Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Leaks reveal US efforts to wiretap Israeli diplomats. Pres. Abbas says he prefers negotiations, and will continue them but is going to have a UN initiative in September. Israel says it will tolerate some Palestinian protests in September. Abbas reportedly met secretly with DM Barak. PLO officials say they're keeping their options at the UN open for now. Settlers attack a West Bank mosque in retaliation for Israeli military demolition of "unauthorized" buildings. PM Fayyad says Israel is fully responsible for the attack. Turkey is suspending military ties with Israel. Analysts ask whether new tensions between Israel and Turkey serve Palestinian interests. The governor of the Bank of Israel warns of the financial costs of deteriorating ties with Turkey. A Palestinian citizen of Israel family wins the right to reside in a “Jewish community.” COMMENTARY: Roger Cohen says Israel is isolating itself. Nidal Foqaha says the United States should vote yes on a UN Palestinian statehood initiative. Jeffrey Goldberg says former Sec. of Defense Robert Gates told him Israel is an “ungrateful ally.” Gershon Baskin says youth are crucial to peace. David Newman says freedom of expression is in danger in Israel. Guy Goodwin-Gill says Palestinian statehood must follow a democratic process. Linda Heard says Turkey should not let Israel off the hook. Sari Bashi looks at the future of the UN flotilla report. Yossi Alpher says Israel can use the UN to make progress and corner Hamas at the same time. Ghassan Khatib says Israel now has to deal with an empowered Egyptian public on Palestine. Itamar Rabinovich says Israel’s best option is to renew negotiations with the Palestinians.

Leak Offers Look at Efforts by U.S. to Spy on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Scott Shane - (Analysis) September 5, 2011 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON — When Shamai K. Leibowitz, an F.B.I. translator, was sentenced to 20 months in prison last year for leaking classified information to a blogger, prosecutors revealed little about the case. They identified the blogger in court papers only as “Recipient A.” After Mr. Leibowitz pleaded guilty, even the judge said he did not know exactly what Mr. Leibowitz had disclosed.

Abbas Affirms Palestinian Bid for U.N. Membership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - (Analysis) September 5, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority said Monday that he was going to the United Nations this month to seek membership for a state of Palestine, not instead of negotiations with Israel, but in addition to them. His goal, he said, was for a Palestinian state and Israel to live in peace and security next to one another. Even after any recognition by the United Nations, Mr. Abbas said, his hope is to negotiate with Israel.

Israel vows 'tolerance' for Palestinian protests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) September 6, 2011 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV, Israel (Reuters) -- A senior officer said on Monday that Israeli soldiers would show "much more tolerance" towards Palestinian demonstrations than in the past thanks to riot-control training and new equipment designed to reduce injuries and deaths. Israel is wary of large-scale protests by Palestinians as their leaders sidestep stalled peace talks by appealing for United Nations statehood recognition this month. A similar deadlock in 2000 triggered a Palestinian revolt that Israel fueled with military crackdowns, resulting in a heavy death toll among unarmed protesters.

Palestinian official: Abbas met Israel's Barak
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) September 6, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Reuters) - President Mahmoud Abbas met Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week, Palestinian officials said on Monday, his first publicly declared meeting with an Israeli government official for almost a year. Abbas told members of Fatah's Revolutionary Council that Barak had requested the meeting in Jordan to discuss the possibility of resuming negotiations which broke down a year ago because of a row over Jewish settlement expansion.

INTERVIEW-Palestinians keeping options open on U.N.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Tom Perry - (Analysis) September 5, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Sept 5 (Reuters) - The Palestinians have yet to decide how they will press their statehood agenda at the United Nations this month, a Palestinian official said, indicating less certainty than had previously been signalled on details of the plan. Hanan Ashrawi, a leading member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said the U.N. initiative was a step towards "breaking Israel's power hold over us and the American monopoly over peacemaking".

W.Bank mosque hit after partial outpost demolition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Tom Perry, Abed Omar Qusini, Ari Rabinovitch - (Analysis) September 5, 2011 - 12:00am

QUSRA, West Bank, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Jewish settlers set fire to a mosque in the occupied West Bank on Monday, Palestinians said, in a likely reprisal for Israel's dismantling of three buildings in an unauthorised settlement outpost hours earlier. Abdel Azeem Wadi, a member of the village council in Qusra near the Palestinian city of Nablus, said settlers threw burning tyres into the mosque, damaging the entire first floor. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad denounced the attack as an act of terrorism.

Palestinian PM says Israel hold 'full responsibility' for mosque arson
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Agence France Press (AFP) - (Analysis) September 6, 2011 - 12:00am

QUSRA, Palestinian Territories // The Israeli government bore "full responsibility" for an arson attack on a mosque in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority prime minister said yesterday, pointing to what he alleged was a lack of police action in the past, . "The Israeli government bears full responsibility for these attacks against our people, property and sacred places," Salam Fayyad said in a statement issued several hours after burning tyres were rolled into the ground floor of a mosque in Qusra village, some 15 kilometres south-east of Nablus.

Erdogan: Turkey suspends all defense ties with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - (Analysis) September 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey was "totally suspending" defense ties with Israel, after downgrading diplomatic relations with the country. While it was initially reported that Erdogan had also suspended all trade ties between the two nations, this was later clarified to refer to defense-related trade only. "Trade ties, military ties, defense industry ties - we are completely suspending them. This process will be followed by different measures," Erdogan told reporters in Ankara.

