Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Hamas blames PM Netanyahu for a snag in prisoner exchange talks, and is reportedly considering taking a back-seat in any new government. Hamas and Fatah officials will meet again in Cairo next week. The Palestinian leadership is reportedly divided over the wisdom of a UN statehood bid in September. Former Mossad chief Zvi Zamir expresses concern that Israeli forces have opened fire on unarmed demonstrators. Palestinian officials say they will continue to insist on a complete settlement freeze as a condition for renewed negotiations. International activists play a growing role in the occupied territories. The majority of Palestinians want PM Fayyad to continue in office. The BBC looks at the Palestinian youth movement in Gaza. Olivia Snaije recounts a bicycle trip through the occupied territories. COMMENTARY: Gideon Levy says Israel can’t complain about the Syrian government shooting protesters when it does the same at the border. Ari Shavit says Dagan is right about the need for peace with Palestinians but wrong in some of his comments on Iran. D. Bloomfield says the French peace conference proposal is a good opportunity for Pres. Abbas. Larry Derfner says the Israeli military should not shoot unarmed protesters. JJ Goldberg says Israel’s leaders need to listen to Dagan. Eric Alterman says only Republicans benefit from the rift between Pres. Obama and Netanyahu. George Hishmeh says Arab-Americans should organize to counter Israeli propaganda.

AP Exclusive: Hamas considers hands-off approach
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - June 9, 2011 - 12:00am

After four years of turbulent rule in the Gaza Strip, the Islamic militant group Hamas is weighing a new strategy of not directly participating in future governments even if it wins elections — an approach aimed at avoiding isolation by the world community and allowing for continued economic aid.

Hamas, Fatah to meet next week in Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

Delegates from rival Palestinian factions will meet in Cairo next week for more talks after they have agreed to reconcile, an official said Wednesday. The representatives of Hamas and Fatah will talk next Tuesday about the formation of a technocratic government in accordance with the Egypt-brokered agreement that was signed early last month, said Azzam Al-Ahmad, an official from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party. "The meeting will look into starting steps to implement the agreement," Al-Ahmad told Xinhua.

Palestinian leadership divided over plan to seek UN recognition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - June 9, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian leadership is sharply divided over the unilateral move to seek recognition from the United Nations General Assembly in September. While Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is determined to go through with the move, a group of senior Palestinians have said in closed conversations that they oppose it because they believe seeking recognition from the United Nations could do more harm than good to their cause.

Ex-Mossad chief: Purity of arms eroded
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
June 9, 2011 - 12:00am

Zvi Zamir, Israel's Mossad chief in the years 1968-1974 is criticizing the government over its way of handling the 'Naksa Day' events which saw 23 Syrian protestors killed. In an interview with Israel Army Radio, Zamir attacked the decision to open fire at the Syrian protestors who tried to breach the border fence and said: "I'm concerned by the fact that soldiers, my grandchildren, are firing at unarmed people."

Erekat: Settlement freeze a must
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - June 9, 2011 - 12:00am

A settlement construction freeze is still a precondition for Palestinian talks with Israel, senior Fatah official Saeb Erekat told Ynet Wednesday. Erekat denied an earlier Washington Post report whereby the Palestinian Authority is willing to renounce the building freeze demand. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat backs Mideast policy speech given by Barack Obama, which urges return to 1967 borders with land exchanges, but in a new twist says nothing of halting West Bank settlement activity

The conflict's new players
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - June 9, 2011 - 12:00am

Naksa Day, 11 am. Tensions are already palpable near the Qalandiya checkpoint. IDF soldiers equipped with crowd dispersal means are confronted by dozens of Palestinians including a small group of youngsters with gas masks and Palestinian flags. Two tall European-loking girls suddenly emerge from the crowd and approach the photographers standing in between the parties. Behind them, and unknown to the two, two Palestinians emerge and hurl bottles full of foul-smelling material at the soldiers and escape. The soldiers respond by firing shock grenades. The conflict begins.

