Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: PM Fayyad will address the October 19 ATFP Annual Gala. The Quartet says they'll ask Israelis and Palestinians to meet again soon to resume talks. The PA says the Quartet must act on provocative Israeli settlements. Pres. Abbas arrives in Colombia, a key UN Security Council state. There is a rise of Jewish extremist violence among Israelis. A Hamas leader says Palestinians should capture more Israeli soldiers to exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Palestinians plan to push for UNESCO's “world heritage status” for numerous sites. Gazans are infuriated by increasing Hamas taxes and fees. Senior Israeli defense officials visit Egypt to discuss security. Tunisia blocks Palestinians from an Arab bloggers conference. COMMENTARY: Roy Arad says in Jaffa, Jewish racism towards Arabs is commonplace. Carlo Strenger says Abbas should appeal directly to the Israeli public. Akiva Eldar says Israel doesn't really accept the Quartet statement, though it pretends to. Deputy FM Ayalon says Israel isn't isolated at all. Leonard Fein says Israel must fight against Jewish extremists. Ian Buruma looks at the adoption of Israeli maximalism as a cause for the Western far right. Daniel Levy says PM Netanyahu has never wanted peace and may have created a political structure in Israel that agrees. Ariel Sharon's son claims Israel is "under attack.” Salman Shaikh asks what to do now that the peace process appears to be “dead.” A.B. Yehoshua says a two-state solution based on dividing what Jews consider the “land of Israel” is a moral imperative.

A Palestinian AIPAC?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Ben Smith - October 7, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, is coming to Washington later this month, a tricky international moment for the PA and amid always-tricky domestic politics, to speak to the gala of the American Task Force on Palestine, a nine-year old group which is roughly aligned with his technocratic, moderate approach to getting statehood.

Quartet to ask Israelis, Palestinians to meet within days
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 10, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Middle East Quartet will invite Israelis and Palestinians to meet in "coming days," envoys said on Sunday after convening in Brussels to discuss their plan to revive negotiations. Quartet representative Tony Blair said Sunday's meeting "showed the Quartet's commitment to the timetable for talks set out in our September statement," according to a press statement from the group.

PA: Quartet must act on Israeli settlement 'provocations'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 9, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority said on Sunday Israel's decision to approve new housing units in an East Jerusalem settlement undermined the Middle East Quartet's proposal for talks. "Israel's approval of more settlement housing, this time in Pisgat Zeev, is a clear violation of the Quartet's initiative, which calls for negotiations without pre-conditions and without provocations," the statement said. "The Quartet must tell Israel that it cannot pretend to accept its initiative while flagrantly breaching its terms," it added.

Abbas to visit Colombia for UN bid talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 2, 2011 - 12:00am

BOGOTA (AFP) -- President Mahmoud Abbas will visit UN Security Council member Colombia on October 11 to discuss his bid for UN member state status, President Juan Manuel Santos said. "The Palestinian leader had planned to come to Central America and he proposed a visit. We said he would be welcome and he will be here on October 11," Santos said in a statement. Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin had announced the visit on Friday, but said the date was still under discussion.

Palestinian killed on Gaza border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
July 20, 2009 - 12:00am

One Palestinian was killed and two were injured in incidents on the Israel-Gaza border on Sunday, Israeli officials and Palestinian medics have said. The man died in hospital in Israel after he was shot while approaching the border fence. The Israeli military said he did not heed warning shots. Separately, two Palestinians were hurt by Israeli tank fire, Gaza medics said. Israel's military said troops returned fire after a border patrol was targeted with a rocket-propelled grenade. But a pro-Hamas website said militants had been retaliating against Israeli fire.

Hamas calls for seizing Israeli soldiers to swap for Palestinian prisoners
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Yamei Wang - October 7, 2011 - 12:00am

GAZA, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- A senior official of the Islamic Hamas movement in Gaza on Friday called on Palestinian militants to seize Israeli soldiers and exchange them with Palestinians held in Israeli jails. The popular, political, media and diplomatic efforts inside and outside "can never be an alternative to the military efforts to rescue our prisoners from the oppressive occupation's prisons," said Ahmad Bahar, a Gaza-based Hamas leader and deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, in a press statement.

Palestinians to push heritage agenda at UNESCO
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
October 10, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinians will seek World Heritage status for the birthplace of Jesus once the UN cultural agency admits them as a full member, and will then nominate other sites in the West Bank for the same standing, an official said. Hamdan Taha, a Palestinian Authority minister who deals with antiquities and culture, said UNESCO membership was the Palestinians' natural right. He described the objections of some governments to the move, including the United States, as "regrettable."

Hamas fees and taxes infuriate Gazans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - October 9, 2011 - 12:00am

RAFAH, GAZA STRIP // Hamas is imposing a taxation system that raises the cost of fuel, permits and government-property leases. The measures are angering Gazans and raising speculation that Hamas is suffering from a significant drop in funding from Islamist supporters. Analysts say Hamas's financial backers may be providing less because they now are sending money to Islamists in Egypt and helping fund Arab Spring uprisings. Also, Iran may be punishing Hamas for failing to publicly pledge its support for the Syrian regime during its crackdown on protesters.

