Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: A Palestinian TV satire program rankles its targets. The Israeli government is set to approve thousands of new settler homes around occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinian officials say the US response is “insufficient.” Lebanon and Qatar may be key support at the UN for the Palestinians. Some settler leaders try to join the Israeli social justice protests. DM Barak warns that Israeli sanctions could lead to the collapse of the PA. PM Netanyahu reportedly rules out any apology to Turkey. The Israeli military is also preparing for tensions with Syria. Palestinian officials make detailed plans to prevent violent confrontations during possible mass rallies in September. COMMENTARY: Gideon Levy says Netanyahu understands nothing about public relations. Farid Abdel-Nour says a Palestinian statehood initiative can breathe new life into the two-state solution. Sima Kadmon says the Israeli government privileges settlers, even in "unauthorized" outposts. Dov Weisglass says the idea of abrogating the Oslo agreements is foolish. George Hishmeh asks when Pres. Obama will stand up to Netanyahu. The Daily Star says Palestinians need to overcome both internal and external obstacles to statehood. Daoud Kuttab looks at options for the future of Jerusalem. Kieron Monks says Palestinian youth are frustrated and volatile. The Jordan Times says Netanyahu is resorting to weak excuses. Dov Waxman says Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel can use the cost of living protests to forge a better future together.

WEST BANK: Not everyone's laughing at Palestinian TV comedy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

At a time when revolts in Arab nations are gradually taking their toll on the leaders of those countries, Palestinian officials seem worried that too much criticism of their performance may eventually lead them to a fate similar to their Arab brothers. At least that's what one comedian-actor-writer believes.

Israel approves 1,600 Jerusalem settler homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Agence France Press (AFP) - August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's interior minister Eli Yishai has given final approval for the construction of 1,600 new settler homes in east Jerusalem, his spokesman told AFP on Thursday. The move is likely to anger both the Palestinians and the international community, as it struggles to find a way to relaunch peace talks in a bid to head off a Palestinian plan to seek United Nations membership. Roei Lachmanovich also said the interior minister was set to give final approval for another 2,700 settler homes in east Jerusalem neighborhoods in "a couple of days."

Palestinian official slams U.S. stance on Jewish settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian official criticized the United States Wednesday for not taking a firm stance against the Jewish settlement activities in the occupied territories. The Obama administration's statement that it is concerned by the Israeli activities "is insufficient for anything on the ground, " said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee.

The road to New York goes through Lebanon and Qatar
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Bassam Abu Eid - August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

As the Palestinian UN bid for recognition approaches in September, two Arab countries will hold key positions in both the Security Council and General Assembly, adding momentum to Palestinian diplomatic efforts to gain statehood. Lebanon is set to head the Security Council and Qatar will be rotating president of the General Assembly.

Israeli settler leader braces social protesters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

In a show of solidarity with the social protests that are currently sweeping Israel, settler leader Danny Dayan visited activists in Tel Aviv Tuesday, saying that the West Bank settlers share the protesters' grievances. Dayan, who heads the Municipal Council of Jewish Settlements in the West Bank (Yesha Council), visited the tent complex at Tel Aviv's upscale Rothschild Boulevard, where he met the head of Israel's National Students Union, Itzik Shmuli, one of the protest movement's outspoken leaders.

Barak warns Israeli ministers: Sanctions could lead to the Palestinian Authority's collapse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his senior ministers on Wednesday to discuss how Israel plans to cope with Palestinian efforts to secure UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September. Several of the ministers urged preemptive sanctions against the Palestinian Authority in an effort to pressure PA President Mahmoud Abbas to back down, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak objected, warning that it could lead to the collapse of the PA.

'US secured FM's support for Turkey deal, PM backed out'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

An agreement was almost reached between Israel and Turkey over resolving differences and outstanding claims over last year's flotilla incident on board the Mavi Marmara, in which nine Turkish nationals were killed, but the deal fell apart two weeks ago, much to the chagrin of Washington, Army Radio reported on Thursday.

IDF concerned UN vote on Palestinian state may lead to tensions with Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israel Defense Forces is readying for possible engagement with the Syrian military in September, should the latter involve itself in new attempts by Palestinians in Syria to storm the border with the Golan Heights in connection with a UN vote on recognizing a Palestinian state. The IDF acknowledges it may be necessary to deal with Syrian military intervention in such a scenario, which could occur if Syria tried to deflect world attention from the ongoing demonstrations in that country - and their bloody suppression - by creating an incident on the border.

