Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel announces new settlement plans that could cut occupied East Jerusalem off from the rest of the West Bank. A raft of new right-wing legislation shows the rise of the Israeli far-right. Israeli air strikes injure five in Gaza city. Israel is angered by Honduras' support for Palestinian statehood. Palestinians say they are determined to press forward with a UN initiative. The PA orders its forces to prepare to prevent violence in September. An American photojournalist says Israeli troops deliberately fired at him. Palestinians remain frustrated at the lack of national unity. Egyptian officials accuse Palestinian extremists of involvement in attacks in Sinai. Palestinian leaders have been invited to Washington for urgent consultations. Jeffery Goldberg interview Tzipi Livni. COMMENTARY: Sari Nusseibeh reviews a new book by Jeremy Ben-Ami. Tom Parry analyzes Palestinian options at the UN. Akiva Eldar says new US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro's main role is healing rifts between Pres. Obama and the Jewish-American community, not PM Netanyahu. David Hearst says Israel has no answer to Palestinian determination to remain on their land. The National says there is no contradiction between UN recognition of Palestine and negotiations with Israel. Sam Bahour says Palestinians may be giving up on a two-state solution. Justyna Pawlak says the EU is struggling to make its voice heard in the Middle East. Cole Stangler says Israel's new anti-boycott law may backfire. Roberto Quesada says Honduras has nothing to apologize to Israel for by supporting Palestinian statehood. The Forward hosts a forum on a Palestinian UN initiative with Hussein Ibish, Alan Elsner, Danny Ayalon, Shlomo Gazit, David Harris, Gabriela Shalev, Lara Friedman and Maen Rashid Areikat.

ISRAEL: Approval of 900 new homes in East Jerusalem draws ire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - August 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's Interior Ministry gave the final green light Thursday to the construction of more than 900 new homes in a Jewish development built on land seized during the 1967 Mideast war. Palestinians and anti-settlement groups said the Har Homa expansion, which has been working its way through Israeli regulatory agencies since last year, will occupy one of the last remaining undeveloped hillsides in the area and effectively cut off direct access between Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

In Israel, raft of new laws shows rise of the right
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - August 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Critics say Israel is forsaking its democratic ideals with a right-wing agenda. Avishai Amir, a former spokesman in the left-wing Labor government of the 1990s, begs to differ. Take the recent nakba law, for example, which bans public funding for groups that mark Israel's independence day as Palestinians do: by declaring the creation of the Jewish state to be a nakba, Arabic for "catastrophe."

Israeli air strikes injure 5 in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli military air strikes injured five people across the Gaza Strip overnight on Thursday. Medics told Ma'an that three people were seriously injured in an air strike on the northern city of Beit Lahiya. An Israeli army spokeswoman said the military targeted the launch site of a rocket in northern Gaza around 10.00 p.m. Thursday. Shortly after, air strikes hit central and southern Gaza, and witnesses told Ma'an that two Palestinians from the Al-Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City had been injured.

Israel chides Honduran envoy over support for Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 4, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli Foreign Ministry earlier this week summoned Honduran ambassador Jose Isaias Barahona, in order to clarify his country's declared intention to support recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations in September. The ministry's Deputy Director for Central and South American and the Caribbean, Dorit Shavit, met with Barahona on Sunday, according to a statement sent to Xinhua on Thursday.

News Analysis: Palestinians insist on approaching UN for establishing state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Emad Drimly, Osama Radi - August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Over the past few months, the Palestinian leadership has been insisting that its only choice is to approach the United Nations in September to demand a full membership. Fifty days ahead of the annual UN General Assembly meetings in New York, observers said Palestinians will not retreat from applying to the UN. The Palestinians announced on Thursday that they had finalized the preparations for approaching the UN through out coordination with Arab countries. ARAB COUNTRIES' SUPPORT

Palestinian Authority orders forces to prevent violence after September UN vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority has ordered its security forces to prevent demonstrations planned for September from escalating into violent confrontations with Israel, especially in potential friction points like the roadblocks and settlements. Senior Palestinian Authority figures issued the orders to the Palestinian security forces in recent weeks out of concern that there may be violent clashes between thousands of Palestinian demonstrators and Israel Defense Forces at the end of September, following a vote at the United Nations General Assembly for recognition of a Palestinian state.

'IDF troops shot at journalists covering W. Bank protest'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ben Hartman - August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

An American-Israeli photojournalist on Thursday lodged a complaint with the IDF Spokesman’s Office, the Government Press Office and the Foreign Press Association, alleging that IDF soldiers intentionally fired anti-riot projectiles at him and a fellow journalist while they were covering a protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Salih last Friday.

Hamas-Fatah talks: Is Palestinian unity an illusion?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jon Donnison - August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian political leaders seemed to be listening. Within weeks, somewhat out of the blue, a reconciliation deal was announced. Orchestrated by the new leadership in Egypt, it was meant to end four years of bitter and sometimes violent division between the two main Palestinian factions. Three months on, Abu Yassin is angry: "Nothing has changed. "We're really disappointed. This deal was just signatures on paper. We wanted real change on the ground."

Security forces allege Palestinian Army of Islam involvement in Arish attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
by Osama Khaled - August 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Egyptian security services in North Sinai say they have identified those responsible for attacking a police station in Arish last Friday, and allege the involvement of the Army of Islam, a Palestinian group, in instigating the attack. The information was leaked to the press by an unidentified Egyptian security source.

