Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: A cease-fire between Israel and Gaza-based militants is tested by an exchange of fire. Five Palestinians die in Israeli bombing attacks on Gaza. Palestinians are being injured by rockets fired towards Israel from Gaza. The UN expresses “deep concern” about the violence. Glenn Beck hosts a rally in the old city of occupied East Jerusalem. A report suggesting that Israel may be unprepared for developments in September is being kept secret. Mysteries abound about a Palestinian engineer arrested by Israel. Ramadan discounts fuel commerce in Hebron's old city. COMMENTARY: Abdullah Abu Eid looks at the history of Palestine and statehood. Ha'aretz says the far right in Israel is aligning itself with fanatical Christian “lunatics.” Yossi Melman says Israel is unlikely to enjoy warm relations with the new Libyan government. Larry Derfner says we are experiencing the calm before the storm. Yossi Alpher says the recent violence shows the dangers and opportunities for Israel from Arab revolutions. Bilal Hassen says PM Netanyahu is a politician who sees only what he wants. Michael Bröning says whatever happens at the UN, Israel and the Palestinians need to prepare for the day after. Salman Masalha says a wise Israeli government would embrace Palestinian statehood in its own interests. Daniel Levy looks at protests in Israel.

Gaza cease-fire tested by Israeli airstrike, Palestinian rocket fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

A tenuous cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip was punctured Wednesday by a deadly Israeli airstrike that triggered rocket and mortar fire at Israel. After 48 hours in which air attacks were suspended, an Israeli drone strike killed Ismail Asmar, a senior member of the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad group, in his car in Rafah, near the border with Egypt, according to the military and local medical officials.

7 killed in overnight airstrikes on Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Seven Palestinians were killed and at least 30 injured as multiple Israeli airstrikes targeted Gaza overnight Wednesday. Hisham Adnan Abu Harb was killed as an airstrike hit a smuggling tunnel in Rafah, southern Gaza. Earlier, reports said that three people were unaccounted for after the Rafah airstrike. Four bodies were later pulled from rubble in the Rafah area. Hamas official Imad Muhammad Hamada had earlier said that crews were searching for the missing persons.

Rights group: Rockets injure Palestinians inside Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Eight Palestinians, including two children and three women, were injured this week by rockets fired in populated areas across the Gaza Strip, a human rights group charged Wednesday. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights says a woman was seriously injured. After one incident, according to the PCHR, an ordinance disposal unit arrived at the scene and collected the rocket's shrapnel, but the civil police never showed up to investigate.

UN's Serry 'deeply concerned' over South, Gaza violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
August 25, 2011 - 12:00am

UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry on Thursday expressed deep concern over a resurgence of violence in Gaza and southern Israel. "In the interest of protecting the lives of civilians and for the calm to succeed, a complete halt to the firing of rockets from Gaza and a display of maximum restraint by Israel are required,” Palestinian news agency WAFA quoted Serry as saying. The UN official urged all sides involved "to immediately take steps to prevent any further escalation.”

Glenn Beck hosts rally in Old City of Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Aron Heller - August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Former Fox TV personality Glenn Beck capped a contentious visit to Israel Wednesday with a strong call of support for the Jewish state in a rally alongside a hotly disputed holy site in Jerusalem's Old City. The conservative commentator has won fans among Israel's far-right with his unabashedly pro-Israel, anti-Muslim rhetoric, and 2,000 people turned out to hear him speak next to the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

September report to remain secret?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
August 25, 2011 - 12:00am

As the situation in the South escalates and the Palestinians prepare for their statehood bid in the United Nations next month, the Knesset has been busy arguing over a report criticizing Israel's readiness for this upcoming September. The report, initiated by the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (FADC) Chairman Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), is set to be publicized on Sunday. However coalition members have been hard at work to try and prevent its publication.

Israel, Ukraine and the mysterious case of Dirar Abu Sisi
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
by Gabriel Gatehouse - August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

On the evening of 18 February, a Palestinian engineer boarded a train in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov. Dirar Abu Sisi was the manager of Gaza's main electricity power plant. He hoped to obtain Ukrainian citizenship, and was travelling on the overnight sleeper to Kiev. He spoke to a friend on the telephone just as the train was pulling out of the station. All was well, he said, he was settling into his bunk for the night. But when the train arrived in Kiev the following morning, he was nowhere to be seen. Somewhere along the line, Dirar Abu Sisi had vanished.

