February 27th

Israel report: West Bank Palestinians may turn to violence if peace talks freeze persists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 27, 2012 - 1:00am

The stalled peace process and instability in the Middle East are liable to push the Palestinians in the West Bank to turn increasingly violent toward Israel, the Foreign Ministry said in its annual intelligence assessment. The assessment also states that a potential Israeli military operation in Gaza would generate a severe response from Egypt.

Israel draws plan for 475-kilometer rail network in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - February 27, 2012 - 1:00am

Israel Railways has prepared a major plan for providing train service throughout the West Bank to serve both Israelis and Palestinians. The plan, prepared at the request of Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, calls for establishing 11 new rail lines, according to a map that Haaretz has obtained. Katz has on several occasions expressed his intention to build a railway network in the West Bank.

Hamas, Qatar to sign 250 million USD deal to rebuild Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 26, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Gaza's Hamas leaders will sign a deal with the Qatari government to get more than 250 million U.S. dollars for reconstruction projects in the Gaza Strip, a Hamas minister said on Sunday. The deal is being finalized and will be signed in a week, said Yousef al-Mansi, Hamas minister of housing and public work. Under the agreement, 5,000 houses will be built and 55,000 would be repaired, he told Xinhua, explaining that these houses were damaged during Israel's major military offensive more than three years ago.

Israel nixes solar energy for Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Karin Laub - February 25, 2012 - 1:00am

AL-THALA, West Bank — Electricity from solar panels and wind turbines has revolutionized life in rural Palestinian herding communities: Machines, instead of hands, churn goat milk into butter, refrigerators store food that used to spoil and children no longer have to hurry to get their homework done before dark.

Cairo speech a symbol of Hamas's split with Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Bradley Hope, Hugh Naylor - February 26, 2012 - 1:00am

Hamas's Gaza prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, symbolically chose Cairo's Al Azhar Mosque, a spiritual and intellectual centre for global Islam, to declare Hamas had formally split with Syria, a former ally and once home to the Palestinian group's headquarters in exile. Friday's declaration by Mr Haniyeh to thousands of Islamist supporters in the Egyptian capital, condemning Syria's bloody bid to quash an uprising against President Bashar Al Assad is perhaps the strongest indication of the group's realignment in a revolutionary Middle East.

Gaza's Hamas PM voices support for Syria protests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - February 24, 2012 - 1:00am

CAIRO — The Hamas prime minister of Gaza on Friday expressed support for Syrian protesters seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad, the first time a senior Hamas leader has publicly rebuked the group's longtime patron. Ismail Haniyeh said after Friday prayers at Egypt's Al-Azhar Mosque that Hamas commends "the brave Syrian people that are moving toward democracy and reform."

Faction leaders blame Hamas for impasse in unity govt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 27, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Several Palestinian faction leaders on Sunday blamed internal disagreement within Hamas for the failure to announce a unity government. "Hamas says a trend within the movement is reluctant about Abbas heading the new government for constitutional rather than political reasons," Palestinian Popular Struggle Front member Ahmad Majdalani said. This internal division, which cites a constitutional excuse, is a major obstacle, he added.

Abbas: Israel carrying out 'ethnic cleansing' in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
February 27, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Sunday of trying to erase any Arabic identity from Jerusalem, drawing a strong response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Abbas, speaking at a conference in Qatar, said that for the past few years Israel has been waging a "final battle" aimed at erasing the Arab, Muslim and Christian character of East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 Middle East war.

Qatar emir: Arab identity in Jerusalem at risk
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
February 26, 2012 - 1:00am

DOHA, Qatar — Qatar's ruler says the Arab identity in Jerusalem is threatened by Israeli expansion around the city claimed as capital by both Israel and Palestinians. Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani urged a U.N-backed investigation into Israeli settlements as well as Israeli actions in predominantly Arab districts in Jerusalem and surrounding areas captured by the Jewish state in 1967. His remarks Sunday opened a conference in the Gulf emirate's capital Doha on Jerusalem.

Israeli PM slams Palestinian leader's speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Ian Deitch - February 26, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for making an "inflammatory speech" about Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site on Sunday, saying his words undermine peace efforts. Speaking during a visit to Qatar, Abbas charged that Israel was intending to destroy Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, which sits atop the remains of the two biblical Jewish temples. It is the most sacred site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. The site is a very sensitive and emotional issue for Israelis and Palestinians.

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