Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: PM Fayyad expresses skepticism about a UN bid and says he refuses to be cast as the obstacle to national unity. Palestinians are using former settlement land in Gaza for agriculture. Israel intensifies its campaign against the next flotilla. The debate on the Gaza blockade is intensifying. Raed Salah is arrested during a trip to the UK. The BBC looks at possible Palestinian UN strategies. Pres. Abbas is visiting the Netherlands to seek more support. COMMENTARY: Gerard Errera says a Paris peace conference could be very effective. Shlomo Avineri says efforts to push Palestinian statehood don’t constitute delegitimization of Israel. Ha’aretz says an extremist Rabbi should not be arrested, but should be fired. Sobhi Ghandour says pan-Arab unification is the only good answer to Israel. Rami Khouri says Palestinians are developing new strategies. Gary Rosenblatt profiles Bashar Masri. Aaron Menenberg says Israel is constantly sabotaging itself. Gershon Baskin says he doesn’t think the Israeli government is doing everything it can to recover Gilad Shalit. Qadura Fares discusses the predicament of Palestinian prisoners.

AP Interview: Palestinian PM skeptical of UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - June 28, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state would largely be a symbolic victory and would not change the reality of Israeli occupation, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Tuesday. Fayyad's skepticism, voiced in an interview with The Associated Press, set him apart from the rest of the Palestinian leadership. Earlier this week, President Mahmoud Abbas and top officials in his Fatah movement formally decided to seek U.N. membership for a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

A Bountiful Harvest, Rooted in a Former Settlement’s Soil
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram, Ethan Bronner - June 28, 2011 - 12:00am

GAZA — Hundreds of acres of watermelons, orange saplings and grapevines stretch in orderly rows out to the horizon. Irrigation hoses run along the sand, dripping quietly. Apple trees are starting to blossom nearby. Avocados and mangoes are on their way.

Israel ramps up campaign against Gaza aid flotilla
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - June 28, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — As organizers of a flotilla seeking to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip prepare to embark on their voyage, Israeli officials are mounting an increasingly vocal campaign to discredit the activists, depicting them as planning violence against troops preparing to intercept the ships.

Gaza flotilla renews debate on Israel's blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - June 28, 2011 - 12:00am

A year ago, deadly clashes between Israeli soldiers and pro-Palestinian activists on a Gaza-bound flotilla of aid forced Israel to relax its blockade on the Gaza Strip and lift a ban on consumer goods such as chocolate – giving the local economy a boost for the first time in years. But as a second flotilla gathers in the Mediterranean to test Israel’s maritime closure of Gaza, land restrictions on Gaza trade are also still a bone of contention. The scaled-back blockade is still an economic drag, with tight restrictions on exports and imported building materials.

Islamic Movement leader in Israel arrested in London
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel has been arrested in London, his lawyer told Xinhua early Wednesday. According to Zahi Nugedat, the lawyer, London Police arrested Salah overnight Tuesday after a warrant for his deportation was issued. Salah had given a lecture in Leicester and was due to deliver another address as a guest of the Palestinian British solidarity.

Heated diplomacy behind Palestinian statehood bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Barbara Plett - June 28, 2011 - 12:00am

For the next two months, a lot of diplomatic capital will be spent on dealing with a Palestinian bid for an international recognition of statehood that appears to be almost certain to fail. The Palestinian Authority, which governs the Palestinian controlled parts of the West Bank, formally announced on Monday its intention to apply for full membership of the United Nations, arguing it can no longer wait for a paralysed peace process to bestow independence on the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

Palestinians lobby in the Netherlands for UN recognition vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Ferry Bidermann - June 29, 2011 - 12:00am

THE HAGUE // Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is venturing into the Netherlands during the next few days, a country with one of the most pro-Israel governments in Europe and one that has made its opposition to a possible Palestinian membership vote at the UN in September explicit. The timing of the visit, which starts late today, comes amid a concerted push by the Palestinian leadership to prepare for the looming vote, in which Europe is seen as key.

The Paris Conference Can Foster Mideast Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Gerard Errera - (Opinion) June 29, 2011 - 12:00am

The United Nations General Assembly is currently on track to endorse the unilateral proclamation of a Palestinian state in September. The United States will oppose the measure, while a majority of Europeans nations will approve it and the Israel-Palestinian conflict will only deepen. This is why French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé announced recently that France will convene an international conference in Paris to try to resolve the issue.

No one is questioning Israel's legitimacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shlomo Avineri - (Opinion) June 29, 2011 - 12:00am

A very senior minister, who belongs to neither Likud nor Yisrael Beiteinu, voiced his concern to me some while back over the possibility that the General Assembly of the UN would decide to recognize a Palestinian state in the June 1967 borders. Such a decision, he said, would amount to delegitimizing Israel.

Rabbi Dov Lior should be fired
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) June 29, 2011 - 12:00am

The arrest of Rabbi Dov Lior two days ago is a controversial act that has aroused worrisome reactions. Those who favor freedom of expression will of course find it difficult to accept as self evident the arrest of a person, any person, for things that he said or wrote. An open and liberal democratic society is not tested by its support for speakers or writers of texts of which it approves, but by providing an opportunity to say harmful things, as infuriating and subversive as they may be, about it and even against it.

Don't play into Zionist hands
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Sobhi Ghandour - (Opinion) June 29, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab region is witnessing several political changes similar to those that followed the First World War. Among the key consequences of that war was the end of the Ottoman Empire, which was referred to as ‘the sick man of Europe’, as well as European colonialism in the region. Back then, Arabs bet on European powers to support their right to independence and the creation of a single unified Arab state. The era was referred to as the ‘Great Arab Revolt’ (1916–1918). It was led by Sharif Hussain Bin Ali, Emir of Makkah, against the Ottomans in 1916 with support from Britain.

A new Palestinian strategy unfolds
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) June 29, 2011 - 12:00am

While the Arab world is experiencing a historic series of citizen revolts against nondemocratic governments, something equally significant is happening among Palestinians in their struggle with Israel and Zionism. Very slowly, almost imperceptibly, Palestinians seem to be making a strategic shift in their mode of confrontation with Israel, from occasional military attacks toward a more nonviolent and political confrontation.

Building A 21st-Century Palestinian City
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Week
by Gary Rosenblatt - (Opinion) June 28, 2011 - 12:00am

It’s a phrase we’ve come to associate over the years with Israel’s West Bank settlements, seen by supporters as a tangible Jewish presence to serve as a bulwark against Arab incursions, a vanguard to protect larger Jewish population centers.

Perpetual self-sabotage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Aaron Menenberg - (Opinion) June 28, 2011 - 12:00am

The only way France and Britain will vote with the US is if negotiations get under way with at least the appearance of promise – and that was Obama’s strategy with his speech.

An Israeli View: Doing everything possible? I don't believe them
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) June 27, 2011 - 12:00am

In September 2005, I received a phone call from one of my wife's cousins. Her brother Sasson Nuriel was missing and they thought he might have been kidnapped in Ramallah. Sasson worked with many Palestinians, buying and selling factory equipment. As a first generation Iraqi Jew born in Israel, he spoke fluent Arabic and had many Palestinian friends.

A Palestinian View: We also have feelings
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
(Interview) June 27, 2011 - 12:00am

An interview with Qadura Fares bitterlemons: Can you please describe the state of Palestinian prisoners today? Fares: Right now, there are 5,500 prisoners distributed throughout 22 prisons and detention centers. Most of these prisons are located in Israel. One hundred and forty prisoners have been in jail more than 20 years. Forty prisoners have been in jail more than 25 years. Four have spent more than 30 years in jail.

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