Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel apologizes for the deaths of Egyptian soldiers. After a series of deadly exchanges, Israel, Hamas and other Gaza factions seem to be observing a cease-fire. The violence may prompt the end of "social justice" protests in Israel. Speculation grows that Bedouins may have been involved in the attacks in Israel. The Independent looks at Egyptian efforts to curb lawlessness in Sinai. Syrian forces are reportedly scrambling to erase evidence of bloodshed at the Ramel Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia. Diplomats say Iran has curtailed or ended financing of Hamas. PM Fayyad denies reports that the US threatened to cut off aid if Palestinians pursue a UN initiative.Palestinian quarry workers go on strike. COMMENTARY: Aaron David Miller says all parties are seeking to avoid blame for the ongoing diplomatic impasse. Zev Chafets says Glenn Beck, though a Mormon, may be trying to become the leader of the pro-Israel Christian right. Akiva Eldar says there is a confrontation between "Israeli arrogance" and "Arab honor." Bradley Burston says everyone must accept that Israelis are people like all others. The National says violence only harms the Palestinian cause. Nahum Barnea says Israel has no strategy. Khaled Diab says self-criticism is essential. Husam Itani says the Negev attacks show that armed conflict between Arabs and Israel is counter-productive. The Daily Star says all parties have good reasons for avoiding an escalation.





Egypt and Israel Move to Halt Growth of Crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Stephen Farrell - August 20, 2011 - 11:00pm


The Egyptian and Israeli governments moved Sunday to ease tensions over fatal cross-border attacks, apparently seeking to stop the crisis from flaring up into a full-scale diplomatic rift. An Israeli official confirmed that an Israeli military delegation arrived in Egypt on Sunday, quietly and unannounced, for behind-the-scenes talks with Egyptian officials, and a second Israeli official issued a public statement of regret for the deaths of Egyptian soldiers.


Israel apologizes for Egyptian soldiers' deaths
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Jeffrey Fleishman, Edmund Sanders - August 20, 2011 - 11:00pm


Eager to head off a diplomatic crisis with its most important peace partner, Israel apologized to Egypt on Saturday over the deaths of three Egyptian soldiers who were accidentally killed last week during an Israeli military incursion into the Sinai peninsula.


Gaza factions agree ceasefire as overnight calm holds
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 21, 2011 - 11:00pm


Reports of a Sunday evening ceasefire deal reached between factions in Gaza and Israel appeared to hold overnight Sunday, as residents paused for breath after four days of Israeli airstrikes. Israeli media and army reported that 12 rockets launched from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel overnight, with no injuries. But the cessation deal, described by a Hamas official as "informal", seemed to take Gaza residents safely through the night. No faction claimed rockets attacks after the deal was in place, around 9 p.m. Israel time, 8 p.m. in winter-saving time.


Israel-Gaza violence threatens protest movement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Aron Heller - August 20, 2011 - 11:00pm


Security has traditionally trumped all other concerns in Israel. Now some social activists fear a sudden spike of violence with the Palestinians could overwhelm a spontaneous and surprisingly strong summer-long revolt against the country's high cost of living. A deadly ambush that killed eight Israelis, and subsequent Israeli airstrikes and rocket barrages from Gaza over the weekend, have abruptly shifted the country's attention away from the economic protests that were coalescing into a serious threat to the government. Now the security situation is the center of attention again.


Bedouin May Have Joined Attack on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Joseph Mayton, Arieh O'Sullivan - August 20, 2011 - 11:00pm


As the Egyptian military began to flex its muscle in the northern Sinai on Sunday, Bedouin trial leaders said the cross-border attack on Israel that killed eight people had included Bedouins as well as Palestinians.


Egypt sets new battle front in a war with its own Islamic hardliners
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Alastair Beach - August 20, 2011 - 11:00pm


Perched high on a sandbank overlooking the slums of Gaza, a man who calls himself Abu Nafaq points to a block of canary-yellow flats just beyond the Egyptian border fence. "That is where the Israelis bombed a few days ago," he says, referring to the Israeli bombing raid in response to last week's ambush by terrorists in southern Israel. According to the Israelis, the gunmen who murdered eight people near the Red Sea resort town of Eilat came from Gaza – possibly sneaking out through the warren of smugglers' tunnels leading into the nearby Egyptian shantytown of Rafah.


Rush to cover up bloodshed in Palestinian camp
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by George Hale, Hannah Patchett - August 19, 2011 - 11:00pm


Syrian forces scrambled Saturday to destroy evidence of last week's bloody crackdown in Latakia that killed dozens and sent Palestinian refugees fleeing, activists said as UN investigators arrived in Damascus. Security forces were seen scrubbing blood off the streets and walls of al-Ramel refugee camp ahead of the cross-agency mission’s anticipated arrival in the port city. The delegation was dispatched from Geneva in response to a damning report to the Security Council on Syrian leader Bashar Assad's "apparent shoot-to-kill" policy.


