Israel's designation of two sites in Hebron, deep in the occupied West Bank, as National Heritage sites sparks EU, UN condemnation, clashes with Palestinians. More fallout from the Mabhouh assassination: EU condemns the killing; the UK offers help to identity theft victims; Dubai police say other Hamas officials played a crucial role and that Hamas must launch an internal probe; Hamas retracts accusations against the PA, rejects any internal probe and demands proof of Palestinian involvement; and the Times publishes a detailed account of the hit. PM Fayyad calls on the US to take urgent measures to stop Israeli raids, settlement activity. The PLO seeks further clarifications, assurances from the US on new talks, and Ghassan Khatib says clear terms of reference are essential. The EU is considering an initiative to recognize a Palestinian state in 18 months. Amira Hass says Israel is severing East Jerusalem from the West Bank. Ha'aretz interviews PM Netanyahu. Amir Oren says the US prefers to deal with Israeli military leaders rather than politicians. Donald Macintyre says better public relations won't improve Israel's image.

We shouldn't rush into negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Analysis) February 15, 2010 - 12:00am


In spite of the failure of US-led international efforts to secure the necessary conditions for a successful renewed peace process, pressure is increasing on the Palestinian side to accept going to negotiations anyway. This is in spite of continued Israeli settlement expansion and without any Israeli commitment to specific terms of reference such as previously signed agreements, the 2003 Quartet roadmap or relevant UN Security Council resolutions.


Meir Dagan: the mastermind behind Mossad's secret war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Uzi Mahnaimi - February 21, 2010 - 12:00am


IN early January two black Audi A6 limousines drove up to the main gate of a building on a small hill in the northern suburbs of Tel Aviv: the headquarters of Mossad, the Israeli secret intelligence agency, known as the “midrasha”. Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, stepped out of his car and was greeted by Meir Dagan, the 64-year-old head of the agency. Dagan, who has walked with a stick since he was injured in action as a young man, led Netanyahu and a general to a briefing room.


Better public relations won't improve Israel's image abroad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - (Opinion) February 22, 2010 - 12:00am


The international furore over the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai has obscured a political event in Israel that might have otherwise made more headlines.


Killing blamed on Hamas traitor as passport showdown looms
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Ben Lynfield - February 22, 2010 - 12:00am


Hamas last night vigorously denied that a renegade from its own ranks helped set up the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room last month, a shock claim made by Dubai's police chief, as echoes from the killing and its investigation continued to resound in the Middle East and Europe.


Killed Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh betrayed by associate, says Dubai police chief
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ian Black - February 21, 2010 - 12:00am


Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Hamas official assassinated in Dubai, was betrayed by a close associate, the emirate's police chief claimed as it emerged today that the Palestinian's murderers used more fake Irish passports. Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim described whoever leaked details of Mahbouh's arrival to his assassins as "the real killer", Abu Dhabi's al-Khalij newspaper reported. Tamim said last week he was 99% certain Israel's Mossad secret service was responsible.


UN coordinator slams PM’s heritage plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
February 22, 2010 - 12:00am


The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process has expressed concern over Israel's inclusion of Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs and Bethlehem's Rachel’s Tomb in the National Heritage Plan, and the "heightened tensions" that have resulted.


An American discovery
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amir Oren - (Analysis) February 22, 2010 - 12:00am


Toward the end of the visit to Israel last week by the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, a senior officer in his delegation asked an Israeli counterpart to "protect" Mullen's friend. No translator was necessary. The reference was to the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi. The Americans count on him. Not that he would prevent a war over Iran. Rather, he would prevent the start of such a war. For the time being.


Netanyahu to Haaretz: Palestinians seem to be backing down
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Interview) February 22, 2010 - 12:00am


Benjamin Netanyahu, a year into your term, observers seem to agree: You're an impressive survivor, but just a survivor. The government you lead has no vision, no destination. It's not going anywhere.


Is Israel severing East Jerusalem from the West Bank?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Analysis) February 22, 2010 - 12:00am


Blocked roads and asphalt that has been ripped open like a zipper can be seen everywhere in Ramallah these days. And whether or not the municipality bothers posting explanatory signs, people know what is being done - a new road, sewage pipes, a sidewalk.



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