Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The driver of a bulldozer is shot dead after ramming into traffic in Jerusalem (1). The inclusion of Hamas in Palestinian unity government talks prompts skeptical reactions (2) (11). Israel announces that it will allow more aid into Gaza (4). Secretary of State Clinton pledges her support for the administration of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (5). The BBC reports on the poor state of health care for Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank (6). The Obama Administration announces plans to increase U.S. support for Palestinian security forces in the West Bank (9). In a surprise announcement, Sallai Meridor, Israeli ambassador to the U.S., says that he will be quitting his post and returning to Israel (14).

Driver Shot Dead After Rampage in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

The Palestinian driver of a construction vehicle flipped over an Israeli police car and rammed an empty bus here on Thursday, injuring two police officers before he was shot dead, police said. Police later identified the assailant as a Palestinian resident of Beit Hanina, a predominantly Arab neighborhood in northeast Jerusalem. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the man, Mari al-Radeideh, 26, was married and the father of one child. Jerusalem’s deputy police commander, Niso Shahar, told reporters: “We have no doubt that it is a terror attack.”

Deceptive unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) March 4, 2009 - 1:00am

Talks on forming a united Palestinian Authority government between West Bank-based Fatah and Gaza-based Hamas commenced in Cairo last week. Egypt is sponsoring the talks, with the tacit blessings of the international community. This is a mistake. The Obama administration should take a close look at the likely consequences of such an arrangement.

Clinton's caution in Israel has some Palestinians grumbling
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from McClatchy News
by Dion Nissenbaum - March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

On her first visit as secretary of state to the de facto Palestinian capital, Hillary Clinton publicly chided Israel on Wednesday for demolishing dozens of Arab homes in East Jerusalem, a move that's undermining anemic peace talks with the Palestinians.

Israel to let more aid into Gaza in gesture to Clinton
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Nir Hasson, Avi Issacharoff, Barak Ravid - March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel will increase the range of goods permitted into the Gaza Strip as a gesture to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who concluded her visit to the region Wednesday. In recent weeks, Israel has prevented such products as jam, pasta and paper from reaching the besieged coastal territory. "We want humanitarian aid to get into Gaza in sufficient amounts to alleviate the suffering of the people," Clinton said, but stopped short of calling for a full opening of the crossings.

Hillary Clinton shores up weakened Palestinian leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

Hillary Clinton pledged her full support yesterday to the ailing Palestinian Administration of President Abbas, whose efforts to negotiate a peace deal with Israel have brought little progress, and whose standing among his own people has slipped dramatically. Speaking in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority, the US Secretary of State said that Mr Abbas's Administration was the only legitimate government of the Palestinian people - yet another snub to Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip and which the US regards as a terrorist organisation.

Palestinian health care 'ailing'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

The Lancet medical journal report highlights how 10% of Palestinian children now have stunted growth. The paper describes the healthcare system in the Palestinian territories as "fragmented and incoherent". An Israeli government spokesperson said the Lancet had failed to seek its view, and said many Palestinians had accessed medical care in the country. Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli government, called the report one-sided. He said: "This is propaganda in the guise of a medical report."

Israeli Law Students Protest Professor Involved In Strikes on Gaza Civilians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by M.J. Rosenberg - (Blog) March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

This is interesting. Ha'aretz reports that students at Tel Aviv University are protesting the appointment to a lecturer position of an IDF colonel involved in approving strikes against civilians in Gaza. I had wondered what happened to Israel's usually vigorous anti-war movement which has come out in force in previous cases where Israel has engaged in wars of choice (like the Gaza and Lebanon wars), in contrast to wars like the Yom Kippur or Six Day Wars.

Musical Show of Unity Upsets Many in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - February 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Achinoam Nini, a singer and peace activist, has long stirred controversy here. Known abroad by her stage name, Noa, she has recorded with Arab artists, refused to perform in the occupied West Bank, condemned Israeli settlements there and had concerts canceled because of bomb threats from the extreme right.

Obama plans to boost security aid to Abbas's forces
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Adam Entous - March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

The Obama administration plans to expand a programme to bolster Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's security forces in the occupied West Bank as part of a push for statehood, officials said on Thursday. Israel has given tentative backing to the programme as a test of Abbas's ability to rein in militants, one of its main conditions in stalled U.S.-backed negotiations over establishing a Palestinian state.

US interests are not served by a stubborn Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

Critics of the Middle East peace process deride it as elaborate summitry and slogans that try hard but fail to mask the fundamental gap between the parties. They have a point: Israel is further from peace than ever before, the Palestinians are too weak and divided to agree on anything and the US is blindly behind the Israelis.

Talking much gibberish about Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Michael Young - (Opinion) March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

You can say many disparaging things about the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, but he did manage, until his dying breath, to preserve what was known as the independence of the Palestinian decision. Under Arafat's guidance, the Palestinian Liberation Organization was able for decades to avoid falling under the sway of an Arab state, particularly Syria, which tried as of the late 1960s to bring the PLO to heel.

Clinton should not listen to Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Francis Matthew - (Opinion) March 4, 2009 - 1:00am

Every four years there is a depressing ritual in which a new US Secretary of State agrees that the US will secure Israel's security, but will also support the establishment of a Palestinian state. As has happened many times before, this week the Palestinians told Hillary Clinton that the Israelis should stop building illegal colonies in the West Bank. The Palestinian point was vindicated by the discovery this week of an Israeli government plan for a massive expansion of Israeli colonies, which was published by Peace Now, an Israeli peace lobby.

The pulse of a meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

A resounding and unanimous international message of support for Gaza reconstruction was sounded in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh on March 2. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, along with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were joined at the conference by foreign ministers as well as representatives of regional and international organisations and foundations. Ironically two key groups were absent from the meeting: Israel and Hamas.

Ambassador to US quits
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

- Surprising departure: Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Sallai Meridor, announced Thursday that he intends to quit his post soon and return to Israel. Meridor informed Prime Minister Olmert, Foreign Minister Livni, and PM-designate Netanyahu of his decision on Monday, before joining US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her Israel visit.

5 Qassams fired after IAF kills Gaza gunmen
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

Five Qassam rockets and a mortar shell were fired on the western Negev Thursday in response to an Israeli air strike on a terror cell in the Gaza Strip that left three gunmen dead and another wounded. The first rocket fell just before 9 am in an open area in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. About an hour later, two more rockets were fired from the Strip, landing in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. In both incidents there were no reports of injuries or damage.

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