Foreign funds for Hamas hit by Syria unrest-diplomats
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal al-Mughrabi - August 20, 2011 - 11:00pm


Iran has cut back or even stopped its funding of Hamas after the Islamist movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, failed to show public support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, diplomats said Sunday. Hamas has denied that it is in financial crisis but says it faces liquidity problems stemming from inconsistent revenues from tax collection in the Gaza Strip and foreign aid.


Palestinian PM denies U.S. threat to cut aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 20, 2011 - 11:00pm


Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Sunday denied reports that Washington has threatened to cut financial aid if the Palestinians insisted to seek recognition at the United Nations. A statement by Fayyad's office said the Palestinian premier and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the fiscal crisis the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) were suffering from and that donor nations should meet their financial commitments to the PNA.


Palestinians Strike to Seek Historic Agreement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jillian Kestler-D'Amours - August 18, 2011 - 11:00pm


Nestled between rolling hills just outside of Jerusalem, a dozen Palestinian workers have escaped the scorching summer heat in the shade of a makeshift tent, where they anxiously wait to sign what would be the first collective bargaining agreement between Palestinian workers and an Israeli employer.


The Mideast blame game
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) August 18, 2011 - 11:00pm


When Secretary of State James Baker was organizing the Madrid peace conference in 1991, he resorted to a device he called the dead cat on the doorstep. Simply put, Baker threatened to publicly blame Israeli, Palestinian and Syrian leaders if they didn’t accept the terms and attend the conference. It worked. Ironically, the dead-cat routine also explains the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process — but in reverse.


Why is Glenn Beck going to Israel?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Zev Chafets - (Opinion) August 18, 2011 - 11:00pm


In its long slog through history, the Jewish caravan has acquired a lot of improbable and colorful camp followers, from Bulan, king of the Khazars, to Marilyn Monroe and Madonna. Lately, conservative commentator and former Fox News TV personality Glenn Beck has joined their ranks. This week, he plans to set up his tent in the Holy Land for three televised Zionist rallies, dubbed “Restoring Courage,” in Jerusalem and the ancient Mediterranean port city of Caesarea. They are a sequel to the mass Restoring Honor rally at the Lincoln Memorial a year ago.


When Israeli arrogance meets Arab honor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) August 21, 2011 - 11:00pm


One can only hope that the prime minister will not ask his deputy, Moshe Ya'alon, to settle the dispute with Egypt in the wake of the incident in the south. According to Ya'alon's doctrine of international relations, under which "honor is a national asset," Cairo should be consigned to hell. Just as in the matter of the refusal to apologize to the Turks, standing tall and marching in the direction of lowering the level of diplomatic relations with the largest Arab country will without a doubt raise Israel's prestige in Washington and in Paris, and will deter Damascus and Tehran.


Terror, racism, and the idea that Israelis are people too
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) August 21, 2011 - 11:00pm


In the aftermath of a terror operation in which gunmen attacked several fronts in southern Israel, killing eight people and wounding dozens more, try this sentence on for size: "Israelis are people, too." What’s your first reaction? If you've been around this block before, it may well be something akin to suspicion. It is, after all, a sentence with an ax to grind. Why else would anyone need to say something like that at all?


Palestinians only lose with violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) August 20, 2011 - 11:00pm


Thursday’s raid on Israel, by a Palestinian splinter group taking advantage of Egypt’s current inability to police the Sinai Peninsula, was a setback for the cause of Palestinian statehood. The attackers moved south from Gaza to the region of Eilat on the Red Sea by way of Sinai, which has seen increased violence from militant groups since the collapse of the old regime in Egypt. In the Israeli pursuit of the gunmen, five Egyptian border guards were killed. Eight Israelis died in the raids, and seven attackers. Egypt, in protest, planned to recall its ambassador to Israel.


Israel has no strategy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Nahum Barnea - (Opinion) August 20, 2011 - 11:00pm


The same story repeats under all our governments: Following a terror attack, both sides embark on a chain reaction of attacks and counter-attacks. At the end of the day, the battle is over who will be firing the last rocket; who will emerge as a hero and who will be the chicken.


Confessions of a 'self-hating Arab'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Diab - (Opinion) August 19, 2011 - 11:00pm


I have a confession to make: I’m a “self-hating Arab.” In fact, some readers of my articles believe I suffer from a rare form of political Tourette’s, in which I cannot help but blurt out irrationally hateful criticism. I write regularly about all the ills I perceive in Egyptian and Arab society, including authoritarianism, corruption, gaping inequalities, human rights abuses, gender issues and insufficient intellectual freedom.


The Messages of Negev
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Husam Itani - (Opinion) August 18, 2011 - 11:00pm


A few sentences or words would not be enough to convey some meaning to the issue of the armed struggle on which the Palestinians and Arabs have been arguing for decades. Moreover, it would be useless to recall the history of exploitation of the Palestinian cause by the various Arab regimes, in order to achieve their immediate interests.


Common interest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) August 19, 2011 - 11:00pm


The incident Thursday in which Palestinian gunmen entered the Sinai peninsula and killed eight people was an unexpected action that prompted an entirely predictable reaction. Israel responded with airstrikes into Gaza, killing five militants as well as a small child.





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