Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Several articles examine prospects for renewed peace negotiations. PM Fayyad pledges to remove all settlement products from the Palestinian economy. The IDF will seek legal advice during future armed conflicts. Saudi Arabia backs Egypt's plan for new negotiations. The "Popular Resistance Committee" pledges vengeance after an Israeli attack kills one of its senior leaders. The US government says Israeli settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem is harming prospects for peace. PM Netanyahu urges the international community to pressure Palestinians to return to negotiations. Egyptian police clash with international protesters. The Forward reviews Joe Sacco's new graphic novel about an Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza in the 1950s. Hamas is under popular pressure to reconcile with Fatah. Emile Hokayem says both Israel and Hezbollah are preparing for a new conflict. Tariq Alhomayed says that Saudis will judge Hamas by their deeds and not their words.

Fresh US push for Mideast peace: 'More like jazz than chess'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - (Analysis) January 5, 2010 - 1:00am

Tel Aviv The US is launching a fresh diplomatic push to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, this time with the help of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as a go-between. Top officials have held a flurry of high-level meetings in Egypt this week. But Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is digging in his heels for a full freeze on Jewish settlement activity in the West Bank before restarting negotiations. Israel is balking at agreeing to a deadline for a peace deal.

Restarting Mideast Peace Talks: Back to the Treadmill?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Tony Karon - (Opinion) January 6, 2010 - 1:00am

The Middle East peace process is a lot like a daytime TV soap opera — it has repeated the same dramatic formula for two decades and looks set to continue in the same vein, never reaching a denouement. Word from the region ahead of next week's visit by the Obama Administration's special envoy, the retired Senator George Mitchell, is that the U.S. plans to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks on a two-year deadline for the creation of a Palestinian state. That time frame was immediately dismissed as unrealistic by Israel's Foreign Minister. Skeptics might remember that President George W.

Fayyad: PA will clear West Bank of settlement products
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Editorial) January 6, 2010 - 1:00am

Salfit – Ma'an – Before tossing goods made in Israeli settlements into a fire on Tuesday, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad affirmed the dedication of the Palestinian Authority to ridding local markets of the goods, and ridding the West Bank of the settlements entirely. The products being tossed were all found in the Salfit municipality, southeast of Nablus. They were found on trucks and in shops in the district, and would have been for sale to Palestinians. Much of the time goods from settlements are discounted or spoiled.

IDF to seek legal advice during future conflicts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - (Analysis) January 6, 2010 - 1:00am

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has issued an order requiring the Israel Defense Forces to consult with the army's legal advisers while military operations are underway and not just when they are being planned. Ashkenazi imposed the stricter regulations despite opposition by several commanders, including members of the General Staff.

Saudi Arabia backs Egyptian plan for renewed peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Zvi Barel - (Analysis) January 6, 2010 - 1:00am

Saudi Arabia is adopting an Egyptian plan for the resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and is trying to rally Syrian support for the continuation of the negotiations process. Egyptian sources told Haaretz Tuesday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "has expressed willingness to accept the Egyptian plan on condition that it will also enjoy the support of Arab leaders, which is the reason of the Egyptian and Saudi effort to rally broader Arab support so that Abbas will have the necessary backing."

PRC threatens to avenge 'occupation's crimes'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - (Analysis) January 6, 2010 - 1:00am

The Popular Resistance Committees organization threatened Wednesday to forcefully avenge an Israel Defense Forces airstrike Tuesday night, which left a senior group member killed and four group members injured. The organization's spokesman, Abu Mujahed, said that PRC would respond "to this crime" when the time is right. "We will not sit idle in light of the ongoing crimes of the Zionist occupation against our Palestinian people," he added.

US: East J'lem housing hampers peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger, Tovah Lazaroff - (Analysis) January 6, 2010 - 1:00am

The US accused Israel on Wednesday of damaging the peace process when it approved the construction of four new buildings in a Palestinian area on east Jerusalem's Mount of Olives a day earlier. "We have noted that these types of announcements and activity harm peace efforts," a US State Department official told The Jerusalem Post. Still, the harsh response was more measured than several previous US criticisms of plans to build in east Jerusalem.

PM: World must press PA to return to talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - (Analysis) January 6, 2010 - 1:00am

The international community has to stop "coddling" the Palestinians and tell them unequivocally that they need to return to the negotiating table, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a visiting US congressional delegation on Tuesday. Netanyahu told the delegation, led by Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), that the refusal of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to enter negotiations is bad for the PA, pushes peace further away, and only strengthens Hamas.

Egypt police clash with Gaza aid convoy activists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
(Editorial) January 6, 2010 - 1:00am

More than 50 people have been hurt in clashes between Egyptian police and pro-Palestinian activists seeking to take a convoy of supplies to Gaza. Protests reportedly broke out when Egyptian authorities at the port city of Al Arish ordered some lorries to go via an Israeli-controlled checkpoint. British MP George Galloway, leading the convoy, told Reuters that Israel was likely to prevent them entering Gaza. The activists want all the goods to be sent via Egypt's Rafah crossing.

Guileless in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Eddy Portnoy - (Opinion) January 5, 2010 - 1:00am

It is difficult not to be impressed by Joe Sacco’s “Footnotes in Gaza.” A unique journalistic product, Sacco’s latest book offers an in-depth look at disputed events that took place after the Israelis occupied Gaza at the beginning of the aborted British-French-Israeli attack on Egypt in 1956. Perhaps these are neglected “footnotes” in the history of this pitiful strip of land, but Sacco makes them central as he assiduously researches the events.

Hamas holds out olive branch to Fatah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Erin Cunningham - (Opinion) January 5, 2010 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY // Hamas’s announcement this week that it is on the verge of signing a reconciliation deal with Fatah may be a reaction to rising sentiment on Gaza’s streets – and even among its own ranks – that it is time for the Islamist movement to reconcile with its secular rivals in the West Bank. The group’s political chief, Khaled Meshaal, based in Damascus, said this week in Saudi Arabia that his movement is in the final stages of reconciliation with Fatah, after three years of division split the Palestinian territories into two enclaves run by the respective movements.

For Israel, was 2009 just the calm before the storm?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Emile Hokayem - (Analysis) January 6, 2010 - 1:00am

It was a good year for Israel. Beyond the paralysis on the peace-process front in 2009, for which the hardline Israeli prime minister can claim credit, Israel has had the quietest year since the beginning of the second intifada. Its territory was kept secure and fewer Israelis were killed and injured (although more than 1,500 Palestinians lost their lives at Israeli hands in the meantime).

Saudi Arabia…Mishal and the Removal of Doubts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) January 5, 2010 - 1:00am

Did [Hamas chief] Khalid Mishal arrive in Riyadh to announce the selling of Iran, or did he come to sell us another illusion? Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal described his talks with Mishal as being "focused on removing doubts about the role that it [Hamas] is playing in our region." I liked the comment made by Mr. Turki Al Sudairi, the editor of the "al-Riyadh" newspaper when he said on the "Ekhbariya" news channel that "these doubts are equivalent to the population of the Arab world."

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