Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Some find new hope for the Palestinian cause in the Arab uprisings. Israel and the Arab states may meet to discuss a nuclear-free Middle East. Marwan Barghouti again talks about mass demonstrations following a UN vote. The Chinese military chief will visit Israel. Western diplomats warn about the consequences of Palestinian UN plans. Pres. Peres says Israeli-Palestinian peace is still possible. The US says it's “deeply concerned” about Israel's new settlement plans in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli businesses are criticized for "Jews-only" hiring policies. Palestinian police are angered by a satirical TV program. Palestinian prisoners languish for years in Israeli administrative detention. COMMENTARY: Shai Feldman examines the background and implications of a potential Palestinian UN initiative. Ibrahim Sharqieh says the US must support a Palestinian statehood bid. Nehemia Shtrasler says the Netanyahu government fits very well in the Middle East. Gershon Baskin proposes a draft UN Security Council resolution affirming two states for two peoples. Kenneth Bandler says Jewish Americans need to take more interest in Palestinian citizens of Israel. Jessica Steinberg says by accepting the 1967 lines in theory, PM Netanyahu is strategically maneuvering. The Jordan Times says Jordan strongly supports the Palestinian cause. Henry Siegman says there are no real arguments against Palestinian statehood. Hussein Ibish analyzes the political implications of a new book tracing the history of traditional Palestinian costume.

In Tumult, New Hope for Palestinian Cause
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Anthony Shadid - August 9, 2011 - 12:00am

BEIRUT, Lebanon — In the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila, a corner of Beirut bearing the scars of massacres and an enduring despair, the words of a young barber hinted at an emerging optimism about what the Arab revolts could mean for a central issue of the last half century in the Middle East: the fate of Palestinians. The barber, Mohammed Assad, was not naïve; life here is too grim for that. But in a region whose politics are being recalculated, he celebrated the rising influence of popular will on governments that long ignored it. “There is hope,” he said.

APNewsBreak: Israel and Arabs tentatively agree to exploratory talks on Mideast nuke-free zone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Associated Press - August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

VIENNA — Israel and Arab nations have tentatively accepted an invitation by the U.N. nuclear agency to discuss a Middle East free of atomic arms, in correspondence shared with The Associated Press. Whether the meeting takes place may depend on the participants’ willingness to compromise on preconditions. An official from a delegation accredited to the International Atomic Energy agency says IAEA chief Yukiya Amano planned to meet with the Arab group on Sept. 5 to try and bridge differences.

Marwan Barghouti warns of protests if US wields veto
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

CAIRO (AFP) -- A Palestinian leader jailed in Israel has warned Washington that vetoing a Palestinian state at the United Nations would spark huge regional protests, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported Wednesday. Marwan Barghouti, a leading member of the dominant Fatah party convicted of organizing attacks against Israelis during the second intifada, gave an interview to MENA through his lawyer from an Israeli prison.

Israel: Chinese military chief to visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Associated Press - August 8, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The Chinese military's chief of staff will visit Israel next week for the first time, the Israeli military said Monday, in what may signal a renewed warming of ties between the Jewish state and Beijing. Chen Bingde will be a guest of the Israeli military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the military said. Bingde's visit follows Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's trip to China two months ago. That was the first visit of an Israeli defense minister in a decade. Chinese officials were not available for comment about the visit.

Western diplomat: UN statehood bid will harm U.S.-Palestinian Authority ties
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

Cooperation between the U.S. and the Palestinian Authority will be harmed if the PA goes through with its plan to seek United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly session in September, a senior Western diplomat told Israeli journalists on Wednesday during a briefing in Tel Aviv.

Peres: Israel-Palestinian peace still possible
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

President Shimon Peres on Wednesday told a delegation of visiting U.S. Democratic congressmen that he believes that it is still possible for Israel to reach peace with the Palestinians, Israel Radio reported. Peres said that both sides understand that they need to overcome differences and renew negotiations before the United Nations General Assembly session in New York next month at which the Palestinians have said they will seek recognition of statehood.

US chides Israel over new east Jerusalem project
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

The United States is "deeply concerned" by Israel's plan to build a new housing project in the southeast Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, the State Department said on Tuesday. The State Department warned that such "unilateral actions" were detrimental to the peace process. Last week, the Jerusalem Zoning Commission approved 930 new housing units in Har Homa. Actual building on the site is at least two years off. Alongside its rare rebuke of a close ally, the State Department said Israelis and Palestinians should settle their differences on Jerusalem through negotiation.

Israel's rights groups condemn 'Jews only' businesses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

NAZARETH // We don't employ Arabs - so dozens of companies listed in Israel's Yellow Pages plainly state. The businesses, which include a bus firm, plumbers, electricians and a removal firm, openly advertise under the banner of "Hebrew labour" - a policy to hire only Jews that Israeli civil rights groups say is a violation of the country's anti-discrimination laws. The groups believe such advertising is one of a series of initiatives that aim to give preferential treatment to Jewish job-seekers over the country's Arab citizens, a fifth of the population.

