Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: An aide to Pres. Abbas says Palestinians still prefer negotiations over UN initiatives. Hamas leaders say unity talks are making progress. Gaza’s economy remains desperate. Israeli security figures differ on the "dangers" of the flotilla. Some Palestinians say they need stability more than a UN resolution. Public outrage over a so-called “honor killing” in the West Bank prompts harsher sentences. Israeli Amb. Oren describes Israel’s ideas for negotiating terms of reference. Jordan’s FM says his country supports Palestinian UN initiatives. ATFP and APN announce another joint summer internship program. COMMENTARY: Ha’aretz says PM Netanyahu should take Ronald Lauder’s warnings seriously. Doron Rosenblum says Israel is in danger of becoming a theocracy. The Jordan Times says Palestinians need to unify before going to the UN. Samah Sabawi says Palestinians have both a right to return and to remain. Stuart Littlewood says Israel’s approach to the flotillas violates the law of the sea. Amos Guiora says Israel’s blockade of Gaza is self-defense. Neil Steinberg says Israelis and Palestinians both need a two-state solution. Daniel Levy looks of the role of borders in negotiations.

Abbas adviser: Palestinians ready to replace UN bid with talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 1, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Presidential adviser Nimir Hammad said Thursday that Palestinian leaders would delay the September bid for UN recognition of a Palestinian state, if Israel agrees to negotiations based on a French peace initiative. In an exclusive interview with Ma’an, the political adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas said the leadership are preparing the text for the declaration that will presented to the UN in September, should talks not go ahead.

Haniyeh: Reconciliation is progressing despite delays
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 1, 2011 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Thursday that progress is being made to implement the Palestinian reconciliation agreement "even if it is slow." Hamas and Fatah signed a unity agreement on May 4, ending years of hostility. However, a meeting in Cairo to finalize the formation of a unity government was postponed. Officials from both parties have said talks stalled over a leadership row. Hamas rejected Fatah's nomination of Salam Fayyad for the post of Prime Minister in the new government.

Gaza shelves stocked, but hope in short supply
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

GAZA, June 30 (Reuters) - If pro-Palestinian activists unexpectedly manage to slip past Israel's naval blockade on the Gaza Strip in the coming days, they might be surprised by what they see in the Hamas-controlled enclave when they disembark. Roads are being paved, houses are being built, new cars have taken to the busy streets and shops are full of myriad products. Even the longtime scourge of unemployment is easing marginally, boosting living standards for a lucky few.

Israeli security chiefs differ on Gaza flotilla's potential danger
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Israel's security establishment is at odds over the scope of threat posed by an aid flotilla that had planned to set sail to the Gaza Strip in coming days, and over predictions that violence will ensue if Israel tries to block it. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has played down military assessments in recent days that pro-Palestinian activists are gearing up for violent clashes with Israeli navy troops to be dispatched to intercept the 10-vessel flotilla.

In Balata, the future is scarier than September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - July 1, 2011 - 12:00am

BALATA REFUGEE CAMP, NABLUS - Several days before the first intifada broke out, a few hundred people in the Balata refugee camp marched toward the drawn guns of raiding Israeli soldiers. The soldiers withdrew at the order of then-GOC Central Command Amram Mitzna, who wanted to avoid bloodshed, and Balata became a symbol of the struggle against the Israeli occupation that broke out on December 9, 1987.

Death in the West Bank: the story of an 'honour' killing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

As Ibrahim Baradiya recounts the events surrounding the last moments of his daughter's life at the bottom of a dark well, the agony of grief is drawn across the face of his wife, Fatima. She says almost nothing. Her eyes are half-closed. She shakes her head with small, rapid movements. A deep frown furrows her forehead. When the story is finished, she fetches her daughter's trinkets – beads, bangles, a hair clasp, a key ring, a purple pom-pom – and spreads them over the table and she weeps.

Oren presents Israel’s priorities for talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israel's U.S. ambassador, Michael Oren, outlined for Jewish leaders his country's list of priorities in framing peace talks with the Palestinians. Oren, speaking Thursday in a conference call, said Israel is looking into President Obama's recent proposals for renewing talks. Such talks, Oren said, should be framed by what he called the "terms of reference": the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state; no return of Palestinian refugees; and a long-term military presence for Israel along the Jordan-West Bank border. Also, that an agreement would end all claims.