Top Israeli defense official arrives in Egypt to discuss border security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury - October 9, 2011 - 12:00am

A top Israeli security official is visiting Cairo, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported on Sunday, amid recent tensions between Israel and Egypt over security arrangements in the Sinai. Relations between Israel and Egypt took a turn to the worse in August, when eight Israelis were killed on a desert border road by gunmen who Israel has said infiltrated from the Gaza Strip via Egypt's Sinai desert.

Why Did Tunisia Block Palestinians From Arab Blogger Conference?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Voice of America
by Cecily Hilleary - October 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Pro-democracy activists attending this week’s 3rd annual Arab Bloggers Conference in Tunis thought they were gathering for four days of networking, socializing and information sharing; instead, they found themselves organizing yet another protest.

In Jaffa, Israeli racism towards Arabs is routine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Roy Arad - October 10, 2011 - 12:00am

A meeting between the head of the Israel Police and a group of Arab notables is never something that sounds good. I come to the well-kept community center in the Arab Ajami neighborhood in Jaffa where the meeting is to take place. A Christian notable with a huge gold cross comes through the door while a correspondent for the British newspaper The Guardian checks with the tall reporter from the Ynet website as to what exactly is going on.

Open letter to Mahmoud Abbas for Yom Kippur
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Blog) October 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Dear Mr. Abbas, Generally I write to my fellow Jews and Israelis for our high holidays. For you Yom Kippur is, of course, not a day of reckoning, but I hope you will accept these words from an Israeli who has sponsored your cause for years with all his heart. I have done so no less for the sake for my country than for your country that has yet to come into being.

The Israeli government is fooling you
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) October 10, 2011 - 12:00am

Did you know that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just welcomed a diplomatic plan that posits the borders of June 4, 1967, as a basis for negotiations with the Palestinians, along with mutual and consensual territorial exchanges? Did you hear that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) welcomed the demand to freeze construction beyond the Green Line entirely, including in East Jerusalem? Were you told that Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) welcomes the demand for the immediate dismantling of all the outposts built in the past decade?

Isolation? What isolation?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Danny Ayalon - (Opinion) October 9, 2011 - 12:00am

During the past few months, Israel’s purported growing isolation has been the subject of much discussion. It is far from the truth, and it is ironic that this debate has taken place during an effective Israeli challenge to the long-standing paradigm of the Palestinians using the United Nations as a “rubber stamp” for its capricious policies.

Fight for Justice Continues Against Violent Settlers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Leonard Fein - (Opinion) October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Two of my young Israeli friends, key activists in Solidarity, the folks who for nearly two years have demonstrated every Friday afternoon at Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem where Israeli Jews have been buying up Palestinian property and claiming that the neighborhood is legally Jewish, were assaulted September 30. My friends, graduate students, were assaulted by Jewish settlers in a village near Jerusalem, a 20-minute drive from the center of the city, an hour’s walk from the Old City, in Anatot, once the home of Jeremiah the prophet.

Obama’s Israel problem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Ian Buruma - October 10, 2011 - 12:00am

On a rare foray outside his native Texas, Governor Rick Perry accused US President Barack Obama of “appeasement” towards the Palestinians. Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch supported a Catholic Republican congressional candidate against a Jewish Democrat in New York, because the Republican supports Israel through thick and thin - and because Obama had voiced reservations about Israel’s expansion of settlements on the West Bank. In Koch’s words, Obama “threw Israel under the bus”. The Republican won.

Will the Real Benjamin Netanyahu Please Stand Up?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Daniel Levy - (Opinion) October 7, 2011 - 12:00am

With the old peace process precariously poised between Palestinian flirtations with seeking international redress, U.S. congressional threats to funding, and Middle East Quartet incantations to resume negotiations, October promises to be just as rhetorically intense on the Israel-Palestine front as was the long-awaited September. Much depends on one's reading of Israel's man at the helm -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel Is Under Attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Gilad Sharon - (Opinion) October 9, 2011 - 12:00am

The word “spring” is a symbol of blossoming and renewal. But right now the Arab world is filled with demonstrations, shootings, and the replacement of one dictatorship for another. (Except for Saudi Arabia which has announced it will allow women to “vote” and drive by the year 2015!) And, most significantly for Israel, there is a PLO petition for statehood at the United Nations.

The “Peace Process” is Dead; What’s Next?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Brookings Institution
by Salman Shaikh - October 10, 2011 - 12:00am

Recent events at the United Nations confirmed what has been blindingly obvious for months: the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” is dead. Furthermore, with elections scheduled in the United States, Palestine, and perhaps Israel in the next twelve months, it is hard to imagine that any meaningful negotiations can overcome the political realities in each country. As a result, the United States will come under increasing pressure to relinquish its decades-old monopoly on peacemaking, particularly at a time when its influence and reputation in the Middle East is deeply threatened.

Dividing the Land of Israel into two states is a moral imperative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by A.B. Yehoshua - October 9, 2011 - 12:00am

There is no more problematic concept in regard to Jewish identity than that of homeland (moledet ). Yet, a primal and natural connection to a homeland is a cornerstone on which every national identity is constructed. The connection to territory overrides in importance both shared national language, shared religion and, certainly, a shared historical context. Without a primal connection to a homeland - which is often compared to the primal maternal bond - national identity is shaky and hollow.

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