Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Egypt maintains some real restrictions on the Gaza border. Egyptian gas is still not being delivered to Israel. The CSM looks at the importance of Jerusalem to peace. Israeli army arrests several Palestinians in the West Bank. French foreign minister looking for ways to revive the peace process. Hamas already accuses Pres. Abbas of breaking the unity agreement. Palestinians estimate $5 billion is needed for Gaza reconstruction. PM Netanyahu repeats that Jerusalem will never be divided. Donniel Hartman says time is not on the side of peace. Larry Derfner says Israeli security anxieties are overblown. Mohammad Darawish says Israel must do more for its Arab citizens. The US says it will not participate in the upcoming Durban III Conference. Israel considers its options on a Palestinian UN bid. Tariq Alhomayed says Arabs have underestimated Israel’s business dealings with Iran and should not be duped by Tehran’s rhetoric. Randa Takieddine says the French FM should listen carefully to Palestinians, especially PM Fayyad and civil society groups. Daoud Kuttab says Palestinians are going to the UN because they lack other leverage. Ghassan Khatib says polls show consistent support for the Arab Peace Initiative.

Open Border at Gaza Is Not So Open, Palestinians Find
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram - June 1, 2011 - 12:00am

Days after Egypt, with great fanfare, opened its border permanently with Gaza, new restrictions have been imposed on Palestinians who want to cross, and the area’s Hamas rulers spoke on Wednesday with frustration and anger. Only three buses, carrying a total of 150 passengers, entered the Egyptian hall at the Rafah crossing on Wednesday, while five others remained stuck on the Palestinian side, Hamas officials said two hours before closing.

Dispute Grows as Egyptian Gas Is Still Not Flowing to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - June 1, 2011 - 12:00am

More than a month after saboteurs blew up an Egyptian pipeline supplying natural gas to Israel, the line is repaired but gas is not flowing and foreign shareholders of the company suspect politics to be the reason. They are threatening legal action against Egypt. American and Thai shareholders in the pipeline have demanded urgent consultations to avoid resorting to binding arbitration based on trade treaties. One letter to Egyptian ministries from an American company with an Israeli chairman threatens a lawsuit of $8 billion.

Jerusalem Day: Why the Holy City is at the crux of the peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Christa Case Bryant, Ariel Zirulnick - (Analysis) June 1, 2011 - 12:00am

Today is Jerusalem Day in Israel, the anniversary of the day in the 1967 war when Israel took the Old City and East Jerusalem from Jordan. More than 40 years later, Jerusalem remains one of the largest hurdles to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel insists Jerusalem is its ‘undivided and eternal’ capital while Palestinians insist on securing a capital in East Jerusalem. Here are three reasons why Jerusalem is so important to both sides. One capital city wanted by two nations

Hamas, Fatah leaders detained in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 2, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli forces detained two members of the Palestinian Legislative Council from the Hamas and Fatah blocs overnight on Wednesday, following raids on their homes in Nablus and Tulkarem, official sources told Ma'an. Fatah lawmaker Hussam Khader, a long-time proponent of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, was taken from his home at 2 a.m., officials said. Witnesses said 50 Israeli military jeeps had arrived in the Balata refugee camp, surrounded the home and searched its contents before taking Khader to an unknown location.

French FM arrives in Israel; asserts September deadline
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 2, 2011 - 12:00am

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe arrived in Jerusalem late Wednesday on an "exploratory mission" aimed at reviving the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians through a conference in Paris. "We are convinced ... that maintaining the status quo in the Middle East would be a serious mistake. Everything is changing in this region, in Egypt, in Syria, so we must move to regain the initiative," Juppe said after meeting President Mahmoud Abbas in Rome.

Hamas strongman accuses Abbas of breaching reconciliation pact
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Emad Drimly, Osama Radi - June 2, 2011 - 12:00am

A high-ranking Islamic Hamas movement official on Wednesday accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of breaching the reconciliation agreement, which was signed in Cairo and sponsored by Egypt on May 4 between the movement and Fatah party. Mahmoud al-Zahar, Hamas strongman in Gaza, said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua that President Abbas has made a mistake " when he tried to make the new government, which should be formed after signing the agreement, as his own government, instead of a government of national accordance."

