Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Three militants are killed in an explosion at a Gaza training camp. PM Fayyad says the Palestinian state will be in the 1967 borders. Pres. Abbas visits Egypt. Hamas is challenged by more extreme Jihadists. A holy site near Nablus becomes a new flashpoint in the occupied territories. Aaron David Miller says now is not the time for diplomatic action by the US. Activists in Gaza warn Israel not to block an upcoming flotilla, but Israel says its navy is ready to board ships again. A Palestinian artist develops passport stamps. Turkey's foreign minister is highly critical of Israel in an interview with Reuters. Israeli commandos get special training for the flotilla. Hamas' founder is memorialized in a new museum. Controversial archeology continues in Jerusalem. Palestinians are planning their approach to the UN in September. Akiva Eldar says Jerusalem is already divided. FM Lieberman may be charged with corruption. Tensions are rising between Palestinian residents and occupation forces in East Jerusalem. A Knesset bill seeks to change the names of Jerusalem neighborhoods. Israel arrests 12 alleged Palestinian extremists in the West Bank. Gershon Baskin says it's crucial to salvage the two-state solution. Greg Philo says Israel successfully spins images of conflict. A majority of both Israelis and Palestinians expect a third intifada. Israeli towns want to the screen residents for "social suitability," which Palestinians say will be code for ethnic discrimination. Egypt says the opening of the Gaza border doesn't lessen Israel's responsibilities. Egyptian analysts say major changes to the relationship with Israel are unlikely under any new government. Yossi Alpher says PM Netanyahu's strategy is all about popular opinion and Ghassan Khatib says he offered no new ideas in his Washington trip.





3 killed in blast at Gaza training camp
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


Three men were killed Tuesday in an explosion at a resistance training ground in the southern Gaza Strip. Popular Resistance Committees spokesman Abu Mujahid told Ma'an that three men affiliated with the group were killed in a blast at the Abu Ataya training ground in Tel Sultan, west of Rafah. It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion but the Israeli military said it was not responsible. Abu Mujahid identified those killed as Younis Abu An-Naja, Ramzi Abu Harb, and Mahmoud Al-Arqan.


Fayyad: State will be on 1967 borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


Ramallah Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Monday that the Palestinian state would be established on all territories occupied in 1967. "On 1967 territories, there are no disputed areas. There is no A, B, or C area, nor are there H1 or H2 zones. It is all Palestinian territory that has been occupied since 1967," Fayyad said. "The independent Palestinian state will be on all these territories including the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Palestine."


Abbas in Egypt for talks with military leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 29, 2011 - 11:00pm


President Mahmoud Abbas was in Egypt on Monday for talks with the country's de facto head of state on efforts to seek UN recognition for a Palestinian state, a military source said. Abbas briefed Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi -- who heads the military council in power since president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February -- on his recent trip to Doha.


New generation of Palestinian jihadists challenges Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Globe and Mail
by Patrick Martin - (Analysis) May 28, 2011 - 11:00pm


The towering Ibn Taymiyyah Mosque, a white stucco building with blue glass, stands within sight of the Egyptian border, close to Rafah's infamous tunnels that supplied Gaza with food and arms over the past five years. The mosque is named for the 14th century Muslim scholar who combined a love of jihad with a hatred of anything unorthodox. This is the community from which Hamas sprang, where the Muslim Brotherhood ruled the roost under men such as Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the blind paraplegic preacher, and where devoted Hamas youths stared down Israeli tanks.


Prayer, politics collide on midnight pilgrimage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


A modest stone building holy to Jews in the midst of this Arab city is becoming an increasingly volatile friction point, drawing growing numbers of pilgrims on nighttime prayer visits, unnerving Palestinian residents and putting Israel's military into conflict with some of the worshippers it is meant to protect. The monthly trips by religious Jews to this largely hostile city, coordinated with Palestinian security forces, emphasize the complexity of the Holy Land's religious landscape and the sometimes deadly intersection of the sacred and the political.


The Virtues of Folding
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) May 29, 2011 - 11:00pm


"She crumbled," ace detective Phillip Marlowe observed in one of the greatest lines in Raymond Chandler's classic 1939 novel The Big Sleep, "like a new bride's pie crust." And so, come to think of it, has the Obama administration's approach to Arab-Israeli peacemaking. Thirty months in, a self-styled transformative president with big ideas and ambitions as a peacemaker finds himself with no negotiations, no peace process, no relationship with an Israeli prime minister, no traction with Palestinians, and no strategy to achieve a breakthrough.


