Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: DM Barak says Israel’s efforts on Palestinian UN initiatives should focus on Europe. Ma’an interviews UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness. FM Lieberman says he won’t resign in the event of an apology to Turkey for last year's flotilla incident. An ancient ruin is uncovered in Nablus. Pres. Abbas is leading a global push for Palestinian statehood recognition. The Israeli cabinet is considering canceling the Oslo agreements in response to Palestinian UN initiatives. A senior PLO official says Israel isn’t implementing the agreements anyway. The Israeli Navy continues to deny fishing rights to Palestinians off the Gaza coast. Palestinian youth in Jerusalem turn to kite flying for a sense of freedom. COMMENTARY: Bernd Debusmann looks at the potential for boycotts against Israel in the United States. The Jordan Times says the “Arab Spring” doesn’t mean the issue of Palestine will remain on the back burner. Uri Avnery says US inattention is enabling the rise of extreme right-wing politics in Israel. Daniel Levy says the United States has been inconsistent in the Quartet. Howard Sumka says Israeli and Palestinian political elites have failed their peoples. Gidi Grinstein says Israel is only encouraging a Palestinian UN initiative by opposing one. James Carroll says Israel could stop a “train wreck” in September by recognizing the Palestinian right to statehood. D. Bloomfield says most Jewish Americans want Pres. Obama to do more to promote Middle East peace according to a new poll.

Barak: Focus on Europe to stop UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 25, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday that Israel must exert all efforts to avoid a confrontation with the Palestinian Authority over its plan to seek recognition at the United Nations in September. Barak told Israel's Army Radio that his government's main concern was to mobilize European support to stop the PA's bid. The defense minister said he believed dialogue with the Palestinians was possible to prevent them seeking UN recognition.

UNRWA responds to Gaza protests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 25, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The UN agency for Palestinian refugees was forced to close its offices in Gaza City last week as protesters blockaded its entrances, angry at the slashing of UNRWA's emergency programs. Demonstrators physically blocked the entrances of the agency's offices with large vehicles after UNRWA removed tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees from its food distribution list. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness has said the lack of donor funds to the agency -- and anti-UN protests on the doorstep of Israel -- directly affect the stability of the region.

Israel's Lieberman won't quit on apology to Turkey
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Dan Williams - July 24, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, July 24 (Reuters) - Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday he would not quit the coalition government if it decides to apologise to Turkey for killing nine Turks aboard a pro-Palestinian activist ship last year. Lieberman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's most powerful and hawkish partner, has scorned meeting Ankara's demand that Israel atone for storming the Mavi Marmara as it tried to breach the blockade on the Gaza Strip at the head of an aid flotilla.

In Palestinian city, diggers uncover biblical ruin
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Associated Press - July 22, 2011 - 12:00am

NABLUS, West Bank — Archaeologists unearthing a biblical ruin inside a Palestinian city in the West Bank are writing the latest chapter in a 100-year-old excavation that has been interrupted by two world wars and numerous rounds of Mideast upheaval. Working on an urban lot that long served residents of Nablus as an unofficial dump for garbage and old car parts, Dutch and Palestinian archaeologists are learning more about the ancient city of Shekhem, and are preparing to open the site to the public as an archaeological park next year.

Palestinian president launches campaign for state recognition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 23, 2011 - 12:00am

ISTANBUL, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas launched an international campaign with his envoys from 93 countries for state recognition on Saturday. Abbas told his envoys at the meeting that Palestinians have been left with no choice other than to apply to the United Nations for statehood after negotiations with Israel have stalled. "This can't be considered a unilateral move, as a unilateral move is settlement construction which Israel continues unabated," Abbas said.

Israel looking into revoking Oslo Accords in response to Palestinian UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - July 25, 2011 - 12:00am

A team headed by National Security Adviser Ya'akov Amidror is looking into calling off the Oslo Accords in response to the Palestinian Authority's unilateral plan to gain United Nations recognition for an independent state. The Prime Minister's Bureau confirmed yesterday only that the NSC was discussing many alternatives ahead of September, and would be presenting them to the political echelon for a decision when it was done.

Palestinian official says Israel fails to implement Oslo Accords
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 25, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Israel does not need to threaten by calling off the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestinians in 1993, because it does not implement it, a senior Palestinian official said on Monday. "We would have gained our independence since 1993 if Israel implemented the Oslo accords," Saeb Erekat, a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official told Xinhua. "Israel's practices on the ground have practically canceled the Oslo agreement years ago," he added.

