Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israeli Prime Minister denies claims that he demanded recognition of Israel as a Jewish state as a precondition for peace talks (1). A wiretap on U.S. Representative Jane Harman allegedly reveals her interceding in an investigation of two pro-Israel lobbyists facing trial on espionage charges (2), though the Congresswoman denies involvement (3). New York Times columnist Richard Cohen comments on the recently released Human Rights Watch report on Hamas’ treatment of political opponents during the Gaza War (4) Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s remarks yesterday at the Durban conference spark controversy (5) (6) (13). Israel and Egypt are set to discuss a new Gaza cease-fire this week (9).

Netanyahu backtracks on Jewish state recognition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
April 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu said Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is not a pre-condition for holding peace negotiations. A statement issued Monday from the Prime Minister's Office said that without that recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, Netanyahu believes "it will not be possible to advance the diplomatic process and reach a peace settlement. However, the prime minister has never set this as a pre-condition for the opening of negotiations and dialogue with the Palestinians."

Wiretap reveals reach of US pro-Israel lobby
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Barbara Ferguson - April 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Rep. Jane Harman, the California Democrat with longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on a National Security Agency (NSA) wiretap telling “a suspected Israeli agent” that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most powerful pro-Israel lobby in Washington, according to a report released Sunday night in Congressional Quarterly (CQ).

U.S. Congresswoman denies interceding in AIPAC spy case
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
January 1, 2009 - 1:00am

A former member of the House Intelligence Committee denied Tuesday interceding in an investigation into two pro-Israel lobbyists now facing a trial on espionage charges California Democrat Rep. Jane Harman's office said she never contacted the Justice Department about its prosecution of present or former AIPAC employees, and the Justice Department never informed her that she was or is the subject of or involved in an investigation.

Hamas's Bloody Hands
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Richard Cohen - (Opinion) April 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Some residents of Gaza were taken from their homes and shot in the legs or feet. Some were brutally beaten, and some were simply murdered, sometimes after hideous torture. If you are expecting -- based on everything that has happened -- that the awful Israelis did this, guess again. It was Hamas, the authentic and genuine government of Gaza. Well, no one's perfect.

More Hatred From Mr. Ahmadinejad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
April 20, 2009 - 12:00am

The fear all along has been that the United Nations conference on racism would be manipulated into yet another forum for demonizing Israel. All too predictably, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — who has called the Holocaust a myth and has advocated Israel’s destruction — did just that.

Ahmadinejad, Durban and another fine mess
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Center For Strategic & International Studies
by Antony Lerman - (Opinion) April 20, 2009 - 12:00am

This is hardly the time for levity, but watching delegates at the Durban anti-racism review conference walk out while President Ahmadinejad served up his version of Zionist history, I couldn't help thinking of that immortal phrase from Laurel and Hardy: "Well, that's another fine mess you've gotten me into." The Geneva UN gathering is an event of high seriousness. It coincides with Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day and Hitler's birthday. It has been heading for disaster for months while western states and Jewish groups have been at loggerheads over strategy.

NU's Katz reminds Emanuel he's Jewish
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Matthew Wagner - April 20, 2009 - 12:00am

National Union chairman Ya'acov "Ketzele" Katz sent a letter to White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel last week admonishing him not to forget his Jewish and Israeli origins. Katz's missive came in response to a reported verbal exchange between Emanuel and an unidentified American Jewish leader. Katz claims that in a private meeting with the unnamed leader, Emanuel said, "In the next four years, there will be a peace agreement with the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it does not matter to us who is the prime minister."

Hamas's Shortsightedness
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Jameel Theyabi - (Opinion) April 20, 2009 - 12:00am

While the Palestinian Hamas was accusing the Egyptian authorities of "concocting" the issue of the Lebanese Hezbollah-related cell in the media, the State Security Court in Jordan sentenced three people to prison on charges of spying for the movement, after they "monitored positions, possessed weapons and gathered things and information that must be kept secret."

Israel, Egypt to discuss new Gaza cease-fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - April 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Instituting another cease-fire with Hamas will be at the focus of talks on Wednesday between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and visiting Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman. Suleiman, who holds the Israel file in the Egyptian cabinet, will travel to Israel on Wednesday and will meet with Barak, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, officials said on Monday.

Netanyahu's new-old methods of stalling peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) April 21, 2009 - 12:00am

When Jordan's King Abdullah sits down today with a president whose middle name is the same as that of his father, he probably won't miss the opportunity to warn Barack Obama about one of the biggest dangers to his Mideast peace plan. During his last meeting with then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni, the monarch said he was tired of hearing about "the peace process" - a phrase that has become synonymous with a perpetuation of the conflict.

Encountering Peace: The first in a two-part series on what Israelis and Palestinians teach their young
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
April 20, 2009 - 12:00am

One of the most amazing things about the Oslo peace process is that since the creation of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, the ministers of education of Israel and the PA have never met. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will meet with President Mahmoud Abbas. Defense Minister Ehud Barak will continue to meet with PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad. Other Israeli and PA ministers will continue to meet, but the ministers of education - no meetings will take place between them.

Feiglin: If I were PM, I'd rebuild the Temple
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Matthew Wagner - April 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Moshe Feiglin, head of Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership Movement) said last week that if he was elected prime minister, he would try to rebuild the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem. "I don't know if I will have the merit of doing something that is the aspiration of every Jew," said Feiglin. "But if I become prime minister I will take away control over the Temple Mount from the Wakf [the Islamic trust] and reinstate Jewish sovereignty over the entire mount and, hopefully, rebuild the Temple."

Al-sharq al-Awsat editor: Ahmadinejad only helps Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - April 21, 2009 - 12:00am

"How will the Iranian president's speech contribute to the Palestinian issue or the good of the occupied Arab lands?" wondered Tariq Alhomayed, Editor-in-Chief of Al-sharq al-Awsat Arabic newspaper in an opinion article published on Tuesday. "We have also promised in the past to dump Israel into the sea, but what does Ahmadinejad have to add? After all, all he did yesterday was push the international community to rally around Israel, to boycott the conference for it, and anyone who didn't boycott it walked out of the hall in protest."

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