Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Raghida Dergham evaluates how Arab governments and the Obama Administration can work together to improve the situation in the Middle East (1). An op-ed in Haaretz attempts to put the ax attack in the West Bank attack into context (2), while the rabbi of the settlement in question insists that his community is not seeking revenge (4). Newly appointed Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is questioned by police regarding allegations of fraud (3) (11), as opposition leader Tzipi Livni condemns his recent speech rebuffing Annapolis conference agreements (7). An Italian news publication reports that at least 19,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed since 1967(5). Palestinian unity talks in Cairo are suspended, and set to resume in three weeks (10). The United Nations appoints a former war crimes prosecutor to investigate alleged offenses by both sides during the Gaza war (14).

A Ripe Opportunity for Obama to Intervene in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - April 3, 2009 - 12:00am

The Arab Summit in Doha obliterated its chances of putting forth serious stances before the G-20 Summit - which brings together the world's twenty largest economies - and did not formulate any sensible strategies that could be taken into consideration. Indeed, the summit of "reconciliations" took pride in defying the International Criminal Court (ICC) and demanding the annulment of the warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, allying itself with one accused of committing war crimes in Darfur and dealing with international justice as if it was the new enemy.

Working out a response
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - April 3, 2009 - 12:00am

Attempted and actual terror attacks in the last month seem random, with no obvious pattern. There was an abortive bulldozer rampage in Jerusalem (the third in a year), two policemen were murdered in the Jordan Valley, a booby-trapped car was left at a Haifa mall, and the most horrific of all came yesterday with the ax-murder of a child in the Bat Ayin settlement.

New Israeli Foreign Minister Questioned by Police
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - April 3, 2009 - 12:00am

Avigdor Lieberman, the new foreign minister of Israel, was questioned by the national fraud squad for more than seven hours on Thursday, according to a police spokesman, as part of a longstanding investigation into suspicions of bribery, money laundering and breach of trust. Also Thursday, a Palestinian wielding a pickax killed an Israeli boy, 13, and wounded another, 7, in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank before fleeing, witnesses and the Israeli authorities said.

Bat Ayin rabbi: We're not seeking revenge
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
April 3, 2009 - 12:00am

srael Defense Forces soldiers on Thursday night continued searching for the terrorist who murdered 13-year-old Shlomo Nativ in the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin in the Gush Etzion communities. While the forces went from house to house in the Palestinian villages adjacent to the settlement, the residents of Bat Ayin gathered Thursday evening for a meeting with the community's rabbi, Daniel Cohen, in an attempt to deal with their pain.

Report: Israel demolished 19,000 Palestinian homes since 1967
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 2, 2009 - 12:00am

At least 19,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed by Israel, Limes magazine, the Italian geopolitical review publication, reported on Tuesday. The bi-monthly periodical ran a several-page feature on the current upsurge in home demolitions ordered by the Israeli government. The article begins with a look into the Al-Kurd family, who were evicted from their Sheikh Jarrah home. The father of the family was critically ill at the time, and the article describes him as “abandoned at the door of his neighbors.”

Lieberman: Take 3
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - April 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Ami, who after all is my boss, thinks the media (including JTA) missed the lede on Avigdor Lieberman's maiden speech ("Avigdor Lieberman" and "maiden" in the same sentence - the mind boggles) as foreign minister: Lieberman accepts the "road map" (and by implication a two-state solution). His rejection of the more recent Annapolis conference was secondary, Ami says. I did not write our initial brief emphasizing Annapolis, but Ami asked me to rewrite the brief with the roadmap in the lede, and I dutifully did so.

Livni: Lieberman ruined years of peace efforts in just 20 minutes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
April 3, 2009 - 12:00am

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Friday accused Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebermanas having "erased in 20 minutes years of efforts to advance the peace process" when he declared that Israel was not bound by commitments it made at a 2007 summit in Annapolis to pursue creation of a Palestinian state In an interview with Israel Radio, the Kadima chairwoman said she had expected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce that he did not share Lieberman's expressed sentiments, and was disappointed that such clarification was not made.

US Affairs: Unsettling buzz
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - April 2, 2009 - 12:00am

The Obama administration has been taking advantage of the unusually long Israeli political interlude to bat away questions about how it will deal with a Binyamin Netanyahu-led coalition. The public record only makes it clear that the administration is looking forward to working with the new government of its important friend and ally, that it is committed to pursuing a two-state solution and that the settlements are viewed as facilitating neither.

Change your tune
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
April 2, 2009 - 12:00am

THE outlook for peace between Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land has rarely looked bleaker, at least if you take the pronouncements of the protagonists at face value. This week the Israelis got a new government whose prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu (left), refuses to say that the Palestinians should have a state of their own. The Islamists of Hamas, who won the last election in the Palestinian territories and may win the next, officially deny that Israel should exist at all.

Palestinian unity talks suspended
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
April 3, 2009 - 12:00am

The rival Palestinian Hamas and Fatah faction have suspended unity talks in Cairo after they were unable to reach an agreement, sources say. The Egyptian-mediated process will resume in three weeks, Nabil Shaath, a senior Fatah official, said on Thursday.

Israeli FM questioned over fraud
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
April 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Police said Mr Lieberman was questioned under caution on suspicion of "bribery, money-laundering and breach of trust" as part of an ongoing investigation. Mr Lieberman was sworn in as foreign minister on Tuesday. He has previously denied any wrong-doing and says the corruption probe against him is politically motivated. Police confirmed that the interview had been scheduled in advance with Mr Lieberman.

The Doha Summit: The Arab Peace Initiative and the Politics of Reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by Sadie Goldman - April 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Seventeen Arab countries met for the Arab League summit in Doha, Qatar, on Monday in an attempt to overcome past differences and unite to face various issues affecting the region. Inter-Arab reconciliation was not a randomly selected theme. Arab states have been deeply divided over how to engage with Iran, the Palestinians, and Israel. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah II has been promoting Arab reconciliation; this conference was meant to be an official platform to show Arab publics that their leaders can work together toward peace and prosperity.

Head in the sand?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - April 3, 2009 - 12:00am

Why does Benjamin Netanyahu think that everyone will believe him when he speaks from the two sides of his mouth, especially when he is talking about life-and-death issues like peace with the Arabs, particularly the Palestinians?

UN appoints Gaza war investigator
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
April 3, 2009 - 12:00am

The United Nations has appointed a former war crimes prosecutor to investigate offences allegedly committed by Israeli and Palestinian fighters during Israel's war on Gaza. Richard Goldstone, a Jewish judge from South Africa, will lead a fact-finding team on the mission, ordered by the Human Rights Council in January.

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