Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel passes a law banning calls for boycotts, including against settlements. Israelis and Palestinians connect on Facebook. Rachel Corrie’s parents say Israel is hiding evidence about her death. The Quartet meeting produces no breakthroughs. Hamas says Palestinian national unity is being thwarted by Pres. Abbas insisting on PM Fayyad continuing in office. Palestinians are beginning to feel negative consequences of their new diplomatic strategy. Both Palestinians and Israelis reportedly think US peace efforts have failed. Hebron merchants elect a Chamber of Commerce. Israel and Turkey are working on repairing relations. Palestinians in Lebanon find new educational opportunities. COMMENTARY: Ali Halimeh says the Palestinians must appeal to the UN for independence. Amir Oren says Israel is being held hostage by an extremist minority. Gershon Baskin says Israel must move towards peace. Doron Ben-Atar says Palestinians should urgently return to negotiations. Carlo Strenger says Israel’s new anti-boycott law reflects a siege mentality. Hussein Shobokshi says resistance in Palestine is now a political commodity in the Arab world. Linda Heard says Palestinians need to be patient, and that global powers need to impose Middle East peace. Yossi Alpher says Israel desperately needs a peace plan. Ghassan Khatib says peace depends on whether Israel is mature enough to end the occupation. Sean Cleary says Israeli-Palestinian peace is crucial to the future of the Middle East.

Israel Bans Boycotts Against the State
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - July 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli Parliament on Monday passed contentious legislation that effectively bans any public call for a boycott against the state of Israel or its West Bank settlements, making such action a punishable offense. Critics and civil rights groups denounced the new law as antidemocratic and a flagrant assault on the freedom of expression and protest. The law’s defenders said it was a necessary tool in Israel’s fight against what they called its global delegitimization.

Virtual Bridge Allows Strangers in Mideast to Seem Less Strange
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - July 9, 2011 - 12:00am

Moad Arqoub, a Palestinian graduate student, was bouncing around the Internet the other day and came across a site that surprised and attracted him. It was a Facebook page where Israelis and Palestinians and other Arabs were talking about everything at once: the prospects of peace, of course, but also soccer, photography and music. “I joined immediately because right now, without a peace process and with Israelis and Palestinians physically separated, it is really important for us to be interacting without barriers,” Mr. Arqoub said as he sat at an outdoor cafe in this Palestinian city.

Quartet finds slow progress in Mideast peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Agence France Press (AFP) - July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The Middle East diplomatic Quartet found out in Washington how massively bogged down the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is, despite efforts at bringing the parties closer. Representatives of the Quartet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, declined to issue a statement about their evening dinner.

Hamas: Abbas obstructing reconciliation deal over PM
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas official Mohammed Nasr said Tuesday that President Mahmoud Abbas was responsible for obstructing the completion of a Palestinian national unity government. "Abbas clings to Salam Fayyad as prime minister during the interim government but we refuse this nomination and we affirmed to Fatah that we have a veto against Fayyad," Nasr told the London based Al-Hayat newspaper.

Palestinians start to feel pain from new strategy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Tom Perry and Ali Sawafta - July 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinians' drive to forge a new Middle East strategy, opposed by Israel and the United States, is starting to exact a financial price that will test their resolve. Palestinian Authority employees, who received only half wages in July, are getting a taste of what could be in store if their leaders defy Washington and follow through on plans to take their statehood quest to the United Nations in September.

Israel and Palestinian sources to Haaretz: U.S. peace efforts have failed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The intensive U.S. efforts to create an agreed outline for renewed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have failed, Israeli and Palestinian sources have told Haaretz. The sources said the Palestinian leadership is more determined than ever to pursue the recognition of an independent Palestinian state at the United Nations in September.

In Hebron's casbah, rocking the vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Starting Tuesday morning, Hebron's main street, Ein Sara, was intermittently closed. The traffic jams piled up to an unbearable level. Hundreds of people congregated at the entrance of the Al-Hussein School, waiting for the turn to go in. It was an election day. Across from the school, booths were set up in support of candidates and party lists. Trucks plastered with ads for the leading lists traveled back and forth and above the street, dozens of banners with photos of the top candidates were hung.

No quick reconciliation for Turkey-Israel ties, but Turkey rethinking rift
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - July 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The Turkey-Israel relationship is not out of the woods just yet. After some positive signs in recent weeks that the once close allies were moving to repair the rift that ripped wide open last year after nine Turks were killed by Israeli forces in a confrontation on a Gaza-bound flotilla of ships, Turkey’s prime minister renewed his hard line on Israel.

