Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Hamas and Fatah agree to release political prisoners. Fatah figures accuse ousted official Muhammad Dahlan of being involved in the "poisoning" of the late Pres. Arafat. FM Lieberman says Israel should cut all ties to the PA. A five-star hotel opens in Gaza. EU diplomats criticize Israel's “arrogant” stance. Israel may hold early elections due to ongoing protests. Israeli textbooks are criticized for bias against Palestinians. Israel pressures human rights organizations. Palestinian women are entering the banking sector. Lebanon says it will recognize the Palestinian state. COMMENTARY: The New York Times says a confrontation at the UN would be harmful to all parties and the US should work towards a compromise. Former UN ambassador Gabriela Shalev says Israel's international standing is collapsing. Oudeh Basharat says Palestinian citizens should get involved in Israel's cost of living protests. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews FM Al-Maliki. Xinhua says empty promises from Israel won't stop a Palestinian UN initiative. Sister Paulette Schroeder says living with Palestinians in Hebron taught her lessons about being a Christian. Mira Sucharov asks where Palestinians fit into Israeli cries for "social justice." As'ad Abdul Rahman says Palestinians need a peaceful uprising against occupation. Steve White says maintaining US funding for Palestinian security forces is imperative.

Hamas and Fatah agree to release political prisoners
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 8, 2011 - 12:00am

CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Hamas and Fatah have agreed to release all political prisoners after meeting in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the reconciliation deal signed in April, official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported. The two factions also agreed to the formation of a committee to issue passports to Gaza residents before the end of Ramadan, as well as forming a task force to reopen institutions which were shut down in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a result of political animosities.

Report: Fatah says Dahlan involved in poisoning Arafat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 8, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Fatah has accused ousted party strongman Muhammad Dahlan of "having a hand" in poisoning late President Yasser Arafat, Arabic-language media reported Saturday. Arafat died in a Paris hospital in November 2004. The exact cause of his death remains a mystery, but popular belief among Palestinians holds that he was poisoned. According to Al-Jazeera's Arabic-language news site, Fatah's commission of inquiry also found that Dahlan was linked to assassination attempts on other Palestinian leaders and that he had planned a coup in the West Bank.

Israeli minister: Cut ties with Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ian Deitch - August 7, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel's foreign minister on Sunday accused the Palestinian Authority of planning "unprecedented bloodshed" next month after an expected symbolic U.N. endorsement of Palestinian independence. Accenting his warning, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for Israel to sever ties with the West Bank-based government. Lieberman's allegation runs counter to other Israeli assessments and stands in stark contrast to public and private statements by the Palestinians.

New 5-star hotel in blockaded Gaza amid poverty
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Diaa Hadid - August 6, 2011 - 12:00am

AL-SOUDANIA, Gaza Strip — The Gaza Strip's first five-star hotel gleams with marble floors, five luxury restaurants and a breezy cafe overlooking the territory's white sandy beaches and sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. The only thing missing are guests.

EU diplomats: Israel's national security adviser reprimanded us over our critical policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - August 8, 2011 - 12:00am

European diplomats have called National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror aggressive and arrogant for "reprimanding" EU countries for their policies toward Israel, during what was supposed to be a routine briefing. Amidror had been invited to give a political-security briefing to 27 European Union ambassadors to Israel. Three diplomats who were present at the meeting, on 14 July, told Haaretz that the national security adviser's style was blunt and that many ambassadors were insulted at what they perceived to have been a reprimand of the EU.

'Knesset unlikely to see term's end'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
August 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Sunday that it was highly unlikely the current Knesset would see the end of its term. "I believe that 2012 will be a year when a decision on the next elections is made," he told Knesset TV. "I don't think the (current) Knesset will see November 2013, because politics has a way of mandating crises, so that they can be reflected in the ballots."

Academic claims Israeli school textbooks contain bias
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - August 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Nurit Peled-Elhanan, an Israeli academic, mother and political radical, summons up an image of rows of Jewish schoolchildren, bent over their books, learning about their neighbours, the Palestinians. But, she says, they are never referred to as Palestinians unless the context is terrorism.

Israel puts pressure on human-rights organisations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - August 7, 2011 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV // Just months after Israel ended its invasion of the Gaza Strip more than two years ago, life became more challenging for Sari Bashi and her human-rights group Gisha. Right-wing government officials, legislators and pressure groups, angered at charges by rights organisations that Israel had committed war crimes during the attack, launched a campaign to discredit groups such as Gisha, which uses legal aid to help loosen Israeli restrictions on Gaza Strip residents.

