February 26th

PNA denies indirect talks to start next week
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

A Palestinian official on Thursday denied reports that indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) were going to start next week. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said President Mahmoud Abbas is still in an Arabian and European tour to discuss about the U.S. offer to hold the indirect negotiations. "How can a decision be taken while President Abbas has not yet ended his consultations?" Erekat wondered. Earlier, an Israeli newspaper quoted Palestinian sources as saying the negotiations would start next week.

Israel, Palestinians likely to receive more time for Gaza inquiries
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by David Harris - February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

The fighting that rocked civilians in and around Gaza 14 months ago will be revisited once again on Friday when the United Nations General Assembly is slated to discuss the roles played by Israel and the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas. While UN member states are likely to agree to give the two sides more time to conduct investigation, it's doubted that the further probe could get any substantial result.

Israeli PM tries to ease 'heritage site' tensions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Tia Goldenberg - February 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel's prime minister tried Thursday to calm tensions over the addition of two West Bank shrines to a list of national heritage sites, a decision that has sparked clashes with the Palestinians and drawn widespread international criticism. In an interview to Israeli TV, Benjamin Netanyahu called the affair a "misunderstanding," saying there was no intention to infringe on Muslim freedom of worship. He said the intent was to protect and maintain the sites.

Israel plans more homes for East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - February 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel has plans to build another 600 homes in occupied land it considers part of East Jerusalem, the Haaretz daily newspaper reported on Friday. The plan approved by a district planning commission could further stymie U.S.-brokered efforts to renew stalled peace talks as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who has insisted on a total settlement freeze including in Jerusalem. Israeli spokesmen for the Jerusalem municipality and the Interior Ministry that oversees the planning commission were not immediately available for comment.

Pressure On Israel Increases Over Death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Chip Cummins, Joshua Mitnick - February 26, 2010 - 1:00am

International pressure on Israel mounted as the probe into the alleged murder of a top Hamas leader in Dubai reached American and Australian shores. On Thursday, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith summoned Israel's ambassador and demanded his help in investigating how three Australian passports ended up linked to the death. That followed Dubai's disclosure Wednesday that it had identified 15 more passports, including the Australian documents, carried by suspects in the case, bringing the total number to 26.

Close Gaza tunnels? Some Palestinians say yes.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Erin Cunningham - February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

When Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak confirmed in late January that his government was planning a new wall along Egypt's border with Gaza that will descend 100 feet below the surface – to shut down the Gaza tunnels that have smuggled trade goods, people, and weapons under the border for years – merchants here rushed to stock up. Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, dubbed the structure "the wall of death."

Dubai assassination: UAE demands justice but with what leverage?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Carol Huang - February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

Diplomatic tensions are heating up over the forged European passports used by a hit squad that came to Dubai to murder of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. But there's not a lot that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can do beyond complaining to European ambassadors. The focus now is mostly on European countries calling in Israeli diplomats, and the European Union, which today issued a public condemnation of the use of forged passports.

More Clashes Over Israeli Claim to Shrine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Dozens of Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli forces for a fourth day on Thursday at various locations in this volatile city over the inclusion of a hotly contested religious shrine here, the Cave of the Patriarchs, in a list of places earmarked for renovation as Jewish heritage sites.

Mayor’s Housing Offer Sets Off Row in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

The mayor of Jerusalem is offering 120 Palestinian families in a jumble of houses scheduled for demolition a deal he believes they can’t refuse: new apartments atop shops and restaurants, a day care center, boutique hotels and a huge park. Tourists and income will flow. It is — as the mayor likes to say — win-win.

February 25th

Coverage continues about the son of a Hamas founder who spied for Israel. Dubai names more suspects in the Mabhouh assassination. Israeli officials insist the botched killing hasn't harmed relations with Western intelligence services, but Australia says forging passports isn't the act of a "friend." Israel becomes an issue in a California Senate race. The PLO says Israel's claims on holy sites in Hebron invalidates peace talks, and the US adds its condemnation. Sec. Clinton is upbeat about resumed negotiations. Pres. Abbas expresses satisfaction with EU support for East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Ari Shavit says to save Zionism, Israel must end the occupation. Gideon Levy mocks Israeli propaganda. Palestinians in Hebron march to commemorate the Goldstein massacre. Larry Derfner comparison the Mabhouh hit with the 1997 attempted assassination of Khalid Mishaal. Ghassan Khatib says peace is the strongest Palestinian weapon. Nathan Jeffay examines the challenges to peace posed by settlements. Daoud Kuttab asks if serious negotiations are really about to start.

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