Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel disputes Syria’s account of the deadly Golan border incident. Palestinians accuse settlers of torching a mosque in the occupied West Bank, and PM Netanyahu condemns the attack. 14 Palestinians are reportedly killed in a refugee camp in Syria. Palestinian officials deny that Washington meetings are indirect talks with Israel. The Media Line looks at legal obstacles to a Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN. Robert Fisk of the Independent purports to have new details on the Palestinian reconciliation agreement. Israel’s plans to forcibly relocate 30,000 Bedouins is denounced as “cruel.” COMMENTARY: Sefi Rachlevsky says Meir Dagan is being subjected to unfair attacks. Ha’aretz says Israel had a tactical victory and a strategic defeat at the Golan border. Gershon Baskin says that whatever happens in September, a third violent intifada must be prevented at all costs. Joseph Dana says Israel’s occupation looks permanent. The Jordan Times and Gulf News say Israel has again shown its true colors at the Golan border. Palestinian nonviolent activist Bassem Tamimi addresses the Israeli military court which is trying him. Ephraim Sneh says the Palestinian and Israeli right-wings stand against a two-state solution. Ghassan Khatib says all Palestinians are affected by the Gaza blockade. Issam Younis says Israel’s claims to no longer be responsible for Gaza are false.

Israel Disputes Toll of Border Clashes, Saying Syria Has an Ulterior Motive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - June 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli military officials on Monday disputed the casualty figures announced by Syria a day earlier, after Israeli forces fired on protesters who had tried to breach the Syrian frontier border with the Israeli-held Golan Heights. The discrepancy in numbers underlined the messages being conveyed by each side. According to the Syrian version of events, Israel shot to kill unarmed demonstrators who were trying to reclaim their lost lands — whether in the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war, or in areas that are now part of Israel.

Settlers set fire to mosque near Ramallah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

A Ramallah-area mosque was torched overnight and its remains graffitied with racist anti-Arab slogans; witnesses said Israeli settlers were seen setting the fire at 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Al-Mughayyir's village council said the building was badly damaged, and its contents incinerated, drawing condemnation of the third mosque torching in three years. Eyewitnesses told Ma’an that a group of Israeli settlers arrived in the village before dawn, and shortly after they saw flames rising into the sky.

Report: 14 Palestinians killed in Syria camp
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Fourteen Palestinian refugees were reported killed and another 43 injured on Monday, a report from the Palestinian government's WAFA news said. The victims were part of a massive group in Al-Yarmok, an unofficial Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian capital of Damascus, mourning the death of between 10-23 Palestinians by Israeli fire on the Golan Heights ceasefire line the day before.

Netanyahu condemns West Bank mosque attack as 'criminal act'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson, Barak Ravid - June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday condemned the suspected 'price tag' attack by settlers of a mosque in Maghayer village near Ramallah, calling it a "criminal act". An initial investigation has shown that in the early morning hours of Tuesday the settlers rolled burning tires into the mosque, which caused some rugs to catch fire. The mosque was also sprayed with graffiti. "I hope the arsonists will be located as soon as possible and will be punished accordingly," Netanyahu said, adding "this is a criminal act that is meant to provoke."

Israelis, Palestinians holding separate covert talks with Washington
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya, Barak Ravid - June 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli and Palestinian delegates are separately holding covert talks with White House officials in Washington in an effort to reignite peace talks. The U.S. hopes the talks will hamper the Palestinian effort to gain United Nations recognition in a vote in September. The Palestinians plan to unilaterally seek UN recognition of statehood in September -- a step Israel strongly opposes fearing it could end up isolated internationally.

Palestinian Statehood Drive Fraught With Obstacles
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Rosenberg - (Analysis) June 6, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian drive to win United Nation recognition of statehood faces immense political and legal obstacles, scholars said at a conference on Monday. But they said that even if they succeed, the practical impact will be minimal. “The world already sees us as an occupier of Palestinian territory. What would be the big the change?” said Robbie Sabel, who teaches international law and the Hebrew University and advised the Israeli Foreign Ministry. “Since the world is going to accept a Palestinian state, I suggest to Israel that since we can’t beat them, we should join them.”

Revealed: the untold story of the deal that shocked the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Robert Fisk - June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Secret meetings between Palestinian intermediaries, Egyptian intelligence officials, the Turkish foreign minister, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal – the latter requiring a covert journey to Damascus with a detour round the rebellious city of Deraa – brought about the Palestinian unity which has so disturbed both Israelis and the American government. Fatah and Hamas ended four years of conflict in May with an agreement that is crucial to the Paslestinian demand for a state.