News Analysis: Would Turkish-Israeli differences serve the Palestinians?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Emad Drimly, Osama Radi - (Analysis) September 6, 2011 - 12:00am

GAZA, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian observers and analysts see the current differences between Israel and Turkey an opportunity for the Palestinian people and their just cause due to the significant role of Turkey in the region. However, they disagreed over evaluating the advantages the Palestinians would harvest. One question is that whether Ankara would show clear and practical position, and the other is whether the current crisis between the two countries is just a summer cloud since they are two old allies.

Fischer warns of damage to Israeli-Turkish trade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Lilach Weissman - (Analysis) September 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Stanley Fischer warned Monday that the deterioration in Israeli-Turkish relations could be harmful to Israel in the future. "Turkey is an important trading partner for Israel, and the consequences of damage to trade with it will be severe for us," Fischer told the regional cooperation conference, chaired by Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom, in Tel Aviv today.

Israeli Arab couple wins legal battle to build home in northern Jewish town
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury - (Analysis) September 6, 2011 - 12:00am

An Arab couple will finally be permitted to take possession of a plot of land and build a house in the Jewish community of Rakefet in the Misgav region of the Galilee, the Israel Lands Administration decided last week. The decision came after a long legal battle, still ongoing, against the ILA and the community's Admissions Committee. The couple, Ahmed and Fatina Zabeidat, residents of Sahknin, petitioned the High Court of Justice over their rejection by Rakefet's Admissions Committee five years ago - a story made public in a 2007 Haaretz expose.

Israel Isolates Itself
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - (Opinion) September 5, 2011 - 12:00am

LONDON — Here’s what the United Nations report on Israel’s raid last year on the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara had to say about the killing of a 19-year-old U.S. citizen on board: “At least one of those killed, Furkan Dogan, was shot at extremely close range. Mr. Dogan sustained wounds to the face, back of the skull, back and left leg. That suggests he may already have been lying wounded when the fatal shot was delivered, as suggested by witness accounts to that effect.”

Opinion: Why the United States should vote 'Yes'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Nidal Foqaha - (Opinion) September 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinians are demanding that the world and the United Nations recognize the State of Palestine within the June 4, 1967 borders. The purpose of the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel - which has been in place for 18 years - was to end the conflict between the two parties and to establish an independent Palestinian state living in peace side by side with Israel, within the borders of 1967.

Robert Gates Says Israel Is an Ungrateful Ally: Jeffrey Goldberg
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Jeffrey Goldberg - (Opinion) September 5, 2011 - 12:00am

It was an extraordinary scene: President Barack Obama, sitting impassively in the Oval Office in May as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lectured him, at considerable length and at times condescendingly, on Jewish history, Arab perfidy and the existential challenges facing his country. What was extraordinary wasn’t the message -- it was not an untypical Netanyahu sermon. What was notable was that Netanyahu was lecturing the president live on television, during a photo opportunity staged so that the two leaders could issue platitudes about the enduring bonds between their nations.

Encountering Peace: The loss of youth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) September 5, 2011 - 12:00am

One of the most uplifting characteristics of summer 2011 in Israel was the realization of the leadership of Israel’s youth. Inspiring! There is no better word to describe how uplifting it was to see our young people take to the streets and demonstrate their leadership. Their organization, supported by their command of new technologies and new media and augmented by their energy and optimism, swept across the land, and their enthusiasm captured the very spirit of Israel.

Borderline Views: Freedom of expression in danger
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Newman - (Opinion) September 5, 2011 - 12:00am

I write a column in a newspaper for two purposes. One is to inform, the other is to contribute to the public debate by presenting views which are not always popular to the specific readership, but which are designed to raise questions and debate. I write as an individual and am personally responsible for the views expressed in my columns.

Palestinian statehood must come about by the democratic will of the people
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Guy Goodwin Gill - (Opinion) September 6, 2011 - 12:00am

In August 2011, I drafted an opinion on certain legal questions regarding the issue of "popular representation", so far as they might arise in the context of the push for the state of Palestine to be admitted to membership of the United Nations (to see the updated document click here). The opinion provoked considerable comment, including by those who admitted to not having read it, but the overall result appears to have been a stimulating debate about the link between statehood, UN membership and representation of the people of Palestine.

Turkey shouldn't let Israel off the hook
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Linda Heard - (Opinion) September 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Ankara should be congratulated on standing up to its former ally Israel over Tel Aviv's refusal to apologize for the killing of nine Turkish activists on a Turkish aid ship attempting to break Israel's blockade of Gaza. Adding salt to the wound is a leaked report from the UN-authorized Palmer Commission into the incident that is heavily weighted in Israel's favor to the point of legalizing its siege of Gaza and confirming Israel's right to challenge ships in international waters to prevent weapons smuggling.

U.N.'s Gaza flotilla report adrift at sea
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Sari Bashi - (Editorial) September 2, 2011 - 12:00am

For months, since the contents of the report prepared by a UN panel charged with reviewing the May 2010 Gaza flotilla incident (the Palmer Report) began to appear in news media coverage, it has been clear that the report would not provide a credible legal analysis of the issue that was the reason for the flotilla in the first place -- Israel's closure of Gaza.

Egypt, Gaza and the approaching UN vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) September 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Egypt escalated its involvement in the Israel-Gaza conflict following the August 18 attack from Sinai against Israelis near Eilat, which caused Israeli, Egyptian and Palestinian casualties. Cairo demanded (and got) an Israel-Hamas ceasefire, clamped down militarily in Sinai and may even have begun taking serious steps to seal the Sinai-Gaza border.

Israel's best response is still to renew negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Itamar Rabinovich - (Editorial) September 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The terrorist attack launched from Sinai on August 18 against Israeli vehicles travelling to Eilat, and its sequels, have underscored and exacerbated four interlocking challenges facing Israel.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017