Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel says it will use force against another Gaza flotilla. The US continues to press for the resumption of negotiations. A boom in Palestinian soccer activity is meant to support statehood. FM Lieberman says all past agreements will be considered broken if Palestinians approach the UN in September. Palestinians say they are going to the UN with or without negotiations in progress. Palestinians reiterate their demand for a settlement freeze. Pres. Peres says without peace, Israel is in danger of ceasing to be a Jewish state. The Israeli cabinet may weaken DM Barak’s power to curb settlement activity. Egypt’s FM says Palestinian UN membership doesn’t delegitimize Israel. A Dubai bank launches a Palestinian investment fund. COMMENTARY: Ha’aretz says PM Netanyahu is condemning Israel to live by the sword. Bradley Burston says Israeli leftists must begin to talk about the right of return. Ziad Abu Zayyad says the Palestinians have no choice but to approach the UN in September. Ron Kampeas recounts Obama administration official Steve Simon’s call to Jewish American leaders. George Hishmeh says the US had better take Saudi concerns about favoritism towards Israel seriously. The Jordan Times welcomes France’s peace initiative. Abdel-Moneim Said says Israel is preventing an effective American response to the “Arab Spring.”

Israel Warns of Using Force if New Flotilla Heads to Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV — Israel made clear on Thursday that if a new flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists sought to break its naval blockade of Gaza like the one a year ago when its commandos killed nine people, the Israeli military would use force again, including boarding the ships and confronting the activists.

U.S. Pushes New Effort on Peace in Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Jay Solomon - June 17, 2011 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration and European governments are stepping up efforts to revive Arab-Israeli peace talks, saying they have little time to head off a Palestinian drive to seek United Nations recognition as a state. The White House this week dispatched its top Middle East negotiators, Dennis Ross and David Hale, to the region to try to gain Israeli and Palestinian agreement to resume negotiations based on parameters President Barack Obama laid out last month, according to U.S. and Israeli officials.

Boom in Palestinian soccer seeks to score points for statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
June 17, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — For years, Palestinian soccer was disorganized, underfunded and hindered so much by Israeli travel restrictions that games were often forfeited because players couldn’t arrive for kickoff. But the sport is growing, with new stadiums rising across the West Bank, the local soccer federation hosting international competitions, and the Palestinians set to host their first-ever World Cup qualifying match next month. On July 3 the Palestinian team will welcome Afghanistan in an early-round World Cup qualifier.

Lieberman: Palestinian UN bid undoes Oslo Accords
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 17, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli foreign minister said Friday there was zero chance of talks resuming and all past agreements could be broken if Palestinians go to the UN, Israeli press reported. Avigdor Lieberman made the comments at a breakfast with European foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, as she began a day of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials in a bid to revive peace talks between the two sides.

Negotiator: UN bid with or without negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 17, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (AFP) -- Palestinians will seek UN recognition and membership regardless of whether there is a resumption of peace talks, negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh said on Thursday. His comments were made as the international community pushes a raft of new peace initiatives in a bid to head off the Palestinian push for UN membership. But Shtayeh said the Palestinians were determined to seek recognition and that talks could proceed alongside their bid.

Palestinians stick to call for settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The Palestinians are sticking to their demand for an Israeli settlement construction freeze in the West Bank, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Thursday, complicating President Barack Obama's latest peace drive. Obama recently outlined his vision of two states based on the pre-1967 war lines, with mutually agreed land swaps. The president's call for talks did not mention a new settlement freeze, and U.S. officials have indicated it is not essential to the restarting of talks.

Peres warns: Israel in danger of ceasing to exist as Jewish state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - June 17, 2011 - 12:00am

President Shimon Peres is concerned that Israel might become a binational state, in which case, he warned, it would cease to exist as a Jewish state. "I'm concerned about the continued freeze [in the peace talks]," Peres said to people who visited him this week. "I'm concerned that Israel will become a binational state. What is happening now is total foot-dragging. We're about to crash into the wall. We're galloping at full speed toward a situation where Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish state."

