Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Two more rockets are fired into southern Israel from Gaza, without causing any damage or injuries. Pres. Peres says Israelis and Palestinians must learn to forget the past in order to achieve peace. A Fatah official vows Palestinians will not turn their issue into a domestic Lebanese dispute and that “foreign powers” are inciting violence. After another West Bank mosque is torched, a synagogue is vandalized with graffiti. Israeli veterans describe serving in the occupied territories. Two Hamas militants die inspecting a bombed tunnel in Gaza. Palestinian officials say Israel must choose between peace and settlements. Mitt Romney says he would do the “opposite” of Pres. Obama on Israel. Palestinians and Israelis are closely watching developments in Egypt. COMMENTARY: Ha'aretz interviews former negotiator Itamar Rabinovich and Deputy PM Ya'alon. Richard Haass thinks American dominance over the Mideast peace process is ending. Jon Donnison says Hamas was flexing its muscles in a recent exchange of rocket fire with Israel. The National says Hamas' violence undermines real Palestinian resistance. Patrick Seale looks at the Norwegian role in the Middle East. Paul Salem says Hezbollah is deeply concerned about current trends in the Middle East. Alex Fishman says the Hamas-Israel escalation in Gaza has explosive potential. Shaul Arieli looks at the potential negative consequences of Israeli unilateralism in the occupied West Bank. Saleh Al-Naami says Deputy PM Mofaz's peace initiatives are merely designed to buy time.

More rockets fired into southern Israel from Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Two more rockets fired into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip landed in the coastal area of Ashkelon city on Thursday, Israeli media reported. The attack, which caused no casualties and damages, was the latest in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, who rules the Gaza Strip. Early Thursday, two rockets were reportedly landed in southern Israel despite talks of a truce between the two sides. One rocket was intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome rocket-defense system.

Peres: Israel, Palestine must forget bitter past to achieve Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Israeli President Shimon Peres Thursday urged Israel and its foes to put behind a bitter past and look to the future if they desire to achieve peace. "The past is dead. You can't correct it. Focus on the future. You have to take risks," Peres said during a panel discussion at the fourth Israel Presidential Conference in Jerusalem on Thursday.

Palestinians not to turn their issue into Lebanese dispute
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Visiting Palestinian Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Ahmad said Thursday that the Palestinians refuse to turn their issue into an internal Lebanese dispute, the National News Agency reported. Ahmad, in charge of the issue of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, had met with Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Qahaji and House Speaker Nabih Berri since arrival on Thursday.

Foreign powers inciting clashes in Lebanon camps
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Wassim Mroueh - June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Regional powers are exploiting the hardship of Palestinian refugees in the country in order to spark violence in refugee camps and push their agendas in Lebanon, a top Palestinian official said Thursday. “[Some regional powers] exploited the sufferings of the people of Nahr al-Bared and the fact that they are outraged by the unfinished construction of the camp and strict security measures imposed by the Army,” Azzam al-Ahmad told The Daily Star.

Israeli synagogue vandalized with Arabic graffiti days after West Bank mosque torched
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Israeli police say they are investigating hate graffiti scrawled in Arabic on a synagogue in northern Israel. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the phrase “there is no God but Allah” was sprayed on the outside of the synagogue in Moshav Maor. The graffiti was discovered on Friday morning. He says police are searching for suspects. The vandalism comes days after a mosque in the West Bank was torched and vandalized with Hebrew-language graffiti protesting the Israeli government’s upcoming evacuation of a Jewish outpost in the area.

Veteran Israeli soldiers speak out about service
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

A group of veteran Israeli soldiers who served in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have spoken out on camera about their experiences in the army. The Israeli organization Breaking the Silence has collected testimonies from 800 veteran Israeli soldiers who served in the West Bank and Gaza. In a new campaign, it has released video testimonies of six former soldiers describing their experiences.

Brigades: 2 Hamas militants die inspecting bombed tunnel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Two Hamas militants died Thursday after inhaling gas in a tunnel bombed by Israel two days earlier, the Al-Qassam Brigades said. Thaer al-Bik, 30, and Muhammad al-Khalidi, 26, on Thursday went to inspect a tunnel in northern Gaza that was damaged Tuesday by an Israeli airstrike, the brigades said in a statement. Members al-Bik and al-Khalidi inhaled an unidentified gas in the tunnel and died from suffocation, the group said.

Erekat: Israel must choose - peace or settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Israel must choose between peace and settlements and release Palestinian prisoners, Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat was quoted Thursday as saying.

Romney says he will do the ‘opposite’ of Obama on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
June 16, 2012 - 12:00am

Mitt Romney told an audience of Christian conservatives that he would do the “opposite” of what President Obama has done when it comes to Israel. “I think, by and large, you can just look at the things the president has done and do the opposite,” Romney said Saturday in an address by video to a conference of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and the all but certain Republican presidential nominee, was campaigning in Pennsylvania when the conference took place in Washington.

