Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Gunmen from a faction loyal to the Syrian regime kill at least 11, and up to 20, Palestinians in a refugee camp. According to Jackson Diehl, Palestinians have shifted their demands for resuming negotiations from a settlement freeze to acceptance of the 1967 borders with land swaps as the basis for talks. The Egypt-Gaza border is reopened. After a grant from Algeria, the PA resumes paying salaries. Analysts look at difficulties facing a proposed French peace conference. Decades later, the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty continues to stir controversy. All parties are focused on European votes in the run-up to a possible Palestinian UN bid in September. A new UN report casts doubt on economic progress in the West Bank. COMMENTARY: Carmel Gould says media coverage of the conflict is becoming more balanced. Pankaj Mishra says in Palestine, as in India before it, the burden of nonviolence falls on the powerless. Tariq Alhomayed says the regimes in Syria and Iran are exploiting the Palestinian issue. Khalaf Al Habtoor says few Arabs realize the extent of Iranian-Israeli dealings at the Arab expense. Rami Khouri says PM Netanyahu is being dishonest about the refugee issue. Osama Al Sharif says Palestinians should focus on nonviolent protests against the occupation. Pierre Klochendler says Israelis are rightly concerned about the potential for another intifada after September. Yossi Alpher says there needs to be a better way of dealing with the Egypt-Gaza border. Arnaud de Borchgrave looks at conundrums facing Netanyahu.

Pro-Syrian Palestinian group kills 11 refugees
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Khaled Yacoub Oweis - June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

AMMAN (Reuters) – Gunmen from a Palestinian faction loyal to Syria shot dead at least 11 Palestinians at a refugee camp near Damascus Monday in a dispute over the group's backing for Damascus, Palestinian sources said Tuesday. Hundreds of angry refugees had tried to storm the headquarters of the Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) in Yarmouk camp on the edges of Damascus. They accused the group of sacrificing Palestinian lives by encouraging protesters to demonstrate at the Golan Heights, where several were shot by Israeli forces.

Violence at Palestinian camp funerals in Syria leaves 20 dead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Roula Hajjar - June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Funerals in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp near the Syrian capital of Damascus turned violent late Monday as clashes erupted between camp residents and a Syrian-backed Palestinian faction, leading to the deaths of as many as 20 people, according to Palestinian sources and amateur video posted on the Internet.

The Palestinians’ trick answer to Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Jackson Diehl - June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

The chief Palestinian negotiator with Israel staked out a new position Tuesday in Washington: “We want to resume negotiations,” said Saeb Erekat, on the basis of President Obama’s recent Middle East address.

Rafah crossing re-opens
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip was re-opened Wednesday morning after a four-day closure. The decision to open was made after Palestinian and Egyptian officials agreed on a set of mechanisms for the passage of Palestinian travelers. From Wednesday onward, Rafah will open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and allow an average of 550 passengers per day to cross.

PNA starts paying salaries after getting Algerian fund
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, June 8 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) will start paying its employees on Wednesday after receiving an Algerian fiscal assistance. Before evening, employees can get their salaries via ATM, and starting from Thursday, they can get it from banks, said Yousef Al- Zomor, PNA's main accountant, noting the 26.4 million-U.S.-dollar Algerian fund reached PNA's treasury Wednesday, according to the Voice of Palestine Radio. The PNA needs 150 million dollars monthly to pay for some 148, 000 employees in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

New French initiative for Israeli-Palestinian peace faces difficulties
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Adam Gonn - June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, June 7 (Xinhua) -- France has presented a new plan to break the deadlock in direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but faces opposition from both the United States and Israel. The plan envisions the 1967 lines, which existed before the Six Day War, as the borders between Israel and the future Palestinian state. The French initiative agrees mostly with a recent speech by U.S. President Barack Obama, but goes further to emphasize security for the two states, not only for Israel.

Forty-Four Years Later, Liberty Attack Provokes Passions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Arieh O'Sullivan - June 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Some alleged Israeli attack on U.S. Navy vessel was no accident The Six Day War in 1967 saw Israel vanquish its Arab enemies in a stunning defeat on land, sea and in the air. There is one event, however, that remains a blemish in Israel’s victory – the attack on the U.S. Navy ship Liberty on June 8.

