Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Jackson Diehl says the Obama administration may not have learned hard lessons about Middle East peace. The LA Times says conditions are not ripe for a new Palestinian uprising and that recent attacks are testing new Israeli security measures. Sec. Clinton urges the parties to resume negotiations. Special Envoy Mitchell says the US could reduce aid to Israel to induce cooperation on peace. Israel launches airstrikes that kill 3 in Gaza, issues threats to Palestinians, and is considering recognizing more unauthorized settlements. Gideon Levy says Israel's behavior can only be explained by psychiatrists. Israel is building a fence along its border with Egypt. The PA demands an apology from an extremist cleric who raised the possibility of stoning Pres. Abbas. PM Netanyahu criticizes Palestinian security forces. The Guardian profiles Palestinian refugees. The National says peace is still possible, the Jordan Times says Israel must agree to a settlement freeze and the Arab News says that Israel may use a two-year time-frame to increase settlements.

U.S. ambition alone won't forge Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Jackson Diehl - (Opinion) January 11, 2010 - 1:00am

Give George Mitchell points for perseverance, at least. Last year the attempt by President Obama's Middle East envoy to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, with an ambitious two-year deadline, was an embarrassing flop. Neither Israelis nor Palestinians showed much interest in new negotiations. As the world watched, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu forced the administration to retreat from its demand for a complete freeze on settlement building, while Saudi King Abdullah directly rebuffed Obama after he traveled to Riyadh to ask for a gesture to Israel.

In West Bank, conditions 'not ripe' for Palestinian uprising
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Opinion) January 10, 2010 - 1:00am

Born in a refugee camp in this restive West Bank city, Ammar Arafat threw his first stone at 13. At 15, he was jailed for scaling the fence at an Israeli military camp with explosives under his shirt. Upon release, he took up arms again and landed back in prison. Freshly out of jail for the second time, Arafat, 20, is mulling his next move. But nowadays, he has traded in his explosives vest for a designer military jacket with shiny Armani buttons. A more mature Arafat said he wants to enroll in college, find work as a Palestinian police officer and build a stable life.

Palestinian attacks test Israel's quick-retaliation policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Analysis) January 9, 2010 - 1:00am

A recent spate of cross- border and mortar attacks by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip -- the worst in a year -- is testing Israel's resolve to strike back hard against such provocation. But it remains to be seen whether the get-tough approach will hinder or escalate violence, analysts and officials said Friday. Israeli military planes struck several Gaza targets early Friday, including what Israeli officials described as the first air attack on Gaza City in nearly a year.

Clinton urges Israel, Palestinians to plunge into talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Paul Richter - (Analysis) January 9, 2010 - 1:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday urged Palestinians and Israelis to plunge into negotiations over the most difficult issues dividing them as a way of breaking an impasse in peace talks. Clinton said negotiations on major issues, such as the borders of a future Palestinian state or the status of Jerusalem, would help defuse the dispute over the growth of Jewish settlements in the West Bank that has obstructed progress toward peace. "Resolving borders resolves settlements," Clinton said at the State Department. "Resolving Jerusalem resolves settlements."

Israel shrugs off Mitchell's loan threat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - (Analysis) January 11, 2010 - 1:00am

Jerusalem — Israeli officials on Sunday tried to downplay tensions looming with the United States after George Mitchell, the Obama administration's Middle East envoy, suggested in a PBS interview that the US could consider withholding support for loan guarantees for Israel.

Medics: Israeli strike kills 3 in central Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Editorial) January 11, 2010 - 1:00am

Gaza - Ma'an - At least three Palestinians were killed by Israeli aircraft fire in central Gaza early Sunday evening, medics reported. They were identified as Hasan Al-Qatarawi,22, and Awad Nasir, 29, both from from Deir Al-Balah, as well as Hudayfa Hams, 23, from Nusseirat refugee camp. All three were transferred to Al-Aqsa Hospital in Gaza City, according to Muawiya Hassanein, the Gaza Health Ministry's director of ambulance and emergency services.

Israel considers giving legal status to two illegal West Bank outposts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - (Analysis) January 11, 2010 - 1:00am

After four and a half years of government promises to destroy the two West Bank settlements of Hayovel and Harsha, the High Court of Justice said yesterday that it intends to examine conditions on the ground there, potentially paving the way for their formal recognition.

'Watch your step,' Barak warns Hamas over renewed Gaza rocket fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury - (Analysis) January 11, 2010 - 1:00am

Addressing an increase of rocket fire into Israel from Gaza, Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday advised Gaza's Hamas rulers to "watch their step, and not to cry crocodile tears if they force [Israel] to take action." Army Radio on Monday quoted Israeli security experts as saying that Hamas has lessened its determination to prevent the rocket fire from Gaza, due to growing dissent in the coastal strip.

Only psychiatrists can explain Israel's behavior
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) January 10, 2010 - 1:00am

Our wild world of crime has recently been sent for observation. From the bodyguard of the IDF Chief of Staff to the killers of their own children - all have been sent for observation. The time has come, as is the custom around here, to send the country for observation, too. Maybe with ongoing treatment from specialists, the diagnosis that will save us can be made.

Hamas fears Gaza fence part of three-way siege
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - (Analysis) January 11, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip have admitted that they are concerned over the Egyptian underground barrier under construction along the Gaza-Egypt border. The fence is expected to reach a depth of 18 meters (59 feet), and span 10 km (about 6 miles), and threatens to strangle the Strip's only lifeline – the smuggling tunnels. Hamas fears that via this channel, Egypt is joining the Palestinian Authority and Israel in creating a three-way siege on the Strip that would severely hurt the movement.

PA demands apology from Egyptian cleric
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - (Analysis) January 11, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority on Sunday demanded a public apology from one of the most prominent Islamic scholars, who called for stoning President Mahmoud Abbas to death. Egyptian scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi said that if it is proven that Abbas had instigated Operation Cast Lead against the Gaza Strip, he must be stoned.

Netanyahu complains about PA security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - (Analysis) January 11, 2010 - 1:00am

After months of praising the work of the Palestinian security forces in the West Bank, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a delegation of US senators on Sunday that while active against Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the PA security forces "have trouble going against their own renegades." Netanyahu was referring to the recent murder near Shavei Shomron of Rabbi Meir Avshalom Hai by members of Fatah's Aksa Martyrs Brigade.

A difficult path to peace can still be travelled
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) January 10, 2010 - 1:00am

Judging from the intense activity on the Arab-Israeli peace front in recent weeks, there is reason for cautious hope that the current paralysis will end soon. The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was recently in Cairo meeting the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers met the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and the peace envoy George Mitchell last week, while Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, visited Cairo, Riyadh and Damascus.

The American Way out and Arab Divisions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Abdullah Iskandar - (Opinion) January 10, 2010 - 1:00am

On the occasion of her talks with Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Washington last Friday, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to palter about the real obstacle to resuming the Palestinian peace process. Prior to the visit of the US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell to the region, she relegated the problem of the ongoing Israeli settlements – on Palestinian territory designed to be part of the prospective Palestinian State– into a theoretical or even an academic issue.

What makes sense
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) January 11, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinians are right to refuse a return to negotiations with Israel unless there is a total halt to settlement construction in the occupied territories. To continue negotiations as Israel continues devouring Palestinian lands to build and expand settlements means having less and less land to negotiate over.

Editorial: Another US Initiative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) January 11, 2010 - 1:00am

Is it any wonder that the Palestinians are insisting on a full settlement freeze before renewing peace efforts?

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