Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel is again attacked. PA employees will get half pay this month. Israel continues home demolitions in the Jordan Valley. The latest Gaza flotilla is stalled. PM Netanyahu remains very popular in Israel in spite of stalled diplomacy. Israel is planning more West Bank settlements. Israeli and Palestinian security services are both preparing for possible violence in September. Clashes between Palestinians and settlers increase. Two Palestinians are killed in an Israeli attack on Gaza. US officials say Pres. Obama plans to visit Israel. Israel says it is determined to keep pressure on Hamas. Palestinian unity talks are stalled. COMMENTARY: Yitzhak Laor says the siege of Gaza is turning into a moral blockade of Israel and Ha'aretz says it must end. Zvi Bar'el says the US may move towards talks with Hamas. Gershon Baskin says leaders must change their messaging. David Newman says Palestinians and Israelis need to work to protect each other's human rights. Linda Gradstein says Israeli attitudes are still shaped by the Gaza redeployment. Eric Alterman says Israeli and Palestinian leaders are making a two-state solution impossible. Linda Heard says the flotilla was blocked by a conspiracy. Yossi Alpher says one of the reasons Palestinians are thinking about asking for UN membership is that they want progress on two states but Netanyahu does not. Ghassan Khatib says Palestinians are ready for freedom and independence.

Blast at Sinai Pipeline Again Halts Gas to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Liam Stack - July 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Unknown attackers blew up a strategic natural gas pipeline that runs through Egypt’s rugged Sinai Peninsula to Israel and Jordan on Monday, bringing the flow of gas to a halt for the third time this year. Security sources described the explosion as “massive” and said it generated “high flames,” although it led to no injuries or damage to nearby buildings.

Palestinians Unable to Pay Full Salaries of Employees
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Khaled Abu Aker, Isabel Kershner - July 3, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority will pay its employees only half their monthly salaries in July, the prime minister told reporters here on Sunday, because of what he said was “the failure of donors, including our Arab brothers, to fulfill their pledges.” Prime Minister Salam Fayyad added that the salaries would be paid in full when the promised funds arrived.

West Bank demolitions highlight struggle for Jordan Valley
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - July 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli troops and bulldozers arrived in the early morning and quickly got to work, tearing down shelters made of plastic netting and poles that had served as homes for about 100 people in this impoverished Bedouin community in the parched Jordan Valley.

With Gaza flotilla stalled, both sides claim victory
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - July 3, 2011 - 12:00am

After intense diplomatic efforts and threats of military action, Israel appeared Sunday to have stymied an attempt to challenge its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, with nearly all boats in a planned aid flotilla confined to ports in Greece. Israeli officials pronounced themselves satisfied with efforts to block the flotilla, which have averted a confrontation at sea. Last year, Israeli naval commandos boarded a similar flotilla and killed nine people in clashes on a Turkish ship, drawing international condemnation that forced Israel to ease its land blockade of Gaza.

Netanyahu gallops on while peacemaking stumbles
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jeffrey Heller - July 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The last time an Israeli prime minister led a government that served out a full four-year term, Ronald Reagan was just settling into the White House. Political in-fighting and, in one case, an assassination, have cut short the governance of Israeli leaders who formed fragile coalitions after elections in which no party in Israel has ever won an outright parliamentary majority.

Israel pushes on with settlement plans on annexed land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Maayan Lubell - July 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's Jerusalem municipality approved a plan on Monday to build hundreds of new homes for Jews on annexed land in the occupied West Bank, a council member said. Elisha Peleg told Reuters that the city planning commission had approved building plans for 900 new units in Gilo, an urban settlement built on land Israel captured in a 1967 war and unilaterally annexed to Jerusalem.

Israel, Palestinians hope to avoid fall violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - July 3, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli and Palestinian security forces are already taking precautions to avoid an outbreak of violence after an expected U.N. vote for Palestinian independence in September, officials on both sides said Sunday, reflecting shared concerns about the possibility of renewed fighting this fall. For now, Israeli and Palestinian officials said they do not want — or expect — armed hostilities to resume. But both sides fear that one small incident could quickly spin out of control.

Alarming rise in clashes between settlers and Palestinians in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - July 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The IDF is alarmed by the increase in clashes in the West Bank between Palestinian villagers and settlers in nearby outposts and by the growing harassment of senior army officers and civil servants by right-wing extremists. The commanders are concerned that the situation may deteriorate even further with the diplomatic crisis looming in September when Palestinians make their bid for UN recognition.

2 killed in IDF strike on terror cell
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - July 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israel Air Force targeted a terror cell in Gaza Tuesday, after it was identified as attempting to fire projectiles at Israel. The pilots reported hitting their mark. A Palestinian medical source said two people were killed and one wounded in the strike, which took place east of the Maghazi refugee camp. The sources said the three were hit while approaching the security fence in central Gaza; adding that the bodies were taken to the Gaza hospital. It is still unclear which militant organization the three were associated with.

