Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israelis are feeling increasingly isolated and pressured, regionally and internationally. The Arab League pledges to push for a Palestinian UN initiative. There is disagreement over whether the initiative would be symbolic or meaningful. President Obama says it would be “a distraction.” Palestinian activists in the US are divided about the impact of the initiative. Hamas is refusing to take a clear position on the initiative. Hamas says it will keep its headquarters in Syria. Lack of international aid is imperiling the Palestinian institution-building program. ACP delivers $50,000 for a youth program in Palestine. COMMENTARY: The Washington Post says Israel is being used as a scapegoat by other Middle Eastern governments. Richard Cohen says Israel's peace treaty with Egypt is in danger. Amr el-Zant says Egyptians have never had an honest conversation about their relationship with Israel. Nehemia Shtrasler says that if Israeli leaders actually prefer conflict over peace, they should openly admit it. Gershon Baskin says that to reach out to the Arab world, Israel must make peace with the Palestinians. Rabbi Yosef Blau says what mainstream religious Zionist leaders are teaching their followers is leading to violence. Michael J. Weil says Israel should support Palestinian statehood at the UN. The National says protecting the Palestinian institution-building program must be the priority. Faisal Al Yafai says Israel's diplomatic woes are largely of its own making. Aaron David Miller says Palestinian divisions are crippling its diplomatic and national efforts.

In Israel, Cairo attack deepens sense of siege
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - September 11, 2011 - 12:00am

After a week in which Israel’s diplomats were forced out of Turkey and Egypt, for years its regional allies, and facing a possible United Nations vote recognizing a Palestinian state, the country is experiencing a deepening sense of siege. Televised scenes of Egyptian protesters storming the Israeli Embassy in Cairo on Friday, and dramatic media accounts of the threat faced by six security men who were trapped for hours inside, summoned up for many Israelis nightmare scenarios of a lynch by an Arab mob.

Israel arrives at a tough diplomatic intersection
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel is expected to exercise "maximum restraint" as it faces a trio of regional challenges that threaten to further deepen its isolation, already more acute than the Jewish state has seen in decades. Powered by The sharp deterioration in ties with key partners Egypt and Turkey in recent days could pressure Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to shift its approach to regional challenges – most immediately, the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations next week.

Arabs pledge to lobby for Palestinian UN membership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Arab foreign ministers agreed in a meeting attended by President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday to marshal support for a Palestinian bid for UN membership this month despite Israeli and US opposition. Abbas, who backed out of US-sponsored negotiations with Israel because of its settlement construction in occupied Palestinian lands, is expected to make the request when the UN General Assembly opens on September 20.

Palestinians' UN gambit could spur changes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Josef Federman - September 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Many Israelis are dismissing the Palestinians' efforts to win international recognition of their independence at the United Nations this month as merely symbolic. But the Palestinians hope the high-profile maneuvering, on a grand global stage, might yield results that have eluded them through decades of peace talks, popular uprisings and violence campaigns. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to address the U.N. next week, planning to ask the world to recognize a Palestinian state.

Obama: Palestinian statehood vote at UN would be counterproductive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
September 13, 2011 - 12:00am

U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday that if the Palestinians try to achieve statehood in the United Nations Security Council, the U.S. would oppose the proposal. "If this came to the Security Council we would object very strongly, precisely because we think it would be counterproductive. "We don't think that it would actually lead to the outcome that we want, which is a two-state solution," he told Spanish-language media in an interview.

Pro-Palestinian activists in U.S. optimistic about UN vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - (Blog) September 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Despite the rapid unraveling of Israeli ties with both Turkey and Egypt, September is still seen as the month that would precipitate a “diplomatic tsunami" as a result of the impending UN vote on Palestinian statehood, letting the fact that two Israeli ambassadors were forced to leave neighboring countries take a distant backseat.

For Hamas, Silence on Statehood Is Golden
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Arieh O'Sullivan - September 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas is quietly backing the bid by its arch-rival, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, to win recognition of statehood from the United Nations this month because the movement stands to gain no matter how Abbas’ plans turn out, analysts said. Musa Abu Marzuk, Hamas’ deputy political bureau chief criticized Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, for not consulting Hamas. But the Islamic movement, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 and opposes the existence of Israel, has officially refrained from taking a position on statehood.

Hamas: Headquarters to remain in Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas confirmed on Monday that it would not be moving its headquarters from Syria following unrest in the country, a party statement said. “We confirm that the news reports on some media outlets claiming that the movement considers moving its offices or part of its leadership from Damascus, upon request from Syrian security, are false and not real at all,” the statement said. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar had previously said that several options were being explored in light of the security situation in Syria which is "dangerous for all Palestinians, not just Hamas."

Salam Fayyad's bid to prepare Palestine for statehood dying after foreign aid dries up
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - September 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Two years after launching an ambitious plan to trim bureaucracy and root out corruption, Salam Fayyad's "good government" initiative aimed at preparing Palestinian institutions for statehood is stagnant and dying. As the deadline to meet his goals came and went last month, a moment of pride for the Palestinian Authority prime minister and his attempt to foster Palestinian independence has become a disappointment.

