Middle East News: World Press Roundup

An editorial in the Washington Times discusses renewed military buildup in the Middle East (1). A summary of the agreement brokered by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice between the Israelis and Palestinians during her latest visit is reported by IPF (3). Reuters reports on claims by Israel that they have removed 50 West Bank roadblocks (5). An editorial in the Jewish Daily Forward examines the implications of new settlement construction on President Abbas (7). In Haaretz, an interview with Zakariya Zubeidi (9) and an opinion by Akiva Eldar concerning the possibility of a third intifada is Israeli does not negotiate credibly (10).

Girding For War With Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
(Editorial) April 4, 2008 - 6:09pm

Recent events serve as a reminder of how menacing behavior from Iran and Syria keeps the Middle East on a hair trigger. On Tuesday, Israel learned that Hezbollah was rapidly rebuilding its military capabilities and preparing for renewed conflict with Israel. The next morning, a London-based Arab newspaper reported that Syria was concentrating troops and tanks along its border with Lebanon and had massed troops in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in preparation for an Israeli attack.

Palestinians, Israelis Split Over Efforts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Joshua Mitnick - April 4, 2008 - 6:10pm

Within days after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice finished another round of Middle East shuttle diplomacy, Israelis and Palestinians are already at odds over a series of confidence-building measures aimed at breathing new life into the stuttering peace process. Israel said yesterday it has completed the removal of 50 roadblocks around the West Bank as it promised the U.S. over the weekend, but the Palestinians said they could discern no changes and called on the State Department to confirm the Israeli claim.

Israel Claims To Remove 50 Roadblocks In West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
April 4, 2008 - 6:16pm

Israel on Thursday said  it had removed 50 roadblocks in the West Bank as part of promises made to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but US and Palestinian officials could not confirm their removal. A senior US official said "it is hard to assess" the impact of the roadblocks' removal, let alone confirm they were scrapped, because Israel had yet to give Washington or the Palestinians a map showing where the dirt-mound obstacles were.

Israel Tries To Cool Predictions Of Impending War With Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by Charly Wegman - April 4, 2008 - 6:18pm

Israel on Thursday played down media reports of heightened tension along the Syrian border, insisting there was little likelihood of military confrontation between the two countries. "Israel has no intention of attacking Syria, and the latter says only it is ready to respond to any attack, so the risk of a military confrontation is very low," said Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon.

Settlement Freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) April 4, 2008 - 6:21pm

A rash of reports coming out of Israel indicates that a spurt of new construction is under way in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The development should be alarming to anyone who cares about Israel’s welfare. It’s a violation of Israel’s public commitments, most of all to the Bush administration. It’s damaging to Israel’s international standing and harmful to its security, both short and long term.

U.k. Foreign Sec.: Israel's Future Depends On Palestinian Statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
April 4, 2008 - 6:25pm

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Wednesday praised Israel's achievements over the 60 years of its existence, but said the "small country's" future depends above all on "the creation of a new and viable Palestinian state, alongside a secure Israel." Addressing the annual Easter Banquet at Mansion House, London on Wednesday, the foreign secretary said that Israel's 60th anniversary was "an opportunity for us all to recognize the achievements - in democratic governance, science, culture and business."

'marching Toward Total Ruin'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - (Interview) April 4, 2008 - 6:28pm

"When you see Zakariya, maybe you'll be surprised, but he looks like just any other Palestinian man now. Without armed men, without a weapon, just an ordinary guy," related an acquaintance of Zakariya Zubeidi, until not long ago the commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Jenin.

The Lie Of Peace And The Nonsense Of Security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) April 4, 2008 - 6:29pm

Presumably there is a strange but legitimate dispute between a leader who comes from the right, who believes that if Israel continues to hold on to the territories the Jewish state will be in danger, and a leader who comes from the left, who claims that if Israel stops holding on to the territories Jewish lives will be in danger. Ostensibly one proposes a reaching a quick solution to the conflict by negotiating with Fatah, and the other prefers long-term resolution via a military struggle with Hamas.

With Friends Like These
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) April 4, 2008 - 6:30pm

The president of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, has called for non-cooperation with the Christian Zionists, a movement of millions of Americans who ardently support Israel. Yoffie represents a movement that supports Israel for very different reasons from those of the Christian Zionists, who identify largely with the most right-wing sectors of Israeli society. His call on Wednesday reawakens the controversy over Israel's practical approach toward its supporters in the United States.

After Bush
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by M.J. Rosenberg - (Opinion) April 7, 2008 - 5:40pm

It is fascinating, although not at all surprising, that the candidates for president almost never discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s not like it is some minor foreign policy issue. Ask Americans to name two or three of the most pressing foreign policy issues and they are bound to mention the Arab-Israeli conflict. How could they not? After Iraq, there is no other that is so extensively covered by the media nor is there another one of interest to as many voters.

The Settlements Are The Biggest Impediment To Security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) April 10, 2008 - 2:01pm

At the very heart of the roadmap phase I issues that dominated US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit a week ago are security and settlements. The West Bank-based Palestinian leadership that Israel is negotiating with has little to brag about in terms of improving security. But at least it is sincerely trying. The Olmert government is not trying as hard, particularly with regard to settlements. And settlements are the biggest impediment to security.

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