Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Occupation forces kill a Palestinian man near Nablus. FM Al-Maliki says Palestinians won’t press a UN initiative if talks resume. The unemployment rate for Palestinian graduates is slowly improving. Palestinians say the US bears some responsibility for Israeli policies. US officials defend US aid to the PA and urge more Arab support. The new Israeli anti-boycott law will be challenged in court. Haaretz interviews Palestinian UN ambassador Riad Mansour. Hamas reiterates it will not accept the continuation of PM Fayyad in office. The Quartet reportedly failed to agree on a joint statement over the issue of Israel as a “Jewish state.” An Israeli policeman will not face prosecution over the death of a Palestinian girl. Jewish-American groups of all orientations are criticizing the boycott law. Palestinians in Bethlehem face severe water shortages. COMMENTARY: Yitzhak Laor says Israelis and Palestinians must unite to end the occupation. Bradley Burston says Israel’s new boycott law is creeping fascism. Daniel Ben Simon says he voted against the boycott law because it is a threat to peace. Deputy FM Ayalon says Israel’s “new foreign policy” is bearing fruit. Roger Hercz looks at discrimination against Palestinians in Israel. Michael Weiss calls the boycott law “stupid and self-defeating.” Jennifer Aaronson says she supports Israel by working for peace with APN and ATFP’s joint internship program. Mahdi Abdul Hadi says whatever happens in September, Palestinians need to secure their sovereignty on the ground. Steve Clemons says Israel has undermined its own democracy. Hussein Ibish says the boycott law delegitimizes Israel by conflating it with the occupation. Jeffery Goldberg says he is totally against boycotts of Israel but understands why Palestinians and others would want to boycott settlements.

Palestinian killed in West Bank raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli soldiers shot and killed a young Palestinian man early Wednesday near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian and Israeli security officials said. University student Ibrahim Sarhan was shot while emerging from a mosque during a search operation in Al-Farah refugee camp near Nablus, Palestinian security sources told AFP. Soldiers were looking for an activist of the Islamic Jihad movement but Sarhan did not belong to any Palestinian political group, they said.

FM: Palestinians could withdraw UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian leadership plans to seek recognition of statehood from the United Nations in September but would be willing to postpone the bid if peace talks restart with a clear timetable, the foreign minister in Ramallah said Monday. Riyad Al-Maliki says the Palestinians are moving forward on the plan, but that step "can be avoided if negotiations start before September based on clear foundations and a timetable."

PCBS: Graduate unemployment improving, but slowly
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 7, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Close to half of Palestinian graduates were unemployed in 2010, the official Palestinian statistics agency said Wednesday, noting a slight decrease in unemployment from 2009. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said 44.8 percent of Palestinians who completed university degrees were not in employment, an improvement on the 2009 figure of 47 percent.

Palestinians hold US responsible for Israel policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ali Sawafta - July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank, July 12 (Reuters) - The Palestinian leadership, in unusually harsh criticism of Washington, on Tuesday held the United States responsible for "racist" Israeli policies it said had sabotaged the peace process. The leadership said recent developments had confirmed the need for the Palestinians to go to the U.N. General Assembly in September to seek international recognition for a state of Palestine on lands occupied by Israel since 1967.

Obama Administration defends aid to Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Arabiya
by Angela Simaan - July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Obama Administration officials defended US aid to the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday, telling Congress the funds are critical for progress on Israeli-Palestinian peace process. “Our assistance gives us leverage,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jacob Walles while testifying before a House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. “There are practical benefits… improvement in security and helping develop institutions needed for a two-state solution,” he said

Israeli groups to challenge boycott law in court
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Amy Teibel - July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

A new law that seeks to impede boycotts against Jewish settlements in the West Bank sparked a ferocious debate Tuesday between supporters who praised it as a bulwark against efforts to isolate Israel and critics who warned it threatens the nation's democracy. Human rights groups said they would ask the Supreme Court within days to overturn the law, which allows settlers or settlement-based businesses to sue Israelis who promote settlement boycotts. Courts would determine whether a boycott caused financial harm and, if so, assess damages.

Palestinian envoy to UN: European states will recognize Palestine before September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, is in the forefront of the Palestinian diplomatic move ? now gaining momentum ? before the General Assembly meet in September. In the coming weeks, Mansour will submit to the UN secretary general an official request for Palestine to be accepted as a full member of the world body. Mansour hopes that September will see more than 130 countries voting in the General Assembly in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state, even if it does not receive full membership status.

Hamas: No Palestinian reconciliation if Fayyad remains PM
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Associated Press - July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

A senior Hamas official said a planned reconciliation with Fatah will be deeply threatened if the rival Palestinian movement insists Western-backed economist Salam Fayyad stays on as prime minister. President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah thinks keeping Fayyad as prime minister is key to maintaining the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars in Western aid. Hamas sees Fayyad as too close to the West. Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk was quoted Wednesday by the Palestinian daily Felesteen as saying Abbas' position is "unacceptable and unreasonable."

Officials: Mideast Quartet talks failed due to disagreement over Israel as Jewish state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The foreign ministers of the Middle East Quartet failed to reach an agreement on Monday surrounding the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and therefore did not issue a public statement on their meeting meant to renew Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Western diplomats and senior officials in Jerusalem said Tuesday.

Israeli police will not face trial over death of Palestinian girl
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Catrina Stewart - July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli policemen suspected of shooting dead a 10-year-old Palestinian schoolgirl in 2007 will escape prosecution after a court said that too much time had elapsed to allow a re-examination of the case. The decision will come as a blow for the girl's parents, who have campaigned for justice for their daughter, Abir Aramin, who died after being struck in the head during a school break.

