the UN. Palestinians and Edmund Sanders say leaked memos show nothing new. The LA Times says Israel is consistently making its problems worse. Protesters rally in favor of Pres. Abbas. Peru becomes the latest country to recognize Palestine. Hamas urges Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East to protest. Turkey's president says Israel's flotilla report has no credibility, and relations between two countries remain strained. Israeli leaders say Israeli companies doing business with Palestinian companies that participate in the settlement goods boycott should also be boycotted. Ha'aretz says Israel has a peace partner. Occupation authorities say digging under the walls of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan is completed. Hamas leaders ban two “anti-Islamic” books. Gershon Baskin asks what PM Netanyahu really wants. The Jerusalem Post and the Guardian both say a two-state solution is still viable. Aluf Benn says Israel has a partner for peace, if it wants it, in Abbas. Uri Avnery says the creation of a Palestinian state is gaining international momentum.

Counterpoint: Palestinians and the U.N.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Aaron David Miller - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

On Jan. 21, Hanan Ashrawi, the veteran Palestinian negotiator and politician, argued on these pages (“Palestinians, America and the U.N.”) that the Palestinians are justified in raising the issue of Israeli settlements before the U.N. Security Council, and that Washington should support them. The debate is joined. A bad idea

Palestinians insist leaked memos from peace process reveal nothing new
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from PBS
by Sal Gentile - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

Leaked memos from a decade of negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian officials roiled the Mideast peace process and put the embattled Palestinian Authority on the defensive Monday. But moderate Palestinian observers and officials close to the government of President Mahmoud Abbas insisted that the documents reveal relatively little about the negotiations that isn’t already known. And if anything, they say, the records expose how uncooperative the Israeli and American governments have been throughout the process.

Documents Open a Door on Mideast Peace Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - January 25, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks over the past 17 years have operated at two levels, one public, the other behind closed doors. To the world and their own people, each side spoke of sacred, nonnegotiable demands, while in the Jerusalem hotel suites where the officials met those very demands were under negotiation.

WEST BANK: Leaks from peace talks don't show Palestinians making shocking concessions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

If there’s a lesson from Sunday's leak of alleged meeting minutes from 2008 Mideast peace talks involving Palestinian, Israeli and U.S. officials and from the previous WikiLeaks dump of U.S. diplomatic cables, perhaps it's this: Governments needn't be so afraid of having their private business aired in public.

Israel's lost weekend
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
(Editorial) January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

Even before last weekend, the news from the Israeli-Palestinian peace front was not good. The most recent round of talks fell apart months ago. The Palestinian Authority is weakened and unsure where to turn; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with terrorist incidents down and the economy growing, has little incentive to move forward. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ripped apart the opposition by leaving the Labor Party. Prospects for near-term solution: low to none.

Palestine Papers backlash? Protesters rally for Mahmoud Abbas at Al Jazeera office
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ruth Sherlock - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

Protesters stormed the headquarters of the Al Jazeera television station in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday afternoon, infuriated over the leak of confidential documents that reveal Palestinian negotiators offered Israel big concessions during peace talks over the past decade. The leak of the so-called Palestine Papers has embarrassed Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority, but some 250 supporters rallied to his defense in today's demonstration.

Peru recognizes 'free and sovereign' Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 25, 2011 - 1:00am

Peru recognized a "free and sovereign" Palestinian state Monday, joining a wave of Latin American countries. "Today the government communicated to the ambassador of Palestine in Lima recognition of the Palestinian state as free and sovereign," said Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Belaunde. The Peruvian foreign minister contacted the Palestinian ambassador to Peru, Walid Abdul-Rahim, to inform him that his country decided to recognize a Palestinian state.

Defiant Abbas says he's on 'right path'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - January 25, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas returned to a hero's welcome in the West Bank on Tuesday, making his first public appearance at home since Al-Jazeera published embarrassing documents showing him making broad concessions to Israel in peace talks.

News Analysis: Turkey-Israel relations to remain strained after Israeli flotilla report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Adam Gonn - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

After the Israeli Turkel Commission cleared the Israeli soldiers of wrongdoings during last year's deadly raid on a Turkish flotilla bound for Gaza, the relations between Turkey and Israel are expected to remain strained. The Commission, appointed by the Israeli government and headed by a retired supreme court judge to investigate the Israeli commando raid on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara in Mediterranean last year which killed nine Turkish citizens, reported its finding that the soldiers acted in accordance with international law.

