Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel is accused of restricting access to Palestinian detainees. A Ha'aretz commentary says Israel is alienating its Arab citizens. Fatah leaders are concerned about Israel's commitment to security cooperation. Israel's comptroller says it has failed on Arab public diplomacy. A Jerusalem Post analysis says Saudi Arabia will not succeed in crafting an independent Arab alliance in the Middle East. A Guardian commentary decries the situation facing Palestinians in Hebron. Elliott Abrams says the focus should be on developing the West Bank rather than peace talks. The Forward looks at rising mistrust between the US and Israel in recent weeks. The Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem is slammed for selling land in the occupied territories to Israel. Ali Ibrahim says Egypt has a right to defend its borders. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzuq. A commentary in the Gulf News says the US must get tough on Israel, and the Jordan Times says Pres. Abbas is right to be wary of negotiating with PM Netanyahu. Daoud Kuttab reflects on the Palestinian need for dignity. Saudi Arabia and China say Israel is scuttling peace efforts. Internecine Palestinian violence spreads from the occupied territories to Lebanon. An ATFP original translation of a Hassan Al-Battal commentary argues that Islamists are degrading the centrality of the Palestinian question.

Israel restricts Palestinian lawyers' access to West Bank detainees
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel is prohibiting Palestinian lawyers and the relatives of Palestinian detainees from reaching a military tribunal via the Beitunia checkpoint west of Ramallah.

No entry for Arabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avirama Golan - (Opinion) January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

Anyone observing Israel these days - and the hazing to which the Turkish ambassador was subjected is only the latest example - sees the neighborhood bully. Anyone who cares about self-preservation will stay away from this hard-hearted, dull-witted madman whose sole guiding principle is "national honor" - or in other words, sowing strife and dissension that undermines the state's interests.

Fatah fears Israel to renounce security agreements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - January 13, 2010 - 1:00am

Fatah activists fear Israel will renounce security agreements signed with the Palestinian Authority, as part of which many Palestinian gunmen were granted amnesty. The concern was raised following the assassination of three organization members involved in the shooting attack that killed Rabbi Avshalom Meir Hai near the West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron. Two of those killed were gunmen pardoned by the Jewish state.

The first Hebrew ghetto
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Aviad Kleinberg - January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

“Eventually, there will be no choice but to fence Israel in on all directions,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a closed-door session (which was immediately reported, as is common in Israel.) “The country will have to be fully fenced on all directions." “On all directions.” “Fully.” A fortified island, armed to the teeth, surrounded by minefields and fences, high cement walls, and suspicion.

'PMO, Foreign Ministry failed at hasbara'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

Citing a major failure, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss slammed the Prime Minister's Office and the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday for not creating an effective Arab-language public diplomacy team. In a report released Wednesday, the comptroller said that the lack of Arabic speakers to address the relevant media was a "national failure" that was demonstrated during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last year. The government also failed to set up proper radio stations that could be used to transmit Israel's message to the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Lebanon and Syria.

Analysis: Saudis seek illusory 'third way' in regional diplomacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jonathan Spyer - (Opinion) January 13, 2010 - 1:00am

Syrian President Bashar Assad is reportedly scheduled to visit the Saudi capital Riyadh, where he is to meet with Saudi King Abdullah. The meeting is rumored to be a prelude to a three way summit also to involve Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The current round of talks is the latest stage in Syria's return from the cold in terms of its reintegration - on its own terms and with no concessions made - into the mainstream of Arab diplomacy. This process, in turn, is testimony to the current weakness of Saudi Arabia's position.

Focus on West Bank, Not Negotiating
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Council On Foreign Relations
(Interview) January 13, 2010 - 1:00am

Elliott Abrams, a CFR expert who served as a senior Middle East adviser in the George W. Bush administration, says he questions the chances for a breakthrough in efforts to negotiate a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

Why the Mistrust Between U.S. and Israel?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - (Opinion) January 13, 2010 - 1:00am

Washington — Like a couple that just can’t get along, even when they agree, Washington and Jerusalem have spent early January locked in squabbles. Beneath the media radar, the America-Israel strategic relationship is flourishing after running into problems at the end of President George W. