Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Pres. Abbas may postpone further national unity talks with Hamas until after the UN meeting in September. Bilin villagers prepare to build on land regained from the separation barrier. Some flotilla ships are ready to sail, but organizers say two of them have been sabotaged. Palestinian leaders condemn a U.S. Senate resolution threatening an aid cutoff. The Israeli military reports it has no means to deal with mass nonviolent protests in the West Bank. Israeli officials say they’re working with the US and Europe to restart talks. Unnamed sources say Jordan may oppose Palestinian moves at the UN. Prominent friends of Israel urge PM Netanyahu to accept Pres. Obama’s proposal for new negotiations. COMMENTARY: Daoud Kuttab says nonviolence is the Palestinian third way. Gideon Levy says Israel has become obsessed with force and violence. Carlo Strenger says despite hysteria, Israel is not on the brink of destruction. Bradley Burston says Israel could easily deal with the flotilla by just letting it dock in Gaza. Nahum Barnea says the arrest of an extremist Rabbi is political theater. D. Bloomfield says it’s not clear what Abbas wants. Rep. Gary Ackerman says a Palestinian UN initiative could pose a serious threat to Israel. Larry Derfner says Israeli propaganda over the flotilla is out of control.

Palestinian President Abbas inclined to put off unity talks with Hamas until after UN vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Two Palestinian officials say President Mahmoud Abbas is inclined to put off talks on a unity government with rival Hamas until after a U.N. vote this fall on Palestinian statehood. The officials say Abbas fears running into difficulties with the West over an alliance with the Islamic militant group. This suggests he may have underestimated international opposition when he reconciled with Hamas in May.

New neighborhood in Bil'in after wall moved
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Bilin residents are due to start the construction of a new neighborhood on land returned to them following the re-routing of Israel's separation barrier. Villagers will start building "Bilin West" on Friday as part of the weekly demonstration against the wall, a statement from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said Thursday. The Popular Committee announced a new strategy of building community and public buildings on lands that were returned as a way to assert their possession of them.

Flotilla to sail 'very soon' despite snags
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Mya Guarnieri - June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Organizers of a US boat participating in the Gaza-bound flotilla said Thursday afternoon that they hoped to sail "very very soon," with some expecting an immanent departure. Speaking to reporters and passengers alongside the ship, organizer Anne Wright said "we will sail to challenge the naval blockade of Gaza ,we have ten ships, we have passengers aged 22-87 ... we have carpenters, retirees, acupuncturists; these are the people that the state of Israel fears."

Gaza flotilla organizers: 2nd ship sabotaged
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Karin Laub - June 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Organizers of a Gaza-bound flotilla say Israel has sabotaged a second ship. An activist told Israel's Army Radio that the engine of an Irish ship was damaged. Earlier this week, activists said Israel damaged the propeller of a Swedish ship in the Greek port of Piraeus. Israel has not commented on the allegations. About 10 ships are due to set sail this week from Greece. It's unclear if the damaged boats will delay things. Israel imposed a naval blockade after Hamas militants overran the Palestinian territory in 2007. It says it will not allow the flotilla to reach Gaza.

Palestinians slam U.S. resolution threatening aid suspension
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian officials on Thursday slammed a U.S. Senate resolution threatening to cut American aid if the Palestinian leadership continued to seek recognition of state from the United Nations. "This is a shameful decision," said Nabil Shaath, a Palestinian peace negotiator, such decision should not have come from a country that plays "an important role" in mediating between the Palestinians and Israel for peace. Resolution 185, passed Wednesday, called on the U.S. President Barack Obama to veto the UN vote on the Palestinian request for recognition of their state in September.

'IDF has no way of stopping mass non-violent protest in West Bank'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - June 29, 2011 - 12:00am

As September draws nearer, the Israel Defense Forces has been conducting drills in order to contend with the possibility of a mass civilian uprising in the West Bank in the wake of the Palestinian bid to seek unilateral recognition in the United Nations. "A non-violent protest of 4,000 people or more, even if they only march to a checkpoint or a settlement, and especially if the Palestinian police does not deter them, will be unstoppable," one IDF officer claims. "Such a great number of determined people cannot be stopped by tear gas and rubber bullets."

Israel tries to strike deal with Europe, US
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Attila Somfalvi - June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Government sources on Wednesday confirmed that Israeli and American officials are continuing their efforts to jump-start negotiations with the Palestinians, while Jerusalem is hoping to secure France and Britain's objection at a United Nations vote on the declaration of a Palestinian state. Germany and Italy have already announced that they will object to a unilateral declaration of statehood, while France and Britain are eager to push Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiations table.

Report: Jordan to oppose PA statehood bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - June 29, 2011 - 12:00am

A senior Jordanian official says the Hashemite kingdom will vote against a Palestinian statehood bid scheduled to be put before the UN General Assembly in September. "Jordan's top national interests will be in danger if the Palestinian Authority declares statehood unilaterally – especially in everything related to the issue of refugees, water, Jerusalem, and the borders," the UAE-based al-Bayan quoted a Jordanian state official as saying.

Friends of Israel to PM: Accept Obama terms, restart talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Shefler - June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Members of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians gathered at the King David Hotel on Tuesday for a candid conversation closed to journalists dealing with the considerable challenges facing Israel in the international arena. During the event, speakers pledged support for Israel, vociferously defending it against its critics, but in between the words of praise some genuine concern could also heard.

The Palestinian third way
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Daoud Kuttab - (Analysis) June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian leadership is more committed than ever to obtaining statehood through the United Nations General Assembly. But despite this commitment, there is a worry that success in New York might not necessarily mean success in Nablus or Hebron. There are many reasons the UN route is the correct strategy for Palestinians today. Under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority has convincingly addressed Israel’s security concerns. Israeli and US military officials are on the record as praising the success of the Palestinian security in dealing with anti-Israel violence.

Israel has become a society of force and violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Are we listening to ourselves? Are we still aware of the awful noise coming from here? Have we noticed how the discourse is becoming more and more violent and how the language of force has just about become Israel's only official language? A group of international activists is slated to sail a flotilla to the shores of the Gaza Strip. Many of them are social activists and fighters for peace and justice, veterans of the struggle against apartheid, colonialism, imperialism, pointless wars and injustice. Just stating that is difficult here, since they have already been described as thugs.

Zionists, relax, Israel is not on the brink of destruction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

One of the best-known Yiddish expressions is ‘Gevalt, Yiddelech, Gevalt!', a phrase best translated as ‘catastrophe, Jews, catastrophe!’. I would suggest that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition officially be named the Gevalt! Government. Listening to the utterances of our ministers, you would come to the conclusion that the State of Israel is about to be erased and the Jewish people are in danger of immediate extinction.

This time, Israel can pass the test of the Gaza flotilla
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) June 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Friends of Israel, countries and individuals that sincerely wish Israelis well, should send a message this week: Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Barak, for your sake, for Israel's sake, let the flotilla sail to Gaza. Do the right thing this time. Let it go. Many other challenges are vying for your attention. You have yet to forge a coherent policy regarding the September Palestinian UN initiative. Five years to the week that Hamas captured Gilad Shalit in Israel and brought him to Gaza, the terms of a possible exchange deal deserve close attention.

Bread and entertainment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Nahum Barnea - (Opinion) June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Rabbi Dov Lior should have been interrogated in connection with affairs that are much graver than the praise he lavished on a book of incitement based on Jewish Law verses: Acts carried out by the Jewish terror underground; the Rabin murder; the Goldstein massacre – all these crimes, and others, came from a milieu where Rabbi Lior was, and still is, the spiritual authority.

What does Abbas really want?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) June 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Mahmoud Abbas inspired great hope that peace was finally possible when he succeeded Yasser Arafat as president of the Palestinian Authority. Because the gap between those expectations and his performance keeps growing, along with his penchant for finding excuses instead of opportunities, he is arguably an even bigger disappointment than the unrepentant old terrorist. Few expected Arafat would ever make a real peace, but not so Abbas, who earned respect as the only PLO leader to stand up to Arafat and oppose violence as a negotiating tool.

Hysteria, ‘hasbara’ and the flotilla
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) June 29, 2011 - 12:00am

I just love Israel’s “hasbara” campaign against Freedom Flotilla 2. I mean, butter wouldn’t melt in these people’s mouths. “There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” says Ehud Barak. Gazans are “importing televisions and plasma screens, and exporting agricultural products to the entire Arab world,” says IDF chief Benny Gantz. Yes, Gaza is economically on the mend – but not because of Israel’s good intentions; rather, despite its bad intentions.

With September looming, unity can't wait
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gary Ackerman - (Opinion) June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

While many differences exist among Jewish parliamentarians, the concept of ahavat Yisrael – literally, “love of Israel” – is common to us all. It is for this reason that 55 Jewish parliamentarians from 22 countries have assembled in Jerusalem under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress. Ahavat Yisrael means not just love of the state, the country and the land, but a joint concern and affection that Jews have always shown for one another across the globe.

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