Ramadan discounts lure customers back to West Bank's ghost town
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
August 25, 2011 - 12:00am

An unlikely noise can be heard in the Old City of Hebron in the southern West Bank - the sound of Ramadan bargain hunters dipping in and out of shops and buying cut-price goods. The crowds milling in the ancient streets are a change of pace for vendors here, who for years have suffered the consequences of Israeli-imposed security restrictions that brought business to a near standstill. Israel says the restrictions are necessary to protect 600 hardline Jewish settlers who live in the heart of the city among a Palestinian population of about 6,000.

Palestine and Statehood: An historical overview
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Opinion) August 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Until 1923, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. In December 1917, British troops entered Jerusalem and ended 400 years of Ottoman rule. In 1922, the League of Nations issued the Mandate of Palestine which authorized the United Kingdom to become the Mandatory Power in Palestine. The Mandate Document, however, included several paradoxical stipulations contrary to the Mandate System as set forth in Article 22 of the League's Charter. Major stipulations

The extreme Israeli right's alliance with lunatics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) August 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Against the backdrop of what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his spokesmen call the "delegitimization" of Israel, a "support event" was held in Jerusalem yesterday evening led by American preacher-broadcaster Glenn Beck. Beck was accompanied by personages identified with the Republican Party's extreme right and a group of Christian Zionist evangelical leaders.

Despite some Israel-Libya contacts, warm ties are not on the horizon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Melman - (Opinion) August 25, 2011 - 12:00am

The chances that Israel will establish even low-level relations with a new regime that takes shape in Tripoli are not great. This assessment is based on a Haaretz interview this week with Ahmad Shabani, a Libyan opposition leader. Since the rebel government formed about six months ago in Benghazi, envoys have been trying to figure out if there are hopes of establishing a diplomatic relationship with Israel.

Rattling the Cage: Earthquake weather
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

There’s a feeling of instability in the atmosphere, of built-up pressure hanging motionless. The air is hazy, the sky is pale and miasmic. Earthquake weather, it’s called. That’s the atmosphere in this country, geopolitically speaking. And while no one can predict an earthquake, I don’t know of any aware, realistic person who would predict that the relative calm we’ve known for nearly three years, since Operation Cast Lead, is going to last very much longer. A few months, maybe a year. More than that is hard to imagine.

Terror Attacks Reveal Danger and Opportunity of Arab Revolution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) August 25, 2011 - 12:00am

The terrorist attack launched from Egyptian Sinai, just north of Eilat, on August 18, brought Israel into a headlong collision with the problematic fruits of the Egyptian revolution.

A Politician who sees only what he wants to see
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Bilal Hassen - (Opinion) August 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu is an example of a politician who sees only what he wants to see. Indeed, this has been a characteristic of many Israeli leaders, including Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barack. Those two conducted negotiations with the Palestinians and never imagined a situation other than the Palestinian official [sitting in front of them] agreeing to their views and the Israeli plan.

On a Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Broning - (Opinion) August 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Israelis and Palestinians are preparing for a showdown at the United Nations in September, when the Palestinian leadership will ask for recognition of a Palestinian state within the borders that existed before the Six Day War in 1967 (when Israel seized control of Jordanian-occupied territory). The details of the bid remain unclear, and the effort entails serious risks. But a sober assessment of what might follow a UN endorsement of Palestine’s borders allows for some cautious optimism.

Right of return revisited
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Salman Masalha - (Opinion) August 25, 2011 - 12:00am

A political tsunami is expected in September, the politicians keep warning us. Obviously the recognition of Palestinian statehood, if adopted, is expected to yank the rug from under the feet of the refugees who were raised on the dream of returning to the fig tree, the spring and the village that no longer exist.

Can Tahrir Square Come to Tel Aviv?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Nation
by Daniel Levy - (Opinion) August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

“The Corner of Rothschild and Tahrir,” reads one of the posters at the site where Israel’s summer of social protests began—on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, which has become the movement’s tent-city HQ. Few of the protest leaders would flinch at acknowledging the inspiration they drew from the Arab Awakening, but it is a new, challenging and often uncomfortable feeling for many Jewish Israelis to consider the surrounding Arab world as providing a spark worth emulating.

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