Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces that the U.S. will not recognize a Palestinian government that includes Hamas until it meets three international conditions (1). A poll released today shows that a majority of both Palestinians and Israelis are willing to accept a two-state solution (2). President Obama invites leaders of Israel, Egypt, and Palestine to Washington for talks in early June (3). The Economist assesses the state of the U.S. – Israeli relationship under new administrations (4). The first Hamas-licensed bank opens in Gaza (8). Israel demolishes a house in Arab East Jerusalem (9). President Obama meets with Jordan’s King Abdullah and reaffirms his commitment to the two-state solution (14).

Clinton: U.S. won't deal with Hamas until it accepts our terms
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
April 22, 2009 - 12:00am

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday the United States would refuse to deal with or fund a Palestinian government that included Hamas unless it met three international conditions. "We will not deal with nor in any way fund a Palestinian government that includes Hamas unless and until Hamas has renounced violence, recognized Israel and agrees to follow the previous obligations of the Palestinian Authority," Clinton told the House of Representatives foreign affairs committee.

Most Palestinians and Israelis willing to accept two-state solution, poll finds
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
April 22, 2009 - 12:00am

A majority of both Palestinians and Israelis are willing to accept a two-state solution, according to a poll from the international grassroots movement One Voice. Based on public opinion research methods used in Northern Ireland, 500 interviews were completed in Israel and 600 in the West Bank and Gaza immediately following the Gaza war and the Israeli elections. Each side was asked which problems they thought were "very significant" and what the solutions might be.

Obama invites Middle East heads
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
April 21, 2009 - 12:00am

US officials say the leaders of Israel, Egypt and the Palestinians have been invited for talks in Washington in a new push for Middle East peace. PM Benjamin Netanyahu, President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas have been asked to the White House for talks likely by early June. The peace process has been beset by conflict and adversity which President Barack Obama has pledged to address. There is no indication the Arab and Israeli leaders will meet directly.

Israel Puts Iran Issue Ahead of Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider, Glenn Kessler - April 22, 2009 - 12:00am

The new Israeli government will not move ahead on the core issues of peace talks with the Palestinians until it sees progress in U.S. efforts to stop Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon and limit Tehran's rising influence in the region, according to top government officials familiar with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's developing policy on the issue.

The killing goes on in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
April 22, 2009 - 12:00am

The young man asked us not to identify him. He had "made a mistake", he said, when someone apparently overheard him criticising a Hamas leader in a street conversation with friends. "We call them 'drones' – people Hamas pays to listen for them." This was during Israel's recent three-week military offensive in Gaza. That evening more than a dozen armed men with black facemasks came to his home and took him to an isolated area, where they shot him three times in his legs and ankles.

Ties that bind
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
April 20, 2009 - 12:00am

AVOID a confrontation with the new American administration. That is what Israel’s defence minister, Ehud Barak, sought to persuade his prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, on Sunday April 19th. Rather, said Mr Barak, turn up in Washington, DC, next month with your own Israeli peace plan. This should recognise the Palestinians’ right to an independent state but only subject to stringent limitations and qualifications in the interests of Israel’s security.

Former West Bank enemies find route to peace the Ulster way
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
April 22, 2009 - 12:00am

The night before Shifa Alqudsi was going to blow herself up in a bomb attack on the Israeli town of Netanya she stayed up explaining it all to her seven-year-old daughter Diana, telling her to look for a star in the sky when she wanted to speak to her. Last week she told the story again, this time to the people she had wanted to kill, among them a soldier with a tale of how he once took part in an operation to murder Palestinians.

First Hamas-licensed bank opens in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Star
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - April 22, 2009 - 12:00am

The first Hamas-licensed bank in the Gaza Strip has opened for business, a move that could help Palestinians in the territory bypass a financial blockade imposed by Israel and its Western allies. Hamas, the Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, has said it would not control the Islamic National Bank, an assertion disputed by its rivals in the Israeli-occupied West Bank where President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority is based.

Israel Razes Palestinian House In East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Joseph Nasr - April 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel demolished a Palestinian house in Arab East Jerusalem on Wednesday, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to take measures to promote peacemaking. Ammar Hudeidoun, 35, said Israeli bulldozers flattened his home in the Jabal Mukaber neighborhood after Israel's Jerusalem municipality said he did not have building permits. Palestinians say such authorization is almost impossible to obtain. A Jerusalem municipality spokeswoman declined comment.

Famed militant tries new tack as Jenin theater director
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - April 22, 2009 - 12:00am

The war being waged in Jenin over the last few days is completely different from the sort the West Bank city has known in recent years. It is a culture war between groups and individuals who wish to advance artistic projects, and those fighting them in the name of Islam. The entrance to the city's Freedom Theater, founded by actor Juliano Mer Khamis, was torched four days ago. Not long before that, a music center run by the al-Kamanjati organization also was set ablaze. An announcement at the city's mosque blasted Mer and theater employees as depraved and immoral. Advertisement

Hopes for the Pope
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - April 22, 2009 - 12:00am

In a few weeks' time several dozen Catholics, perhaps 100, will travel the checkpoint route from the Gaza Strip to Bethlehem in the West Bank in order to greet Pope Benedict XVI. The pope will not go to them; they will come to him - assuming that Israel keeps its word and permits them to leave the besieged Strip for several hours. In a recent letter to the Vatican 40 prominent Christians from the territories begged the Holy See to add Gaza City to the Pope's itinerary. They want to show him and the dozens of cameras that will record his visit the destruction left by Israel in the city.

Lieberman: Right of return makes Arab plan unacceptable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - April 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Wednesday his opposition to an Arab peace initiative stemmed from its demand for a "right of return" for Palestinian refugees to Israel proper. "The clause on the right of return cannot be agreed to," he declared at a cabinet meeting on the government's diplomatic policy. "This is a subject upon which there is wide agreement in the government and in the public as well." Lieberman's criticism of various peace efforts has stoked consternation in Israel and abroad.

Both Lebanon and Jordan need a solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
April 22, 2009 - 12:00am

The region's diplomatic agenda for this week contains an intriguing juxtaposition of state visits, for those interested in monitoring the developments under way in political realignments and efforts to solve long-standing disputes. Lebanon's President Michel Sleiman is in Ankara to meet top Turkish officials, while Jordan's King Abdullah is the first Arab leader to meet Barack Obama in the White House.

Jordan, US reiterate commitment to two-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Interview) April 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Following are remarks made by His Majesty King Abdull and US President Barack Obama in their joint press availability following their meeting at the White House on Tuesday:

Egypt spy chief to visit Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
April 22, 2009 - 12:00am

Egypt's chief of intelligence is to meet Israeli officials in what will be the first high-level talks between an Egyptian official and members of the Israeli government. Omar Suleiman will meet Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, on Wednesday in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. Suleiman's meeting with Barak will address Egyptian-Israeli policy on the two countries' border with Gaza, as well as Cairo's recent arrests of men alleged to have acted as agents for Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shia group.

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