Gaza fishermen swamped by Israeli gunboats and water cannon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - July 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Hani al-Asi, a fisherman since the age of 11 and a father with 12 mouths to feed, had just begun throwing his lines into the Mediterranean when an Israeli gunboat sped towards his traditional hasaka. With a machine gun mounted at the rear and half a dozen armed soldiers on the bridge, the navy vessel repeatedly circled the small fishing boat. The rolling waves caused by the backwash threatened to swamp it.

Captive hearts fly free with kites in Jerusalem's Old City
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - July 24, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM // At dusk, the skies over the city's ancient and congested heart erupt into a frenzy of activity. That is when the Palestinian youth of Jerusalem's Old City congregate near Damascus Gate or climb on to the roofs of their clustered homes with plastic kites. For the casual observer, it is a spectacle of brilliantly coloured objects overhead. For children in this claustrophobic corner of East Jerusalem, lacking the recreational facilities that are so abundant in the city's Jewish areas, the kite channels pent-up energy into the skies above.

COLUMN-Desmond Tutu, Israel and US pensions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Bernd Debusmann - (Analysis) July 24, 2011 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON, July 22 (Reuters) - What's the connection between a South African Nobel Peace Prize winner, Israel, and one of America's biggest pension funds? An international campaign for economic, cultural and academic boycotts of Israel and Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Not forgotten
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Opinion) July 25, 2011 - 12:00am

The uprisings in several Arab countries may have temporarily turned the limelight away from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but that does not mean it will be on the back burner for long. Palestinians, Arab peoples at large, cannot forget the occupation, with all it entails, especially now that a showdown over the recognition of an independent Palestinian state is looming on the horizon. Israel must not deceive itself into believing that the Arab nation can ignore the Palestinian plight; it should not take comfort in the spread of Arab demonstrations calling for democracy and freedom.

A political baksheesh everyone needs to pay
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - (Opinion) July 24, 2011 - 12:00am

A Riddle: Which fleet did not reach its destination but fulfilled its mission? Well, it’s this year’s Gaza solidarity flotilla. It could be said, of course, that last year’s “little fleet” — that’s what the word means in Spanish, much as “guerrilla” means “little war” — is also a reasonable candidate. It never reached Gaza, but the commander of the Israeli navy could well repeat the words of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, whose victory over the Romans was so costly that he is said to have exclaimed: “Another such victory, and I am lost!”

America’s attempted Quartet sophistry
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Daniel Levy - (Opinion) July 22, 2011 - 12:00am

As more information seeps out from the Quartet principals meeting held in Washington on July 11, it becomes harder not to reach the conclusion that American policy on Israel-Palestine is now being driven almost exclusively by a desire to prevent any possible U.N. vote on the matter in the Autumn. Reading the draft text proposed as a Quartet statement by the U.S. (the text is not yet public, but the authenticity of the draft described here has been reliably confirmed) and rejected by the EU, Russia, and the U.N. Secretary General entrenches that conclusion -- and worse, that the U.S.

Political Elites Have Failed Israelis and Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Howard Sumka - (Opinion) July 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Weeks away from the anticipated and highly contentious United Nations General Assembly vote on Palestinian statehood, it's timely to ask what went wrong and what might move the issue in a better direction. Despite fears of the Palestinian streets reacting in frustration, it is appropriate now to look to the street for the solution.

Force and anti-force in the United Nations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gidi Grinstein - (Opinion) July 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel and the Palestinians may be advancing toward understandings with regard to recognition of Palestinian statehood in 2011. While it seems that both parties are determinedly heading toward confrontation, this outcome is made possible by the powerful interests that are at stake.

Israel’s opportunity to stop a train wreck
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
by James Carroll - (Opinion) July 18, 2011 - 12:00am

EVER SINCE outgoing Middle East envoy George Mitchell used the phrase “train wreck’’ with Charlie Rose in May, it has become jargon for what will happen in September when the Palestinian leadership goes to the United Nations seeking “full membership for the state of Palestine.” The Netanyahu government is so gravely threatened that it has made opposition to the UN affirmation of Palestinian independence a litmus test of loyalty to Israel. A catastrophe looms.

Jews Want Obama To Do More for Mideast Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Week
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Analysis) July 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Jews give President Obama a higher overall job approval than most other voters although they're still unhappy with his handling of the economy and don't think he's doing enough to broker Middle East peace. But that doesn't mean they're ready to vote for someone else next year, according to a survey of 800 Jews earlier this month for J Street.

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