Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: UNRWA says Palestinian refugees are among those being attacked by Syrian forces in Latakia, with at least two killed. Palestinians in Ramallah rally for the downfall of Pres. Assad. Rep. Hoyer says Pres. Abbas and PM Fayyad delivered mixed messages on potential Palestinian UN initiatives. FM Al-Maliki says Palestinians will apply for full UN membership. Palestinians say they are determined to win more bilateral and multilateral recognition. Abbas reportedly held for "secret meetings" with Pres. Peres. Hamas objects to PA plans for municipal elections in October. A dispute between Fatah and ousted former official Dahlan is bolstering Hamas. The Palestinian Economy Minister is referred to the Attorney General for potential prosecution. Israel announces more settlement activity. Controversy continues to haunt the Freedom Theater in Jenin. COMMENTARY: Gideon Levy says Israel's closest neighbor is its own military. Harold Zwier and Larry Stillman say Australia should support Palestinian statehood. Tariq Al Maeena says years of negotiating have not yielded anything for the Palestinians. A new book looks at nonviolent resistance to Israel's occupation. Joel Brinkley critiques the ideology of extremist settlers. Akiva Eldar says Israel may take military actions in response to a Palestinian UN initiative. Yaakov Katz says the Israeli military is prepared for whatever might happen in September.

Syria forces use naval power against Latakia
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Borzou Daragahi, Roula Hajjar - August 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Reporting from Beirut Syrian forces for the first time deployed naval power in an attempt to quell an anti-government uprising, pummeling a coastal city that one activist described as a fortress of support for the country's rulers until nationwide protests recently grew larger there. The use of gunboats and tanks in Latakia on Sunday is likely to antagonize Western powers and Syria's neighbors, who have been pressing for an end to the violence. Turkish diplomats said they extracted a promise from President Bashar Assad last week to curb the use of force.

Heavy gunfire as Syrian tanks enter Homs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
August 14, 2011 - 12:00am

DAMASCUS — Syrian troops backed by tanks clamped down Monday on the flashpoint province of Homs, a day after gunboats joined an assault that killed more than 20 people in Latakia city, activists said. As the country's anti-regime uprising turned five months old, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said snipers shot dead an old man in the provincial town of Hula and reported another killing in Latakia. "The community of Hula is under siege ... The army is carrying out raids and arrests under the cover of heavy gunfire" in Homs province, said the Britain-based rights group.

Palestinians gather to call for Assad departure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Hundreds of Palestinians streamed into the streets of Ramallah on Sunday evening to demand Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad stand down. The mass demonstration in support of the Syrian people came hours after news broke of Syrian military shelling the port city of Latakia, killing 26. Human rights groups said Palestinians living in a refugee camp in the district of Ramel were among the dead.

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.

Palestinians to Seek UN Statehood Vote Next Month
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Ali Sawafta - August 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will submit an application for full U.N. membership at the General Assembly next month, his foreign minister said on Saturday, without specifying exactly when the request would be made. "I think that the president, when he gets to the United Nations and meets the secretary general, will present the application," Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said in a briefing in Ramallah.

WEST BANK: Palestinians determined to get more recognition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - August 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority is doubling its efforts to get as many countries to recognize it before September, when it plans to officially ask the United Nations for recognition and membership. Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said on Saturday that “we have made very important breakthroughs, but we need to do more and build on what we have achieved so far.”

Abbas, Peres held '4 secret meetings'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
August 13, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas revealed he held four secret meetings with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres in a bid to revive stalled peace talks, a Palestinian official said Saturday. He quoted Abbas as saying at a meeting of his Fatah party on Friday that: "I met Shimon Peres four times in Amman and London in an attempt to restart negotiations and the peace process on a correct foundation." The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, added that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had thwarted those efforts.

Hamas criticises Fatah over election plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Nidal al-Mughrabi - August 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas on Sunday accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement of violating a reconciliation agreement by opening voter registration for local elections due to be held in October in the occupied West Bank. Islamist Hamas, which seized the Gaza Strip in a 2007 civil war with Fatah, has described the planned ballot as illegitimate. Fatah is the dominant party in the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank.

