Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Pres. Abbas and PM Fayyad send mixed messages on UN bid. The US threatens to halt aid to Gaza. Pres. Abbas says NATO may have a future role in a Palestinian state. The PA is formulating policies to offset future financial crises. Israel prepares for possible Palestinian statehood rallies in September. Israel may freeze defense spending because of cost of living protests. The US urges Israel not to proceed with planed settlement expansions in occupied East Jerusalem. The EU says the plan threatens a two-state solution. PM Fayyad says the move shows “total disregard for Palestinian rights.” Abbas stresses there can be no settlements in a Palestinian state. Israel is accused of systematically denying education to Palestinian prisoners. COMMENTARY: Amos Oz says Israel's middle-class protest movement shows the spirit of the country. Ha'aretz says Israeli leaders are becoming hysterical about September. Israeli Amb. Michael Oren says Israel will not agree to international peacekeepers in a Palestinian state. Joseph Dana says Israeli “social justice” protests are ignoring the occupation. JJ Goldberg looks at the lawsuit on the status of Jerusalem in US passports. The Arab News says the time has come for Palestinians to go to the UN and demand independence. David Newman says the West Bank separation barrier is actually a de facto border between Israel and Palestine. Sharif Omar says the wall has not changed the strategic equation between Israel and the Palestinians. Hussein Ibish looks at the Palestinian financial crisis and its political implications.

Hoyer: Abbas, Fayyad sent mixed messages on UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - August 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian leadership sent mixed messages to a Democratic Congressional delegation visiting Ramallah, with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad saying that no decision on the UN bid in September has been finalized, while PA President Mahmoud Abbas gave the impression that going to the UN was a done deal. "Fayyad said that the decision to go to the UN had not been made, in other words had not been finalized, which we were pleased to hear," US Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MA), the head of the delegation, told The Jerusalem Post shortly after the talks.

U.S. Threatens to Halt Gaza Aid Over Hamas Audits
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The State Department sent a message to Gaza’s Hamas leaders on Thursday that it would withdraw some $100 million it is spending in Gaza on health care, agriculture and water infrastructure if they did not back off a demand to audit the books of American-financed charities operating there. The threat, delivered via an intermediary, came after Hamas officials suspended the operation of the International Medical Corps on Sunday for its refusal to submit to a Hamas audit at the charity’s site.

Abbas tells US lawmakers: NATO role in Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 12, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told visiting US Congressmen on Thursday that the security of the future Palestinian state will be handed to NATO under US command, his adviser said Friday. The Palestinian state must also be "empty of [Israeli] settlements," the President said, according to official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA.

PA formulates policies to avert financial crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 12, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Al-Khatib said Thursday the PA was formulating ideas for next year's budget in order to avert a financial crisis. The objective is to increase local revenue and reduce expenditures without affecting health, education services or PA employees' salaries, Al-Khatib told Ma'an. The new policies are intended to compensate for the lack of promised funds from donor countries, above all Arab states.

Israel prepares for Palestinian statehood rallies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Daniella Cheslow - August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israeli security forces are importing horses, water cannons, tear-gas launchers and a nauseating noise machine to control crowds if they become violent at Palestinian protests planned next month to support their bid for U.N. endorsement of statehood. Israel hopes the measures will avoid casualties among demonstrators.

Likely freeze in Israel's defense budget is a victory for protesters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - August 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Leaders of the tent protests could chalk up another victory in addition to the establishment of the Trajtenberg Committee: a freeze of the defense budget. In recent months, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have both said repeatedly that the upheavals in the Arab world necessitate an increase in the Israel Defense Forces' budget. But the protests have changed their minds.

UN calls on Israel not to build new settlements in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by DPA - August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The United Nations called Thursday for Israel not to build new settlements, saying such plans would amount to a "provocative action" to the peace process with the Palestinians. Robert Serry, UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said the plan was strongly opposed by the international community when it was announced last year. "If confirmed, this provocative action undermines ongoing efforts by the international community to bring the parties back to negotiations," Serry said.

Palestinians attack East Jerusalem settlement approval
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Matthew Kalman - August 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has accused Israel of "a total disregard for Palestinian rights" after its Interior Ministry announced the approval for the construction of more than 4,000 housing units in East Jerusalem. The Interior Minister Eli Yishai said he had authorised the building of 625 homes in Pisgat Zeev, 1,600 in Ramat Shlomo, and 2,000 in Givat Hamatos. The Israeli government says the project had been given the green light to help solve a severe housing shortage.

Ashton: E. J'lem construction threatens two-states
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh, Herb Keinon, Melanie Lidman - August 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s decision late Wednesday night to approve construction of 1,600 apartments in the northeast Jerusalem haredi neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo infuriated the Palestinians and brought sharp condemnations from overseas. At the beginning of next week, the Interior Ministry is expecting to give the final approval to two additional projects in east Jerusalem – 2,000 housing units in Givat Hamatos and 625 units in Pisgat Ze’ev, Yishai’s spokesman Roei Lachmanovich said.