Israel's plan to forcibly remove 30,000 Bedouin slammed as cruel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Human rights groups have condemned an Israeli government plan to forcibly remove 30,000 Bedouin Arabs from their homes in southern Israel, calling it "cruel and discriminatory". Government ministers are expected to approve a programme that will cost at least six billion shekels (Dh6.5bn) and calls for the relocation of the members of the Arab minority to larger Bedouin communities in the Negev desert, according to reports released at the weekend.

False messiahs in Israel's capital
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Sefi Rachlevsky - (Opinion) June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

This summer, 1,000 rockets a day are expected to land on the inhabitants of central Israel for an undetermined period of time, with thousands of casualties on the cards. This is the reality that emerges from the assessments of the minister for the homefront, the real front, Matan Vilnai and from the recent warnings voiced by newly retired Mossad chief Meir Dagan.

Readiness and blindness in the Golan Heights
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

The IDF proved this week that it does a good job preparing for the previous war. It may only be an isolated incident, whose character was more civilian police-oriented than military, but anyone who found flaws in the intelligence and military systems on Nakba Day (May 15 ) must admit the lessons were learned, the forces were deployed and the mission was accomplished. On Sunday, Naksa Day, the Israel Defense Forces succeeded in blocking hundreds of demonstrators who, surrounded by cameras, stormed the border fences in the Golan Heights, carrying flags, posters and loudspeakers.

Encountering Peace: September mania
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) June 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Many people, including Israelis and Palestinians, are asking me what will happen after September. The most accurate answer I can think of is “October.” The idea that whatever happens in September will produce immediate changes on the ground is irresponsible because it raises expectations to dangerous levels. The most important thing that should not happen after September is a new round of violence. That should be avoided at all costs, and both sides must take responsibility so that it does not occur.

The No-Longer Temporary Occupation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Joseph Dana - (Opinion) June 5, 2011 - 12:00am

One particular success of Israel’s 44-year control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been the government’s ability to convince the Israeli population of the temporary nature of the occupation. Every sector of Israeli society, except religious settlers and the military establishment, understand the occupation to be an ephemeral security measure necessary only in the absence of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Israel has shown its true colours again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
(Editorial) June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

The 44th anniversary of Al Naksa, or the Six-Day War, was marred by Israeli atrocities when at least 20 Palestinian and Syrian protesters were shot dead by the Israeli army near the occupied Golan Heights. The reasoning? Israel was "left with no choice but to open fire" at the protesters who simply wished to draw attention to an ongoing tragedy. Once again, protesters whose sole aim from this exercise was to create awareness of Israel's unjust occupation not just of Palestinian territories but also of Golan Heights have had to pay the price.

Aggressive, again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel’s killing on Sunday of scores of Syrian demonstrators approaching the armistice line on occupied Golan Heights is proof, again, of Tel Aviv’s thirst for Arab blood. Hundreds of unarmed Syrian protesters held a peaceful demonstration to express their rejection of the more than four-decades-long Israeli occupation of Syrian territory. Trying to cross the ceasefire line through the barbed wire, to enter the Golan Heights, in a repeat of last month’s demonstrations in observance of the Nakbeh, the protesters were met with fire from the Israeli troops.

Non-violence activist addresses Israeli military court
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Non-violence activist Bassem Tamimi's address to Israel's Ofer military court during his trial for organizing protests in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. A military judge refused to allow Tamimi to read his full statement in court. Your Honor, I hold this speech out of belief in peace, justice, freedom, the right to live in dignity, and out of respect for free thought in the absence of Just Laws.

Weakening the chances for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ephraim Sneh - (Blog) June 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Applying the term "blockade" to the Gaza Strip involves not a little hypocrisy. It ignores both the nature of the regime there and what that regime has done in Gaza in its four years in power.

A radicalizing factor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Blog) June 6, 2011 - 12:00am

The recent developments in Egypt that led to changes in the Egyptian regime, together with the reconciliation of Fateh and Hamas, have once again brought to the surface the Israeli blockade of Gaza and possible ways of lifting it. The most recent illustration of this was Egypt's decision to open the Rafah crossing with Gaza to travelers, which seemed to be an incentive for Gaza's rulers, Hamas, to proceed with the reconciliation pact.

Israel bears responsibility
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Issam Younis - (Blog) June 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Since 1967, Israel has controlled the movement of individuals and goods in the Gaza Strip through force, military orders, and executive measures and policies. This "over-control" has only served the interests of Israel, connecting the Israeli economy to the Gaza Strip through its six crossings.

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