Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Jordan says the peace process must be rescued. A UN official severely criticizes a new UN report on last year's flotilla. Labor MK Isaac Herzog says Israel should vote 'yes' on Palestinian statehood at the UN. Israel fails to secure a Bulgarian commitment to oppose Palestinian statehood. Smuggling in Gaza is still a vast enterprise. Israel expropriates Palestinian land to authorize a West Bank settlement. Two activists from the "flytilla" are to be deported from Israel, and others thank PM Netanyahu for PR. The outgoing US ambassador says the US made a major effort to support Israel. Palestinian architects renovate old buildings. COMMENTARY: Henry Siegman asks who is 'delegitimizing' whom. Adam Schatz looks at the Palestinian political landscape. Bradley Burston says Israel's message is hatred of non-violent activists. Amos Harel says Israel's excessive preparations for clashes with activists is a self-fulfilling prophesy. Haim Zisovitz agrees. Hassan Haidar looks at the domestic impact of relations with Israel on Egypt and Syria. Douglas Noll says a different kind of mediation is needed in the peace process.

Jordan calls for rescuing Israeli-Palestinians peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 8, 2011 - 12:00am

AMMAN, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Jordan on Thursday underlined the need for serious efforts to rescue the peace process and resume peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis, the state- run Petra news agency reported. The peace talks should lead to the creation of an independent, viable and geographically connected Palestinian state at the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said at a meeting with Iceland's Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson Thursday.

Top official slams UN report backing Israel on flotilla
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
July 7, 2011 - 12:00am

UNITED NATIONS — A UN rapporteur Thursday slammed a highly anticipated UN report said to back a 2010 Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla aiming to break the Gaza blockade which left nine people dead. "The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Prof. Olivier De Schutter, has received a draft of this report and he firmly opposes its conclusions," De Schutter's office said in an email. He was preparing "a statement where he denounces the conclusions" of the report by a UN commission which the UN chief is expected to release on Friday, it said.

Herzog: Vote 'yes' to Palestinian statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Lahav Harkov - July 6, 2011 - 12:00am

In exchange for starting negotiations on borders, Israel should offer to vote in favor of Palestinian statehood in the UN General Assembly in September, Labor MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) suggested on Tuesday. “The government’s attitude, which assumes an Israeli loss, is defeatist and unoriginal,” Herzog told reporters outside a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting. The Labor leadership candidate suggested that Israel take two “controlled and responsible” steps.

PM fails to win Bulgarian commitment to oppose PA state bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
July 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was not able to convince his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov to make a commitment to vote against the Palestinian bid for UN recognition of a state during his visit to Sofia on Thursday. Israel Radio quoted Borisov as saying that Bulgaria is currently conferring with European Union nations on forming a united position on the Palestinian statehood plan. Borisov added that the Palestinians had not yet officially presented an initiative and when they do, Sofia will inform Israel of its position.

Cement, weapons, cars – you name it, Gazans will smuggle it
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
July 7, 2011 - 12:00am

The smuggling business is booming in Gaza. Each week, cement and weapons are transported through tunnels running under the border between the salient and Egypt, and about 200 cars make the underground journey as well. Since Israel first imposed its blockade on the Strip, following the capture in 2006 of an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid, smuggling has become perhaps Gaza's main growth industry, enriching the coffers of the tunnel owners and of the Islamist Hamas movement which administers the Strip.

Israel expropriates Palestinian land in order to legalize West Bank settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - July 8, 2011 - 12:00am

For the first time in three years, the state has confiscated uncultivated land in the West Bank. The land will be used to legalize a nearby settlement outpost. Last week, acting on orders from the government, the Civil Administration declared 189 dunams of land belonging to the Palestinian village of Karyut to be state land, so as to retroactively legalize houses and a road in the Hayovel neighborhood of the settlement of Eli. This would seem to violate Israel's long-standing commitment to the United States not to expropriate Palestinian lands for settlement expansion.

Gaza fly-in gains momentum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
July 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Security forces gear for potential disruptions at BG Airport after relatively quiet morning. Dozens of pro-Palestinian activists arrive in Israel despite foreign airlines' efforts to follow passenger blacklist; more than 30 detained by police Security forces were on high alert at Ben Gurion International Airport Friday afternoon, ahead of the potentially volatile second wave of Gaza fly-in arrivals.