From left to right, American Jews are criticizing Israeli anti-boycott law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Backers of a new Israeli law penalizing anyone who targets Israel or West Bank settlements for boycotts tout it as a tool to fight back against anti-Israel campaigns, but American Jewish organizations seem remarkably united in deeming the measure an affront to freedom of expression. “We're disappointed that they passed the law,” said Rabbi Steve Gutow, the director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella body for the Jewish public policy groups.

Bethlehem's taps run dry as West Bank Israelis continue to fill their swimming pool
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM // Water taps have run dry in this venerable West Bank city, fuelling public frustration and alarming Palestinian leaders. An acute shortage has panicked Bethlehem hoteliers into building massively expensive storage tanks, lest their customers flee to water-abundant Israeli resorts. Freelance profiteers have carved out a thriving black-market trade in water affordable only to a wealthy few. Meanwhile, Bethlehem's residents, who no longer have enough water to bathe regularly, are sporting scruffy hair and soiled clothing.

Israelis, Palestinians must unite to end occupation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yitzhak Laor - (Opinion) July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the political right argues, has a solid parliamentary majority, so not accepting such a majority's decisions is undemocratic. Right-wing advocates use this argument widely. But of course, this argument harms Israel because it treats its colonialism as if it were part of its political structure.

Israel's boycott law: The quiet sound of going fascist
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

This is the one. Don't let what we like to call the relative calm here, fool you. When the Knesset passed the boycott law Monday night, it changed the history of the state of Israel. In real time, a tipping point of great magnitude can sound a lot like nothing at all. But if the Boycott Law makes it past challenges filed by human rights and pro-peace organizations in Israel's High Court of Justice, then anything goes, beginning with democracy itself. Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak and 10 other cabinet ministers already know this. That's why they failed to show up for the vote.

Killing chance for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Daniel Ben Simon - (Opinion) July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

In the final moments of the vote on the Boycott Law, when it was clear that my opposition colleagues and myself are again about to be defeated, my thoughts wandered to the founders of this state. These well-known and unknown heroes who left their countries of birth, left families behind, and moved to the Land of Israel in order to build one of the 20th Century’s most ambitious projects.

Solid diplomatic foundations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Danny Ayalon - (Opinion) July 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Last week could have proven very difficult for Israel. Our enemies and their provocateur partners were trying once again to damage our image and goad Israel into a confrontation. Thankfully, diligent behind-the-scenes work with our partners in Europe and beyond saw to it that a collision was averted. This is no simple task; individuals and small organizations are far more nimble than vast government infrastructures, and are extremely difficult to outmaneuver.

No Arab renters: Right-wing Judaism and minority inclusion in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
by Roger Hercz - (Opinion) July 11, 2011 - 12:00am

JAFFA - As a student at a college in Safed, a small city of 30,000 residents, Yusuf checked apartment after apartment, hoping to find a home close to his academic institution. Never did the 19-year old anticipate the reaction from Rabbi Schmuel Eliyahu, the local town rabbi.

Israel's stupid and self-defeating new law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Telegraph
by Michael Weiss - (Blog) July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

One of the more elegant ways pro-Israel activists used to be able to confront the absurdities of anti-Israeli activists was by referring to the tolerance and patience that Israel has for its many critics and enemies. An Islamist cleric whose answer to the Jewish Question is straight out of Torquemada? We’ll let him become mayor of an Arab village. A sinister campaign for the economic and cultural boycott of Israel? We’ll let the head campaigner work toward his doctorate at Tel Aviv University, where his oral defence will no doubt be an attack on his own academic viability.

I support Israel by working for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Americans For Peace Now
by Jennifer Aaronson - (Blog) July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

A few years ago I was walking down the streets of San Francisco wearing an old t-shirt that said pro-peace, pro-Israel. A man yelled back at me that I could not believe in both. I was so shocked by his outburst that I didn't know how to respond-so I chose to ignore him. I was only fifteen at the time so that was probably for the best; however, that encounter has been ingrained in my mind ever since.

A Palestinian View: September needs Israel's awakening and not politicians' bluffs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Mahdi Abdul Hadi - (Opinion) July 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The proposal made by Yossi Alpher and several other Israelis of "Buying into Palestinian Statehood" (New York Times, June 24, 2011) is based on several wishful assumptions for the "day after".

Israel Kicks Down its own Democratic Hill?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Steve Clemons - (Opinion) July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Part of the annual foreign policy ritual in Washington is that the US President, Vice President, and leading Members of Congress make major campaign and fundraising speeches, sign on to resolutions, and pledge unconditional support to Israel, often referring to it as "the only genuine democracy in the Middle East." But will it remain so? The Israel Knesset just passed 47-38 a bill outlawing its citizens from supporting any anti-Israel boycotts.

Knesset of Fools
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Hussein Ibish - July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

In the latest of a series of extraordinarily self-defeating moves, Israel's legislature, the Knesset, has just adopted the so-called "Boycott Bill," penalizing any call within Israel to boycott Israel or its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The new law allows for civil suits against boycott supporters, denies them state benefits, and prevents the Israeli government from doing business with them.

A Self-Defeating Boycott Bill
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Jeffrey Goldberg - (Opinion) July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Supporters of Israel's settlement movement want to criminalize calls for boycotts, not only of Israel, but of products made in the settlements. The way to fight calls to boycott Israel itself is through argument; the way to fight calls to boycott settlements is to bring about the creation of a Palestinian state, and let the settlers become part of Palestine, or encourage them to come home to Israel proper. About the boycott-Israel movement I have no mixed feelings at all; it is a type of anti-Jewish discrimination campaign (as are these awful flotillas).

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