Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The controversy continues over Palestinian textbooks in occupied East Jerusalem. A planned “Museum of Tolerance” in occupied East Jerusalem is criticized by international archaeologists. Palestinian officials say the Quartet should judge which side is undermining peace. The PA says the Israeli government is not cracking down on settler violence. Egypt and Israel agree to a prisoner swap. The PA says Israel should release Marwan Barghouti. Jordan's King expresses doubt that Israel is really interested in a two-state solution. Israel mildly disciplines an occupation forces officer who killed a Palestinian. COMMENTARY: Timothy Wirth says if Palestine is accepted as a member, the US will have to resign from UNESCO. Ha'aretz says PM Netanyahu should listen to his own military experts. Anshel Pfeffer says the Israeli army is becoming dominated by religious fanatics. Sari Bashi says it's time to lift the siege of Gaza. Gershon Baskin says Israel should talk to Hamas. Robi Dameli says former Palestinian prisoners could turn into future peacemakers. Sarah Kreimer says settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem is destroying the two-state solution. Yossi Alpher says the Israel-Hamas prisoner swap is not relevant to the real issues and Ghassan Khatib says it will have no impact on the moribund peace process. Barbara Slavin says the Obama administration is likely to maintain a cautious foreign policy until the next election.

East Jerusalem school textbooks are a war of words
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Analysis) October 24, 2011 - 12:00am

When East Jerusalem teachers ask students to open their history books these days, pupils are wondering: Which one? Two sets of textbooks are vying for the formative minds of thousands of Palestinian students in Arabic-language schools in East Jerusalem. One was written by the Palestinian Authority, and the other is a revised version reprinted by Israeli authorities. It's a textbook war that underscores the long-running battle of narratives in the Mideast conflict, where the fight over the future is often rooted in understanding of the past, and schoolbooks can play a critical role.

Israeli museum not so tolerant, group of archaeologists say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - (Blog) October 24, 2011 - 12:00am

A group of prominent international archaeologists are among the latest people to publicly denounce plans to build a museum on the site of a centuries-old Muslim cemetery not far from Jerusalem’s historic Old City.

Erekat: Quartet must say which side harms peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

PLO official Saeb Erekat said on Monday that Israel is impeding the peace process and the Middle East Quartet should publicly recognize Israeli intransigence. The former chief negotiator said on Voice of Palestine radio that the Palestinian side remains committed to all international guidelines and terms of the Quartet's roadmap for peace.

PA: Israeli inaction encourages settler violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority on Monday said the Israeli government was "implicitly encouraging settlers to continue on their rampage" by failing to hold them to account for violent crimes. "Israeli violations against Palestinians and their property and livelihood continue to increase with little or no action by the Israeli authorities to hold people to account under the rule of law," a government statement said.

Israel, Egypt agree to prisoner swap
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - (Analysis) October 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel and Egypt said on Monday they have struck a deal to swap 25 Egyptians in Israeli custody for a U.S.-Israeli dual national accused by Cairo of espionage, in a step seen as easing strains between the strategic neighbours. The U.S.-brokered deal was reached shortly after a successful Egyptian-brokered swap between Israel and Hamas Islamists that freed captive soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

PA to demand Barghouti release as part of renewed negotiations with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - (Analysis) October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority is set to demand that the Quartet pressure Israel to release prisoners in fulfillment of a pledge made by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, senior Palestinian sources told Haaretz on Monday. Among the prisoners The PA wants released are Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Saadat. The former is a member of the Fatah leadership, while Saadat is Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

'Israel no longer interested in two-state solution'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
(Analysis) October 24, 2011 - 12:00am

King Abdulla II of Jordan said on Monday that the prolonged stalemate on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has made him into a pessimist. Speaking to CNN on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting on the shores of the Dead Sea, King Abdulla said the seemingly unbridgeable gaps between Israel and the Palestinian Authority warrant serious doubts over whether Israel is serious about the peace talks. "I am one of the most optimistic people you'll meet in the Middle East, and for the first time I am very pessimistic about the Israelis and Palestinians moving forward," he said.

Israeli officer loses command, a month after death of protester
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - (Analysis) October 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The commander of an Israeli army unit whose soldiers shot dead a Palestinian protester just hours before president Mahmoud Abbas called on the United Nations to recognise a Palestinian state has been relieved of his post.