Jordan committed to Arab consensus in support of Palestinian UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Hani Hazaimeh - June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

AMMAN - Jordan is committed to the Arab consensus supporting the Palestinian leadership’s pursuit of recognition of a state by the UN General Assembly if Israel continues to reject relevant international resolutions, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Judeh said on Thursday. Judeh reaffirmed Jordan’s continued support for the Palestinians in their efforts to establish their own independent state on the national Palestinian soil with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the basis of the two-state solution.

Leading Palestinian and Jewish American groups announce joint internship program
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON: The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) and Americans for Peace Now (APN) started their joint summer internship program on Thursday. ATFP is hosting an Israeli student, and APN is hosting a Palestinian student. This is the third time that ATFP and APN, a pro-Palestinian organization and a pro-Israeli organization, are cooperating on a joint internship program, making it a tradition intended to underscore that Americans who care about Middle East peace — be they Arab or Jewish — have more in common than what sets them apart.

A warning from a good friend
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) July 1, 2011 - 12:00am

An unexpected voice joined the critics of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's standstill policy this week: Ron Lauder. The president of the World Jewish Congress has been a close friend, confidant and clear supporter of Netanyahu throughout his political career. Speaking in Jerusalem, he warned that the political standstill on the Palestinian front is dangerous for Israel. Lauder called on Netanyahu to launch a diplomatic initiative, even if this would mean "political suicide."

Our Tahrir Square
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Doron Rosenblum - (Opinion) July 1, 2011 - 12:00am

The trend of looking to imitate the Arab uprisings by finding "our" Tahrir Square met only partial success in the cottage cheese boycott and the celebrities filmed sitting in solitary confinement in support of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Neither gesture involved blood, tears or even sweat. From the start, it was clear that this was not the real thing. Where was the spirit of revolt in the street? Where were the stormy emotions and the self-sacrifice? Where were the assaults on institutions, as part of the plan to destroy the regime down to its foundations?

Reconciliation First
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) July 1, 2011 - 12:00am

Much hope was pinned on the initial agreement between Fateh, the main Palestinian faction, and Hamas, the movement ruling Gaza, to forge a united Palestinian front at this critical time. The Palestinians need a unity government in order to push forward their plan to seek recognition by the UN General Assembly as an independent state. Unfortunately, so far, the two Palestinian factions failed to seal their initial accord by agreements on several fronts, including holding presidential and parliamentary elections, and forming a national unity government.

The Palestinian right to remain and return
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Samah Sabawi - (Opinion) June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

I was 12 years old when for the first time in my life I became a citizen of a country -- Australia. Before that, I was a stateless Palestinian refugee. There were two laments my parents always repeated whenever they spoke of their place of origin, Palestine: if only we could have stayed and if only we could return.

Israel's contempt for the law of the sea
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Stuart Littlewood - (Opinion) July 30, 2011 - 12:00am

In 2008, two humanitarian vessels got through to Gaza, and in an article entitled "Keeping the Sea-Lane to Gaza Open", I wrote at the time that "the success of the âê˜Free Gaza' boats in breaking the siege, and their safe arrival and departure, was due to the intervention and good offices of the British Foreign Office."

Israel's Gaza sea blockade is an act of self-defense
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Amos Guiora - (Opinion) July 1, 2011 - 12:00am

Self-defense against threats to national security and individual citizens is a core right and duty of all nation-states. No one seriously disagrees. And yet this week, the Mediterranean Sea will once again be the site of a dangerous attack on this basic right.

Palestinian crisis solved in 814 words
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Chicago Sun Times
by Neil Steinberg - (Opinion) July 1, 2011 - 12:00am

Did you hear that the flotilla planning to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza didn’t get off as scheduled? Insurance problems, alas, sparked by an Israeli ploy, plus one of the 10 ships had its propeller mysteriously cut. I sure hope Alice Walker doesn’t run into a scheduling conflict — maybe a Marin County book-signing — that would call her away from yet another chance to remind the world that the Israelis are the Star Wars Evil Empire, the Nazis and the Klingons all rolled into one.

The Role of the Border in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from New America Foundation
by Daniel Levy - (Opinion) June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

In March of this year, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution hosted a crisis simulation exercise on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The participants, myself included, assumed the roles of key players from the US, Israeli, and Palestinian sides and were presented with a scenario in which the protagonists were two weeks into the implementation of a US-brokered agreement on borders and security.

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