Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Jordan’s King Abdullah says the failure of the peace process is a grave threat to the international community. A settler is arrested by Israeli authorities for killing a Palestinian near Nablus. Spain’s FM says talks should resume this year. Seven Palestinians are injured, two critically, during a protest against the separation barrier. Israeli officials say PM Netanyahu fears a third intifada. Israeli opposition leaders say Netanyahu has isolated Israel. A US official says cutting funds to the UN would harm Israeli and American interests. The Ford foundation maybe pulling back from funding Israeli initiatives. Hamas is trying to soften its image. Leading Jewish Americans deny Pres. Obama is trying to bully Netanyahu. COMMENTARY: Daoud Kuttab says Palestinians lack a broad strategy for independence. Larry Derfner says the US and Israeli right have become intimate allies. Brian Schaefer says that there are efforts to combat the propaganda of Birthright Israel. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid says anyone who bans artists to keep ambassadors happy doesn’t understand the Arab spring. George Hishmeh says the US will have to do better in answering Saudi concerns about Palestine. Michael Jansen says UNRWA is the only thing stopping Israeli “stealth ethnic cleansing.” The Arab News says Gaza continues to suffer under an indefensible blockade. Victor Kotsev says Meir Dagan could be the next Ariel Sharon. William Galston asks why peace seems so elusive. Jerome Segal says the UN should reestablish its Special Committee on Palestine. Ori Nir says Netanyahu’s policies that assume peace is not possible are leading Israel to a disaster. Khaled Abu Toameh says Pres. Abbas has no mandate.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II warns Mideast peace prospects are dim
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joby Warrick - June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The failure of U.S. and international efforts to rekindle Middle East peace talks last month has all but doomed chances for a breakthrough in the near future, Jordan’s King Abdullah II said in an interview in which he warned that the failure may cause the outbreak of a new armed uprising in the Palestinian territories.

Settler arrested for killing Palestinian
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli forces on Wednesday arrested an Israeli settler for the murder of a Palestinian man near Nablus nearly five months ago, Israel's daily news site Ynet reported. According to the report, Israeli police arrested a man residing in Jerusalem, who admitted to shooting an Iraq Burin shepherd, but claimed he did so in self-defense after stones were thrown. Video footage captured from a nearby military base shows an altercation between the settler and two villagers, although the footage was shot from a distance, the site reported.

Spain wants Mideast talks to resume this year
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Spain supports a two-state solution and wants the Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks this year, the country's foreign ministry said Wednesday. Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez met with her Palestinian counterpart Riyad Al-Malki on Wednesday, during an official visit which ends on Friday. Jimenez "reiterated Spain's support in favor of a two-state solution...as the only path to a global and long-standing peace in the Middle East," a statement said.

2 hit by live fire critical after Ramallah-area protest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Seven Palestinians were injured, including two critically, Wednesday after an anti-wall protest was quashed, sparking anger in the village of Deir Qaddis, west of Ramallah. A rally headed from the village to obstruct Israeli bulldozers digging up private lands for the construction of the separation wall, a Ma'an correspondent reported. Israeli forces were heavily deployed in the area and tried to disperse the demonstrators, beating them with clubs and rifle butts.

Official: Netanyahu fears third intifada
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Attila Somfalvi - June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Jerusalem officials told Ynet Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fears a third intifada this summer ahead of a planned Palestinian declaration of statehood in September. "Netanyahu fears he will not be able to stop (what will happen in) September," a top official told Ynet. "The prime minister is making an effort to convince European states that if riots begin after the declaration of statehood responsibility will not fall on Israel."

Opposition: Netanyahu isolated Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
June 15, 2011 - 12:00am

The Opposition took aim at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday during a special hearing on "The Netanyahu government's failure in the political, economic, and social fields". "You have isolated the State of Israel," said MK Dalia Itzik (Kadima). "You and your government sit in shocking idleness while the Arab states conduct a de-legitimization campaign. Your answer to that: They hate us."

U.S. official: Cutting U.N. funds harms Israel, U.S. interests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
June 15, 2011 - 12:00am

A top U.S. official outlined U.S.-Israel cooperation at the United Nations and argued that cutting funding to the body would be detrimental to the interests of both countries.

No Ford in Israel's Future?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Ideas Daily
by Elliot Jager - (Analysis) June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

With little fanfare, the Ford Foundation has initiated a phased withdrawal from its long, largely behind-the-scenes campaign to influence Israeli politics. News reports have focused mostly on the foundation's 23-year-long patronage of the New Israel Fund (NIF), whose beneficiaries include a number of pressure groups that colluded with the now-discredited Goldstone Commission Report.

Hamas peacemaker's new softer stance treads a risky path
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Khaled Meshaal, the Damascus-based Hamas leader, has been praised for his role in the recent reconciliation process with the rival Palestinian group Fatah. Mediators involved in the agreement credit him for checking the Islamist group's hard-line impulses and pushing a policy of pragmatism. But his calibrated gamble to soften the Islamists' image could backfire, Palestinian analysts say, if his efforts fail to unify Palestinians or gain international acknowledgment.

Top pro-Israel figures dismiss claim that Obama is bullying Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Greg Sargent - (Blog) June 15, 2011 - 12:00am

It’s the latest chapter in the right’s Obama-hates-Israel storyline: A top Obama adviser allegedly told Jewish leaders on a private conference call that the administration is pressuring Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians in a manner that’s at odds with Obama’s public position on the conflict. But I’ve now spoken to two major figures in the Jewish community who were on the call — both of whom are widely regarded to have impeccable pro-Israel credentials — and they tell me that the claim is false.

