Middle East News: World Press Roundup

An editorial in the Middle East Times considers the concept of "political malpractice" proposed by ATFP President Ziad Asali (1). A car bomb placed outside a mall in the Israeli city of Haifa does not explode (2) and Palestinian Authority sources suspect that an Iran-backed group is responsible (10). A roadside bomb kills a senior Fatah official and four others outside a refugee camp in Lebanon (4). The Israeli military condemns appalling messages on t-shirts commissioned by groups of Israeli soldiers (6) (8), as reports of misconduct in the Gaza war are confirmed by eyewitness Israeli troops (7). Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu continues efforts to form a coalition government, opening formal talks with the Labor party (5) (14) (15).

Suing Politicians for Political Malpractice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Times
March 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Have you ever wondered what the real problem is with politics? Why is it that in politics everything takes years and decades to accomplish when in the private sector life moves at a faster pace? The answer is because, for the most part, politicians are only accountable to themselves. Oh, of course, in democracies those elected to office answer to the electorate at the end of the day. But in some cases that day can be a pretty long one.

Car Bomb Found Near Crowded Israeli Mall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - March 23, 2009 - 12:00am

A 200-pound car bomb malfunctioned near a crowded mall in the Israeli port city of Haifa on Saturday night, averting what could have been one of the largest such attacks in Israel in the past several years, police said. A bomb squad was called to the Lev Hamifratz shopping center after a small explosion, possibly a detonation charge, inside a Subaru in the mall's parking lot, according to police.

A Religious War in Israel’s Army
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - March 21, 2009 - 12:00am

The publication late last week of eyewitness accounts by Israeli soldiers alleging acute mistreatment of Palestinian civilians in the recent Gaza fighting highlights a debate here about the rules of war. But it also exposes something else: the clash between secular liberals and religious nationalists for control over the army and society. Several of the testimonies, published by an institute that runs a premilitary course and is affiliated with the left-leaning secular kibbutz movement, showed a distinct impatience with religious soldiers, portraying them as self-appointed holy warriors.

Lebanon bomb kills senior Fatah official, 4 others
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 23, 2009 - 12:00am

A roadside bomb killed a senior official in the Palestinian Fatah faction and four other people in southern Lebanon on Monday, security sources said. Kamal Medhat, deputy head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation in Lebanon, was killed with his companions on a road near Mieh Mieh camp outside the southern city of Sidon. The bomb, hidden under a manhole cover in the road, flipped one car off the road and badly damaged another. Television footage showed debris ablaze in a field.

Netanyahu signs coalition deal with hawkish Shas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought a nationalist religious party into his emerging coalition today, taking a major step toward securing the parliamentary majority he needs to form a government. As Netanyahu wrapped up the deal with the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, he also launched formal coalition talks with the centrist Labour Party in the hope of moderating what is shaping up to be a narrow, hawkish government. Adding Labour could provide stability and international credibility, but many Labour politicians oppose joining forces with Netanyahu.

Israel Military condemns soldiers' shocking T-shirts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - March 22, 2009 - 12:00am

The Israeli military yesterday officially condemned as "unacceptable" shocking images printed on T-shirts ordered by some soldiers to commemorate the end of their basic training or field duty. The Israeli daily Haaretz disclosed that some T-shirts are emblazoned with "dead babies, mothers weeping on their children's graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques". One, which the paper says was a sharpshooter's T-shirt, shows a pregnant Arab woman with a bullseye superimposed on her belly, accompanied by the slogan "1 shot, 2 kills".

Israeli Soldiers Confirm Indiscriminate Killing, Destruction in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
by Mel Frykberg - March 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Testimony coming to light, starting last week, from a growing number of Israeli soldiers who took part in Israel's three-week bloody offensive in Gaza in January, codenamed Operation Cast Lead, is confirming what the media and human rights organizations have been saying for several months. Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations, among others, accused Israel of committing extensive war crimes in Gaza and called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Uri Blau - March 20, 2009 - 12:00am

The office at the Adiv fabric-printing shop in south Tel Aviv handles a constant stream of customers, many of them soldiers in uniform, who come to order custom clothing featuring their unit's insignia, usually accompanied by a slogan and drawing of their choosing. Elsewhere on the premises, the sketches are turned into plates used for imprinting the ordered items, mainly T-shirts and baseball caps, but also hoodies, fleece jackets and pants. A young Arab man from Jaffa supervises the workers who imprint the words and pictures, and afterward hands over the finished product.

End of the one-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Adel Safty - March 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Commentators in Israel and elsewhere have noted the two major trends to emerge from the recent Israeli elections, namely the collapse of the Labour party and the left bloc, and the rise of the extreme right. But there is a more significant development. The Israeli assault on Gaza and the vehement opposition from the Palestinian citizens of Israel to it brought to the fore the tension inherent in the Zionist tenet of a state that is both Jewish and democratic.

PA source: Iran-backed group may be behind Haifa bomb attempt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - March 23, 2009 - 12:00am

A senior source in the Palestinian Authority told Haaretz Sunday that he suspects Hezbollah or another organization with links to Iran was behind the attempted bombing of the Lev Hamifratz shopping mall in Haifa on Saturday night. According to the source, the PA holds definitive intelligence that Hezbollah has been trying for some time to recruit members of Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in an attempt to get operatives of those terror groups to carry out an attack in Israel.

Enough with the cosmetics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) March 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Don't let them tell you that Benjamin Netanyahu needs Labor in order to handle the Iranian threat. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will probably continue building the bomb, regardless of whether Ehud Barak continues comfortably filling the defense minister's chair or, like Tzipi Livni, supports action against Iran from the opposition bench.

Reality check: Tied in knots?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jeff Barak - (Opinion) March 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Ehud Barak's shameless determination to stay on at the Defense Ministry, even at the expense of destroying the Labor Party and making a mockery of the election results, is diverting attention from a more problematic ministerial appointment: the choice of Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister.

Responsibility sought by injured American's parents
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - March 23, 2009 - 12:00am

The parents of American national Tristan Anderson, who was critically injured during a protest in Naalin against the security fence by a tear gas shell fired by anti-riot forces, held a press conference Monday in Jerusalem. Nancy and Mike Anderson said their son never presented a threat to anyone and demanded that the State of Israel take responsibility for their son.

The myth of the Israeli unity government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
March 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu’s request for two more weeks to form a coalition, the maximum allotted time under Israeli law, is neither surprising nor particularly encouraging. While the prime minister designate has stated that he is taking the additional time to forge a broader coalition, there is more self-interest behind the decision than any real enthusiasm for the peace process. Nor is there real reason to believe that a coalition government that embraces more than just the Right would be any greater friend of peace.

Labor and Likud launch coalition talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
March 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Coalition talks between Labor and Likud negotiations teams kicked off Monday morning in Kfar Hamaccabiah in Ramat Gan. Entering the meeting, Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon (Labor) said that the meeting would focus on diplomatic and socioeconomic issues. "We will try to arrive at an agreement so that we can present it to the party's conference tomorrow, but we may be unsuccessful," Simhon said.

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