Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: PM Netanyahu is interviewed by Al Arabiya. Settlers burn Palestinian fields near Nablus. The PA reduces the price of bread. Israel’s government is split over an apology to Turkey for last year’s flotilla incident. The PA says it will take more action to support Palestinian prisoners. Occupation authorities want to claim more West Bank territory as Israeli “state land.” Pres. Abbas says the PLO’s aim in a possible UN initiative is to get on equal diplomatic footing with Israel. Abbas is seeking more support in Turkey. The Economist looks at the future of settlers in a Palestinian state. Jewish Americans continue to overwhelmingly support Pres. Obama according to a new poll. COMMENTARY: ATFP President Ziad Asali says all parties stand to lose from a confrontation at the UN in September. Jackson Diehl says Palestinians need to decide what they want. Bradley Burston looks at the growing divisions on the Israeli right. Nahum Barnea says Israel’s election season has begun. JJ Goldberg says he agrees with Hussein Ibish that demographic forces are involved in Israel’s shift to the right. Hassan Haidar asks whether the Syrian regime has recognized Palestine or actually is recognizing Israel. George Hishmeh says Pres. Obama needs to do some serious housecleaning on foreign policy. Samah Jaber says Israel demands Palestinian nonviolence but objects to all forms of it. Naomi Chazan says Israel’s boycott law is discrediting and undemocratic.

ISRAEL: Benjamin Netanyahu's first interview on Arab network
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - July 21, 2011 - 12:00am

"Everything is on the table; we just need to get to the table," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Al Arabiya TV in an exclusive interview airing Thursday evening. According to advance excerpts from the 30-minute interview, the Israeli leader answered questions on a wide range of issues, including the peace process and regional regime changes. It was Netanyahu's first appearance on an Arab television outlet. Why now?...

Settlers start fires across the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 22, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian firefighters have been battling blazes across the West Bank as Israeli settlers set fire to land in multiple locations on Thursday night. Reports earlier on Friday said that settlers had torched agricultural fields near the village of Burin in the West Bank city of Nablus. “Some settlers from the Yizhar settlement adjacent to the village set fire to the area south of the village and fled the scene,” Head of Burin village council Ali Ead told Ma'an. Hundreds of residents in the village arrived at the scene and helped extinguish the fire.

PA reduces price of bread to counter economy crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 21, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – The Palestinian Authority ministry of national economy decided to lower bread prices from 4 to 3.5 shekels per kilo (10 slices). The decision goes into effect Saturday. Economy minister Hasan Abu Libdah announced the decision Wednesday at a news conference in Ramallah. He said the ministry would introduce a series of procedures during Ramadan to cope with the dire economic conditions. There will be monthly updates on the price, according to the production costs.

REFILE-Israel torn on apologising to Turks over Gaza ship
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Dan Williams - July 21, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, July 21 (Reuters) - Israel is debating whether to say sorry for storming a Gaza-bound Turkish activist ship last year, after its jurists recommended satisfying Ankara's demand for an apology to help fend off war-crimes lawsuits. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far voiced only "regret" for the navy's killing of nine pro-Palestinian Turks aboard the Mavi Marmara, but Israeli officials say support for a stronger show of contrition is spreading in his government.

PNA warns of new measures to oppose Israeli policy on Palestinian prisoners
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 22, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian National Authority on Thursday threatened to take a series of measures to press Israel to stop recent policies against Palestinian prisoners. Minister of Prisoners Affairs, Eissa Qaraqe, said that the PNA would boycott the Israeli judiciary system and prisoners would stop appearing before Israeli courts. Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have boycotted the Israeli courts as a symbolic protest that could end with issuing default judgment.

IDF Civil Administration pushing for land takeover in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - July 22, 2011 - 12:00am

The IDF Civil Administration is taking steps to increase state-ownership of West Bank lands, an internal military document reveals. The policy enables increased construction not only around settlement blocs like Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion, but also in strategic areas like the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea. Until now it was not known that the administration, which is a military agency, was charged with distinguishing between the blocs Israel is demanding to annex as part of a final-status agreement and the rest of the settlements.

Abbas: UN approval will allow us to treat Israel as equals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by KHALED ABU TOAMEH - July 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday the Palestinians were seeking membership in the United Nations so they could enter negotiations with Israel as equal partners. Abbas said during a visit to Barcelona, Spain, that once the Palestinians gain membership in the UN, they would return to the negotiating table with Israel. “We want to go to the UN and the Security Council to ask for membership of Palestine in the UN,” the official Palestinian news agency WAFA quoted Abbas as saying.

