Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The Palestinian national unity deal is threatened by the dispute over the future of PM Fayyad, as Hamas and Fatah leaders meet in Cairo. Israel is cracking down on Palestinian nonviolent protests. The UN says the Gaza blockade has strengthened Hamas. Deputy FM Ayalon visits Egypt. Israeli teachers are using unofficial curricula to teach about the Nakba. The UN says almost half of Gazans are unemployed. Occupation forces and Palestinians clash at a Jerusalem holy site. The vacancy at a key position for refugees leaves Palestinians in Lebanon without recourse. A US professor is trying to promote business startups as a vehicle for Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation. COMMENTARY: Richard Cohen says Turki al-Faisal’s warning about US favoritism towards Israel should be heeded. Akiva Eldar says even if Palestinians win UN recognition, that won’t mean much in practice. Gershon Baskin says nobody seems particularly interested in challenging the status quo in Israel and Palestine. Colette Avital says Israel’s only hope for remaining a Jewish, democratic state is to have a Palestinian state alongside it. Ilan Peleg and Dov Waxman look at what Israel needs to do for its Arab minority. The National says Fayyad has been a great Prime Minister but national unity is more important than any individual. Yossi Alpher says Israel should defend its borders but make gestures towards refugees. Ghassan Khatib says justice for the refugees is a crucial part of peace. Carlo Strenger says by going to the UN, Palestinians are seizing control of the situation.

Palestinian Unity Effort Shows Cracks as Factions Disagree Over Choosing Leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram, Isabel Kershner - June 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Fatah and Hamas so far disagree on who should lead a unity government, a possible sign of discord before talks scheduled to start in Cairo on Tuesday, prompting Palestinian officials and analysts to question the durability of the recent reconciliation agreement. The Egyptian-brokered pact was reached unexpectedly and signed formally at a ceremony in Cairo on May 4. It was meant to end four years of schism between the mainstream Fatah, the dominant party in the West Bank, and the Islamic militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, and the subsequent division between the two territories.

Feeling winds of Arab Spring, Israel douses sparks of Palestinian uprising
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - June 10, 2011 - 12:00am

As a Palestinian statehood push gains traction across the globe, Israel is facing the prospect of a broader Palestinian civil disobedience movement that could put the Jewish state on the defensive. Until now, homegrown demonstrations in the West Bank have gained little traction. A weekly protest in the village of Nabi Saleh today, for example, drew only a few dozen protesters and was quickly shut down by soldiers firing tear-gas canisters.

UN marks 5 years of Gaza siege
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 14, 2011 - 12:00am

"If the aim of the blockade policy was to weaken the Hamas administration, the public employment numbers suggest this has failed," a UNRWA spokesman said Tuesday as the UN marks Gaza's fifth year under intense Israeli siege. Commenting on a report released by the UN agency charged with providing care and services for the one million refugees living in the Gaza Strip, on the fifth anniversary of the siege, spokesman Chris Gunness added "it has certainly been highly successful in punishing some of the poorest of the poor in the Middle East region."

Report: Deputy Israeli FM visits Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon visited Egypt two weeks ago and met with top officials, Israeli daily Ma'ariv reported Tuesday. It is the first time since the country's former leader Hosni Mubarak was toppled that such a high-ranking Israeli political official visited Egypt, the daily reported, although the Israeli foreign ministry has denied the visit took place. Ma'ariv said that Ayalon met with Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt’s higher military council, and Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Al-Arabi.

Fatah, Hamas meet in Cairo to settle dispute on leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Representatives of Fatah and Hamas, the Palestinian rivals, are to meet Tuesday in Cairo to discuss forming a unity government among increasing differences on the candidate of the prime minister. The meeting is the second one since the two movements signed an Egyptian-brokered agreement to end political division between the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the Fatah-ruled West Bank. When the two movements met on May 14, they discussed the independent candidates who may lead the technocratic government that will administer Gaza and the West Bank according to the agreement.

Unofficial Nakba study kit a hit with teachers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Asaf Shtull-Trauring - June 14, 2011 - 12:00am

When Shira (not her real name ), a history teacher at a junior high school in the center of the country, mentioned "nakba" in a class three years ago, none of her students had any idea what it referred to. Today, she says, the word just surfaces naturally among the students. They know about it and talk about it. According to her, the reason is clear - Amendment 40 to the Budget Foundations Law, more commonly known as the "Nakba Law."

Gaza unemployment levels 'among worst in world'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jon Donnison - June 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Gaza's unemployment rate was among the world's highest, at 45.2% in late 2010, the UN has found, as Israel's blockade of the territory enters its fifth year. Real wages meanwhile fell by more than a third, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said. Its report says that private businesses have been hardest hit by the continuing ban on virtually all exports. Israel tightened sanctions on Gaza in 2006 after militants captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

EU: Palestinian state vote could be ‘dangerous’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Las Vegas Sun
June 14, 2011 - 12:00am

The president of the EU parliament says a unilateral Palestinian move toward statehood could be "dangerous." Frustrated by a long-standing impasse in peace talks with Israel, the Palestinians have mounted a campaign for international recognition at the U.N. General Assembly in September. European support would be critical, but EU parliament chief Jerzy Buzek sounded cool to the idea on Tuesday. Speaking in Ramallah, Buzek said he "understood" the Palestinian position but added it could complicate peace efforts.

