Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The death toll in Gaza from Israeli airstrikes grows to nine. The Israeli settlement in Hebron is expanding. Hamas leaders reaffirm they will never recognize Israel. Hanan Ashrawi says statehood would not threaten the legal status of the PLO. Reuters looks at the mechanics of statehood and UN membership. The EU says aid to Palestinians is threatened by Europe's financial crisis. Videos document the brutalization of young Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces. Israelis and Palestinians bond over soccer. Israel agrees that Egypt should deploy more troops in Sinai. Palestinians and Israelis host dual-narrative tours. COMMENTARY: Yossi Sarid says "cost of living" is the latest argument for the occupation. Zeev Sternhell says social justice requires ending the occupation. Khaled Diad looks at the Israeli-Palestinian-Egyptian triangle. Patrick Seale says a larger confrontation is brewing in the Middle East. Al Jazeera interviews Guy Goodwin Gill on the implications of Palestinian statehood for the PLO's legal status. Avi Issacharoff says there is the possibility of more violence soon.

Israeli Strikes in Retaliation Kill 9 Gazans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram - August 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Nine Gazans have been killed in Israeli strikes since Wednesday night, with Israel’s southern communities withstanding 20 rockets from Gaza over the same 24-hour period. Warning sirens repeatedly sent Israelis across the south into bomb shelters, but most of the rockets landed in empty fields near the Israeli cities of Ofakim, Ashkelon and Beersheba. However, a 9-month-old baby was slightly hurt in Ashkelon when a car was hit with shrapnel.

Israel OK's expansion of building in Hebron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel is allowing Jewish settlers to expand a building in Hebron, one of the West Bank's most volatile cities. Palestinians object to Jewish construction in areas they envision for their future state. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's office said Friday he gave the building permit to house a kindergarten in Beit Romano, a structure built in the late 1800s by a Jewish merchant. Today it houses a religious seminary. Hagit Ofran of settlement watchdog Peace Now says Barak has become a "tool of the most radical settlers."

Gaza PM: We will not recognize Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister of the Hamas-run Gaza government Ismail Haniyeh restated Friday his party's position that they will not recognize Israel. In an address to worshipers gathered at An-Nour mosque in Gaza City for the last Friday of Ramadan, Haniyeh said "we will not leave any centimeter of Palestine, and we will not recognize Israel and the occupation." The Hamas chief called the revolutions sweeping the Arab world, "the introduction for Palestinian liberation."

Ashrawi: UN statehood bid no threat to PLO
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi said Thursday that the plan to join the United Nations as a state would not threaten the PLO's rights in the world body. Ashrawi, a senior PLO member, disputed arguments by international law expert Guy Goodwin-Gill, who has informed the Palestinian team that the initiative could terminate the legal status held by the PLO in the UN. Ashrawi said that "this step will not eliminate the role of the PLO," and Palestinian refugees have nothing to fear from the bid to join the UN, which is expected to be submitted in September.

Q+A-Can Palestine become a United Nations member state?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Louis Charbonneau - August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinians have vowed to seek full U.N. membership for a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital, ignoring opposition from Washington and Israel. But there appears to be little chance it could succeed at present because the United States would veto it in the Security Council.

EU diplomat says aid to Palestinians in question
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Daniella Cheslow - August 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Europe's financial crisis is causing some European Union lawmakers to question whether the bloc can continue to deliver millions in aid to the Palestinians, an EU diplomat said Thursday. The EU is the largest single donor to the Palestinians, contributing about 500 million euros ($720 million) a year to build institutions for a future state and pay salaries. Under Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the Palestinians embarked in 2009 on a two-year state-building plan to be ready for independence by September.

How Israel takes its revenge on boys who throw stones
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

The boy, small and frail, is struggling to stay awake. His head lolls to the side, at one point slumping on to his chest. "Lift up your head! Lift it up!" shouts one of his interrogators, slapping him. But the boy by now is past caring, for he has been awake for at least 12 hours since he was separated at gunpoint from his parents at two that morning. "I wish you'd let me go," the boy whimpers, "just so I can get some sleep."

