Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Palestinians are still studying their options for a UN initiative. Lebanon and Qatar may play a crucial role. PM Netanyahu lobbies international diplomats against Palestinian statehood. Hamas is late in paying its employees wages. Israel arrests 11 Palestinians in the West Bank. Projectiles fired from Gaza land in Israel without causing injuries. Gazans defy handicaps to lead full lives. A Palestinian textile factory is booming online. Israel arrests another actor from the Jenin freedom theater. COMMENTARY: Ha'aretz says Netanyahu must distance himself from inflammatory comments by FM Lieberman. Gabriel Bacalor says Palestinians are ready for peace but Israeli policies are not. Yossi Alpher says Israel's West Bank separation barrier was justified despite many mistakes, but Ghassan Khatib says it was illegal, unjustified and ultimately destructive. Alon Ben-Meir says Israeli-Palestinian coexistence is inevitable and they must determine its form. Hussein Ibish says the latest Israeli settlement announcement shows how desperate the situation is for Palestinians.





Palestinians study UN status options
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 8, 2011 - 11:00pm


Permanent Palestinian observer to the United Nations Riyad Mansour said Tuesday that the option of changing Palestine's status from "observer entity" to a "non-member state" is still being studied. Mansour told the Italian news agency AKI that becoming a non-member state "does not invalidate the right to become a member state as recommended by several UN resolutions such as resolution 181 in 1947." The ultimate goal would be to obtain full UN membership like South Sudan, he said, however if that objective is not met then Palestine would seek a status similar to that of the Vatican.


Arab states to head UN in September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - August 8, 2011 - 11:00pm


Two Arab states will head the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly in September, the month which is expected to see a vote on recognition for a Palestinian state. Lebanon will serve as president of the Security Council in September and Qatar will head the General Assembly for one year as of next month. The Security Council has five permanent member states with veto power (The United States, Russia, China, France and Britain) but Arab states are invariably represented among the 10 remaining rotating states.


PM lobbies world envoys against Palestinian statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - August 8, 2011 - 11:00pm


Israel is prepared to make concessions, but the Palestinians have shown no indication of a willingness on their own for compromise, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday to a group of 18 ambassadors to Washington from Asian, European, African and Latin American countries who don’t usually vote for Israel at the UN. “Six prime ministers, including myself, have come out in support of a Palestinian state, and two offered far-reaching concessions, but this hasn’t helped,” Netanyahu said, in a reference to the concessions offered by Ehud Barak in 2000, and Ehud Olmert in 2008.


Hamas employees' wages late due to cash crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 6, 2011 - 11:00pm


Civil servants in Gaza will not receive their July salaries until the end of August due to government cash shortages, Hamas finance ministry official Ismail Mahfouz said Sunday. Speaking at the Gaza government's information office, Mahfouz said that while some of the government's income came from internal revenue, a large part of the budget was received from external sources. He said there was a deficit in support from abroad, and that Hamas officials were trying to secure more finance from outside the Gaza Strip.


Israeli army arrests 11 Palestinians in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 8, 2011 - 11:00pm


Israeli army arrested 11 Palestinians in the West Bank early Tuesday, including a senior Hamas member, Palestinian security sources and Israeli media said. Most of the detainees were napped in Hebron city where Hamas official Aied Doudin lived. The Palestinian sources said that Doudin and some of his relatives were seized. Israel Radio reported that the raid targeted wanted activists. It also reported that two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip and landed in Western Negev in Israel. The missiles caused no injuries or damage.


Fire from Gaza intensifies as three mortars hit southern Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
August 7, 2011 - 11:00pm


Three mortar shells fell Sunday night in Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council, causing damage to a fence. No injuries were reported. The incident comes after a spate in rocket attacks launched from the Gaza Strip last week. On Friday, Israel Air Force jets attacked five targets in Gaza in response to the firing of Grad rockets. Hours before the air strike a rocket fell in an open field near the town of Kiryat Gat. The rocket was the third of its kind in 24 hours, but it caused no injuries or damage.


Gazan Defies Handicap to Live Life to Fullest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Omar Ghraieb - August 1, 2011 - 11:00pm


Abdul Qader Abu Lubda is walking down the street in his Gaza City neighborhood one afternoon this week. In one hand he has a sheaf of papers perched precariously between his palm and two short fingers. In the other, two stumpy fingers are holding a heavy bag. But Abu Lubda doesn’t look or act like he’s struggling..


