February 23rd

Gazans hope new Egypt regime will end blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

A rare euphoric mood is sweeping through the Gaza Strip, where people are hoping the downfall of Hosni Mubarak will give the coastal territory a chance to get out from under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has stifled the economy. Throughout the Middle East, the Egyptian president's ouster Feb. 11 has been greeted as a sign of hope — mostly by pro-democracy activists trying to topple their authoritarian rulers. But in Gaza it's seen as a chance to ease the widespread unemployment and international isolation residents believe is caused by the blockade that began in 2007.

On My Mind: Population swap conundrum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Kenneth Bandler - (Opinion) February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Umm el-Fahm was not originally part of Israel. Jordan consented to include the strategically located community – then a town of 4,500 – on the Israeli side of the 1949 armistice line established after theWar of Independence. But some Israeli Jews want to reverse that decision of 62 years ago. Reducing the number Arab citizens, now 20 percent of the population, they believe, would benefit the country’s future. Umm el-Fahm, its largest Arab city, with a population of 43,000, is therefore a target.

Palestinian house inside cage in Jewish settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ben Hubbard - February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

The al-Ghirayib family lives in one of the stranger manifestations of Israel's 43-year occupation of the West Bank: a Palestinian house inside a metal cage inside an Israeli settlement. The family's 10 members, four of them children, can only reach the house via a 40-yard (meter) passageway connecting them to the Arab village of Beit Ijza farther down a hill. The passageway passes over a road used by Israeli army jeeps and is lined on both sides with a 24-foot-high (8-meter) heavy-duty metal fence.

PLO official says two-state solution still possible for Israel, Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Charleston Gazette
by Kathryn Gregory - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

A two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians is still possible, but the longer it takes the governing bodies to come to an agreement, the less the solution will satisfy everyone involved, a Palestinian leader told a Charleston audience Tuesday. "Everyday that goes by without an agreement, we get further away from peace," said Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat, chief Palestinian Liberation Organization representative to the United States. "[Chances for peace] will be better today than two years down the road."

Analysis: PA is using US veto to bolster its image
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - (Analysis) February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

In an attempt to bolster its credibility among Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority has decided to take advantage of last Friday’s US veto of a UN Security Council resolution that would have condemned construction in the settlements, and depict President Mahmoud Abbas as a powerful leader who dared to say no to the US president. Since Friday, Palestinian officials in Ramallah have been briefing reporters about the details of a 50-minute phone conversation between Abbas and US President Barack Obama.

Peres tells Spanish officials: Palestinian talks urgent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Greer Fay Cashman - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

There has been a dramatic change in the Middle East of late, President Shimon Peres told Spain’s Congress of Delegates on Tuesday. Events that no one could have anticipated have created a new agenda, he said. Peres, in Madrid to celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties with Spain, urged the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table immediately and to end the conflict.

Israel bars ICRC aid from reaching homeless Bedouin
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Residents of the tiny Bedouin hamlet of Amniyr crowded into a small cave in the rocky hills south of Hebron to sleep on Wednesday night, after their tent homes were destroyed by Israeli demolition crews claiming the hamlet as state land. Village elder Hajj Mahmoud said the three families that live in the area spent the day in the open air, trying to salvage items from the buried heaps left by Israeli demolition crews.

Will Arab revolt spread to Palestinian territories?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

"There's a problem of legitimacy within the Palestinian leadership," proclaims Ghassan Khatib, peering over his spectacles, in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Tell me something we don't know, would be the response of most Palestinians. But what is unusual is that Mr Khatib is part of the Palestinian leadership. He is the head of the government's media centre and a close adviser to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. "There is no accountability, no checks and balances," Mr Khatib goes on with some regret, as pro-democracy uprisings flare up across the Arab world.

Clash east of Gaza city, 11 injured
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

An Israeli shell hit east of Gaza City on Wednesday afternoon, with initial reports saying 11 were left injured, including three members of an armed group and three children, witnesses said. The shelling came moments after four Israeli bulldozers and four tanks entered into the Gaza Strip, apparently preparing to tear-up agricultural lands along the occupied border zone. The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, issued a statement shortly after the incident saying two mortar shells were fired on the bulldozers and tanks as they entered the Gaza border.

Fayyad asks Facebook: Who to be in govt?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

As young people across the Middle East are using Facebook and Twitter to bring down governments, appointed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has asked his followers on both sites to help put one together. "In the light of the ongoing consultations aiming to form a government list, which people do you consider credible, have excellent leadership and scientific skills, and can be reliable to hold a ministerial portfolio," Fayyad asked on his Facebook page shortly before noon on Wednesday.

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