Satirical Palestinian TV show elicits anger in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestine TV’s controversial satire show, Watan ala Watar (Homeland on a String), has angered the Palestinian Authority police force in the West Bank, whose commanders have decided to sue the station for libel. The police are furious with the satire – especially because of a scene where two traffic policemen stop a drunk driver for inspection. The policemen are portrayed in an obnoxious manner that suggests that they too are under the influence of alcohol.

Palestinians Prisoners Languish in Administrative Detention
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Mel Frykberg - August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

Hana Al Shalabi, 27, Yehiya’s daughter, has been languishing in Israeli administrative detention for over two years - she is the longest serving Palestinian female political prisoner in administrative detention. According to her lawyer, the young woman from Jenin in the northern West Bank does not know why Israeli soldiers arrested her several years ago, nor does she know how long they will keep her in jail, or what they will charge her with.

Beyond September: Lessons from Failed Mideast Diplomacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Brandeis University Crown Center for Middle East Studies
by Shai Feldman - (Analysis) August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

There seems to be a broad consensus that the Palestinian Authority’s strategic decision to seek a declaration of independent statehood at the United Nations this coming September resulted from deep frustration if not complete hopelessness regarding the prospects for a negotiated resolution of the conflict. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has made this clear on a number of occasions, emphasizing that a negotiated resolution of the conflict remains his preferred option but that no acceptable negotiating terms have been presented to him.

Why the US must support bid for Palestinian statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ibrahim Sharqieh - (Opinion) August 9, 2011 - 12:00am

In 1998, while attending a peace process conference in Germany, I witnessed intense discussions about whether Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat should unilaterally declare a Palestinian state. (The Oslo Accord’s five-year interim phase was to end one month after the conference date.) European diplomats argued aggressively against the declaration, insisting that more time should be given to negotiations. Ultimately, pressure, particularly from Europe and the United States, changed the course of action for Mr. Arafat, and no state was declared.

Netanyahu's government has proven it fits in well in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nehemia Shtrasler - (Opinion) August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

No question about it, the establishment of the Trajtenberg Committee is another embarrassment for the Finance Ministry. The people at the treasury are skulking about, bruised and shattered, unable to understand how they fell so far. The fact that the panel for socioeconomic change is headed by an outsider, not the director general of the ministry or its budgets director, proves how weak the ministry and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz have become.

Encouraging Peace: Forgetting September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) August 9, 2011 - 12:00am

The sudden sprouting of tent camps and Israeli demonstrations has allowed the public a brief reprieve from having to confront Israel’s international reality and the Palestinian decision to bring the conflict to the UN Security Council in September.While the public is busy thinking about solutions to all the social-economic distortions, the US has been busy trying to pre-empt disaster.

On My Mind: American Jews and Israeli Arabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Kenneth Bandler - (Opinion) August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

Encouraging American Jewish interest in the 20 percent of Israeli citizens who are not Jewish has been a longstanding challenge. For a long time learning about the history and concerns of the Arab minority visiting their communities, or engaging with their representatives who come to the United States on speaking tours, was relegated to a very low priority, often barely on the radar.

In accepting ‘67 lines for talks, Netanyahu tries some political maneuvering
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Jessica Steinberg - (Opinion) August 9, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- In the never-ending game of diplomatic chess played by Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week made a new move to try to outflank the Palestinians. On Aug. 2, he said that Israel is ready to use the pre-1967 lines as a rough starting point for discussion of a Palestinian state -- if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state and back down from their plan to petition the United Nations for statehood recognition in September.

Reinforcing support
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

His Majesty King Abdullah held talks with visiting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, reiterating Jordan’s support for the Palestinians’ quest for statehood and freedom. Jordan has legitimate concerns about an eventual “deal” on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which, as our foreign minister underscored, can best be reached through negotiations. In the absence of talks, however, which Israel shows no interest in, continuing to hang on to its intransigent stand, the options are limited and the Palestinians’ statehood bid will have to be pursued at the UN.

Challenging the Insupportable Arguments against Palestinian Statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National Interest
by Henry Siegman - (Opinion) August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

In their near-hysterical efforts to prevent Palestinians from asking the United Nations to recognize the Palestinian right to self-determination and statehood in the West Bank and Gaza, Israel and the United States have put forward a number of insupportable arguments that cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

The fabric of Palestinian identity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) August 9, 2011 - 12:00am

What can a book about traditional folkloric costumes tell us about contemporary politics? Quite a lot as it happens. Hanan Karaman Munayyer’s beautiful new volume, “Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolution” (Interlink, 2011) combines superb photography of the renowned Munayyer collection of traditional Palestinian dress with an analysis of their origins, evolution and variations. Since the 1980s, Munayyer and her husband Farah have been assembling these costumes and other artifacts of Palestinian traditional life in their Palestinian Heritage Foundation.

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