ACP delivers $50,000 to Promote Youth Program in Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from American Charities for Palestine
September 8, 2011 - 12:00am

ACP is pleased to announce its new partnership with a local organization in the West Bank, Palestine Vision, through which ACP facilitated American donations to a program called the Mediterranean Youth Technology Club (MYTecC). Project funders include Cisco and USAID. ACP coordinated with Craig Newmark, of Craigslist and CraigConnect, as well as the Aspen Institute, by providing a vetted and accountable mechanism through which Mr. Newmark could make a $ 50,000 private donation to the MYTecC project, and its implementer Palestine Vision.

Once again, Israel is scapegoated
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
(Editorial) September 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Israelis worry that the Arab Spring is turning from a popular movement against dictatorship into another assault on the Jewish state, and their worry is not unfounded. Last week in Cairo a mob attacked the Israeli Embassy, forcing the evacuation of the ambassador and most of his staff; the previous week the Israeli ambassador to Turkey was expelled. Later this month Palestinians are expected to introduce a resolution on statehood at the United Nations, and Israel could be further isolated if, as expected, a large majority of the General Assembly votes in favor of it.

Israel’s hostile neighborhood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Roger Cohen - (Opinion) September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Back in 1953, an Egyptian army officer was asked by the magazine Al-Musawwar what he would write to Hitler if he were still alive. “My Dear Hitler,” he began gushingly, “I admire you from the bottom of my heart.” He proceeded to extol the German dictator for, among other things, creating dissension between “the old man Churchill and his allies, the sons of Satan.” If the mass murder of Jews bothered the officer in the least, he did not mention it. Years later, as the president of Egypt, he was himself murdered for making peace with the Jewish state. His name, of course, was Anwar Sadat.

The politics of symbolic forms
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
by Amr el-Zant - (Opinion) September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Where does Israel live in the Egyptian public imagination? Some unfortunate instances are usefully recalled: Jewish settlement in Palestine; a few wars, and the loss of Palestine; bloody incursions into Lebanon and Gaza; the destruction of Arab cities, including the Suez Canal towns. Then there is the saga of intelligence struggles against the Israeli espionage machine, folklore that captured many an Egyptian mind as it emerged from screens big and small.

Netanyahu, living by the sword does not cut it
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nehemia Shtrasler - (Opinion) September 13, 2011 - 12:00am

This year, as always, the big battle is between the treasury and the Defense Ministry. In a normal year, the battle is over the size of the addition to the budget of the Israel Defense Forces. This year, as a result of the social protest movement, the arm wrestling contest is over the size of the reduction.

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

Since Friday I have been in Cairo. This great city is not unfamiliar to me – I’ve been here more than 20 times, although my last visit was five years ago. I came to Cairo to attend a small meeting of MECA – the Middle East Citizens Assembly. This small but important organization was founded by Walid Salem, a Palestinian peace and democracy activist from east Jerusalem who decided that for real democracy to take root in the Arab world, citizens needed to take responsibility, stop acting like subjects and become active participants.

‘Price tag’ – paying for our educational failures
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Rabbi Yosef Blau - (Opinion) September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

After the Israeli army destroyed homes in the illegal Migron outpost, the level of tag mechir (price tag) responses escalated. “Tag mechir” is a policy of making others, usually Arabs, pay the price when the government acts to close an unauthorized settlement. Following the home demolitions in Migron, two mosques were vandalized, as was, for the first time, an IDF base.

Op-Ed: Israel should support the Palestinian statehood push
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Michael Weil - (Opinion) September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

(JTA) -- Israelis and Jews around the world are awaiting the Palestinians’ push at the United Nations for statehood with trepidation. The official response of the government of Israel and American Jewish groups has been to do everything possible to prevent any action at the U.N. and to line up votes against it. Only America and a few other nations have joined Israel’s side. Most European countries are likely to either support the Palestinians or abstain. The current Israeli strategy seems certain to fail.

Palestinian fate rests on strong institutions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) September 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The US and Israel are doing what they can to prevent a United Nations vote to acknowledge Palestinian statehood. This has encouraged many proponents of the plan, which has a good chance of partial success. The initiative is evidence of how sophisticated Palestinian advocates have become. But the gambit is not without risks for the Palestinian Authority.

Israel's political tsunami is largely of its own making
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Faisal Al Yafai - (Opinion) September 13, 2011 - 12:00am

When Recep Tayyip Erdogan stepped off the plane last night in Cairo, the Turkish prime minister stepped into a new political world. This is the first visit of a Turkish leader to Cairo in 15 years and, coming after Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador from Ankara, is the first time in three decades Israel finds itself without an embassy in the Arab world's largest country. Barely nine months after the Arab Spring began, the region's old certainties are being swept away.

Humpty Dumpty Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) September 12, 2011 - 12:00am

In coming weeks, we're going to hear quite a bit at the United Nations and in world capitals about Palestinian rights, unity, and statehood. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) -- the original organizational embodiment of Palestinian nationalism -- will either succeed in gaining new status as a nonmember U.N. observer state, or win a General Assembly resolution supporting Palestinian statehood.

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