Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel warns international journalists against being onboard another Gaza flotilla. US officials are trying to resuscitate talks to forestall a Palestinian UN initiative in September. Israeli leaders are urged to directly address the Arab publics. PLO leaders say they are going forward with their UN initiative and seek international support. After years of protests, court rulings and delays, Israel moves the separation barrier from part of a West Bank village. Villagers say their protests are far from over. Another prisoner dies in Hamas custody. Hamas says it doesn’t want to work with the German mediator in prisoner negotiations anymore. Gaza construction belies ongoing economic misery. Fatah says the nomination of PM Fayyad to continue in office is “final” and must be accepted by Hamas. COMMENTARY: Yossi Alpher, Colette Avital, Shlomo Gazit and Mark Heller say a Palestinian UN statehood initiative can be turned into a win-win scenario. Hagit Borer explains why she’s joining the Gaza flotilla. Ma’an interviews UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness. Ha’aretz says Israel should just let the flotilla land in Gaza. Akiva Eldar says Europe should keep pushing for peace. Uri Avnery says Israel was created both unilaterally and at the UN. Raymond Helmick and Nazir Khaja say Palestinians are recasting their struggle in nonviolent terms. Foreign Policy interviews novelist Alice Walker about joining the Gaza flotilla. Liam Hoare says FM Lieberman’s party is shaped by its Soviet foundations. JJ Goldberg says increasingly few people think PM Netanyahu believes in peace.

Avoid Gaza Flotilla, Israel Warns Foreign Journalists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - June 26, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel threatened Sunday to bar for up to a decade any foreign journalist who boards a flotilla seeking to challenge an Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. Oren Helman, the director of the Government Press Office, sent a letter to registered foreign correspondents here asserting that the flotilla, scheduled to sail this week, was illegal and that participation in it, even as a reporter, was “liable to lead to participants being denied entry into the State of Israel for ten years, to the impoundment of their equipment and to additional sanctions.”

Ahead of U.N. Vote, Effort to Restart Mideast Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - June 24, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Intensive efforts are under way to stave off a Palestinian bid for United Nations membership in September, with diplomats trying to lure Israeli and Palestinian leaders back to negotiations on the basis of President Obama’s formula of a state based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps.

Palestinians going ahead with statehood bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 27, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (AFP) -- President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that with no renewal of peace talks on the horizon, the Palestinians would pursue their unilateral bid for recognition in September. "I say that if negotiations have failed we will go to the United Nations for membership," Abbas told a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization and his Fatah party. "Until now there have been no new incentives to return to negotiations," he said.

Israel moves West Bank barrier after 4-year delay
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Maayan Lubell - June 26, 2011 - 12:00am

BILIN, West Bank, June 26 (Reuters) - Israel began repositioning part of its contested barrier in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, four years after a court ruled it should be re-routed to give Palestinians greater access to farmland. Israeli tractors tore down a section of the barrier, a metal fence, as a clutch of journalists watched. A new concrete barrier has been erected some 600 meters from the old route near the Jewish settlement of Modiin Illit. The Israeli military tore down a watchtower overlooking Bilin on Wednesday and protesters rammed a bulldozer into the fence on Friday.

Suspect dies in custody in Palestinian jail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
June 27, 2011 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A Palestinian human rights group is demanding an inquiry into the death of a Gaza man in Hamas police custody. The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights says it fears Ibrahim Aaraj might have been tortured while in custody at the Nusseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Center staff said Monday that they saw a fracture on the top of his head and bruises on his forehead, face, back and limbs.

'Hamas will not work with German mediator again'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
June 27, 2011 - 12:00am

The deputy chairman of Hamas' political bureau, Moussa Abu Marzouk, told London-based al-Hayat on Monday that his organization would not work with German mediator Gerhard Konrad again after he failed to secure a prisoner exchange agreement between Hamas and Israel in negotiations for the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. The last time talks broke down with the German mediator, Abu Marzouk said that while Konrad's role in the negotiations had ended, Hamas would "not oppose his return if the Israeli government wants it."

Peaceful protesters of Bil'in say struggle is far from over
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - June 27, 2011 - 12:00am

BIL'IN, WEST BANK // A dedicated supporter of his village's weekly demonstrations against Israel's separation barrier, Ahmed Abu Rahme, 38, turned up to Friday's protest in a solemn mood. Two days earlier, Israel's military began re-routing a 3-kilometre segment of the massive barrier that severed his community of 1,800 people from an estimated two thirds of its farmland.

Building Boom in Gaza’s Ruins Belies Misery That Remains
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - June 25, 2011 - 12:00am

GAZA — Two luxury hotels are opening in Gaza this month. Thousands of new cars are plying the roads. A second shopping mall — with escalators imported from Israel — will open next month. Hundreds of homes and two dozen schools are about to go up. A Hamas-run farm where Jewish settlements once stood is producing enough fruit that Israeli imports are tapering off.