Cabinet expected to curtail Barak's power to veto West Bank settlement construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - June 17, 2011 - 12:00am

The cabinet is expected to vote on Sunday to curtail Defense Minister Ehud Barak's authority to supervise construction in West Bank settlements. The proposal would revoke Barak's right to veto West Bank construction by the World Zionist Organization's Settlement Division. The division budgets NIS 25 million a year for this purpose. The Settlement Division was set up in 1967 after Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula. For years, it was tasked with building settlements in the West Bank and did not deal with the Negev or Galilee at all.

Egyptian FM: Palestine UN membership doesn’t negate Israel’s legitimacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Arab efforts to enable Palestinians to obtain membership in the United Nations do not aim to render Israel an illegitimate state, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Araby said in a Thursday statement. Araby said that diplomatic efforts to request Palestinian state membership in the UN General Assembly are expected in September, and that these efforts are justified in light of ongoing Israeli intransigence and refusal to bring an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Dubai's Rasmala Investment Bank starts Palestinian fund
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Farah Halime - June 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Rasmala Investment Bankis the latest financial institution to launch a Palestinian-focused fund even as it is cutting costs elsewhere as part of a debt restructuring programme it announced in November. The bank, based in Dubai, is hoping to raise US$115 million (Dh422.3m) for the fund, which will target stocks listed on the Palestine Stock Exchange.

Netanyahu is dooming Israel to live eternally by the sword
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) June 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Author Etgar Keret, on assignment from Haaretz, accompanied the prime minister on his trip to Italy this week and reported on Benjamin Netanyahu's perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "This is an insoluble conflict because it is not about territory," Netanyahu said. "It is not that you can give up a kilometer more and solve it. The root of the conflict is in an entirely different place. Until Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, there will be no way to reach an agreement."

Jewish leftists need to have the Talk
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Blog) June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

These days, it's a little too easy for Jewish Leftists to avoid having the Talk. The Talk, an open-minded consideration of the Palestinian right of return, might well be divisive, corrosive, just one further blow at a time of Israeli – and world Jewish - apathy and depression and paralysis. It's certainly more comfortable to let the issue run in the background, as many groups on the left have done, either coming down at one stroke on one side or the other, as if the issue were not breathtakingly complex, or, alternatively, deciding not to decide.

September declaration of the Palestinian State: Is it possible?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian determination to go to the UN Council for recognition of the Palestinian state increases everyday. Reports about secret channels of negotiations were denied by the Palestinian official Sa’ab Erekat who confirmed that without a complete freeze of the settlements building, no progress can be achieved in the peace process.

The Steve Simon call
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - (Blog) June 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The Washington Post's left and right columnists are having a grand old time mixing it up over a call that Steve Simon, the White House go-to guy on Israel, had last Friday with the Jewish leadership. I heard the call. To put it gently, Greg Sargent, the Plum Line, or "left" columnist, has it right. And I don't know where Jennifer Rubin, the "Right Turn" columnist, is getting her info. The short story I put out Friday did not quote Simon at length, but I did not expect his remarks would be misreported.

‘Declaration of war’?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) June 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Saudi Arabia has apparently dropped the gauntlet in its loud tiff with the Obama administration’s “misguided policies” towards the Middle East, and particularly its stance on the Palestinian debacle, now in its 64th year, whereby Barack Obama recently reiterated the “unshakeable” US support for Israel.

ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) June 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Most everybody seems to have given up on the idea that peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians could resume. Not France, however. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has recently proposed holding a peace conference on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict this summer in Paris, rekindling optimism and, in the process, apparently “surprising” the US whose Secretary of State Hillary Clinton questioned the practicality of holding such a conference when the two sides are so far apart.

Netanyahu and the Arab spring
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Abdel-Moneim Said - (Opinion) June 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Two regionally and globally crucial spectacles have been unfolding in the Arab world this year. The first is the wave of "revolutions", or "uprisings", or whatever they might be called that have variously overthrown regimes, striven to overthrow others, and made yet others so uncomfortable that not a day goes by without them announcing various reforms.

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