Palestinian Open University project back on track
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Annie Slemrod - July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

By 1980, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees were living in Lebanon. And despite the difficult conditions in the country’s camps, some 15,000 Palestinians were studying at Lebanese universities. At the time, Palestinian university students were considered to be foreigners and had to pay correspondingly higher tuition than Lebanese nationals. There was no Palestinian university that offered courses to students outside of Israel or Palestine.

What can we expect of the international community?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Ali Halimeh - (Analysis) July 11, 2011 - 12:00am

It is no longer possible, in a time of the major changes in the 21st century, to leave the Middle East a hostage to the crisis management approach or of U.S. election agendas. It is, rather, in urgent need of radical solutions, especially for the Palestinian issue, on the basis of international legitimacy which has already coalesced around the two-state solution to end the Arab-Israeli conflict.

An extremist minority is paralyzing Israel's leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amir Oren - (Opinion) July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Of all the countries in the world, only two have not yet reconciled themselves to Israel's existence in the 1967 borders, with minor, mutually agreed adjustments: Iran and Israel.

Reform! The end is at hand!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) July 11, 2011 - 12:00am

There is a well-documented phenomenon in societies as they reach the final stages of a deeply rooted, bloody conflict. I call it “digging in the heels against the current.” During this final phase, some societies show their ugliest face. I am talking about the stronger side, the one required to make truly hard concessions on real assets such as land. Such societies face a growing sense that the world fails to see the justice on their side. Indeed, the world usually supports the side perceived as the “underdog,” even when that side uses terrorism to support its cause.

Time is on whose side?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Doron S. Ben-Atar - (Opinion) July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The secular Palestinian national movement is at a crossroad. Since 2000, it has rejected three proposals of territorial compromise, thinking that a better offer will be forthcoming. The Palestinians believe time is on their side; that demographic trends, western strategic considerations, and the collective economic power of the Arab world will force Israel to yield to their demands. Recent developments prove the folly of these assumptions.

Israel's boycott ban is down to siege mentality
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The flood of anti-democratic laws that were proposed, and partially implemented, by the current Knesset, elected in February 2009, constitute one of the darkest chapters in Israeli history. The opening salvo was provided by foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu party with its Nakba law, that forbids the public commemoration of the expulsion of approximately 750000 Palestinians during the 1948 war.

The Father, Son and Holy Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Hussein Shobokshi - (Opinion) July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

In the modern world of business, the element of marketing is considered a key factor in the success of the commodity. You can't buy toothpaste if it does not contain the "Fluoride" ingredient. You can't purchase a detergent if it does not contain bleach, and you can't buy a bar of soap if it doesn't contain moisturizer and anti-bacterial products. Marketing experts convinced us that we cannot do without those ingredients in the products we buy. Thus they became a necessity and we "bought" the idea. The same applies to the world of politics.

Palestinians have to pin hopes on patience
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Linda S. Heard - (Opinion) July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

If I were a Palestinian living on the West Bank or Gaza I would wake up every morning wondering why the international community champions the self-determination of Arabs in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria while actively abetting Israel in its oppression of my own people when they have international law on their side.

World powers should impose Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Linda Heard - (Opinion) July 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The world’s appetite for the inhumane status quo to continue indefinitely is receding. And as long as Israel continues its land grab the window of opportunity for two states diminishes. The only remaining option — apart from the genocide of historic Palestine’s rightful owners — would be the one-state solution which most Palestinians reject and Israelis fear would signal the Jewish state’s demographic demise.

Frequently asked questions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Blog) July 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Some three weeks ago I published, together with Colette Avital, Shlomo Gazit and Mark Heller, the following components of a proposed "win-win" United Nations resolution regarding Palestinian statehood:

A question of will, not semantics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Blog) July 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The content of the article "Buying into Palestinian statehood" by a group of prominent Israelis represents a new, mature and responsible level of debate between Israelis and Palestinians--even when compared to official exchanges between the two sides.

Sean Cleary: ‘Seize the Moment!’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Arabiya
by Sean Cleary - (Opinion) July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

All of us need to change gears, and direction, in our approach to the challenges of the world between the eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia. The turmoil in the Arab world must focus our minds, causing us to look beyond past habits and present uncertainty, to define and create a future that offers hope for generations to come. Efforts by the United States over the past ten years to counter what two different administrations have seen as threats to US interests in the Gulf and Afghanistan, have not brought benefits to many who dwell there.

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