Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Newly elected Jerusalem mayor Nir Barakat dismisses Secretary of State Clinton’s criticism of Palestinian home demolitions to make way for a tourist park in the city (1) (6). The Christian Science Monitor looks at how Secretary Clinton’s recent visit has been received by the Arab world (3). More reports are emerging about the ‘wanton’ destruction of Gaza homes by Israeli forces during the war (4) (15). The British Embassy in Israel cancels plans to relocate to new offices because one of the owners is believed to be involved in settlement building (5). Following his recent trip to the region Senator John Kerry outlines his proposed strategy for U.S. involvement in the Middle East (7). Hamas has reportedly demanded that Islamic Jihad stop firing rockets from Gaza (11).

Israeli Spurns Criticism From Clinton
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - March 6, 2009 - 1:00am

After Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton this week criticized plans to extend a park across 88 buildings that house Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, newly elected Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said she was meddling in local control over zoning and the city's economic future.

Fresh Start in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

Hillary Rodham Clinton put down the right markers on her first Middle East trip as secretary of state. Whatever the eventual composition of a new, and presumably more hawkish, government after Israel’s last election, Mrs. Clinton made clear that America’s compelling interest lies in a two-state solution anchored by a broad regional peace. She advanced that interest by announcing diplomatic re-engagement with Syria and strong American support for the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas.

Clinton visit: In a West Bank café, Palestinians ask how much will change
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

If there is any place in this de facto capital of the West Bank where all things American are welcomed, it's here at Stars and Bucks – an unabashed Starbucks knockoff complete with green-and-white logo, cozy couches, and myriad mochas and lattes. But even as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was visiting the Palestinian territories for the first time since her appointment, men and women here took little interest in the fact that their president, Mahmoud Abbas, was standing side by side with her, giving a joint press conference following their first meeting.

Gaza homes destruction 'wanton'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
March 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Human rights investigators say Israeli forces engaged in "wanton destruction" of Palestinian homes during the recent conflict in Gaza. Amnesty International has told the BBC News website the methods used raised concerns about war crimes. Israel's military said buildings were destroyed because of military "operational needs". The Israeli Defense Forces said they operated in accordance with international law during the conflict.

British embassy in Israel cancels move over Jewish settlement concerns
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Telegraph
by Dina Kraft - March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

Embassy officials had intended to move to Kirya Tower in Tel Aviv, partly owned by real-estate company Africa-Israel Investments Ltd but has reversed its decision while it seeks clarifications from the company. A subsidiary of Africa-Israel, Danya Cebus, has built homes in at least one West Bank settlement, Maale Adumim, but it is not clear what the scope of the company's activities are.

Plan for tourist theme park raises Jerusalem tensions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - March 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Close as it is to the historic and politically radioactive Old City of Jerusalem, when Naji Qafishi built his two-storey house in the Silwan district in 1994, he hardly expected it to be at the core of a global debate over the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even now, he is more worried about the impact of the demolition order for the property on the 14 people who live in its four rooms – his three sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren.

Kerry stalks new ground on settlements, Syria and peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - March 4, 2009 - 1:00am

Call it a three-legged stalking horse: rapid progress toward a two-state solution, penalties for settlement expansion and engagement with Syria even as it remains in Iran's sphere. They were the key suggestions for advancing Middle East peace outlined by U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in a speech Wednesday following his visit to the region. Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, emphasized alacrity throughout the speech.

‘Abbas: Iran Widening Palestinian Rift
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

In a rare expression of direct criticism, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud ‘Abbas slammed Iran, accusing Tehran of negatively interfering with internal Palestinian issues. Iran aims to deepen the rift among Palestinians, and this serves neither national interests nor Arab interests, ‘Abbas said on Wednesday. “Iran should address its own issues, take care of its matters, and avoid interfering with Palestinian matters,” ‘Abbas said at a news conference with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Ramallah.

A Palestinian unity government is best for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Zvi Barel - (Opinion) March 6, 2009 - 1:00am

It is almost impossible to count the number of failed attempts made by Egypt, the Arab League, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the Palestinians themselves to resolve the strife between Fatah and Hamas. However, the current round of negotiations held in Egypt appears to be different: more appeasing, less strained.

PA official: Time to impose 2-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - March 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Senior Palestinian Authority officials believe that now is the time to exert massive international pressure on Israel, following US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to the region and ahead of the establishment of a new Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu.  

Report: Hamas demands Islamic Jihad stop launching
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from World Peace Herald
by Ali Waked - March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas has asked Islamic Jihad operatives to stop firing rockets at Israel, Palestinian sources told Ynet on Thursday. Five rockets were fired on the western Negev from Gaza, following an IDF aerial strike that killed three Palestinian terrorists near Kissufim. According to reports, Hamas is trying to convince the Islamic Jihad to cease rocket fire, on the grounds that doing so while ceasefire negotiations are in progress gives Israel an excuse to escalate military operations and undermine the relative quiet of the past several days.

Lieberman demanding 'full autonomy' as foreign minister
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Mazal Mualem - March 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Avigdor Lieberman, who Thursday emerged as the most likely candidate to replace Tzipi Livni as Israel's foreign minister, intends to demand that Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu grants him "full autonomy" in the new post, Haaretz has learned. Lieberman, who heads the country's third largest party, Yisrael Beiteinu, met with prime minister-designate Netanyahu Thursday at the Knesset. Neither party leader divulged information about the meeting or the issues discussed.

Congressmen try to restrict Gaza funds
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Allison Hoffman - March 5, 2009 - 1:00am

US lawmakers are seeking restrictions on US funding for $900 million in proposed reconstruction and humanitarian aid for the Palestinians over concerns that the money might wind up in the hands of terrorist groups. Sources on Capitol Hill told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that negotiations over restrictions could complicate the process and potentially delay getting aid to organizations on the ground.

Putting hope on the horizon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
March 6, 2009 - 1:00am

On a recent visit to a Cairo hospital to meet children wounded in the recent Israeli operation in Gaza, I talked with 10-year-old Riad, who was recovering from serious injuries caused by an Israeli missile. Replying to my question about what he plans to do after he recovers and returns to Gaza, he said his goal is to study telecom engineering, in order to work in telecommunications. In addition to his own injuries, Riad lost several family members. Nonetheless, what he dreams of is a job and peace - not revenge.

Pots of urine, feces on the walls - how IDF troops vandalized Gaza homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Amira Hass - March 6, 2009 - 1:00am

We had already visited this house, belonging to the Abu Eida family. It is the only one of the family's nine large houses that remained standing at the eastern edge of the city of Jabalya following Operation Cast Lead. The demolition of the family's houses and its four cement factories spells the loss of 40 years of hard work.

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