Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Hamas refuses to prove that a captured Israeli soldier is still alive. PM Netanyahu has said Israel will retaliate with harsher conditions for Palestinian prisoners. Palestinians say Turkey has pledged to help their UN bid. PM Netanyahu reportedly tells US officials he accepts that negotiations should be based on the 1967 borders. Palestinians also say they’re willing to soften their positions to facilitate talks. The PA fines a truck driver for distributing settlement goods. Netanyahu’s son reportedly posts disparaging remarks about Arabs on Facebook. PM Fayyad participates in a protest against the separation barrier. The EU casts doubt on Palestinian chances that the UN in September. COMMENTARY: Yoel Marcus says Israelis and Palestinians are avoiding painful compromises like children avoiding the dentist. Jeremy Ben-Ami says Israel should welcome criticism from its friends. Yehuda Ben Meir joins calls for Netanyahu to change his coalition. Al-Hayat interviews Zbigniew Brzezinski. Marwan Al Kabalan says Arabs are starting to doubt Pres. Obama’s ability to broker peace. Ha’aretz interviews EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. Rana Baker says Israeli restrictions make Palestinians tourists in their own homes. Saleh Al-Naami says settlers continue to deploy violence against Palestinians with impunity. Mohsen Saleh says recent border incidents have put the right of return back on the agenda.

Hamas Refuses Plea to Prove Israeli Is Alive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - June 23, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday publicly demanded that Hamas provide proof that an Israeli soldier captured five years ago and held in Gaza is still alive. Hamas promptly rejected the demand.

ISRAEL: No more perks for Palestinian prisoners, says Prime Minister Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - June 23, 2011 - 12:00am

After Hamas rejected a call from the International Red Cross for access to Gilad Shalit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an end to perks for Hamas prisoners in Israeli prisons.

Erekat: Turkey to aid statehood bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 24, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO official Saeb Erekat said Friday that Turkey had pledged to enlist more nations to recognize Palestine as an independent state at the UN in September. Speaking with Ma'an from Turkey, where he is with President Mahmoud Abbas for meetings with the Turkish leadership, Erekat said they had a made a number of requests of Turkey which were all agreed, without giving further details.

Israel PM agrees to 1967 borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 24, 2011 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly agreed to peace talks based on 1967 borders on the condition that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and solve the Palestinian refugee issue outside of Israel's borders. Netanyahu announced the position to US presidential Middle East adviser Dennis Ross, and acting envoy for the Middle East David Hale, both of whom Netanyahu met with last week, the Israeli daily Maariv reported Thursday.

PA continues crackdown on settlements goods ban
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 23, 2011 - 12:00am

SALFIT (Ma’an) -- The Magistrates Court of Salfit issued a decision Thursday, fining a driver $2,820 for transporting settlement goods, and suspending the man's license for six months. The 40-year-old truck driver, from the village of Deir Al-Hatab in the Salfit district, was charged according to the 2010 law on the prohibition and control of settlement products, article 14/2/A 2010 and under the Criminal Procedure Code article 274/2 of 2001. Police said the man had been transporting a load of gauze rolls, they said the goods were confiscated and would be sold at auction.

Facebook posts by Israeli PM's son draw fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Matti Friedman - June 24, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The Israeli prime minister's 19-year-old son posted disparaging comments about Arabs and Muslims on his Facebook page, an Israeli paper reported Friday. Earlier this year, Yair Netanyahu posted that Muslims "celebrate hate and death," the Haaretz daily reported. After Palestinian assailants entered a West Bank settlement and stabbed five members of an Israeli family to death, he wrote that "terror has a religion and it is Islam." Yair Netanyahu, the eldest of the prime minister's two sons, is currently a soldier in the Israeli military's media liaison unit.

AP Exclusive: Palestinians ready to ease demands
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - June 23, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinians are ready to ease their demand for a freeze on Israeli settlement construction to get peace talks back on track, a top official told The Associated Press on Thursday. The softened position reflects the Palestinians' growing realization that their alternative strategies to talks — reconciling with the Hamas militant group and seeking unilateral recognition at the United Nations — are both in trouble.

Palestinian PM attends Bilin protest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - June 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad participated Friday at an anti-security fence protest staged in the village of Bilin, west of the city of Ramallah. Hadash Chairman Mohammad Barakeh was also present. Palestinian sources said that the protesters brought a bulldozer to the site in order to dismantle the fence, and were actually successful in removing part of it. Live ammunition was reportedly fired toward the bulldozer's wheels and teargas grenades were hurled at the protesters. The driver of the bulldozer fleed the area and escaped arrest.