Gaza activists warn Israel not to block new convoy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
May 29, 2011 - 11:00pm


Pro-Palestinian activists told Israel on Monday not to interfere in a planned aid flotilla to Gaza in late June, barely a year after Israeli commandos boarded an aid ship killing eight Turks and one Turkish-American. Holding a news conference on the deck of the Mavi Marmara where the May 31 2010 confrontation occurred, a coalition of 22 activist groups called on governments to ensure there was no re-run of the incident.


Palestinian makes artistic mark on passports
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Jihan Abdalla - (Analysis) May 29, 2011 - 11:00pm


It is like no other passport control on earth. No stern official sitting behind a glass wall, no scanning of travel documents, no terse questions about where you are going. Instead, a lone artist greets arriving visitors and politely asks them if they would like an entry stamp. Living in occupied territory, the Palestinians do not have the right to set up their own frontier controls. Anyone who passes through Israeli checkpoints is swiftly absorbed into the bustling streets of West Bank cities like Ramallah.


INTERVIEW-Turkey's saves ire for Israel, concern for Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Tulay Karadeniz - (Interview) May 29, 2011 - 11:00pm


Democratic governments cannot stop their citizens launching another pro-Palestinian flotilla to Gaza, Turkey's foreign minister said on Monday, a year after the storming of an aid ship by Israeli marines. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Friday for activists to be discouraged from again setting sail for Gaza, but Ahmet Davutoglu said it was not within the authority of a democracy to prevent private challenges to an illegal blockade. "No democratic country can think that they have full control over these NGOs (non-government organisations)," he said.


Israel Navy commandos undergo special training ahead of next Gaza flotilla
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


Members of the Israel Navy commando unit are currently engaged in special training meant to prepare them for a possibility that they would be called to block an international flotilla from reaching the Gaza shore in late June, the Ma'ariv daily reported on Monday. Several teams of the unit raided the Mavi Marmara, one of a six- vessel flotilla that attempted to breach the maritime blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip on May 31 last year. Nine pro- Palestinian activists were killed in the incident.


Hamas founder remembered in new museum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Ibrahim Barzak - May 29, 2011 - 11:00pm


The Hamas militant group has turned the modest home of its founder into a museum — seven years after the wheelchair-bound Palestinian cleric was killed in an Israeli airstrike as he was wheeled out of a mosque. The Sheik Ahmed Yassin museum, located in an alleyway in the rundown Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City, has become a popular destination since it opened last month. Dozens of schoolchildren and well-wishers visit each day.


Beneath Jerusalem, an underground city takes shape
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Matti Friedman - May 29, 2011 - 11:00pm


Underneath the crowded alleys and holy sites of old Jerusalem, hundreds of people are snaking at any given moment through tunnels, vaulted medieval chambers and Roman sewers in a rapidly expanding subterranean city invisible from the streets above. At street level, the walled Old City is an energetic and fractious enclave with a physical landscape that is predominantly Islamic and a population that is mainly Arab.


Palestinians plan to approach UN Security Council about statehood in July
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


The Palestinian Authority plans to approach the United Nations Security Council in July to begin the process of getting Palestine recognized as a full member of the United Nations and to assure a vote on the matter by the General Assembly in September, Haaretz has learned.


Jerusalem is already divided
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Analysis) May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


"Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at Sunday's festive cabinet meeting, held at the Tower of David, in the Old City, in honor of Jerusalem Day. In the conciliatory spirit that has recently taken hold of him, Netanyahu added: "This creates a difficulty for the Palestinians, but with creativity and good will, a solution is possible."


Draft charges: Lieberman made millions in illegal business deals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gidi Weitz - May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman set up a company in the Virgin Islands in 2001, while he was serving as infrastructure minister, according to new details of the draft indictment against him that have been obtained by Haaretz. The draft accuses Lieberman of continuing to run a worldwide business enterprise that brought in millions, including from people with business interests in Israel, while he was serving as a minister and Knesset member. He also allegedly concealed this enterprise from the relevant authorities, first and foremost the state comptroller.


Report: Tension rises between Arabs, J'lem police
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yair Altman - May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


The friction between the police and Jerusalem's Arab population has escalated considerably over the past 18 months, a report released Tuesday by the Association for Civil Rights indicates. According to the report, roughly 1,200 children were questioned on suspicion of pelting stones and 759 were arrested for suspected violations of a nationalistic nature. Charges were pressed in 226 of the cases. East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan and Issawiya were listed in the report as the most prominent sites of contention.


