The assassination in Dubai complicates Israel's efforts at normalization with the Arab world. Richard Cohen says Israel should not be accused of apartheid. Tensions run high after Israel's claim on occupied holy sites, and the EU and the Palestinian Cabinet condemn the move. Sen. John Kerry urges Israel to ease the blockade of Gaza. Hamas faces growing challenges from more extreme Muslim radicals. PLO leaders say US clarifications are not yet sufficient for a resumption of talks. Because of the blockade, Gaza is now an importer of fish. A Hamas leader disowns his son who spied for Israel. Hamas says it is determined to introduce rockets into the West Bank, and says either Jordan or Egypt were responsible for the Dubai assassination. Akiva Eldar says Israel's High Court is abetting "illegal outposts." At the request of PM Netanyahu, Israel's mayor in Jerusalem suspends plans to demolish 20 Palestinian homes in the Silwan neighborhood. The US government condemns plans for new settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar.

Q & A with Hamas's Mahmoud al-Zahar
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Saleh Al-Naami - (Interview) March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Q) Is the recent story published about Musab Hassan Yousef true? A) Israel is trying to distort Hamas's image and weaken and reduce its popularity by promoting the idea that there are many examples like Musab Hassan Yousef. We do not rule out that there could be some rot [in the organization]. The case of Hassan Yousf's son putting aside his religion does not discredit his father who has sacrificed a lot for his religion and country. Q) How close are you to reaching an agreement on a prisoner exchange deal with Israel? A) I have nothing to say in this regard.

US slams new east Jerusalem homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

The United States criticized Israel on Monday for authorizing 600 new housing units in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev, describing the move as "counter-productive." "We've relayed our strong concerns to the government of Israel, that this kind of activity, particularly as we try to relaunch meaningful negotiations is counter-productive and undermines trust between the parties," said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley.

Palestinians on Silwan: Barkat responsible for potential flare up
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

In a conversation with Ynet on Tuesday, Hatem Abdel Kader, who holds the Jerusalem portfolio in the Fatah movement, said, "Nir Barkat will bear the responsibility for the conflagration that will occur in the city if his plan is carried out." According to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's plan, 20 buildings scattered throughout the western section of the Silwan neighborhood will be demolished so that an archeological park can be built in their stead. In exchange, the evacuated buildings' residents will receive permits to rebuild up to four-storeys in the eastern section of Silwan.

Barkat to suspend Silwan plan at PM's request
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

About an hour before Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat intended to present his full plan for the al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan, which is in the city's east, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked him Tuesday to allot more time to try and reach an understanding with the Silwan residents regarding demloshing their houses for the project. Barkat heeded the prime minister's request.

Supreme Court abetting, not curbing, illegal settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Next week will be five years since the publication of the report on the outposts by former top prosecutor attorney Talia Sasson at the request of prime minister Ariel Sharon. That report was released in the wake of the government's decision to adopt the road map for peace, according to which it undertook to "immediately dismantle" all the illegal outposts established after March of 2001. The document listed 24 such outposts and noted that the vast majority of them are located, at least in part, on private Palestinian land.

Hamas: Jordan or Egypt likely behind Dubai hit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas suspects the security forces of an Arab state were behind the assassination of a senior group operative in Dubai earlier this year, the Al-Quds Al-Araby daily reported on Tuesday. Mahmoud Nasser, a member of Hamas' political bureau, told the newspaper that slain commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was likely being tracked by agents from Jordan and Egypt prior to the January 19 killing. Nasser said he had been given information regarding such efforts to kill Mabhouh, adding that the evidence indicated that the assassination was carried out earlier than the alleged agents had planned.

Hamas seeks to have rockets in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

The military wing of Islamic Hamas movement on Monday said it is working on home-made rockets which can be fired on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. "Having a Qassam rocket in the West Bank is a demand that must be achieved," Ezz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement published on its website. The statement came a week after security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas arrested a Hamas cell while preparing to test-fire a rocket near Ramallah city. It was the first time that a home-made rocket be found in the West Bank ready to be fired.

Palestinians warn of third uprising against Israel over religious shrines
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly - March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

The Israeli government's declaration to include two religious shrines in the West Bank into the list of Jewish heritage sites and the attempt of Jewish groups to enter into al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem on Sunday had increased the tension between Israel and the Palestinians. Palestinian analysts believe that the recent Israeli actions " pour oil on the flames," adding "this tension would promote violence on the ground and would open the doors for violent confrontations, although the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has a security control on the territory."

Hamas leader disowns son who spied for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Diaa Hadid - March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

A senior Hamas leader publicly disowned his son Monday, days after the young man announced he had secretly spied for Israel and helped authorities hunt down members of the Islamic militant group. Hamas Web sites published a letter late Monday by Sheik Hassan Yousef that the militant group said was smuggled out of the Israeli prison where he is serving a six-year sentence.

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