PA leaders invited to Washington in bid to avoid UN plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - August 4, 2011 - 12:00am

In the context of its efforts to persuade the Palestinian Authority to drop its plan to ask the UN in September to recognize a Palestinian state, the US Administration has invited PA officials to Washington for talks on ways of avoiding the statehood bid. PA sources said that Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, will travel to Washington shortly for talks with US government officials on the statehood plan.

Tzipi Livni Praises Obama for Pressuring Netanyahu, Suggests U.S. Should Keep Up the Heat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Jeffrey Goldberg - (Interview) August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Tzipi Livni, the leader of Israel's Kadima Party, the largest opposition party in the Knesset -- and the largest party in the entire Knesset, in fact -- sat down last month with James Bennet, the editor of The Atlantic (and a former Jerusalem bureau chief of The New York Times) and with Goldblog for an extended conversation about the tense relations between the Obama Administration and the Netanyahu government, and about Israel's sinking image.

Jeremy Ben-Ami’s “A New Voice for Israel: Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation”
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Sari Nusseibeh - (Opinion) August 4, 2011 - 12:00am

J Street is the organization that Jeremy Ben-Ami and other American Jewish activists set up several years ago to counteract the influence of the lobbying group AIPACon American foreign policy. In his book “A New Voice For Israel,” Ben-Ami tells the story of J Street’s uphill battle to win the support of America’s Jewish community, and he explains the need for Israel to have a new Jewish voice in Washington that can free American policy sufficiently to bring about a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine stalemate.

Palestine's U.N. bid: Between history and hot air
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - (Analysis) August 4, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Aug 4 (Reuters) - President Mahmoud Abbas' attempt to upgrade the Palestinians' status at the United Nations, despite U.S. and Israeli opposition, signals a bolder approach by a leader keen to forge a legacy after years of failed peace talks. But Palestinians are divided on the merits of the diplomatic offensive. In the West Bank, Abbas' Fatah movement bills it as a turning point in the Palestinian struggle, while in Gaza, a politician from rival Islamist Hamas dismissed it as hot air.

New U.S. envoy in Israel to clear obstacles for Obama’s second term
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Dan Shapiro, the new American ambassador to Israel, submitted his credentials to President Shimon Peres on Wednesday. That same day, he submitted a declaration of support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: In an interview with Channel 2 television, he downplayed the lack of trust between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama and the latter's rage and sense of insult over Netanyahu's appearance before Congress in May, treating their serial disputes as routine disagreements between friends. Shapiro noted that he was present at all the many meetings between Obama and Netanyahu.

Could Arab staying power ultimately defeat Zionism?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by David Hearst - (Opinion) August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

There is an Arabic word you come across a lot when Palestinians talk about their future. Sumud means steadfastness, and it has turned into a strategy: when the imbalance of power is so pronounced, the most important thing to do is to stay put.

Palestinians will soon come full circle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Sam Bahour - (Opinion) August 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian national liberation movement has reached its end. As the Palestinian leadership – if there is such a legitimate body today – prepares to bring the issue of statehood to the UN this September, the weeks and months ahead will witness the last desperate attempt to get the international community to assume their responsibilities and ensure that a Palestinian state becomes a reality in the occupied territories.

UN vote piles more pressure on Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Washington's political theatre in May featured high-stakes betrayal. In his keynote Middle East speech, President Barack Obama called for peace talks between Israelis and Arabs based on modified 1967 borders. A few days later, on the floor of the American Congress, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to deal those borders a death blow, saying they would be indefensible. Nearly two months later, Mr Netanyahu has changed his tune. In recent days, the Israeli administration has made noises about renewing negotiations with the Palestinian Authority premised on the 1967 borders.

ANALYSIS-EU struggles to win influence in Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Justyna Pawlak - (Analysis) August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

BRUSSELS, Aug 5 (Reuters) - The European Union is working to build its credentials as a Middle East power broker but its efforts are complicated by internal divisions over Palestinian plans to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state. The paralysis in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has encouraged EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to try to play more of a leading role, in the absence of any initiative by Washington.

Boycott Ban
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from In These Times
by Cole Stangler - (Opinion) August 4, 2011 - 12:00am

On July 11, the Israeli Knesset passed a widely condemned law that bars public support for boycotting Israel and the occupied territories — in effect, making free speech a civil crime. Under the legislation, individuals and organizations that call for or engage in an economic, cultural, or academic boycott of individuals or groups because of their ties with Israel or the occupied territories can be sued in civil court and forced to pay damages.

Israel's Beef With Honduras: Who Stabbed Who?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Honduras Weekly
by Roberto Quesada - (Opinion) August 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestine will undoubtedly again be the center of attention at the United Nations' upcoming General Assembly, as in the days when Yasser Arafat would arrive in New York City to make the case for the Palestinian struggle before that international body. Already, you can start to feel a climate of "arm twisting" taking hold, especially against the poorer and weaker member nations.

Examining the Palestinians’ Unilateral Bid for Statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Maen Areikat, Danny Ayalon, Alan Elsner, Lara Friedman, Shlomo Gazit, David Harris, Hussein Ibish, Gabriela Shalev - (Opinion) August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Experts Weigh In on Implications of September Move Give Them A Reason Not To Do It By Hussein Ibish The wisdom of the various plans for Palestinians to approach the United Nations in September with a statehood-oriented diplomatic initiative may be debated, but not the Palestinians’ right to make the approach. Israel was, in effect, created by the U.N. Partition Plan of 1947 and gained U.N. membership in 1949 without the agreement of Palestinians or any of its neighbors.

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