Abbas: We want settlements-free state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
August 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with US lawmakers visiting the West Bank and Gaza Strip and urged them to lend their support to the formation of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, the PA's WAFA news agency reported on Friday. Abbas reportedly stressed that the future state must be "empty of settlements." The US delegation was led by Senator Steny Hoyer (D), who is the Minority Whip of the House of Representatives. They toured the area on Thursday.

In Prison, and Denied Education
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Mohammed Omer - August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

In the early morning hours, Fatima Abu Jayyab, mother of Palestinian prisoner Eyad Khalid Abu Jayyab, gets ready for morning prayers. For the past nine years, every Monday morning this 57-year-old mother has stood outside the International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) office in Gaza City with a poster displaying her son. The Israeli authorities have prevented her from seeing him for the last five years. Israeli authorities imprisoned Eyad Khalid Abu Jayyab for what Fatima calls affiliation to a political party. "I think of him every moment," she told IPS.

Israel protests show nation's beating heart
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Amos Oz - (Editorial) August 9, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel has never been an egalitarian state. But in its heyday, it was more egalitarian than most states in the world. The poverty wasn't acute and the wealth wasn't ostentatious, and social responsibility toward the poor and needy was shown not only on the economic level but on the emotional level too.

Israeli leaders in hysterics ahead of September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) August 12, 2011 - 12:00am

As the UN vote on Palestinian statehood within the June 4, 1967 borders approaches, Israel's government is showing increasing symptoms of hysteria.

The Lessons of the Second Lebanon War
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Michael B. Oren - (Opinion) August 12, 2011 - 12:00am

South of Lebanon's Litani River, many villages lay in ruin. Others were deserted, their inhabitants having fled northward to Beirut. Across the border, Israeli civilians emerged from shelters to find their neighborhoods ravaged by thousands of Katyusha rockets. The surrounding forests were scorched. Israeli troops deployed throughout southern Lebanon, poised to deal a decisive blow to Hezbollah, but they did not. At that moment, 8 a.m. on Aug. 14, 2006—five years ago this weekend—the guns of the Second Lebanon War fell silent.

Israeli protests fight injustice - as long as it's convenient
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Joseph Dana - (Opinion) August 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Last weekend, more than 300,000 Israelis protested for economic reform throughout the country. In Tel Aviv, the epicentre of the housing protests, 250,000 Israelis marched to the defence ministry chanting the slogan "the people want social justice". The demonstrations were some of the largest in Israel's history and have pumped new life into the corpse of Israel's leftist political movement.

Fight Over Jerusalem in the Pages of a Passport
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) August 10, 2011 - 12:00am

Why is it, friends of Israel often ask, that the Jewish state is the only country in the world that’s not allowed to name its own capital city? King David chose Jerusalem as capital of the original Jewish state 3,000 years ago. And yet America refuses to place its embassy there, despite repeated acts by Congress requiring it. Neither does any other country in the world. The United States won’t even allow American citizens born in Jerusalem to have their passports show Israel as their birthplace. Their passports simply say “Jerusalem.”

Editorial: The UN tactic
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has provided no evidence to back his recent claim that the Palestinians were planning “bloodshed and violence the like of which we have never seen” in September as they push for UN recognition of an independent state. But when Lieberman said he feared the Palestinians could organize marches to coincide with the UN General Assembly in September, he was right. Palestinian leaders have drawn up a plan to stage rallies that would boost their drive for UN recognition.

AN ISRAELI VIEW Building a future border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by David Newman - (Opinion) August 8, 2011 - 12:00am

The construction of the West Bank barrier has, in reality, been the construction of a border between Israel and a future state of Palestine. This does not mean that the location of the barrier will remain in situ and that there will not be changes in its course if and when a formal agreement is reached.

A PALESTINIAN VIEW Still seeking victory
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Sharif Omar - (Opinion) August 8, 2011 - 12:00am

It was in September 2003 that the meaning of the Wall that Israel had constructed between me and my land began to sink in. Despite our refusal to apply for permission to cross the Wall, Israeli officials had gone ahead and issued permits to some of the farmers in Jayyous, where I live. There were 650 permits issued for our village, and my name was not among them.

Penniless Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Affairs
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) August 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The financial crisis currently facing the Palestinian Authority is not just economic; it is also a symptom of the deep political problems facing the leadership in Ramallah. The PA has based its appeal to the Palestinian public on a strategy that combines working with Gulf Arab states, Israel, and the West to produce improvements in the quality of life for Palestinians under occupation, while at the same time pursuing independence through international diplomacy.

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