Social media offers last keffiyeh factory lifeline
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Howard Johnson - August 7, 2011 - 11:00pm


Hirbawi Textiles is located on a nondescript road on the outskirts of the Palestinian city Hebron. To the outsider it looks like any other ageing factory. In the dank, strip-light lit interior there are rows of disused machines with cogs wrapped in cobwebs. But three years ago the factory became the focus of the world's media, when it became apparent it was the last in the Palestinian Territories to produce the keffiyeh, the traditional Arab headdress and favourite of former leader Yasser Arafat.


Israel arrests third actor in refugee theatre group
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Catrina Stewart - August 8, 2011 - 11:00pm


Organisers of a pioneering drama project in a Palestinian refugee camp have accused Israel of a campaign of intimidation after soldiers arrested a third member in the space of a few days. Rami Hwayel, an actor with the Jenin Freedom Theatre, was arrested two days ago at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank as he drove home with friends to see his family for Ramadan.


Owning a Piece of Palestine: Syria's Assad Regimes and the Palestinian Question
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Ziad Asali - (Analysis) August 8, 2011 - 11:00pm


What follows are my opening remarks at Carnegie-ATFP. Wednesday, July 27, Moderator Ziad Asali: Thank you very much, Marina. It is a privilege to be doing this program with Carnegie and have you with us, and we look forward to more association in the future. Thank you, everyone, for attending this program. It is about Syria, and the title is, "Owning a Piece of Palestine."


Netanyahu must distance himself from Lieberman
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) August 8, 2011 - 11:00pm


The growing social-economic protest is, as could be expected, giving rise to efforts to divert resources from the issues of the day to a different set of priorities. The prime minister and the finance minister were quick to grab hold of the crisis in the money market following the downgrading of America's credit rating. The foreign minister harnessed for his needs the political crisis expected to occur in the wake of a United Nations decision to recognize a Palestinian state.


Palestinians for dummies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gabriel Bacalor - (Opinion) August 7, 2011 - 11:00pm


According to recent opinion polls conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), an overwhelming majority of the Palestinians (61 percent) want their government to follow the peace policies of Fatah and President Mahmoud Abbas, while only 18% support the agenda of Hamas. The survey also highlights a broad popular perception of threat in Palestinian society, with 81% of the West Bankers and 82% of Gazans believing that Israel’s long-term goal is to annex the West Bank and expel its inhabitants or deny them their political rights.


Justified, despite the many mistakes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) August 7, 2011 - 11:00pm


Successive Israeli governments since those of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon have made nearly every mistake possible in creating the West Bank security fence. Yet the fence has not only served its original security purpose well; it has also delineated the broad outline of a future Israeli-Palestinian border everywhere in the West Bank except Jerusalem.


Illegal, unjust and ultimately destructive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) August 7, 2011 - 11:00pm


Ten years after Israel started building a Wall in the occupied West Bank, the project has not proven Israeli arguments in its defense, but rather illustrated the Palestinian view that this is one more component of illegal Israeli settlement expansion. Israel, for the most part, said that the Wall was needed for its security. In response, Palestinians asked why then it was built to incorporate settlements into Israel, rather than on the internationally-recognized 1967 borders between Israel and the West Bank.


Israel and the Palestinians Must Face the Inescapable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Alon Ben-meir - (Opinion) August 7, 2011 - 11:00pm


Coexistence between Israel and the Palestinians is inevitable and, short of catastrophic developments, the two peoples are doomed or destined to live between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. They must now decide on the quality of that coexistence. Do they want to live with mutual hatred and fear while demonizing one another or do they want to live in peace and amity and realize the biblical prophecy of making their shared land the true Land of Milk and Honey?


Facts on the Ground
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) August 7, 2011 - 11:00pm


With negotiations hopelessly stalled and the deadline for a potential confrontation at the United Nations in September rapidly approaching, the Israeli government apparently decided that now would be the appropriate time to announce a major expansion of one of its most provocative settlements. Interior Minister Eli Yishai said last week that final approval has been given for 900 new units in the Jerusalem "Har Homa" settlement, an area known to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim.





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