Gaza fly-in organizers thank Bibi for PR
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Boaz Fyler - July 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Left wing activists and the organizers of the planned pro-Palestinian fly-in to Ben Gurion Airport thanked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch for the extensive publicity their endeavor has been garnering in the global media. "We should be thanking Netanyahu because without him this wouldn’t have worked," one of the fly-in organizers said Thursday. "If we would have paid thousands of shekels in PR it would not have worked our so well," he added.

'US made a really concerted effort to support Israel'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - July 8, 2011 - 12:00am

The unimpaired view of the Mediterranean from the ambassador’s expansive office in the US Embassy in Tel Aviv is stunning. And it is a view that James Cunningham, the outgoing US envoy, will give up for the view from Kabul. Cunningham, a career diplomat who took up his post in Israel under the Bush administration three years ago, will be leaving within days to take up his post as the deputy ambassador in Afghanistan. Talk about moving from a storm to a tempest.

A Palestinian architect designs the foundation for a state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ruth Eglash, Tovah Lazaroff - July 8, 2011 - 12:00am

Khaldun Bshara’s eyes light up as he points out some of the intricate designs and structural elements of the ornate Arabesque building that houses the RIWAQ Center for Architectural Conservation. “It was built in 1932, but the person who designed it only slept here for one night,” says Bshara, who officially became the organization’s director last January. “It’s a hybrid between modern and traditional architecture, but has a clear Ottoman style.”

Who is 'delegitimizing' whom?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Henry Siegman - (Opinion) July 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Shlomo Avineri, a leading Israeli intellectual and politically very much a centrist, is to be commended for dismissing Israeli fears that outside criticism of their country's occupation policies is an effort to challenge Israel's very right to exist. Writing in Ha'aretz, Avineri notes there is not a single country in the world that maintains diplomatic ties with Israel that has ever questioned the legitimacy of Israel's existence.

Is Palestine Next?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from London Review of Books
by Adam Shatz - (Book Review) July 14, 2011 - 12:00am

No one in the Arab world was watching the news more closely than the Palestinians during the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. The first emotion they experienced was disbelief; the second – particularly when they saw Palestinian flags being raised in Tahrir Square – was relief that they were no longer alone. Arab lethargy has been a virtual article of faith among Palestinians, who felt that their neighbours had betrayed them in 1948 and had done nothing to help them since.

Israel’s message: Hate thy pro-Palestinian activist
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) July 7, 2011 - 12:00am

This weekend in synagogues the world over, Jews will be reading the story of Balak. In Israel, this will also be Shabbat Mashat, the Sabbath of the Pro-Palestinian Flightilla. As luck would have it, both stories are about occupation. And about hatred. The Biblical narrative (Numbers 22:2 – 25:9) begins just after the Children of Israel, en route to the Promised Land from Egypt, have won sweeping military victories and occupied the towns and territories of kingdom after kingdom.

The pro-Palestinian 'fly-in' poses no danger to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - (Opinion) July 8, 2011 - 12:00am

After left-wing activists' hopes for a well-publicized clash with the Israel Defense Forces aboard the flotilla to the Gaza Strip were dashed, both sides are now working on Plan B: a fly-in. So far, sensible Israeli conduct has prevented a violent confrontation with the flotilla activists. But the way things looked last night, the Israeli authorities' hysterical and disproportionate response to the airlift of pro-Palestinian activists may result in a different sort of clash, albeit a less violent one, at Ben-Gurion Airport.

Hysteria at the airport
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Haim Zisovitch - (Opinion) July 7, 2011 - 12:00am

A dull and not-so-funny joke I remember from childhood recounts the story of a child who was late to come home at night, and in order not to alert his sleeping parents used drums and trumpets to cover up the sound of his steps. This is precisely how Israel has been dealing with the Gaza-bound flotilla, and now with the subsequent fly-in. If the intention of flotilla and fly-in organizers was to direct global attention to Gaza, Israel’s government and law enforcement agencies are doing everything to help them and even boost the resonance.

The Conditions of Truce
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Hassan Haidar - (Opinion) July 7, 2011 - 12:00am

There are two Arab regimes that failed to convince their people to maintain the same method of governance throughout decades with the pretexts they presented, despite the voluntary or obligatory change that affected their role in the face of Israel, after this role marked the way they presented themselves domestically and abroad.

Time for a different conversation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Douglas Noll - (Opinion) July 7, 2011 - 12:00am

The recent Middle East events in Washington, starting with the resignation of George Mitchell as President Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East and ending with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's address to the US Congress, have created a moment in which a different conversation about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict might be useful.

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