From stabbing IDF soldiers to having them as teammates, Palestinian uses football for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
August 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Sulaiman Khatib is an ordinary Palestinian with an extraordinary past. Born in the West Bank near Jerusalem, he grew up as a “freedom fighter,” as he describes it, fighting against the Israeli occupation by throwing stones and preparing Molotov cocktails.

Springtime in Sinai
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

“Sometimes you have to subordinate strategic considerations to tactical needs,” says Ehud Barak, Israel’s defence minister, former prime minister and the country’s most decorated military man. This is one such time: Mr Barak, backed by the current prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, is going to agree to Egypt deploying thousands of troops in Sinai even though the Israel-Egypt peace treaty strictly forbids it. They will have helicopters and armoured vehicles, Mr Barak says, but no tanks beyond the lone battalion already stationed there.

Palestinian, Jew give both sides on joint Jerusalem tours
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CNN
by Catriona Davies - August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

As a soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, Kobi Skolnick once fired shots at Aziz Abu Sarah's aunt's house in the West Bank town of Hebron. Ten years later, Skolnick, a former Israeli settler, who grew up in an ultra-orthodox household, and Abu Sarah, once a Palestinian militant, work together explaining both sides of the Middle East conflict to tourists. They discovered the uncomfortable coincidence during a tour in Hebron for Mejdi, a "dual-narrative" tour company co-owned by Abu Sarah, where every tour is jointly led by Jewish and Palestinian guides.

Lebensraum as a justification for Israeli settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Sarid - (Opinion) August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Until now Israel had supported the occupation of the territories with two pillars: history and security - its right to inherit the land and its obligation to defend it. In recent weeks a third pillar was added, which all these years was hidden under straw and stubble. And maybe it's not a pillar but a snake, whose head must be crushed while it's still small.

Social justice also means ending the occupation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zeev Sternhell - (Opinion) August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Be the internal ills of Israeli society as they may, and they are too numerous to count, most of them can be treated and even cured; but the occupation and colonialism are terminal illnesses. Therefore anyone who refuses to understand - as did Shelly Yachimovich in her interview with Haaretz's weekend magazine - that the socialism of masters, and on behalf of masters, is no less ruthless and despicable than the neoliberalism of the rich on behalf of the rich, is not worthy of seeking the leadership of a party that has pretensions of charting the future.

Egypt, Israel and Palestine: an awkward three-way dance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Khaled Diab - (Opinion) August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

It has been a tense week in Egyptian-Israeli relations. It all started when unknown assailants crossed from Sinai to carry out a series of co-ordinated terrorist attacks in southern Israel, which left eight Israelis dead. Terror was met with more terror and counter-terror, as Israel bombed embattled Gaza, leading to the deaths of at least 14 people, despite the absence of evidence that Gazans were behind the attack (some of the alleged perpetrators appear to be Egyptians), and Islamist militants in Gaza fired their Grad rockets into southern Israel.

Stage is set for much bigger conflagration in Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Patrick Seale - (Opinion) August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

As if sparked by the intense summer heat, fierce fighting and other acts of extreme violence have broken out across the Middle East. The danger is that one of these nasty local conflicts will escalate into a full-scale war, setting the whole region on fire. In retaliation for an ambush of a Turkish military convoy on August 17 by guerrillas of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which killed eight soldiers and wounded another 15, the Turkish Air Force, a couple of days later, struck at 60 suspected PKK hideouts and bases in the mountains of northern Iraq.

Legal opinion challenges PLO statehood bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
by Guy Goodwin Gill - (Opinion) August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

A legal opinion highlighting the challenges and risks facing the Palestinian people in their quest for statehood has been obtained by Al Jazeera, in the lead up to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's bid at the United Nations in September.

Fear of engagement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - (Opinion) August 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's southern cities were bombarded by rocket and missile fire from Gaza as the weekend approached. There had been talk of a cease-fire at the beginning of the week, but this situation is actually a new form of tahadiyeh (lull ): It has different rules than the one after Operation Cast Lead two years ago. When Israel has an opportunity to attack, it does so, as it did Wednesday, killing Islamic Jihad operative Ismail al-Asmar in an air strike. That bombing sparked a new flare-up.

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