Palestinians suffer as key post remains vacant
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Mohammed Zaatari - June 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Since the retirement of the head of Political Affairs and Refugees at the Interior Ministry, the directorate has stopped all issuing of personal status documents for Palestinian refugees, making it impossible for them to enrol in university or request economic assistance. Although the former director general, Brig. Nicolas Habr, would assign a ministry official to sign documents in his name during his tenure, Habr’s retirement has created a “vacuum.”

Can Start-Ups Move Forward Israeli/Palestinian Peace?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Forbes
by Peter Cohan - June 13, 2011 - 12:00am

A long-time professor of Entrepreneurship has an idea for how to move forward relations between Israelis and Palestinians. It’s a small step and who knows how it will go. The professor is Ted Grossman, who in 1993 helped invent one of the signature course at Babson College — Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship (FME). Babson freshmen take this full-year course — in the Fall, students plan a business and in the spring they execute the plan.

From a Saudi prince, tough talk on America’s favoritism toward Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Richard Cohen - (Opinion) June 14, 2011 - 12:00am

As best I can recall, I first met Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki al-Faisal at a private home in Washington years ago. I found him stern and humorless, sometimes even bitter. I have seen him since at international conferences and the like — never in the mood for small talk and exhibiting, sometimes in his glorious robes, not an ounce of Bedouin charm. Still, I was unprepared for the opinion column he published in Sunday’s Post. It read like a declaration of war.

Palestinians are still limited, even if they get a state of their own
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) June 14, 2011 - 12:00am

The mood among the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah prior to the anticipated United Nations vote in September is reminiscent of a small child who has received an adult bicycle for his birthday. The child doesn't know whether to rejoice or to cry. He's so happy with the wonderful gift, but his heart is full of fear that he'll fall flat, injure his knee and scratch the shiny bicycle.

What you see is what you get
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) June 13, 2011 - 12:00am

In June 2011, almost 100,000 people show up for the gay pride festivities in Tel Aviv – an amazing achievement after years of struggle. Six thousand showed up for a peace demonstration a few nights before. In the West Bank, more than 20,000 Palestinians work in Israeli settlements, and only a few hundred participate in the Friday demonstrations against the occupation.

Choose wisely, Mr. Prime Minister
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Colette Avital - (Opinion) June 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Israelis were glued to their televisions last month, listening to a torrent of eloquent speeches from Washington, DC. With his rich language, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu won over both houses of Congress – which couldn’t seem to cheer loudly enough – as well as his hard-Right base at home. Most Israelis, however, were left cold. When you’ve lived with an unresolved, violent conflict for this long, the cheers of Congress do not help. What matters is that we find a way to get past rhetoric and take our country’s future back into our own hands.

Israel’s Real Arab Problem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Ilan Peleg, Dov Waxman - (Opinion) June 14, 2011 - 12:00am

“Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights,” Prime Minister Netanyahu boasted in his recent speech to the United States Congress. Lest the point be lost on his audience, Netanyahu emphatically reiterated it: “Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of 1% are truly free, and they are all citizens of Israel!”

Take away Hamas excuses on unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) June 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Salam Fayyad probably saw it coming. Four years ago, the Palestinian prime minister told The New York Times that he had every intention of de-legitimising the Islamist movement of Hamas. Violence is "not who we are", he said in 2007. "I want to disappoint them." On Sunday, it was Hamas that did the disappointing.

Defend our borders, but make a gesture
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Editorial) June 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab revolutionary wave has already touched the Palestinian issue in more ways than one. The transitional military regime in Egypt has granted Hamas in Gaza greater legitimacy, opened the Rafah crossing and pressed for a Palestinian unity government. Fairly modest demonstrations and exploitation of social media by youth in Ramallah and Gaza clearly exerted additional pressure on the Palestinian leadership to reconcile.

Search for justice continues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - June 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Several important dates have been observed in recent weeks. In one, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians became refugees when Israel was created, their lives and futures altered in a way that was catastrophic for the Palestinian nation. The second date that recently passed was the occasion of Israel's occupation of the rest of historic Palestine, comprised of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Palestine’s White September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) June 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Historical dates often emerge by sheer coincidence. In 2009, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad formulated an operational goal for his tenure: by 2011 he wanted to build institutions that would justify the proclamation of a Palestinian state. This would not just have symbolic value, as PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat's statement in 1988, but would carry practical implications. Fayyad's efforts have commanded international admiration. The West Bank is indeed run in a way that meets many criteria for successful statehood.

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