Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israeli and Palestinian leaders react to the independence of South Sudan. There is a “balance of terror” between Israel and Hezbollah. PLO leaders urge the US to support a UN statehood initiative. More disturbing details emerge about the killing of a Palestinian by occupation troops in Nablus. PM Netanyahu defends the new Israeli anti-boycott law. Israel approves completion of a “museum of tolerance” built on a Muslim graveyard. Pres. Abbas reiterates he is determined to approach the UN in September, as Palestinians continue to weigh their options and chances of success. The Arab League says it will present a Palestinian statehood bid to the UN. COMMENTARY: Gideon Levy says Israelis must fight against the new boycott law and Nechama Duek calls it “undemocratic and immoral,” but Eliyahu Stone says it lets Israel defend itself. Eitan Grossman explains why Israelis and Palestinians will march together for peace. JJ Goldberg says the right is rewriting politics in both Israel and the US. George Hishmeh says Palestine is already a reality. Daoud Kuttab outlines the hardships of crossing between Jordan and the occupied West Bank. Laura Rozen looks at the failure of the recent Quartet meeting. Rachel Shabi investigates the frustration and impatience of Palestinian youths under occupation.

ISRAEL: A welcome to South Sudan ... and maybe a lesson at home
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Hundreds of Sudanese and other African asylum seekers and migrants celebrated the independence of South Sudan in Israel on Sunday, flocking from all ends of the country to a southern neighborhood of Tel Aviv, the home away from home for many migrants.

'Balance of terror' sustains tense calm between Hezbollah and Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Nicholas Blanford and Joshua Mitnick - July 12, 2011 - 12:00am

As Lebanon’s militant Shiite group Hezbollah and the Israeli army prepare to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2006 war on Tuesday, the tense calm along the traditionally volatile Lebanon-Israel border is being tested by recent regional developments. Still, analysts say, the calm should hold for now. The durability of the “balance of terror” that has helped deter another conflict is rooted in the reluctance of Hezbollah and Israel to embark upon another conflict that both appreciate will be of a far greater magnitude than that of 2006.

Palestinians call on US to support UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Agence France Press (AFP) - July 14, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinians have called on the United States to reverse course and support their United Nations membership bid, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Wednesday. Erekat, speaking at a news conference in Ramallah, said the Palestinians had been in touch with Washington after a meeting of the Middle East peacemaking Quartet this week that failed to produce a final joint statement.

Witnesses recount deadly West Bank raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 14, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian student who died Wednesday in the occupied West Bank was shot before being arrested by Israeli soldiers, witnesses in his refugee camp said. Ibrahim Sarhan was already bleeding profusely as soldiers surrounded a house in Al-Farah camp, refusing to allow ambulances to approach the area, witnesses told Ma'an. "Me and Ibrahim finished dawn prayers and were walking home. After I arrived Ibrahim continued but moments later, I heard gunshots and loud shouting," said resident Abed Al-Aydi, 48.

Israeli leader defends contentious boycott law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Josef Federman - July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday defended a contentious new law targeting local boycotts of West Bank settlements, as the issue escalated into a battle over the limits of Israeli democracy. Supporters say the law is needed to counter what they consider "delegitimization" of Israel's very existence. Critics say it is a violation of the basic right of free speech and part of a chilling trend by the government to stifle dissent.

Israel gives go-ahead to museum opposed by Muslims
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Amy Teibel - July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli government has approved a Jewish group's plan to build a museum over a centuries-old Muslim graveyard in Jerusalem, an official confirmed Wednesday, in the final go-ahead for a project delayed for years by Muslim opposition. The bitter wrangle over construction of the Museum of Tolerance reflects the explosive potential of religion-based disputes in Jerusalem, where Jews and Muslims often play down the other side's historical ties to the city. The museum, which is meant to promote coexistence, is a project of a U.S.-based Jewish group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Palestinians more determined to approach UN for vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Fares Akram and Emad Drimly - July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated Wednesday that the Palestinians will seek recognition of their state at the United Nations if international efforts failed to resume peace talks with Israel. Abbas said when meeting United Arab Emirates' (UAE) ambassador in the West Bank city of Ramallah that Israel refuses to commit itself to the references of the peace process or stop building Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Palestinian leaders weigh U.N. options
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
by Rema Rahman - July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

A PLO leader said Palestinians will consider bypassing the U.N. Security Council and going directly to the General Assembly when it requests admission to the United Nations in September. The option, if accepted, would allow the Palestinians to become a non-member state in the United Nations. For full recognition, leaders are also considering acceptance by the Security Council first, which could postpone the process.