Fayyad nomination is final, Fatah says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Nasouh Nazzal - June 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Ramallah: The Fatah party Sunday said the nomination of Dr Salam Fayyad to lead the Palestinian unity government is final. It said if Hamas did not agree with the nomination in the next couple of days, the current caretaker government under Fayyad will remain in place. "If agreement on the nomination of Dr Fayyad is not reached within the coming couple of days, it is highly possible that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas assigns Dr Fayyad to reshuffle his cabinet and preserve the status quo," Ameen Maqboul, who heads the Revolutionary Council at Fatah, told Gulf News in an interview.

Buying Into Palestinian Statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Yossi Alpher, Colette Avital, Shlomo Gazit, Mark Heller - (Opinion) June 24, 2011 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV — Instead of wasting time and energy trying to revive a moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the United States and European Union should take another look at the Palestinian initiative to seek U.N. recognition in September. What is described in some quarters as a recipe for new strife and confrontation can actually be leveraged into a win-win situation for Israelis, Palestinians and the world.

Getting on board with peace in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Hagit Borer - (Opinion) June 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Later this month an American ship, the Audacity of Hope, will leave Greece on a journey to the Gaza Strip to attempt to break Israel's blockade. It will join an expected nine other ships flying numerous flags and carrying hundreds of passengers from around the world. I will be one of those passengers.

Exploding the myths: UNRWA, UNHCR and the Palestine refugees
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Opinion) June 27, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- As Palestinian leaders prepare to seek UN recognition of statehood in September, there is increasing talk in the US, Israel and elsewhere of disbanding the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the UN Relief and Works Agency, and handing responsibility for Palestinian refugees to the UN High Commission for Refugees. Some argue UNHCR would resettle the refugees, robbing them of their right to return to their homes.

Let the flotilla go
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) June 27, 2011 - 12:00am

The term "flotilla" is understood in Israel as a declaration of war. This is the case with respect to the latest Gaza-bound flotilla, just as it was with the one that set off from Turkey in May 2010. Furthermore, due to unstable relations with Turkey, Israel is still feeling the repercussions of its deadly raid on that maritime convoy.

Europe's responsibility
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) June 27, 2011 - 12:00am

BRUSSELS - Last week I met with more than a dozen European officials who closely follow Israel and its dispute with its neighbors. Some wondered how it could be that Israel's defense minister warns about a "tsunami," while the country's public os focused on cottage cheese. Some asked whether I had a clue as to what my prime minister wants. Are all statements made by Benjamin Netanyahu about negotiations, they asked, aimed at giving the settlers another year or two, and also at scuttling any prospect of dividing the country?

Mantras parading as incontestable truths
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - (Opinion) June 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Those opposing the Palestinians’ UN bid forget that State of Israel was proclaimed unilaterally The Palestinians are planning something thoroughly obnoxious: They intend to apply to the UN for statehood. Why obnoxious? Any Israeli spokesman (not to mention spokeswoman) will tell you readily: Because it is a "unilateral" move. How dare they proclaim a state unilaterally? How dare they do so without the consent of the other party to the conflict — us?

Palestinians seek to redefine national struggle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Raymond G. Helmick, Nazir Khaja - (Opinion) June 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Young Palestinians, fascinated by the Arab Spring, have demonstrated recently in ways that ignore the contest of parties within their own community and seek simply freedom, justice, dignity and equality. Their movement is still small, only a couple of hundred demonstrators, determinedly nonviolent in their demand, gathered, but of course they were immediately flooded with tear gas and worse by the Israelis, who understand how vital it is for them to provoke nonviolent protesters into throwing that first stone.

Interview: Alice Walker
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Robert Zeliger - (Interview) June 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker will join the flotilla of ships next week that will try to break Israel's maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. She says the goal is to bring supplies and raise awareness of the situation there. Last May, during a similar attempt by activists, Israel raided six ships. On one, clashes broke out and Israeli commandos killed nine people. Foreign Policy reached the author of The Color Purple in Greece, where she is preparing for her departure. Foreign Policy: Why are you taking part in the flotilla mission?

Israel’s Soviet Political Party
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Liam Hoare - (Opinion) June 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Yisrael Beiteinu is widely understood to be the party of Russian Jewry, that population of nearly one million Jews who arrived in Israel after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Twelve years since its founding, it has become the third largest party in the Knesset, on a radical anti-clerical and staunchly nationalist platform.

Peres's Conference, Netanyahu's Challenge
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) June 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Tel Aviv — When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rose to address the 4,000 delegates at the close of Shimon Peres’s Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem on June 23, he beamed like a film student accepting an Oscar.

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