For the U.S., a forced withdrawal from UNESCO
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Timothy E. Wirth - (Opinion) October 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian bid for statehood recognition by the United Nations is almost certain to be rejected if it is taken up by the Security Council. But as early as this week, the governing assembly of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization could grant the Palestinians membership in that organization. If this happens, as is widely expected, the United States would have to resign from UNESCO because of a 20-year-old law forbidding the payment of dues by the U.S. to any U.N. body that accepts Palestine as a member.

Netanyahu must treat Abbas as a genuine peace partner
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) October 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Haaretz's Barak Ravid reported Monday that the Israel Defense Forces' top officers are crafting a proposal to mitigate the damage to the Palestinian Authority's status caused by Hamas' success in freeing over 1,000 prisoners. In addition to the release of Fatah prisoners in the Shalit deal's second stage, the IDF recommends significant gestures that will allow PA President Mahmoud Abbas to present accomplishments to the Palestinian people. One proposal considers handing over empty lands to the PA (lands that remain under Israel's security authority under the Oslo Accords ).

The IDF must not be turned into the army of the Lord
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - (Opinion) October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

The most disappointing response to the fact that 100 female soldiers were instructed to sit in a separate section during the traditional celebrations at the end of the Simhat Torah holiday last week at an Israel Defense Forces base came perhaps from a secular officer. "What's the problem? They set up a separate place for them to dance," he said. Even worse was the off-the-cuff remark of another officer, also secular, who said: "That's customary; it's what they did last year, too."

Time to lift Gaza siege
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Sari Bashi - (Opinion) October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

In the past five years it was impossible to separate the Gaza siege policy from Gilad Shalit’s captivity. During these years, Israeli decision-makers, who made no progress in negotiations with Hamas, invested their efforts in formulating and implementing a policy that would express the public’s fury and frustration.

Encountering Peace: What’s next?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Rarely have so many Israelis celebrated an event with such solidarity and national pride. So many of the hundreds of thank-you letters I have received from people I have never met included expressions about their connectedness to this country and to each other. The return of Gilad Schalit brought out the best in most of us, and few people I know did not have tears in their eyes when we saw him for the first time. We all felt proud when he saluted the prime minister and the chief of staff.

Former Palestinian prisoners, future peacemakers?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Robi Damelin - (Opinion) October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

The whole country is talking about it: Over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, many of whom were involved in suicide attacks in which lives were lost, were freed in exchange for the kidnapped Israeli solider Gilad Shalit who had been held in captivity in Gaza for over five years.

East Jerusalem construction scuttling two-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Sarah Kreimer - (Opinion) October 21, 2011 - 12:00am

We’re in the midst of a housing crisis, and our government has promised to build tens of thousands of new homes all over the country. So what’s wrong with the recent government decision to advance the construction of 2,610 apartments in Givat Hamatos in Jerusalem?

Not relevant to the real issue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) October 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The best hint the Middle East could provide as to the ramifications of last week's prisoner exchange for the overall conflict came two days after the exchange itself. It was the dramatic death of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi. The pace of events in the region, particular in light of the Arab revolutions surrounding Israel and Palestine, is so great and so varied and unpredictable that no single event involving repatriated prisoners could possibly have a lasting effect.

No impact on a dead process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) October 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Perhaps surprisingly to some, the exchange of prisoners negotiated between Israel and Hamas, with Egypt's mediation, might not have any impact at all on the peace process. This deal was most remarkable in its overwhelmingly positive reception by the Israeli and Palestinian publics. Israelis were a little bit cautious but mostly supportive. Palestinians, for their part, considered it a huge achievement. Despite this "win-win" outcome, it is difficult for any deal to have an impact on a political process that simply no longer exists.

As 2012 Polls Loom, Caution's the Word for Obama Foreign Policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Barbara Slavin - (Analysis) October 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Ronald Reagan quickly withdrew U.S. troops from Lebanon in 1983, a year before he sought re-election, after the U.S. forces there became the target of bombings by Shiite militants. George W. Bush launched the war in Iraq in 2003 in part because he didn't want to start a new conflict a year later. And Bill Clinton waited until almost the end of his second term to make a concerted push for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

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