February 26th

Israel's mayor is attempting to relocate Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem as Israel is planning more settlement activity. Clashes continue in Hebron over Israel's claim on holy sites, PM Netanyahu seeks to defuse tension, and J.J. Goldberg says this is the last thing Israel needs. The UAE seeks justice in the Mabhouh assassination but has no leverage, as Israel faces a mounting international backlash. Some Palestinians in Gaza favor closing smuggling tunnels. The UN is not satisfied with either Israel's or Hamas' responses to the Goldstone report. The PA denies that proximity talks will begin next week. Hamas bars a Fatah delegation from visiting Gaza. A newspaper claims Special Envoy Mitchell sought to resign. PLO officials threaten to adopt a one-state policy. A poll suggests growing support for Israel in the United States. Henry Siegman says Israel's legitimacy and future as a Jewish state depends on a two-state agreement. The EU rules that settlement goods are not Israeli. Tariq Alhomayed says the Palestinian issue is a source of emotional blackmail. Palestinians in Lebanon form a new faction.

Palestinians Form New Faction in Lebanon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Rachelle Kliger - February 25, 2010 - 12:00am


A group of ten Palestinian figures announced the formation of a new Palestinian faction in Beirut on Wednesday. The organization, The National Body for the Protection of Permanent Rights, aims to preserve the rights of the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora, including those living in refugee camps.


Go Ahead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) February 25, 2010 - 12:00am


In my previous article, entitled ‘Dubai, Hamas and the “Real Killer”’, I commented on the statements made by the Dubai Police Chief who said that an agent within Hamas had leaked information [to the Israelis] which led to the assassination of Mahmoud al Mabhouh. In the article, I also asked whether Imad Mughniyeh had been killed because a spy from within Hezbollah had informed against him in the same manner as in the al Mabhouh assassination. A reader responded by saying "Fear God, despite there being around 11 suspects to the assassination you only comment on a Hamas spy.”


Playing With Matches in Hebron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) February 24, 2010 - 12:00am


There are two ways to explain Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement of plans to renovate two sacred shrines in the West Bank and add them to his new heritage trail of Israeli historical sites. One explanation is that he wants to buy some credit with settlers and the religious right in order to shore up his right flank, because he’s preparing to enter negotiations with the Palestinians that will entail serious concessions. The other is that he‘s not prepared to make serious concessions at all right now, and he figures he can buy some time by stirring up a bit of a rumpus.


EU: Goods made at Jewish settlements are not Israeli
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
February 26, 2010 - 12:00am


The European Court of Justice has ruled that Israeli goods made in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank cannot be considered Israeli. This means goods made by Israelis or Jews in the West Bank cannot benefit from a trade deal giving Israel preferential access to EU markets. EU import duties on Israeli goods from the settlements may now be imposed, making them less competitive. Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. The EU has agreements with both Israel and the Palestinians that end customs duties.


For Israel, defiance comes at the cost of legitimacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Henry Siegman - (Opinion) February 23, 2010 - 12:00am


The Middle East peace process and its quest for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict that got under way nearly 20 years ago with the Oslo accords has undergone two fundamental transformations. It is now on the brink of a third.


Israel enjoys near record support in US, Gallup finds
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Haviv Rettig Gur - February 25, 2010 - 12:00am


Support for Israel among Americans is at a 19-year high, a February Gallup survey of American attitudes toward international affairs has found. According to the telephone survey of 1,025 American adults conducted February 1-3, just 15 percent of Americans side with the Palestinians, while 23% either said they support both sides, neither side or had no opinion.


Palestinians threaten to adopt one-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - February 26, 2010 - 12:00am


The Palestinian Authority has warned that it may abandon its support of the 1993 Oslo Accords, which outlines a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel, and instead pursue the creation of a binational state between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, according to a document drafted by the PA's veteran chief negotiator. The paper, entitled "The Political Situation in Light of Developments with the U.S. Administration and Israeli Government and Hamas's Continued Coup d'etat," was written by Saeb Erekat in December 2009.


Arab source: Mitchell wanted to quit over U.S. bias for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury - February 26, 2010 - 12:00am


An Arab political source said Friday that special U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell has requested to resign due to his frustration with the way the Obama administration has been handling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a Nazareth-based daily. Hadith a-Nass reported that Mitchell's request stemmed partly from to his own failure to advance the resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and also from his perception that certain elements within the State Department hold biased favor toward Israel.


Hamas bars Fatah delegation from visiting Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 25, 2010 - 12:00am


Islamic Hamas movement, which controls Gaza, told mediators that a delegation from President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party will not be allowed into Gaza, a member of the delegation said Thursday. Amal Hamad, who was supposed to be in Gaza along with six Gaza native colleagues, said Hamas had told mediators that Fatah must stop arresting Hamas supporters in the West Bank before letting any leading member of the movement into Gaza. "Nobody has the right to prevent any Palestinian citizen from visiting Gaza," Hamad told Xinhua.



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