And what about statehood?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian strategy to achieve statehood is making significance progress among certain international political circles, but it is still lacking the necessary coordination and cohesion to bear the desired results. President Mahmoud Abbas and his West Bank Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have succeeded in detonating the familiar anti-Palestinian arsenal that Israel's public relations teams have employed against Palestinian aspirations.

Godspeed to Jerusalem, Glenn Beck
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) June 15, 2011 - 12:00am

The American Right and Israeli Right have become the closest, most natural of allies. The Glenn Beck rally in Jerusalem for Israel, or at least for everything that’s lousy about Israel, is taking shape. According to Wednesday’s Yediot Aharonot, the rally has a name – “Restoring Courage.” Also a date – August 24. Also a place, or places – the Old City and Teddy Stadium. Also, tentatively, some guests of honor – Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee.

10 days, 10 months
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Brian Schaefer - (Opinion) June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

With June comes stifling summer heat and the French. Perhaps even more visible, or audible, is the endless stream of tour buses out of which tumble thousands of young Americans on whirlwind tours of the country. They’re loud, excited, and wielding cameras like weapons. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Taglit-Birthright season in Israel.

Banning an artist to keep the ambassador happy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
(Opinion) June 15, 2011 - 12:00am

In an art exhibit held the Arab World Institute in Paris, the then Iraqi ambassador to France Abdul-Razzak al-Hashimi was seen shaking with rage outside of the gallery and angrily proclaiming that one of the exhibits within the gallery insulted the well-loved President Saddam Hussein. Al-Hashimi was talking about a cartoon by famous Arab cartoonist Ali Farzat which depicts a huge army general pouring military decoration into an empty plate being held by a poor and starving man. Al-Hashimi screamed that he would not move until this cartoon was removed from the art exhibit.

Saudis throw down the gauntlet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Saudi Arabia has apparently thrown down the gauntlet in its loud tiff with the Obama administration's "misguided policies" toward the Middle East and particularly its stance on the Palestinian issue, now in its 64th year, on which President Barack Obama recently reiterated the "unshakeable" US support of Israel.

Gaza - ethnic cleansing by stealth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Jansen - (Opinion) June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

It is hardly surprising that the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) should mark the fifth anniversary of Israel’s illegal siege and blockade of Gaza by issuing a report critical of Israel. But it is highly unlikely that the international community, led by the US, will press Israel to lift its punitive blockade or take any steps to relieve Gaza.

Brutal blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) June 15, 2011 - 12:00am

It has been five years since Israel imposed its oppressive and inhuman blockade on the Gaza Strip. Without doubt it has been easily one of the toughest and most trying periods in the eventful history of the Palestinian people. The proud and fiercely independent people, however, have refused to give in to Israeli diktats or allow their fighting spirit to waver under the totally asphyxiating blockade of Gaza by land, air and sea.

Ex-Mossad man a fit for Sharon's shoes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Asia Times
by Victor Kotsov - (Opinion) June 17, 2011 - 12:00am

A new star is about to rise on the Israeli political horizon. Given the widely perceived impasse on all fronts, the time may be just right. Analysts have long lamented what they call a "deadlock" in the Israeli political system. Last year, American think-tank Stratfor described the situation in the following way:

Benjamin Netanyahu: Why the U.S. Can’t Make Peace in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New Republic
by William Galston - (Opinion) June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

I’ve spent the past week in Israel listening to as many voices as I could. Based on what I’ve heard, a rough summary of the situation is this: Benjamin Netanyahu offers no viable alternative to the status quo, and the opposition offers no viable alternative to Netanyahu. Until Mahmoud Abbas recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, the prime minister says, serious talks are impossible. And besides, negotiating with a coalition that includes Hamas is unthinkable.

Palestinian Strategy and the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Miftah
by Jerome M. Segal - (Opinion) June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Many questions have arisen about the wisdom of seeking United Nations recognition of the State of Palestine in September. In particular, two issues stand out: 1) Once recognition is obtained from the United Nations General Assembly, then what? Is there a step-2? 2) Is there really any long-term alternative to negotiations, given that without Israeli agreement issues such as Jerusalem and refugees cannot be resolved? Will a UN strategy lead to productive negotiations at some point in the future, or will it make resolution more difficult?

Netanyahu's "insoluble" conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Americans For Peace Now
by Ori Nir - (Opinion) June 15, 2011 - 12:00am

If you want to understand why the Obama administration is so angry with Binyamin Netanyahu and his government, read what Netanyahu told Etgar Keret, one of Israel's leading young authors. Keret spoke with Netanyahu on a recent trip to Italy. He was reporting for Haaretz, the Israeli daily, which once a year hires Israel's leading authors and poets to serve as reporters.

Abbas Has No Mandate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Hudson New York
by Khaled Abu Toameh - (Opinion) June 14, 2011 - 12:00am

It is time that someone in Washington started asking Abbas whether he has a clear mandate from his people to make historic decisions, including signing a peace agreement with Israel. As the Palestinian Authority continues to threaten to ask the United Nations in September to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines, someone needs to ask President Mahmoud Abbas whether he really has a mandate from his people to embark on such a step.

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