US envoy in Israel to Rivlin: Obama will visit Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
July 5, 2011 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama will visit Israel, US ambassador to Israel James B. Cunningham told Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday. "The president wants to visit and he will do so," Cunningham told Rivlin. Though he did not specify a date for the visit, Cunningham said it was on Obama's agenda. Rivlin told Cunningham that "Israelis sense that the atmosphere in the White House has changed for the worse. The feeling is that Obama views Israel as a burden more than as a strategic asset."

Israel Determined to Keep Pressure on Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Arieh O'Sullivan - July 5, 2011 - 12:00am

As it maintains its isolation of the Hamas rulers, Israel has been working to boost the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the Gaza Strip by gradually supporting its projects there. “I believe our current policy to work with international organizations and support the Palestinian Authority’s projects in Gaza, plus our efforts to weaken Hamas, are the way to bring about the real change in Gaza,” said Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, Israel’s government coordinator for activities in the West Bank and Gaza. But, he stressed: We have no desire to ever return to the Gaza Strip.”

Fatah 'tiptoeing round accord with Hamas' in run-up to statehood bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - July 5, 2011 - 12:00am

After signing a reconciliation accord two months ago but agreeing on little since, the widely hailed rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah now resembles little more than a shaky truce. The festering differences between the two Palestinian political factions have been manifested publicly in bickering over whether to appoint Salaam Fayyad as prime minister in the yet-to-be-formed interim government of technocrats.

Siege of Gaza has become a moral blockade of Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yitzhak Laor - (Opinion) July 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel is indeed connected to the centers of power in the world. The predictions of a tsunami at present seem to be exaggerated, but nevertheless, before the victory ball, it is worth remembering - the Israeli occupation is the longest military occupation of modern times.

The blockade is the problem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) July 4, 2011 - 12:00am

All signs indicate that the government of Israel has taken steps to receive the present Gaza flotilla in a manner much more systematic than last year's actions. Instead of relying entirely on the use of force, diplomatic measures were taken this time, and friendly states, first and foremost Greece, mobilized to help Israel and hampered the flotilla's departure. This diplomatic action proved that there are alternatives less violent than Israel's predilection for discharging armed soldiers to suppress civilian protests.

The U.S. may be heading toward talks with Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - (Opinion) July 3, 2011 - 12:00am

How would Israel respond if a "senior American official" were to declare that the United States was prepared to speak with Hamas leadership?

If... then...
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) July 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian media are reporting that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has responded to President Barack Obama’s request for an answer on whether or not Israel agrees to the president’s parameters for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. According to the reports, Netanyahu demanded a letter of commitment from the US, patterned on the letter from former president George W.

Borderline Views: Preserving human rights of 'the other'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Newman - (Opinion) July 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The real challenge facing human rights groups is respecting and upholding the civil rights of those with whom we often disagree. How appropriate that in the week the Knesset launched a new attack on human rights movements, especially those funded by the European Union, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) received the Gruber International Justice Prize.

Six years on, lessons of Gaza withdrawal resonate for West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Linda Gradstein - (Opinion) July 4, 2011 - 12:00am

SHILOH, West Bank (JTA) -- Yisrael Medad remembers when just eight families lived in the red-roofed homes in this Jewish settlement deep in the hills of the West Bank. Now some 2,500 Israelis live here, and Shiloh has playgrounds, schools and a yeshiva. The red-roofed homes sprawl over several hills, and new homes continue to be built. At the bottom of the hill is the archaeological excavation of the biblical Shiloh, where the tabernacle is believed to have been built.

Will the One-State Solution Become the Only Solution?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Eric Alterman - (Opinion) July 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Tony Judt’s deliberately provocative 2003 New York Review of Books essay, “Israel: the Alternative,” is a lesson in the limits of American Jewry’s allowable discourse when it comes to Israel. Writing explicitly in the tradition of thought experiment, rather than policy proposal, about what he called an “alternative future,” Judt suggests that Jews and Arabs alike might be better off as citizens of a secular democratic state that encompassed both Israel and Palestine, in which all citizens had equal rights regardless of religion or national origin.

Conspiracy to block flotilla
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Linda S. Heard - (Opinion) July 5, 2011 - 12:00am

It never ceases to astonish how a sliver of a country that has been illegally occupying another people's land for 44 years succeeds in leading the international community by the nose. The efforts by several countries to block the Freedom Flotilla II from setting sail to Gaza for the purpose of breaking the Israeli blockade is a shameful example of governments' machinations.

An Israeli View: Why we are going to the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Blog) July 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestine Liberation Organization has now officially decided to ask the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. Leaving aside speculation as to whether this really will happen in September and what the consequences might be on the ground back home in Palestine and Israel, this is a good occasion to ask how we arrived at this juncture. The conventional wisdom that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's intransigent behavior has driven the Palestinians to adopt the international track is important, but hardly offers a complete explanation.

A Palestinian View: We are ready for freedom and independence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Blog) July 4, 2011 - 12:00am

After its last meeting, the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization announced officially its intention to go to the United Nations to seek the help of the international community in ending Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, achieving freedom and independence and enjoying the legitimate rights of self-determination in accordance with international law and United Nations resolutions.

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