Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israeli activists are hoping to revive their cost of living protests. Israel is bracing for a Palestinian UN initiative. The PLO says it will continue seeking diplomatic recognition even after September. Pres. Sarkozy is pushing for unified EU stance, but reports say it is badly split. Israel arrests a senior Hamas leader in the occupied West Bank. Pres. Abbas says the UN initiative is a result of Israeli refusal to comply with its international obligations. Israel threatens that any Palestinian UN initiative would put off further peace talks “for years.” COMMENTARY: Ma’an asks a number of experts whether a UN initiative would threaten refugee rights. Ha'aretz says Pres. Peres cannot save PM Netanyahu at the UN. Carlo Strenger says Israel could still deal with a Palestinian UN initiative. Douglas Bloomfield says Pres. Ahmadinejad's rhetoric makes him the best spokesman for the Israeli right. Ben White says all Palestinian leaders lack legitimacy. Leonard Fein profiles two Israelis with contrasting visions of the future. Bilal Hassen says the Israel-Egypt peace treaty has already been de facto revised. Karl Vick says Palestinians are torn between full UN membership and observer status. The Economist says the threat to cut off US funding to Palestinians is a mistake for everybody.

Activists Aim to Revitalize Israeli Protests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

For many Israelis, the size of Saturday night’s protests against the high cost of living and for social justice will serve as a barometer of whether the popular movement that began in this Mediterranean city and swept the country this summer is thriving or fading. After six weeks of tent encampments and rallies featuring popular singers that drew as many as 300,000 people into the streets on the first Saturday in August, the Sept. 3 rally has been described by its promoters as a million-person march.

Israel braces for Palestinian statehood bid at United Nations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - August 31, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel is preparing security forces as well as diplomatic and legal responses for a planned Palestinian bid this month for admission as a state to the United Nations, but officials say they do not expect a major eruption of unrest as a result of the move. Despite intensive Israeli diplomatic efforts to head off U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state, a senior official involved in shaping the Israeli response said the government is resigned to the General Assembly endorsing the move later this month.

Sarkozy wants united EU voice on Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 31, 2011 - 12:00am

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday he wanted to see a united European Union voice on the issue of Palestinian statehood at next month's United Nations General Assembly and urged Washington to do more for peace. "The 27 countries of the European Union must express themselves with one voice," Sarkozy said in an opening speech to an annual conference of French ambassadors. "The role of the U.S. is uncontested and irreplaceable, but everybody sees that it is not enough. We have to widen the circle of negotiation, think of the role and pertinence of the quartet."

Diplomats: EU split on support of Palestinians' UN statehood bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

The European Union remains undecided whether to recognize the Palestinian push for recognition at the United Nations, diplomats said Thursday. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Thursday the question remained "hypothetical" because no resolution had been tabled yet. Ashton said the EU's 28 members were united "over the most critical issue, which is to try to get the talks moving," and reiterated the bloc's position that Israeli settlement-building in the occupied territories is illegal under international law.

Israel arrests Hamas leader in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli military says a militant Hamas leader whose son collaborated with Israel has been arrested in the West Bank. The military would not say why Hassan Yousef of the Islamic Hamas group was taken into custody or provide any other details. Yousef was released from an Israeli prison a month ago after serving six years. Shortly afterward, he told an Israeli TV station that the Palestinians are planning demonstrations to support their quest for U.N. endorsement of a Palestinian state after the General Assembly convenes in late September.

Abbas says Palestinian UN bid came after Israel rebuffed int'l treaties
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinians decided to approach the United Nations for recognition after Israel refused to abide by the international agreements and laws, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday. "Approaching the UN is not an alternative to the peace talks," Abbas was quoted by the Palestinian official news agency Wafa as saying, "it is an opportunity to get out of the current impasse that the peace process is facing due to the Israeli policy of settlement." Abbas made the remarks at a meeting held at his Ramallah headquarters with Rabbi Menahim Fruman, according Wafa.

