Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The New York Times reports on US Vice President Dick Cheney’s trip to the Middle East (1). Opinions in BitterLemons by Yossi Alpher and Sam Bahour discuss the armed conflict in Gaza (5) and its economy (6) respectively. Al-Quds reports on an inspection of Palestinian Security Forces by Minister Al Yahya and General Dayton (8). An opinion by Rami Khouri in the Daily Star illustrates a basic building block toward reconciliation (10). In Haaretz, an analysis of Olmert’s agenda by Moshe Arens (12).

Cheney Says A Palestinian State Is 'long Overdue'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Ashraf Khalil - March 24, 2008 - 5:50pm

Declaring that an independent Palestinian state was "long overdue," Vice President Dick Cheney said on Sunday that the success of the U.S.-sponsored peace negotiations depends on the Palestinian ability to rein in militant groups that favor armed resistance over negotiations.

Middle East Peace Plans Under Threat As Hamas And Fatah Talk Of Unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - March 24, 2008 - 5:51pm

Hamas and Fatah, the rival Palestinian factions locked in a bitter cold war for almost a year, agreed yesterday to open formal talks on reconciliation as part of a deal brokered by Yemen. Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni President, persuaded the two sides to come together to discuss ways of returning to the power-sharing deal in place before last summer’s fighting. The announcement came as Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, visited the Fatah-led Government in the West Bank and said that the foundation of a Palestinian state was “long overdue”.

Germany Backs Israel All The Way
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Peter Hirschberg - March 24, 2008 - 5:52pm

German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed that her country would always stand by Israel, that she was committed to halting Iran's nuclear ambitions, and that rocket attacks by Palestinian militants in Gaza on Israeli towns and cities were a criminal act.

Only In Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) March 24, 2008 - 5:53pm

The past two weeks witnessed a familiar pattern of events. Israel retaliated against Palestinian terrorists firing rockets from Gaza at Israeli civilians. This produced an escalation, in the course of which the city of Ashkelon with its 100,000 inhabitants was brought into the circle of hostile rocket fire. Israel responded with a modest ground and air operation that took a heavy toll in Palestinian lives, mainly Hamas combatants. Egypt intervened with a proposal for a tahdiya, or pause in the fighting.

Currency Pressures Add To Economic And Political Despair
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Sam Bahour - (Opinion) March 24, 2008 - 5:54pm

As if the Palestinian economic reality was not complicated enough, the rapid drop in the value of the dollar has put many Palestinians between a rock and a hard place, not knowing how to make ends meet and not seeing an end to this perplexing situation. The Palestinian market uses four main currencies. The Israeli shekel is traded in daily purchases; the Jordanian dinar, euro and US dollar are used for business and real estate transactions. The JD is pegged to the dollar at 0.709 so any devaluation of the dollar directly devalues the JD.

‘painful Concessions’ Needed, Says Cheney
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Mohammed Mar’i - March 24, 2008 - 5:55pm

US Vice President Dick Cheney said yesterday that a Mideast peace agreement will require “painful concessions” by Israelis and Palestinians who must work together to defeat those “committed to violence.” After meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Cheney stressed the US commitment to the creation of an independent Palestinian state, saying it was “long overdue.”

Minister (of Interior) Al Yahya And General Dayton Inspect Palestinian Security Training At The International Centre Near Amman And Witness A Field Exercise With Weapons And Live Ammunition.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al- Quds
by Amman – Abdulla Al Qaq - March 24, 2008 - 5:59pm

The Minster of Interior Abdul Razzaq Al Yahya and the American General Dayton inspected the almost 1000 members of the Palestinian Police (National Security Force) and the Presidential Guard battalions that are currently training at the Jordanian International Police Training Center (JIPTC).  Their training includes security apparatus, human rights, riot control and civil disturbance.

Top Palestinian Official Says Fatah Signed Deal Due To Mixup
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
March 24, 2008 - 6:00pm

Fatah signed the Yemeni-sponsored proposal for reconciliation with Hamas because of a mixup, a top Palestinian official said on Monday. The terms of the Yemeni deal, which was signed on Sunday, include rival factions Fatah and Hamas agreeing on the goal of uniting in a single Palestinian government. Senior Fatah official, former Palestinian Prime Minister Azzam Al Ahmad, signed the proposal on Fatah’s behalf, but top Palestinian negotiator, Ahmed Qureia suggested on Monday that this decision was hasty.

Apply Merkel's Lesson In The Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) March 24, 2008 - 6:02pm

It has been a busy week - the fifth anniversary of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, Osama bin Laden's resurfacing with another audio tape threatening Western targets, sort-of elections in Iran, see-sawing global stock and commodity markets, a dramatic presidential primary contest in the United States, Egyptian-facilitated diplomacy on the Palestinian front, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's official visit to Israel.

The Vision Of An Arab-free Knesset
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shahar Ilan - (Opinion) March 24, 2008 - 6:03pm

MK Zevulun Orlev's rage was not provoked by last week's pogrom at Jabel Mukkaber, where right-wing protesters attempted to storm the house of the terrorist behind the Mercaz Harav attack; rather, the National Religious Party lawmaker's anger was sparked by a remark made by Balad chairman MK Jamal Zahalka, who claimed Jerusalem was occupied land and that he refused to recognize a law stating otherwise.

Olmert's Agenda
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Moshe Arens - (Opinion) March 24, 2008 - 6:05pm

Who says that our prime minister does not have an agenda? It is true that on occasion Olmert has said that there is no need for the prime minister to have an agenda - he simply needs to do his job. It is also true that since he came into office, Olmert has adopted and discarded agendas whenever it suited him. First there was "convergence," then victory over Hezbollah, and then Annapolis. He feels that the mantle of the man dedicated to bringing peace to Israel suits him, and that he will not let anything, no matter what, get in his way.

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