Israelis, Palestinians Closely Watch Egypt Turmoil
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Voice of America
by Scott Bobb - June 20, 2012 - 12:00am

The political face-off in Egypt between the military and Islamists following the presidential election is being closely watched by Egypt's neighbors in Israel and the Palestinian territories. And as with many issues the viewpoints vary considerably. Opinions are divided among Israelis and Palestinian groups over future relations with Egypt although all agree those relations will continue to be important.

Israel should wait with peace deal until Mideast unrest ends, former envoy says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - (Opinion) June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

For decades Prof. Itamar Rabinovich has studied the Middle East, analyzing Israel's complex status in the region and documenting its attempts to achieve peace with its neighbors. For four years (1993-1996) he himself took an active part in the diplomatic efforts as Israel's ambassador to the United States and head of the Israeli delegation to negotiations with Syria, as Yitzhak Rabin's envoy. (After Rabin's assassination, Rabinovich continued as ambassador under Shimon Peres but not as head of the delegation.)

IDF chief of staff-turned-vice premier: 'We are not bluffing'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Interview) June 14, 2012 - 12:00am

Exactly seven years ago, I interviewed the chief of staff. On the eve of his retirement from the Israel Defense Forces, Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon spoke with an expressionless face against the Gaza disengagement, against a Palestinian state and against giving terrorism a “tailwind.” He predicted that Hamas would seize control of the Gaza Strip and that rockets would rain down on Israeli cities.

Ex-U.S. official: American dominance over Mideast peace process is ending
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Allison Kaplan Sommer - (Opinion) June 21, 2012 - 12:00am

The era of U.S. dominance over the Middle East peace process is coming to an end, a former top American official said at the fourth Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem on Thursday, adding that what happens in the Middle East won’t influence the upcoming U.S. presidential elections.

Hamas flexes muscle after period of 'calm'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
by Jon Donnison - June 21, 2012 - 12:00am

In and around Gaza is where it is played out. There are signs that following three days of fighting, the latest escalation in violence is subsiding after Egyptian efforts to mediate a ceasefire. In the long run, apart from for those directly involved, this flare-up will likely barely register on the timeline of this decades-long conflict. But it is a reminder that the conflict has not gone away. As is usually the case, in terms of casualties, it is the Palestinians who have paid a heavier price. Israeli air strikes have killed at least eight people in Gaza.

Hamas violence undermines the real resistance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

The violence that has plagued Gaza over the past four days may be ended by a truce offered to Israel by the military wing of Hamas. But the group is using tactics from an outdated playbook. The occupation of Palestinian lands must be fought in political, public and legal arenas, where Israel is weak. The battlefield plays to its strengths.

The Palestinians’ best friend
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Patrick Seale - (Opinion) June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

No western statesman has done more to promote the cause of Palestinian statehood than the charismatic Foreign Minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Store, a Labour politician who enjoys unrivalled popularity in his own country. Yet all his efforts over the past several years in favour of the Palestinians have ended in failure. He has been defeated by Israeli intransigence, by US President Barack Obama’s collapse under Israeli pressure, and by Palestinian disunity.

Nasrallah fears the Arab Spring, and an Israeli winter
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Paul Salem - (Opinion) June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Three years ago, regional opinion polls showed that the Middle East’s most popular leaders were Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. People at the time appreciated that they were standing up to Israel in Lebanon and Gaza, and pushing back against aggressive American policies in the region.

Israel-Hamas Escalation in Gaza Has Explosive Potential
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Yedioth Ahronoth
by Alex Fishman - (Opinion) June 21, 2012 - 12:00am

Something different, with hugely volatile potential, has been happening in the last few days in the Gaza Strip. Over the course of an entire year, Hamas didn’t take responsibility for violent acts from the Strip against Israel, nor did it actually carry out any such acts. It didn’t even take part in the last significant round of fire this past March. But now, in the last day, not only has Hamas fired Qassam rockets at Israeli communities, it has also rushed to take loud and clear responsibility for doing so.

The minuses of unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shaul Arieli - (Opinion) June 19, 2012 - 12:00am

The stalemate in negotiations with the Palestinians and the assumption that it's impossible at present to reach a final-status solution have revived the idea of evacuating part of the West Bank unilaterally. Supporters of this idea believe that current trends, especially the expansion of the settlement enterprise, must be stopped before taking a decision that will anchor the two-state solution. A unilateral evacuation, they believe, will create a two-state reality that will make it easier to implement a final-status agreement.

The game of buying time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Saleh Al-Naami - (Opinion) June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

It is difficult to keep track of how many media interviews Shaul Mofaz, acting Israeli prime minister, was given to publicise a political initiative aiming at reviving negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA). In order to make his initiative seem serious, Mofaz declared that re-launching talks will be based on 1967 borders, and that he will seek to meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas to present the proposal to him.

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