‘Acceptance of PA’s UN bid will push back talks for years’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

A UN General Assembly resolution recognizing the Palestinian Authority as a nonmember state would create “unbridgeable gaps” and push back negotiations for years, a senior Israeli official warned Wednesday. The official said that once such a resolution was passed, the Palestinians would never be willing to negotiate on the basis of anything less, and no Israeli leader would ever be able to agree to what the Palestinians would likely get from the UN. He said that such a move would be a “strategic mistake by the world,” and said this was well understood by the US.

Does the Palestinian UN bid threaten refugee rights?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Opinion) September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

As the leadership in Ramallah prepares to approach the UN for membership in September, it is also fighting back charges that its initiative is shortsighted and even a threat to Palestinian refugees. Last week Ma'an published for the first time findings by an international law expert that the gambit could alter the PLO's status as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. The legal opinion, by Guy Goodwin-Gill of Oxford University, argued that the Diaspora could be left disenfranchised if this happened.

Peres can't save Netanyahu from UN debacle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

Around 130 countries have pledged to vote in the UN General Assembly in about three weeks to recognize an independent Palestinian state in the occupied territories. Barak Ravid reported in Haaretz this week that Israel's UN ambassador, Ron Prosor, sent a classified cable to Jerusalem saying Israel had no chance of putting together a significant bloc of countries to oppose the resolution. Prosor said that only a few countries would vote against the Palestinian move and that at most a number of countries would abstain or be absent.

Can Netanyahu still engage with Palestinians' UN bid?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

A few days ago Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor informed the Foreign Ministry that Israel has no chance to stop UN recognition of Palestine. This didn’t really surprise anybody. Defense Minister Ehud Barak already months ago warned of the “diplomatic tsunami” Israel would face in September.

Whose side is Ahmadinejad on?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

After reading an article by the Scripps Howard News Service suggesting that “if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not on Israel’s payroll, he should be,” one reader responded: “Don’t forget to mention that Ahmadinejad is Jewish and possibly an undercover agent for Isreal [sic].” Some double agent; Ahmadinejad continues to be an outspoken booster for Palestinian statehood – perhaps a bit too outspoken, as when he declared last week that the creation of a Palestinian state would be “the first step” in the eradication of the Jewish state.

The problem with Palestinian political leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ben White - (Opinion) September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

For a few months now, discussion of Palestine/Israel has focused on the looming UN vote on Palestinian statehood, but this is obscuring more fundamental problems in the Palestinian political arena – of which the forthcoming UN vote is a symptom. In three critical areas, there are significant flaws hampering Palestinian political leadership.

Hardliner and Tent City Leader Tell Tale of Two Israels
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Forward
by Leonard Fein - (Opinion) September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

There is a man in Israel of whom you most likely have never heard, though he is among the noisiest people in the country. His name is Danny Danon. He’s 40 years old, has been in the Knesset for all of two years, yet serves as deputy speaker and chair of its Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, as well as sitting on a plethora of other committees, including those dealing with foreign affairs and women’s and children’s issues. He is also chair of World Likud — and a close friend, so both of them say, of Glenn Beck.

Fate of the Egyptian – Israeli peace treaty
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Bilal Hassen - (Opinion) September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

The Eilat (Um al-Rushrash) Fedayeen [commando] attack on a number of Israeli targets which took place on 18 August 2011 [Southern Israel cross-border attacks], and the implications of this, continue to gather pace like a snowball rolling down a mountainside. Information surrounding this attack remains vague, and there is no concrete information about those who carried it out, or where they came from. Israel claim that the perpetrators came from Gaza, crossed the Sinai Peninsula, entered Egyptian territory, and attacked Israeli targets from Egyptian soil.

The Palestinians' Statehood Dilemma: Full U.N. Membership or Observer Status?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Karl Vick - (Opinion) September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

It looks like a sure loser: the Palestinian bid for admission to the United Nations as a sovereign state. Never mind that a large majority of the U.N. General Assembly would vote "Yes." U.N. rules clearly state that all applications must first pass the Security Council, where the United States stands poised to exercise its veto, at the behest of Israel.

A bad bill for everyone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
(Opinion) September 1, 2011 - 12:00am

The big news in Ramallah, where a few extremely generous and well-informed journalists were nice enough to show me around on Sunday, is the expected move by the Palestinian Authority (PA) this month to push for recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN. This is a highly complicated and sensitive issue which many Palestinians view with some trepidation.

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