Mideast middleman quits _ but does it matter?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Dan Perry - (Opinion) May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The question of whether mediators matter took on acuity this weekend with the resignation of U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell, a move that came exactly as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict he was asked to help resolve seems about to retake center stage. For all the hand-wringing in diplomatic circles, reaction on the ground in the Middle East itself, was uncharacteristically muted. That reflected the fact that peace talks have been largely frozen since 2008, with the exception of a brief span in September, a Mitchell-mediated effort that quickly ran aground.

Israel to hand over Palestinian tax revenues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The Civil Servants' union said the Palestinian Authority would pay government employees' salaries on Monday, following confirmation that Israel would resume transfers of Palestinian tax revenues A PA government spokesman, however, said he could not confirm the announcement, adding that the salaries would be paid when Israel transferred the cash. Israel said it "got confirmation from the Palestinians that no [tax revenue] money will be transferred to Hamas or to terrorist operations," allowing the country's finance ministry to resume cash transfers, reports said Sunday night.

Abbas orders amendment to 'honor killing' law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas has directed the judiciary to award the "utmost punishment" to perpetrators of honor killings, his secretary-general said Friday. The announcement was made during a talk show on satellite channel Palestine TV to discuss the murder of 20-year-old Ayah Barad'iyya by her uncle. Abbas' secretary-general At-Tayyib Abdul-Rahim telephoned the presenter and announced on air that the president had ordered a legal amendment to end leniency in courts for men who kill to protect "family honor."

Palestinian teen buried in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 14, 2011 - 12:00am

Around 2,000 mourners laid the body of a Palestinian teen killed in Jerusalem clashes to rest on Saturday. Milad Said Ayyash was fatally wounded on Friday as Palestinians across occupied East Jerusalem staged protests in the runup to Sunday's anniversary of the 1948 creation of Israel, an event known to Palestinians as the "nakba" or "catastrophe."

Palestinians turn back clock in Israel struggle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry, Ali Sawafta - May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinians who forced their way across Israel's border on Sunday turned back the clock on the Middle East conflict, putting centre stage the refugee question that many believed would be negotiated away. Protests at Israel's borders with Syria and Lebanon also cast the spotlight on a diaspora marginalised in Palestinian politics since Yasser Arafat moved from exile to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip two decades ago.

Arab blood wasn't shed in vain: Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab blood that was shed today by Israeli troops will not go in vain, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday. Abbas made this remarks in a televised speech as Palestinians and Arabs demonstrated in the Palestinian territories and on Israel's borders with Syria and Lebanon to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, the term they use to refer to Israel's creation in 1948 and the subsequent uprooting of Palestinians from their hometowns and villages.

Anti-Israel Arab protests turning point in Mideast conflict: analysts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly - (Analysis) May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian politicians and analysts said on Sunday that the Palestinian and Arab protests, rallies and demonstrations against Israel, which marked 63 years for the Nakba Day, or Catastrophe, might be a turning point in the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Saeb Erekat, former chief negotiator and a member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) told Xinhua that the Palestinians and the Arabs "reiterated in one united voice that there are no concessions over the stable legitimate rights despite the various Israeli crimes and brutal practices."

Defense Minister: Border infiltrations are just the beginning
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday that Israel Defense Forces soldiers succeeded in defending Israel's sovereignty when Palestinian refugee demonstrators breached the border with Syria and attempted to cross the border with Lebanon. Barak cautioned, however, that Israel will in the future have to deal with similar and perhaps more complex incidents. IDF forces opened fire on demonstrators on the Syria border, apparently killing several of them.

Israel can't detach the Palestinian issue from Syria and Lebanon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

In May 2000, while the Israel Defense Forces was preparing for two diametrically opposite scenarios, one of which was expected to unfold in September - either a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians or violent confrontation - the security zone in southern Lebanon went to pieces, with some prodding from Hezbollah. The South Lebanon Army collapsed, and Israel hastened to evacuate its soldiers to the border. Four months later, in the wake of the reverberating failure of talks with the Palestinians, the territories ignited in violence.

Netanyahu Knesset speech may be precursor to DC visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Rebecca Anna Stoil, Gil Hoffman, Tovah Lazaroff - May 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Binaymin Netanyahu is expected to fire the opening round at the Knesset Monday, in what is expected to be the start of a nine-day diplomatic marathon of key events, stretching from Jerusalem to Washington. Israeli officials advise that those who want to speculate as to the contents of Netanyahu’s much-touted speech in Washington before a special meeting of Congress on May 24th, should pay attention to his words in the Knesset Monday, when the summer session officially opens.

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