Palestinians take their case for statehood to Turkey
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Agence France Press (AFP) - July 22, 2011 - 12:00am

ISTANBUL // Palestinian officials said their foreign envoys would meet the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmud Abbas, in Istanbul tomorrow to discuss his efforts to win UN recognition of a Palestinian state.

Might some stay?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
July 21, 2011 - 12:00am

EVERY Friday and often after school on other days, Israeli soldiers fire tear-gas and sonic bombs at the Palestinian children as they approach a spring. It sits in a valley that separates Nabi Saleh, an Arab village of 500 people half an hour’s drive north of Jerusalem, from Halamish, a religious Jewish settlement. On most nights jeeps roll through the village; over the past 18 months the Israeli army has detained 32 of its children, some as young as eleven.

J Street poll: Obama's Jewish support tops Republicans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - July 21, 2011 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama handily defeats his current Republican presidential opponents among Jewish voters, according to a poll put out by J Street Thursday. At the same time, the majority of American Jews disapproves of his handling of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the poll found. Obama currently enjoys 63 percent of the American Jewish vote, compared to 24% for Mitt Romney and 67% when facing-off against Michele Bachmann, who received 19% support,according to the poll.

Palestinians face a dangerous U.N. clash on statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Ziad Asali - (Opinion) July 21, 2011 - 12:00am

A potentially dangerous confrontation looms in September over the question of Palestinian statehood, one that threatens significant negative consequences for all parties. It is in the interests of all constructive actors to find a compromise that avoids such a confrontation.

The blunders of Palestinian leader Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Jackson Diehl - (Opinion) July 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Back in May, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas adopted a new and radically different political strategy. Turning his back on the United States and peace talks with Israel, he signed a ”reconciliation” agreement with the Hamas movement and announced his intention to appeal to the United Nations in September for recognition of Palestinian statehood. September is still six weeks away, but already it’s becoming clear that Abbas committed a monumental blunder, one that will leave his movement at a dead end — and possibly lead to an eruption of violence in the West Bank and Gaza.

The Israeli right fears for the dream
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) July 21, 2011 - 12:00am

How could it happen that the seemingly unstoppable momentum of a hard-line majority government would split the right, and, in the process, break the hearts of icons of the ruling Likud? And how does it happen that what began as a debate about McCarthyism in Israel, turned into a Soviet-style show trial, complete with verdicts handed down in advance, manipulative visual aids, dubious parliamentary procedure, playing to a captive media, and Politburo-worthy redefinitions of democratic values and practice, all on the Knesset floor?

Election season underway
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Nahum Barnea - (Editorial) July 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Some politicians talk about elections next fall, on the eve of the US elections: these are the optimists. And there are others, who talk about elections sooner, in the spring. One way or another, the election year is underway.

Demography as Destiny: Israel's Growing Right Shapes Law, Military
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Blog) July 21, 2011 - 12:00am

The increasingly progressive Atlantic Monthly correspondent and former Forward staffer Jeffrey Goldberg (for the last time, no, we’re not the same person) posted a link on his blog Tuesday to an online essay — which he called “hard to disagree with” — by senior research fellow Hussein Ibish of the American Task Force on Palestine. Here’s the excerpt Goldberg posted on his blog:

The Incoherence of the Slogans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Hassan Haidar - (Opinion) July 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Is it recognition of the Palestinian state or recognition of Israel?

What Obama needs to do
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) July 22, 2011 - 12:00am

These are not the best of times for Americans, especially their leaders in government, President Barack Obama and Congress, in view of the bad state of the economy (i.e., the federal debt) and foreign policy, particularly towards the Arab world. Many here and there are pointing a finger at the president, or as one headline pointed out, “the too-quiet president”. An unidentified Republican, who expects Obama to win a second term in office next year, asked much-respected Washington Post columnist David Ignatius: “Why does he so often seem to react rather than lead?”

Seeking signs of health
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Samah Jaber - (Opinion) July 21, 2011 - 12:00am

For those who lament the Palestinians' use of violence and sigh, saying, "Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?" here is the answer: Israel delegitimizes all tools of resistance. Most recently, the Israeli parliament passed legislation making it possible to punish any public call for economic, cultural or academic boycott of the Israeli occupation and its settlements.

BDS, the boycott law and Israel's democracy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Naomi Chazan - (Opinion) July 21, 2011 - 12:00am

July 11, 2011 was a watershed in Israel's political history. The adoption by the Knesset of "The Law to Prevent Harm to the State of Israel via Boycott" (generally known as the boycott law), makes it a compensable civil wrong to publicly encourage a boycott against the state of Israel, its institutions or any territory under its rule.

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