Israel to OK 4,300 new homes in east Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The San Francisco Chronicle
by Amy Teibel - August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's interior minister gave final authorization to build 1,600 apartments in disputed east Jerusalem and will approve 2,700 more in days, officials said Thursday, detailing a plan that could complicate diplomatic efforts to dissuade Palestinians from declaring statehood at the United Nations. The announcement drew immediate criticism from the Palestinians, and from Israel's leading anti-settlement group, which accused the government of seizing on mass protests over housing costs to give economic justification to the always explosive issue of building in the holy city.

Nothing will come of Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

What's left of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? What remains of his ideas and worldview? To judge by his statements - nothing whatsoever. The man who was portrayed as an ideological statesman, a writer and a thinker, the man whose views some pundits have vied with one another to worship, has been left denuded of his ideas, backpedaling on his entire doctrine.

The UN Vote and a Viable Two-State Vision
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dissent
by Farid Abdel-Nour - (Opinion) August 9, 2011 - 12:00am

IN HIS May 19, 2011 speech on the Middle East, President Obama made an oblique reference to the Palestinian plan to seek full membership in the United Nations. He said that this would be a “symbolic action” and that it “won’t create an independent state.” Both claims are undeniable, but neither warrants dismissing or opposing the plan. Indeed, symbolism is a good reason for supporting it. The Obama administration has made it clear that it would like to avoid “a showdown” at the UN in September.

Settlers have other rules
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Sima Kadmon - (Opinion) August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Last week, the High Court of Justice heard a petition filed by Peace Now in 2006 that demanded to evict the outpost of Migron, claiming it was built on Palestinian land. Since the petition was filed, two of the land owners passed away, yet the State had not removed the outpost. Ahead of the hearing, it submitted an affidavit, signed by Government Secretary Zvi Hauser, detailing what it has been doing to promote Migron’s evacuation.

Don’t annul Oslo Accords
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Dov Weissglas - (Opinion) August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

It has recently been reported that Israel is currently mulling the annulment of the Oslo Accords as a means of retribution against the Palestinian Authority, should it indeed go to the UN with a bid to recognize a Palestinian state in line with the 1967 borders. Before Israel finds itself entangled in yet another act of folly, we would do well to examine the practical implications of the proposed move.

Will Obama stand up to Israel?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

There is no doubt that US President Barack Obama's plate is full considering the overpowering financial crisis which has led to the downgrading of the US credit rating and its devastating worldwide ripple effect. But whether he can overcome the shock of another international hurdle, namely the Palestinians' drive for UN membership next month, depends on his calculations.

Unbridled bias
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Next month Palestine goes to the United Nations in New York to request recognition of its own state. Globally, this is a far from unpopular motion, with most General Assembly members staying true to their own moral standards in agreeing that the Palestinian people have a right to a country they can officially term their own. It is unfortunate that the staunchest opponent to the notion of Palestinian statehood – Israel aside, obviously – is also the most powerful.

Solution for Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Chambers of commerce in some Palestinian cities held elections, over the past few weeks, and municipal elections are planned for October. One Palestinian city that will not see any local elections just happens to be Palestine’s capital in waiting.

Palestine's Internal Divisions are Crushing its 'Arab Spring' Movement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Kieron Monks - (Opinion) August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

I lived with core members of the Palestinian youth movement, and I always thought they could make a difference. Given the splendid cue of the Arab Spring, it seemed that the timing was perfect to launch an unrelenting campaign from the street to rise up and challenge the Occupation.

Wrong excuses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to convince countries expected to vote in favour of the Palestinian attempt to gain UN recognition for an independent state within the 1967 borders to change their stances. Recently, Netanyahu invited some 18 ambassadors in Washington, from various regions of the world, to Israel to explain why their countries should vote against a Palestinian state.

Putting up a big tent in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Dov Waxman - (Opinion) August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

When Knesset members from Israel's three largest parties (Kadima, Likud, and Yisrael Beiteinu) announced last week that they were planning to introduce a bill that would officially redefine Israel from being a Jewish and democratic state to simply being "the national home for the Jewish people" -- dropping the democratic aspect altogether -- and end Arabic's status as an official language in Israel, the news was another depressing confirmation of the erosion of Israeli democracy.

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