Ahead of Palestinian U.N. gambit, Europe is in play
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM (JTA) – It was a sign that ties between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations remain strong despite the apparent tensions two weeks ago when the two leaders met at the White House. On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton shot down a French proposal for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that had put the Israeli leader in a quandary.

UN says West Bank economy not flourishing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Claims that the economy in the West Bank is flourishing overlook rising unemployment and a jump in inflation that has decreased purchasing power, a United Nations report said on Wednesday. In recent months, observers and officials including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have described the West Bank's economy as booming, calling it a sign of positive momentum under Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

The end of the media's Israel fixation?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Carmel Gould - (Opinion) June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab spring has had a remarkable effect on the media's appetite for Middle East news which doesn't revolve around Israel. Over the first three months of this year, correspondents usually engaged full time in counting Israeli bricks going down in the West Bank were dispatched to Tahrir Square and Tripoli, because something even bigger was happening.

In India and Israel, the burden of protest falls on the victims of injustice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Pankaj Mishra - (Opinion) June 6, 2011 - 12:00am

At a dark moment in postcolonial history, when many US-backed despots seemed indestructible, the great Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, whose centenary falls this year, wrote: "We shall witness [the day] when the enormous mountains of tyranny blow away like cotton". That miraculous day promised by the poet finally came in Egypt and Tunisia this spring. We have since witnessed many of the world's acknowledged legislators scrambling to get on the right side of history.

The Palestinians: The single currency for crises
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq al-Homayed - (Opinion) June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

Lately, many people came out to say "no to Palestinians being exploited in the crises of some Arab regimes." This was after demonstrations broke out at the Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp in Syria in protest at the Syrian regime sending Palestinian youth to the occupied Golan Heights, which led to them being killed at the hands of the Israeli army.

Israel-Iran behind the door dealings
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Khalaf Al Habtoor - (Opinion) June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

A scandal that has recently erupted in Israel concerning a private Israeli shipping and transport group — Ofer Brothers — that sold a tanker to Iran via a well-known Iranian front company and has been transporting petroleum products to and from Iran for a decade, heightens my suspicions that nothing is what it seems in the dirty world of geopolitics.

Netanyahu distorts the refugee problem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed his great deception skills again on Sunday. He stated that the clashes on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights that day proved that the Palestinians were not interested in a solution based on 1967 borders, but rather sought a solution based on 1948 borders. For once there was a nugget of truth in his comments, because he correctly mentioned the importance of 1948 in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Preventing Israel’s final solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Osama Al-Sharif - (Opinion) June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

This year’s marking of the anniversaries of Al-Nakba, the birth of Israel on usurped Palestinian land, and Al-Naksa, the Six-Day War which resulted in the occupation of the remainder of historical Palestine by Israel, have underlined one clear fact; that 63 years since the creation of Israel and 44 years after the fall of Jerusalem and other territories, the Palestinians have not given up on their rights. It’s an important element in the ever-evolving conflict which remains unresolved to this day.

September Knocks on Israeli Gates
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Pierre Klochendler - (Opinion) June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

"September 2011 is knocking on our gates," says an Israeli army officer who, under strict operation procedures, would not reveal his name. He was alluding to the United Nations General Assembly annual meeting expected to resoundingly endorse the Palestinian drive for recognition of statehood.

Time to try a new option
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Editorial) June 6, 2011 - 12:00am

The partial opening of the Rafah crossing by Egypt's military rulers, coupled with the anticipation of another Turkish-led naval flotilla seeking to breach the Gaza blockade, provide a timely opportunity to review the logic of Israel's restrictions on movement into and out of the Strip. The Egyptian move also raises the issue of Gaza's future relationship with Egypt, Israel and the West Bank.

Netanyahu’s conundrum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Arnaud De Borchgrave - (Opinion) June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

When a joint session of the U.S. Congress gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 29 standing ovations - four more than President Obama received for his last State of the Union message - there was little doubt that Israel is an integral part of the American body politic. It was a hard-line speech by an Israeli on the right of the Israeli spectrum that firmly rejected Mr. Obama's proposal for Mideast peace: The pre-1967 war frontier with minor land swaps for both sides.

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