Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israeli society is divided over free-speech rights. Gaza border violence is another major challenge to Palestinian statehood. Two Palestinians are killed by occupation forces in the West Bank. The PA says it will pay its employees full salaries starting Tuesday. One Lebanese soldier dies in an exchange of fire with Israeli troops at the border. PM Netanyahu says he's working with the United States to try to restart diplomacy. Israel plans to build another separation wall, this time in the Golan Heights. The “Palestinian Popular Committees” plan a civil disobedience campaign in the occupied territories for September. Fatah leader Mohammad Dahlan launches a barrage of accusations against Pres. Abbas. Palestinians in Lebanon voice growing support for Syrian protesters. COMMENTARY: ATFP President Ziad J. Asali urges the parties to find a compromise at the UN. Amira Hass interviews economist Raja Khalidi. Edgar Bronfman and Adam R. Bronfman say Netanyahu should go to Ramallah on a peace mission. Raghida Dergham says the atmosphere at the UN on the Middle East is starting to resemble the Cold War era. Charles Hawley looks at connections between the Israeli and European ultra-right. The Gulf News says Dahlan should be fully prosecuted. Dominique Moisi says Israel is much more economically fragile than it appears. Trudy Rubin says Israeli insiders are concerned about the drift away from 2-state discussions. Xelena Gonzalez says Israel's water discrimination in the occupied territories is disgraceful.

Israel struggles with free-speech rights
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - July 31, 2011 - 12:00am

A string of new laws passed this year by Israel's right-leaning Knesset has triggered an unusually rancorous debate here over where to draw the line on free speech, exposing shifting sentiments about a core democratic ideal. The latest battle erupted with the approval this month of a law that created civil and financial penalties against those who voice support for boycott campaigns targeting Israel or its institutions, including West Bank settlements that many in Israel and around the world oppose as an obstacle to peace.

Gaza border violence: Another threat to Palestinian statehood?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ahmed al-Dabba - July 29, 2011 - 12:00am

As Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas ramps up his campaign for a United Nations vote on statehood in September, the Gaza Strip is buzzing with speculation that Israel and radical Palestinian elements could derail the effort with cross-border violence. Militants in the Hamas-run territory recently launched Qassam rockets into Israel for the first time in three months, breaking a tenuous cease-fire and drawing retaliatory attacks from Israel. Israel said yesterday that 24 rockets have been fired on its territory so far this month.

Soldiers kill 2 in raid on refugee camp
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 1, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians during an arrest raid near Ramallah in the central West Bank early Monday, onlookers and medical officials said. Witnesses told Ma’an that soldiers stormed Qalandiya refugee camp at dawn and as they ransacked homes, confrontations erupted between the army and local residents.

PA: Employees to receive salaries Tuesday
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 1, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority premier said Sunday that full salaries for the month of July would be paid Tuesday, following strike threats from a union representing government employees. But Salam Fayyad said that "the payment of full salaries will significantly reduce the ability of the Palestinian Authority to meet other needs during the next month.” Fayyad urged patience, saying he would continue to make tireless efforts to secure foreign aid that needed to overcome the crisis and enable the Palestinian Authority to meet all of its commitments.

Lebanese, Israeli soldiers exchange fire over border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 1, 2011 - 12:00am

BEIRUT/JERUSALEM, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Lebanese Army opened fire at a group of Israeli soldiers that crossed the border Blue Line into Lebanon in the Wazzani area early Monday, a security source told Xinhua. The source said the six Israeli soldiers, who had crossed into Lebanon, fired at the Lebanese army post in response. No casualties were reported. The Lebanese military sent reinforcement to the Wazzani area soon after the incident and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) circulated extensive patrols, said the source.

PM: Abbas set on bringing Palestinian state to UN vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Lahav Harkov - August 1, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is determined to bring Palestinian statehood to a UN vote in September. "Abbas made a strategic decision to go to the UN, because the price for him will be low," Netanyahu said. "For us, recognition of a state will only pass through the security council." He added: "We are working to ensure a US veto in the UN Security Council, but that will not prevent a majority in the General Assembly."

Report: Israel plans to build separation wall in Golan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 1, 2011 - 12:00am

GOLAN, Syria (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities plan to build a wall in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported Friday. The wall will separate the town of Majdal Shams in Israeli-occupied territory from the suburb of Al-Oude and Ain Al-Tinah in Syria, SANA reported. SANA said the cement wall would be four kilometers long and eight meters high. Earlier this year, Israeli forces killed at least 27 people in the area during demonstrations against the Israeli occupation.

Palestinians Prepare for Massive Uprising
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Mel Frykberg - July 29, 2011 - 12:00am

"We plan to take to the streets en masse," Musa Abu Maria, a leading member of the Popular Committee in Beit Ummar, a town 11 km north of Hebron in the southern West Bank told IPS. "We will block entire highways leading to and from Israel’s illegal settlements. We will march on settlements. But these will be non-violent and the protestors will be peaceful.