Jerusalem neighborhoods to get Hebrew names
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
May 29, 2011 - 11:00pm


The next time you visit Jerusalem you might not be able to walk around Mamilla, Talbiya or Holyland – but rather in the Hagoshrim, Komemiyut or Eretz HaTzvi. A new bill is aiming to refer to neighborhoods in the capital by Hebrew names only. MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) initiated the bill, which has been endorsed by many other Knesset members from both the coalition and opposition. "The purpose is to strengthen the bond to Jerusalem by enforcing the use of Hebrew names for the capital's neighborhoods where Jews reside," said Hotovely.


'Navy prepared to board flotilla ships if they don't stop'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


The Israel Navy is prepared to intercept and take control of the ships participating in the new flotilla to the Gaza Strip, a senior Navy officer said Tuesday on the anniversary of the IDF operation to stop the Mavi Marmara that ended in the death of nine Turkish nationals. "We will order the ship to stop, but if they don't, we are prepared to intercept and board the ship," a senior officer told reporters.


IDF arrests 12 Palestinian Islamic Jihad members in Jenin
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


IDF forces in coordination with the Civil Administration on Monday overnight arrested 12 wanted Palestinians in the Jenin area. The IDF Spokesman said that the detainees were senior Palestinians Islamic Jihad (PIJ) members who are suspected of "providing guidance in planning terror activities as well as transferring finances and taking an active part in the rebuilding of terror networks in the region."


Encountering Peace: Off to the UN we go
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) May 29, 2011 - 11:00pm


It is now quite evident that there can be no end to our conflict with the Palestinians, and no peace without a negotiated agreement. Yet without a fundamental change in relations between the parties, the option of a two-state solution will soon be off the table. That is my assessment with regard to the Palestinian side. Once the current Palestinian leaders in Palestine come to believe that they can no longer advance the cause of peace and end the occupation, they will resign and turn the issue over to the next generation.


Israel's PR victory shames news broadcasters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
(Opinion) May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


The propaganda battle over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reached a new level of intensity. In 2004 the Glasgow University Media Group published a major study on TV coverage of the Second Intifada and its impact on public understanding. We analysed about 200 programmes and questioned more than 800 people. Our conclusion: reporting was dominated by Israeli accounts. Since then we have been contacted by many journalists, especially from the BBC, and told of the intense pressures they are under that limit criticism of Israel. They asked us to raise the issue in public because they can't.


Majority of both Palestinians and Israeli expect new intifada
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - (Blog) May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


Two polls earlier this month gave strikingly similar results on one question: do you think a third intifada (Palestinian uprising) is looming? An Israeli poll for The Peace Index found that 70% of Jews in Israel expect a popular uprising following the expected declaration of a Palestinian state in September and its possible recognition by the UN. (62% of Israeli-Arabs also think an intifada is likely.)


Misgav Residents Say They Want To Combat Urban Sprawl, Not Exclude Arabs as Neighbors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - (Analysis) May 29, 2011 - 11:00pm


This rural, laidback municipality, spread over 44,000 acres in the Galilee hills, is home to 29 Jewish villages, six Arab Bedouin villages and one of the few mixed Jewish-Arab schools in Israel. Because of this, its residents resent being called racists. But that is just how they have been portrayed frequently in the Israeli press. Ever since the Knesset passed a law in March that gave villages such as these the right to screen who may live in them for “social suitability,” the residents of Misgav have been cited as prime examples of the law’s alleged discriminatory intent.


Egyptian diplomat: Rafah opening not excuse for less Israeli responsibility
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


Egypt's decision to open the Rafah border crossing does not absolve Israel of its obligations to the Gaza Strip, Egypt's ambassador to the Palestinian National Authority said on Tuesday. Yasser Othman told Al-Ayam, a Palestinian Newspaper, that the decision "does not in any way absolve Israel of its responsibility and obligations toward the Gaza Strip, as it remains the occupying power." Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on 28 May, easing access for Palestinians for the first time since Hamas took control of the area in 2007.


Israel nervous, but major change in Egypt relations unlikely
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
(Analysis) May 30, 2011 - 11:00pm


Before Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, bringing the Sinai Peninsula back into Egypt’s possession, Moshe Dayan, Israel’s eye patch-wearing foreign minister, had no doubt about what the deal would mean for his nation’s security. “If a wheel is removed,” he reportedly said, “the car will not run again.” In other words, if Egypt was taken away from the field of battle, the Arab world could never again pose a threat to the Jewish state.


"Other places of critical strategic and national importance"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) May 29, 2011 - 11:00pm


In his speech to the United States Congress last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was addressing three target audiences. The least important for him was the Palestinians.


No new ideas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) May 29, 2011 - 11:00pm


Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech delivered to the US Congress on May 24 held no new ideas or initiatives. Rather, it was a reiteration of the same well-known right-wing positions held by this Israeli government.





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