Middle East News: World Press Roundup

An opinion in the International Herald Tribune by Elie Fawaz suggests that the Lebanese government should take advantage of Hezbollah’s current weakened position (1). Reuters reports that Hamas has refused Fatah’s demand it cede Gaza control for reconciliation (6) while the Media Line reports that jailed Fatah leader Marwan Al-Barghouthi has not ruled out his candidacy for chairmanship of the Palestinian Authority (7). An Alon Ben-Meir article in the Middle East Times focuses on the bitter cycle of violence that has developed since the seminary attack (9). Rami Khouri argues in the Daily Star that stalemate between Israel and the Palestinian Authority only increases the popularity of Hamas (10).

Jerusalem's First Palestinian Latin Patriarch To Retire This Year
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 19, 2008 - 7:03pm

Michel Sabbah, the Holy Land's top Roman Catholic clergyman, is to retire this year. The Latin Patriach is turning 75 on Wednesday - the traditional retirement age of church officials. Sabbah is the first Palestinian to hold his position. Throughout his tenure, he has been a vocal advocate for the Palestinian cause. At the same time, he has been an outspoken critic of violence.

U.s. To Transfer $150 Million In Aid To The Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 19, 2008 - 7:07pm

The U.S. is transferring $150 million in aid to the Palestinian government in coming days, the Palestinian Prime Minister announced Wednesday. The payment is part of a total of $550 million the U.S. pledged to pay to the Palestinians over three years, part of a total of $7.7 billion in pledges from international donors made at a conference in Paris in December.

Israel Bars Access From W. Bank, Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 19, 2008 - 7:19pm

Israel declared a heightened security alert on Wednesday and barred Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip from entering the country, fearing Hezbollah guerrillas may try to carry out a major attack during holiday celebrations this week. The Purim holiday coincides with the end of a 40-day mourning period for Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed in a car bombing in Syria last month. Israel has denied involvement, but the Lebanese guerrilla group has blamed Israel and vowed revenge.

Mubarak: 'no Occupation Lasts Forever'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 19, 2008 - 7:21pm

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned Israel on Tuesday that history shows no occupation lasts forever. "Your people's security cannot be attained by exercising a policy of collective punishment, aggression, siege, walls and building settlements," he said in comments broadcast live on state television. Mubarak added that for their part, the Palestinians needed to unify their ranks and consider their actions for the sake of their suffering children.

Hamas Refuses Fatah Demand It Cede Gaza Control For Reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 19, 2008 - 7:23pm

Hamas voiced willingness on Wednesday to talk to Fatah as part of a Yemeni reconciliation initiative but said the secular faction must drop its demand the Islamist group first give up control of the Gaza Strip. "We do not accept it as a condition to restore dialogue," Hamas spokesmanAyman Taha said. "[The Gaza Strip] is only an item that can be discussed within the agenda of the talks."

Jailed Palestinian Barghouthi Eyes P.a. Leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Media Line Staff - March 19, 2008 - 7:24pm

Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Al-Barghouthi is not ruling out his candidacy in the Palestinian Authority elections for chairmanship, he told an Italian news agency.   "When a date is agreed upon for the presidential elections, I'll make the appropriate decision," he said through his lawyers.   Barghouthi is serving five consecutive life sentences in an Israeli jail for his involvement in terror attacks against Israelis.   According to a recent poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR,), Barghouthi has a better chance of beatin

Mccain Supports Israeli Response
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
March 19, 2008 - 7:26pm

US presidential hopeful John McCain says he understands Israel's response to rocket attacks by Palestinian militant groups. Mr McCain was speaking in the Israeli town of Sderot, which has often been hit by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. "No nation in the world can be attacked without responding," he told reporters. Mr McCain, a Republican senator who looks set to become the party's presidential candidate this autumn, also called for progress towards peace.

Caught In A Vicious Cycle Of Violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Times
by Alon Ben-meir - March 19, 2008 - 7:28pm

The killing by Israeli undercover troops of four Palestinian militants in Bethlehem on March 12, raises questions not as much about Israel's right to self-defense but about the context and the circumstances under which this right is exercised. Even the right to self-defense and matters of national security must be balanced against the prevailing conditions.

Stalemate Is Increasing Hamas' Popularity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) March 19, 2008 - 7:31pm

The likelihood of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks making real progress this year is very slim, but that does not keep the parties from meeting and making hopeful statements. US President George W. Bush's planned trip to Israel in May looms for many as a critical moment when any progress toward a permanent peace accord will have to be clear.

Racist? Us?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avirama Golan - (Opinion) March 19, 2008 - 7:32pm

The television interview conducted by Orly Vilnai Federbush on Monday with Dmitri Bogotich - the head of a local "neo-Nazi gang," who later fled to Moscow - constituted good journalism under conditions of real risk. But more than the conversation revealed a violent criminal, it revealed the authorities' weakness in dealing with the case.

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