Palestinians believe Fayyad is the man for the job
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - June 9, 2011 - 12:00am

A majority of Palestinians wants a government of independent figures and believes that Salam Fayyad is the most appropriate figure to head the government, according to a public opinion poll published on Wednesday. Two-thirds of the respondents are optimistic regarding the support from world countries to the Palestinians in September, when the Palestinian Authority plans to ask for recognition of a state along the pre-1967 lines, the poll by the Jerusalem Media & Communications Center showed.

Palestinian youth long for freedom and unity in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Tim Whewell - June 9, 2011 - 12:00am

In the front room of a house in the tightly-packed concrete slum that is Gaza's Jabaliya refugee camp, they are learning to dance. A group of young teenage girls are stepping high in the air, hands on hips, as they practice the debka. Traditionally, it was performed by boys and girls together. But since the Islamist movement Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, mixed dancing has been stopped.

Between warm and fuzzy, and dangerous in the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Olivia Snaije - (Analysis) June 7, 2011 - 12:00am

We left Jenin early on our first day of cycling through Palestine. After an inaugural hill, we crossed a main thoroughfare where the terrain flattened, and whizzed along under a brilliant sun, the road lined with olive trees as well as multicolored fields of thistles, poppies, marigolds and daisies. Our guide, Nidal, drove ahead slowly, as if he were a Tour de France team car. At one point he stopped as a tortoise ambled across the road. Several other times during the week he would stop to pick some of us up when the rolling hills started to seem like mountains.

Syrian slaughter and Israeli restraint
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) June 9, 2011 - 12:00am

Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is slaughtering dozens of unarmed Syrian demonstrators every day. In Israel we cluck our tongues in shock and say he is "slaughtering his own people," but when the Israel Defense Forces killed 23 unarmed Syrian demonstrators in one day, we boasted that the IDF "acted with restraint."

Dagan was right about the Palestinians but wrong about Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Opinion) June 9, 2011 - 12:00am

My gut feeling is that Meir Dagan is mistaken about Iran. The former Mossad chief recently said it would be stupid for Israel to attack Iran. For three years there was great tension in the international community over the possibility that Israel would launch a surprise attack. But then just last year, the tension subsided. The success of the clandestine struggle against Iran and of economic sanctions against the regime have put off the moment of truth. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are not as crazy as some tend to present them.

The French connection
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

Mahmoud Abbas has a penchant for climbing out on limbs and expecting others to get him down. The first time wasn’t all his fault. When newly minted President Barack Obama demanded Israel freeze settlements as a path to the peace table, Abbas, who had never set such conditions previously, could not agree to less. Trouble is, Israel rejected it and Obama soon walked away, leaving Abbas hanging.

IDF must not shoot unarmed people
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

Here’s a tip on how to deal with these unarmed Palestinians in Syria (or elsewhere) racing fearlessly in broad daylight at our well-defended borders: We should stop killing them. We should stop shooting them, even in the legs, because people can and do die from such wounds, and some almost certainly did near the Syrian border on “Naksa Day” at the start of the week.

Israel’s ‘Mr. Security’ Goes Rogue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

Official Jerusalem has been thrown into a world-class tizzy this spring by what some top figures are calling a serious security breach, committed by one of the highest-ranking Israeli officials ever accused of endangering the Jewish state. There have been cabinet-level calls for his indictment. The Knesset is considering draconian new legislation to outlaw the sort of leak he perpetrated. It looks like serious stuff.

The Republicans Heart Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Eric Alterman - (Opinion) June 8, 2011 - 12:00am

When a group of student radicals took over the Columbia University administration building in 1968, they issued a series of demands having to do with university policies. The administration wisely ignored these demands, however, because it understood that, in actuality, they were not terribly relevant to the problem it had on its hands. As radical student leader Mark Rudd had explained even then, these were mere excuses for the group’s violent power grab.

Countering Israeli propaganda
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) June 9, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have had a point when he claimed that Syria allowed Palestinian youth to jump the border fence separating northern Israel from Syria's Golan Heights — occupied by Israel after the 1967 war — in a bid to deflect attention from the bloody demonstrations against President Bashar Al Assad. As things turned out, the world's attention ended up being focused on Israel's lethal response — it gunned down two dozen unarmed Palestinian youths climbing the border fence that Israel built 44 years ago after occupying the Golan Heights.

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