Turkish president: Israeli report has no credibility
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 25, 2011 - 1:00am

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Monday that the report prepared by Israel on its attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla had no international credibility. Gul made the statement at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul prior to his departure for the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg. Replying to questions on the Israeli report, Gul said, "what Israel did has nothing to do with the international law. The report issued by Israel does not have credibility and legitimacy."

Israeli ministry calls for sanctioning local firms over joining Palestinian boycott
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel's Ministry of National Infrastructures on Sunday called for sanctioning local firms that boycott Israeli companies located in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, as a stipulation of tenders to take part in building the Palestinian city of Rawabi, near Ramallah. Minister Uzi Landau said his office would not "tolerate discrimination between different groups of citizens that is contrary to the basic values of the State of Israel."

Israel still has a partner for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) January 25, 2011 - 1:00am

On Sunday, Haaretz reported on Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's proposal to promote a long-term interim arrangement with the Palestinians. A few hours later, Al Jazeera and the Guardian published documents detailing the negotiations over the final-status arrangement held between the previous government and the Palestinian leadership headed by Mahmoud Abbas. The documentation, conducted by the Palestinian team heads, illustrates the serious and down-to-business approach of the Palestinians with regards to the central core issues - borders, Jerusalem and holy places.

Digging completed on tunnel under Old City walls in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - January 25, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israel Antiquities Authority has completed an archaeological dig of a tunnel that will enable visitors to cross under the walls of Jerusalem's Old City, not far from the Temple Mount. The tunnel, which was uncovered during excavations conducted over the past few months, was formerly used for drainage and dates back to the Second Temple. It links the City of David in Silwan with the Archaeological Park & Davidson Center, which is located near the Western Wall.

Gaza's Hamas rulers ban 2 'anti-Islamic' books
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip has banned the sale of two books by Arab writers that it said "contradict" Islam. It was the latest step by the militant group to impose its strict version of Islam in Gaza. Since seizing power in 2007, Hamas has also banned women from smoking water pipes or riding motorbikes. Culture Ministry spokesman Ehab Senwar said Monday that the books were banned after residents complained about their contents. He said the books won't be sold until a committee checks their contents.

Encountering Peace: What does Netanyahu want?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - January 24, 2011 - 1:00am

Understanding what has been leaked, the PM should move forward with current Palestinian leadership as soon as possible.

No Partial Solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) January 23, 2011 - 1:00am

The two-state solution remains viable. That is the message sent out this weekend by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Nodding to Palestinian demands to use the pre-1967 lines as a basis while at the same time ensuring that a strong majority of the 327,000 Jewish settlers presently living in Judea and Samaria would stay put, David Makovsky, a former Jerusalem Post editor and senior fellow at the institute, presented options for resolving the territorial aspects of a two-state scenario, complete with maps and statistical data.

The Palestine papers help Abbas in the diplomatic jiujitsu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Aluf Benn - January 25, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestine papers reveal that Israel has – or had – a partner for a negotiated two-state solution. They reveal that our previous government, led by Ehud Olmert as prime minister and Tzipi Livni as foreign minister, discussed a detailed partition plan involving serious give and take with its Palestinian interlocutors. Alas, the Palestine papers also reveal the lack of political will to conclude the deal, shown by the wide gaps over substantive positions, and both sides' leaning towards fruitless debating, rather than seeking a compromise.

The Palestine Papers: Despair. But we still need a deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
(Editorial) January 25, 2011 - 1:00am

Yesterday Yasser Abed-Rabbo and Saeb Erekat, senior PLO leaders, attacked al-Jazeera, which obtained the Palestine papers, for distortions and fraud, and questioned the political motives of its Qatari owners. A demonstration in Ramallah burned an al-Jazeera logo. This leak originated in the Palestinian Authority's own institutions, and al-Jazeera is a rarity in the Arab world. It was praised for its coverage of the invasion of Iraq by the very people who attack it today. It should be defended by all who want democracy in the Arab world.

Wave in favor of Palestine gathers momentum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - (Opinion) January 23, 2011 - 1:00am

PLO’s permanent delegation in Washington has been allowed to fly the Palestinian flag over its building ISRAEL IS, as we well know, the land of unlimited impossibilities. In Israel, for example, the diplomats are striking. Postmen strike. Longshoremen strike. But diplomats — the most conservative, the most establishment people? Well, in Israel it is possible. All the Foreign Office services have ceased to function. For years, these people have suffered from miserable working conditions. Their salaries are bordering on the ridiculous. So they went on strike.

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