Interview: Gaza needs 5 bln USD for reconstruction process: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Emad Drimly, Osama Radi - June 2, 2011 - 12:00am

Head of Palestinian Contractors Union Osama Kaheil said Wednesday that the Gaza Strip is in need of five billion U.S. dollars for the reconstruction process including the infrastructure and the economical sectors that had been paralyzed for years. Kaheil said in an interview with Xinhua that the Gaza Strip is not only in need of reconstructing what the Israeli occupation had destroyed during the three-week Israeli operation Cast Lead in late 2008, adding "the Gaza Strip is in need of comprehensive reconstruction process that includes all sectors."

PM: Jerusalem will never again be divided
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - June 1, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Wednesday at an official ceremony marking Jerusalem Day that Jerusalem will never be divided again. "We won't go back to the days we had to climb up the Terra Sancta building to watch the Old City; we'll never go back to a divided, lacerated city, because the day Jerusalem was reunified – the wound healed," he said. The event, held at the Ammunition Hill, was attended by President Shimon Peres, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, as well as other officials.

Time not on our side
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Donniel Hartman - (Opinion) June 1, 2011 - 12:00am

The dust has settled on the Obama-Netanyahu summit, speeches, counter-speeches, and instant, predictable analyses. Leaving our politics aside, American and Israeli, we now have an opportunity to go beyond performance analyses and the allocation of blame or praise and reflect on where we stand and where we might go. From the perspective of the majority of Israeli voters, the end result was viewed as a major accomplishment for Prime Minister Netanyahu. An end result was the bringing back of a measure of complexity into the Israeli-Palestinian discussion.

A word on your Arab citizens
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Mohammad Darawshe - (Opinion) June 1, 2011 - 12:00am

The prime minister’s mention of Israeli Arabs in Congress last month was a step in the right direction but mere mention, without addressing any of the challenges they face, certainly wasn’t enough. Dear Prime Minister, I would like to congratulate you on your decision to mention the Arab citizens of Israel in your speech to the US Congress last month. Clearly, one of the most significant indicators of the quality of a democracy is the status of its minorities. Like you, I too believe it is important to look at Israeli society and ask: Does the Arab minority in Israel enjoy equal rights?

Ours is not to reason why
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) June 1, 2011 - 12:00am

No, no, Egypt can’t open its border with Gaza – the terrorists will come in and threaten our security, our very existence! So last week Egypt opens its border with Gaza, and suddenly it’s no big deal, maybe we’re better off, now the Gazans won’t be able to complain so much that we’re starving them. Never mind.

U.S. won’t participate in Durban III, State Dept. says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
June 1, 2011 - 12:00am

The United States will not participate in the United Nations-sponsored Durban III conference this September, the State Department said. In a letter to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Joseph Macmanus, acting assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, confirmed that the United States would not attend the conference, which in its previous iterations has been a forum for anti-Semitism and anti-Israel rhetoric. JTA obtained a copy of the letter.

Israel considers options on Palestinian statehood bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Linda Gradstein - June 1, 2011 - 12:00am

While U.S. officials are running a full-court diplomatic press against the Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition of statehood this September and officials at international Jewish organizations are trying to convince foreign leaders to oppose statehood, the Israeli government appears to be taking a different approach: acceptance. On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a Knesset committee that there is no way to stop the U.N. General Assembly from recognizing Palestinian statehood.

The Israelis in Iran!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq al-Homayed - (Editorial) June 1, 2011 - 12:00am

We know that pragmatism is a part of politics, and that politicians deal with the public along the lines of "do as I say, not as I do". Yet this is all we know today with regards to the politics of our region, where Israeli ships, commercial or otherwise, have been anchored in Iranian ports for years, and this is another matter altogether!

Juppe's Visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Randa Takieddine - June 1, 2011 - 12:00am

There is weak optimism about the results of the visit by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe the day after tomorrow to Israel, where he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Juppe will also visit Ramallah, where he will meet with the Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, after meeting tomorrow evening with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Rome. No matter how strong Juppe's personality is, or the widespread respect he enjoys in France and the rest of the world, the problem lies in the obstinate positions of Netanyahu.

What leverage to reach Palestinian statehood?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) June 2, 2011 - 12:00am

Negotiators the world over are taught that in order to maximise one’s bargaining position, they should always have credible alternatives.

Consistent support
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Editorial) June 1, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab Peace Initiative adopted at an Arab summit conference in 2002 and reiterated in another summit in 2007 was never controversial among Palestinians in the occupied territories.

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