EU casts doubt on chances of UN vote on Palestinian statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - June 24, 2011 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV // The European Union's foreign policy chief yesterday cast doubt on whether the United Nations will proceed with a Palestinian push for the 192-member body to vote in September on backing Palestinian statehood. Catherine Ashton, speaking in an interview with Haaretz newspaper after a visit to the Middle East, said the EU has been making major efforts, so far unsuccessfully, to press the Israelis and the Palestinians to resume negotiations before the possible UN vote.

Peace, cottage cheese and the dentist
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yoel Marcus - (Opinion) June 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israelis and the Palestinians are alike in their inexplicable fear of the dentist. They postpone one appointment after another with various excuses, knowing in their hearts that their teeth will not improve. They avoid the painful operation, but in the end the inevitable will happen. It will be both painful and expensive.

Caring enough to engage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jeremy Benami - (Opinion) June 24, 2011 - 12:00am

We live at a time when serious decisions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are under discussion, the resolution of which will have implications not just for the future of Israel but for Jews living all over the world. It's not surprising that these discussions are accompanied by deep tensions, as they raise questions of life and death, and about the success or failure of the State of Israel and the heart and the soul of the Jewish people.

Change the coalition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yehuda Ben Meir - (Opinion) June 23, 2011 - 12:00am

A book can be written about errors made by the Israeli left, about its exaggerated or extremist approaches, and its estrangement from reality. At first, the left's blunders really do not seem like anything anyone has to fret too much about. But the lamentable thing is that the left's stances and statements drive large sectors of the Israeli public away from moderate, balanced positions.

Brzezinski to Al-Hayat: U.S. Position Deteriorating in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Joyce Karam - (Interview) June 23, 2011 - 12:00am

As the political turmoil sweeps across the Middle East, former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski laments the declining American influence in the region . He tells Al-Hayat about a sense of disappointment among Washington's allies from its shy performance especially on the peace process.

Obama's fake promises of peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Marwan al-Kabalan - (Opinion) June 24, 2011 - 12:00am

As the attention of the world is focused on the Arab region and its overdue democratic transition, the Middle East peace process seems to have completely disappeared from the international agenda and particularly that of the US. When Barack Obama was elected President of the US two and a half years ago, he seemed intensely interested in solving the Arab-Israeli conflict and establishing a Palestinian state. As he approaches his final year in office, nothing of these proclaimed promises has materialised.

The moment to move
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) June 24, 2011 - 12:00am

With Greece in turmoil, the Spanish economy collapsing and the French political system in a state of upheaval, the leaders of the European Union are nonetheless putting time and energy into getting the ball rolling again on the Israeli-Palestinian front. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, followed by European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, last week visited the offices of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Both returned to Brussels as confused as ever.

My Jerusalem diaries: a permit for home
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Rana B Baker - (Opinion) June 23, 2011 - 12:00am

What a pity to be asked if you have ever been to your capital city and all that you have to say is, "I would love to go there one day," or that "the last time I visited Jerusalem I was nine years old." There could be a third way to answer this question: yes, I passed by it, but I was not allowed to step out of the bus because I didn't have the special permit required for such visits.

Law of the jungle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Saleh Al-Naami - (Opinion) June 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Despite the cold in this mountainous region, a group of young men gathered on the outskirts of the town of Al-Moghayer east of Ramallah in the centre of the West Bank. These youth are intent on preventing Jewish settlers from burning the town mosque again after they set it ablaze for the first time three weeks ago. Threats by settlers that they will continue these attacks moved the group of youth to risk their lives and volunteer to foil the settler plots.

Fighting for the right to return
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Mohsen Saleh - (Opinion) June 23, 2011 - 12:00am

When 12-year-old Imad saw his mother preparing some sandwiches for the 15 May march to the southern Lebanese borders with Palestine, he wondered what the food was for. "Will we have the time to eat it," he asked. "Aren't we going to the borders of Palestine to fight the Israelis?" The message this child and his peers conveyed gave the event another dimension, for these marches of return to the borders with Palestine, occupied in 1948 and becoming Israel, have turned into landmarks in the Palestinian approach to the right of the Palestinians to return to their homeland.

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