Arabs to seek full Palestine upgrade at U.N.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 14, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab League will apply to upgrade the Palestinians to full member status at the United Nations, according to a draft statement from a league meeting in Qatar on Thursday. "It was decided to go to the United Nations to request the recognition of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and to move ahead and request a full membership," said the communique, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

Why Israelis must fight against the boycott law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) July 14, 2011 - 12:00am

I have never preached publicly to others to boycott the products of the settlements. Everyone should follow his own conscience. Just as I try to buy blue-and-white Israeli products, I also try not to buy "black": products with a very black flag flying over them, a flag of injustice and theft. The Boycott Law that was passed this week is causing me to change direction: From now on I will publicly preach to others, too, not to buy black products. Yes, boycott them!

Undemocratic, immoral law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Nechama Duek - (Opinion) July 14, 2011 - 12:00am

The Boycott Law’s approval by the Knesset turned Israel and us, its citizens, into members in a club I would not want to be a member of. The boycotters club. In other words, the new law calls for boycotting the boycotters. This law wishes to silence people, stifle a different kind of thinking, and force people to do things that contradict their conscience, beliefs and democratic right.

Boycott Law lets Israel defend itself
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Elihu Stone - (Opinion) July 14, 2011 - 12:00am

The anti-boycott legislation recently enacted by the Knesset has invoked a firestorm of criticism from many, fulminating against such legislation as inherently “undemocratic.” Allow me to present an alternative viewpoint, dealing with the particulars of the case.

Genuine solidarity vs. stale promises
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Eitan Grossman - (Opinion) July 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Thousands of Palestinians and Israelis will march together on Friday in support of the Palestinian declaration of independence, under the banner ‘First independence, then negotiations.’ The march, organized by the Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah movement and a coalition of Palestinian popular committees, will set out from Jaffa Gate and proceed through East Jerusalem, ending up in Sheikh Jarrah, the neighborhood that has come to symbolize Israeli-Palestinian cooperation against occupation and discrimination.

Two Revolutions and the Crises They Created
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Editorial) July 14, 2011 - 12:00am

If it feels as though we’re living through strange, frightening times, that’s because we are. The planet is experiencing a wrenching atmospheric change, what with biblical-scale storms and droughts, disappearing polar ice caps, rising oceans and endangered crop cycles. The nations, particularly in the 1.5 billion-strong Muslim world, are undergoing a collective nervous breakdown that spills over into the West and strains the moorings of the democratic Enlightenment. The economy teeters like a table that’s lost a leg.

Palestine is a reality
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) July 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Poor Michele Bachmann! The US Republican representative and presidential hopeful has been the target of merciless criticism and ridicule for her slip-up in explaining her sponsorship of a controversial pro-Israel Congressional resolution. The slip-up, a seemingly ‘pro-Palestinian tweet’, was caught by Salon.com, the popular news website, when Bachmann wrote explaining her adoption of the House measure, saying, “I’m proud to co-sponsor HRes 268, coming to the floor [last Thursday] night,’ stressing, “The resolution supports peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine [italics added].”

Jordan crossing heats up
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) July 14, 2011 - 12:00am

The religious men and women patiently clutching their water jugs on July 10, waiting in line at the Israeli border crossing looked like the average Palestinian. They had been to Mecca for Umra, the lesser pilgrimage to the Muslim holy places. What was different in this group of Palestinians was that they were holding Israeli passports. The individuals, mostly from the Naqab area, looked tired and exhausted. They had arrived the day before at about 9:00pm, but were denied entry by the Israelis.

Quartet reset? International peacemakers seemingly stumped on Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Yahoo News
by Laura Rozen - (Opinion) July 14, 2011 - 12:00am

For the small clique that comprises the world's most senior statesmen and -women, the Monday night meal hosted by Hillary Clinton to review efforts to get the Israelis and Palestinians back to the peace table might have been expected to follow the usual script: familiar colleagues, familiar talking points, followed by the expected issuing of a joint statement expressing international consensus on the urgent need for resumed negotiations. Blah blah blah blah. Or so one might have thought.

Palestine Lost
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Rachel Shabi - (Opinion) July 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Promises were made, and it looks like they'll be broken. U.S. President Barack Obama said he believed a Palestinian state could be created by September 2011. Speaking to the U.N. General Assembly in September 2010, he laid down a challenge to formulate an agreement that would make it a reality. That same deadline was set by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for his state-building plan, which was intended to create the institutions for a viable Palestinian state.

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