Abbas-Dahlan spat undermining Fatah, bolstering Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - August 15, 2011 - 12:00am

As he prepares to submit a request to the UN in September for recognition of a Palestinian state, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has also found time to wage a relentless war against his former ally and friend, Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan. The rivalry between the two men, which reached its peak last month when Abbas ordered his security forces to raid Dahlan’s villa on the outskirts of Ramallah, has caused severe damage to Fatah and will only serve Hamas’s interests, Fatah officials warned.

Palestinian minister referred to attorney general
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 14, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian minister was referred to the attorney general Sunday for questioning on corruption charges, a source said. The source, an official at the Palestinian National Authority's anti-corruption commission, said that the consumer protection society filed a suit against Minister of Economy, Hassan Abu Lebda, accusing him of corruption, mismanagement and receiving bribery. This is the first time that a Palestinian minister is referred to prosecution while he is still in office.

Israel approves 227 new homes in West Bank settlement of Ariel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - August 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak okays largest housing project in single settlement since establishment of the Netanyahu government. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved the building of 277 apartments the West Bank settlement of Ariel, defying U.S. criticism of continued settlement construction. Barak authorized the construction in Ariel, the core of the settlement bloc deepest inside the West Bank. One hundred of the apartments will house Israelis evacuated in 2005 from a Gaza Strip settlement.

Paranoia and intrigue on the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - August 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Juliano Mer-Khamis' legacy weighs heavily on the internationally acclaimed youth theatre he founded inside this turbulent Palestinian refugee camp, where some suspect his killer still lurks. In April, a masked gunman shot dead the 52-year-old Israeli actor and filmmaker, born to a Jewish mother and Palestinian father, as he sat in a car in front of his Freedom Theatre in Jenin.

The State of Israel and its neighbor, the IDF
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) August 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Since its establishment, the state of the Israel Defense Forces has lived amicably alongside the State of Israel. Borders between the two states are well-known, and are defensible.

Why Australia should back creation of a Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Age
(Opinion) August 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Many leading Israelis support calls for the recognition of Palestine. Next month, the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations is expected to ask the General Assembly to recognise a Palestinian state. We believe Australia should support such a move.

When negotiations result in a net loss
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
(Opinion) August 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinians have lost more land to Israel in 20 years and there does not seem to be a wisp of peace on the horizon. The Palestinians have been brought to the negotiating table with the Israelis countless times over the past six decades. The net result has been more usurpation of their land and territory along with civilian casualties to boot.

Author challenges readers to look at another side of the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Gleaner
(Opinion) August 13, 2011 - 12:00am

We don't often hear about nonviolent resistance in the Middle East, but it happens much more often than we might think. Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta has written a book on the subject called Refusing to be Enemies - Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation. The hardcover came out in January 2010, but the paperback with an updated afterward arrived in North American stores sometime in March of this year. "It's based on interviews with over 100 Palestinian and Israeli nonviolent activists, and a few internationals, and also conference presentations," she says.

Israel's West Bank dilemma
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The San Francisco Chronicle
by Joel Brinkley - (Opinion) August 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Shaul Goldstein knows that most everyone on Earth dislikes him and his kind. For some, it's visceral hatred. For others, he represents the largest obstacle to solving a problem everyone everywhere wants resolved. "We are the enemy of the world," he volunteered without any prompting. "We have to hide behind a curtain."

Israel will use Palestinian UN bid to restore status quo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) August 15, 2011 - 12:00am

To be honest, what's the difference between the potential UN declaration in September 2011 and the Palestinian declaration of independence in Tunis 22 years ago? Even MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union ), the professor of the extreme right, is not particularly upset by the fact that the United Nations General Assembly may recognize a Palestinian state. He sees no legal difference between the decision that is expected next month and the decision that was made there - with a huge majority of 104 to 2 - following the Palestinian declaration of independence in Tunis 22 years ago.

Preparing for the worst, hoping for the best
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - (Opinion) August 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Contrary to the near-hysteric reactions in Jerusalem, defense establishment doesn't believe the world will come to an end. Far from it. What will happen on September 21? Probably not that much. It will be the day after the Palestinian Authority unilaterally declares statehood at the United Nations General Assembly, but contrary to what one might be led to believe by the near-hysteric reactions in Jerusalem, the defense establishment does not believe that the world will come to an end. Far from it.

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