‘There’s a Girl Here’ Proves Recipe for Banking Deposit Growth in Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Simon Clark - August 8, 2011 - 12:00am

Reem Qaraqe was a novelty at the Bethlehem branch of Bank of Palestine Plc (BOP), and she says some customers didn’t hide their astonishment. “There’s a girl here,” was a typical remark. “Why?” As the branch’s first female teller, Qaraqe says she quietly fumed as she endured teasing and disrespect. She had about reached her limit the day Munjed the fish seller showed up, unfurled a wad of smelly shekels, threw it on the counter and commanded her to deposit it. She says her first notion was to hit him. Instead, she decided to try extreme politeness.

Lebanon to recognize Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
August 6, 2011 - 12:00am

BEIRUT: Lebanon is set to recognize the Palestinian state, various media reports said Saturday, adding that President Mahmoud Abbas will visit the country in mid-August. Lebanon’s decision comes as it is preparing to head the United Nations Security Council in September coinciding with the Palestinian Authority’s plan to campaign to win U.N. recognition. It is the only Arab country that has not yet recognized the Palestinian state.

Palestinians and the U.N.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) August 7, 2011 - 12:00am

In little more than a month, the Palestinians are expected to ask the United Nations to recognize their state. We have sympathy for their yearning and their frustration. For years, they have been promised a negotiated solution — President Obama called for a peace deal by September — and they are still empty-handed. But the consequences could be profoundly damaging for all involved.

Former Israeli diplomat sees waning image
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - August 8, 2011 - 12:00am

When Gabriela Shalev arrived at the United Nations in 2008 as Israel's first female ambassador, she was determined to launch a diplomatic offensive to improve her country's international standing. But the respected contract-law scholar says she ended up spending most of her tenure on the defense, coping with reactions to Israel's military campaign in the Gaza Strip, the subsequent Goldstone Commission's inquiry into allegations of war crimes and the high-seas raid of the protest ship Mavi Marmara, in which Israeli commandos killed nine pro-Palestinian activists.

Israel's Arab citizens must join the social struggle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Oudeh Basharat - (Opinion) August 8, 2011 - 12:00am

In days gone by there were long lines of cars at the gas stations on the eve of a rise in prices. The late comedian Dudu Topaz ridiculed the Israeli citizen who "puts one over" on the state by stocking up before the price increase, opportunistic individualism was at its zenith, and people used elbows energetically to obtain yet one more cheap liter of fuel.

Palestinian FM: A wave of international recognition on the way
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali El-saleh - (Opinion) August 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has stated to Asharq Al-Awsat that a wave of international recognition of the state of Palestine will take place in the next few weeks, adding that Honduras and South Sudan will be on top of the states that will recognize the Palestinian state. According to Al-Maliki, Honduras will announce its recognition of the Palestinian state on 20 August in spite of the angry reaction by Tel Aviv.

Israel's "empty promise" won't stop Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
(Opinion) August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

BEIJING, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- As Israel extended an olive branch to the Palestinians by renewing peace negotiations, the Palestinians said Israel can not halt their bid for recognition of a full membership in the United Nations and of a Palestinian state within the lines that existed prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. EMPTY PROMISE

Some lessons gleaned from living with the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Advertiser-Tribune
by Paulette Schroeder - (Opinion) August 8, 2011 - 12:00am

How strangely I'm ending my time in Palestine. Having lived three years in Hebron, Palestine, I find that I'm surprised but finally keen to what it really means to be a citizen of the United States. At the same time, I've come to appreciate more clearly what it means for me to be Christian in our world today.

Where do Palestnians figure in the Israeli cry for 'social justice'?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Mira Sucharov - (Blog) August 8, 2011 - 12:00am

With the four-week old Israeli cost-of-living tent protests swelling in intensity -- capped by 300,000 demonstrators taking to the streets on Saturday night - I am fascinated by the fact that the term “social justice” has become a household word. The official slogan of the demonstrations -- “The nation demands social justice!” (Ha’Am doresh tzedek chevrati!) - involves the headiest and most ethereal of concepts. But commentators have been rightly asking whether the use of the term “social justice” is deserved.

Intifada of candles not tears
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by As'ad Abdul Rahman - (Opinion) August 6, 2011 - 12:00am

It is almost a reality now that neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis see any possibility of resuming peace negotiations following recent speeches by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the US Congress and the Jewish lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac). With a clear voice and determination, Netanyahu annihilated all possibilities of establishing two independent states; Israel and a Palestinian state peacefully co-existing and equally thriving together.

No countries for old men
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Steve White - (Opinion) August 5, 2011 - 12:00am

After serving nearly six years as the special advisor to the United States Security Coordinator (USSC) for Israel and the Palestinian Territories, I came home convinced of one thing, cognizant of another. The first was that a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not only in the vital security interests of Israel and the future state of Palestine, but also the United States. The second, initially noted two years ago by a former IDF Chief of Staff, was that, "The USSC, the IDF and the Palestinian Security Services were buying time, time for the politicians....

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