Abbas ‘feels he’s above the law,’ charges Dahlan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - July 31, 2011 - 12:00am

Ousted Fatah official Muhammad Dahlan over the weekend launched a scathing attack on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, accusing him of dictatorship and financial corruption. He said that more than $1 billion have gone missing from a fund that was handed over to Abbas after he was elected president in 2005. Dahlan’s attack on Abbas came after PA security forces raided the former Fatah commander’s home in Ramallah on Thursday, arresting his bodyguards and confiscating weapons and armored vehicles.

Palestinians in Lebanon voice growing support for Syrian protesters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Brooke Anderson - July 31, 2011 - 12:00am

BEIRUT: When Suleiman Ghanem went home to Daraa to get married last March, his friends in Sabra joked that he was going there to die, so they snapped a picture of him. That same picture now hangs over the main street of the Sabra market, a tribute to a young martyr of the Syrian uprising.

A U.N. vote will be risky for Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Ziad Asali - (Opinion) August 1, 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.

Palestinians' low salaries also linked to Israeli social struggle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Interview) August 1, 2011 - 12:00am

"A financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority" - that is a convenient description of the situation where, on the eve of Ramadan, the Ramallah government is (again ) unable to pay the full salaries of its 150,000 public sector employees. This is a short, but very inaccurate description, however. The crisis, says economist Raja Khalidi, is in the status quo that Israel has enjoyed since the Oslo Accords: Israel is in control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - and Palestinian society and the donor countries finance the cost of this domination.

Netanyahu should go to Ramallah to bring peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Adam R. Bronfman, Edgar M. Bronfman - (Opinion) July 31, 2011 - 12:00am

NEW YORK (JTA) -- For the Arab Spring, Israel represents the hope that in the Middle East, a nation can be both a national homeland and a free society. Israel is a modern, thriving democracy amid a region dominated by despotic regimes that brutally oppress their people and rape their land’s resources. Freedom enables Israel’s advancing economy, robust educational system, unique culture, prolific media and independent judiciary to thrive.

The Arab Revolutions: Victims of Obstructionism at the Security Council
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - (Opinion) July 29, 2011 - 12:00am

The international community is gearing up for a political battle that will take place in September at the United Nations, over the issue of the promised Palestinian statehood, while anticipating possible surprises in August, coming from either Syria, Libya or Yemen, where the revolutions are yet to be settled, either in favor of the people demanding change, or in favor of the regimes clinging to power. Nonetheless, the Security Council will most probably remain shackled with the start of India’s presidency of the UNSC that will last throughout August.

Europe's Right-Wing Populists Find Allies in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Speigel International
by Charles Hawley - (Opinion) July 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Islamophobic parties in Europe have established a tight network, stretching from Italy to Finland. But recently, they have extended their feelers to Israeli conservatives, enjoying a warm reception from members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition. Some in Israel believe that the populists are Europe's future. Anders Breivik's 1,500-page manifesto is nothing if not thorough. Pages and pages of text outline in excruciating detail the ideological underpinnings of his worldview -- one which led him to kill 76 people in two terrible attacks in Norway last week.

Dahlan must get what he deserves
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
(Opinion) July 31, 2011 - 12:00am

Mohammad Dahlan, a former member of Fatah Central Committee, returned to Palestine from Jordan in the hopes of challenging his sacking from the Fatah party. Instead, his appeal has been rejected and his home has been searched and bodyguards arrested. Palestinian police removed weapons, files and computers from his house. He is now being investigated for corruption and murder charges in a case which is to be referred to the attorney-general.

A prosperous Israel is dancing on the rim of a volcano
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Dominique Moisi - (Opinion) August 1, 2011 - 12:00am

It is difficult not to be struck by the contrast between the “Asian”-like energy of Israel’s economy and civil society and the purely defensive nature of its approach to political change, inside the country and out. A recent law passed by Israel’s Knesset bars Israeli citizens from supporting Western boycotts aimed at putting an end to the country’s settlement policies and at backing an independent Palestinian state. While Israel has never been so affluent, dynamic, and confident, it also has never been so isolated internationally.

3 Israeli insiders lament drift from two-state talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Philadelphia Inquirer
by Trudy Rubin - (Opinion) July 31, 2011 - 12:00am

It's time to start thinking about what will happen to Israel - and U.S. policy in the Middle East - when the peace process ends. Politicians don't openly discuss the deep threat to Israel's existence that would result from an end to negotiations over a two-state solution (meaning a Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel).

Israel's water management shameful
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from San Antonio Express
by Xelena Gonzalez - (Opinion) August 1, 2011 - 12:00am

Following a series of pro-Israel stories that reek of propaganda, your paper praised Israel's wise water management in the July 23 piece, “Israel trip is already paying off for SAWS.” This is ironic considering the dire situation faced by half country's population.

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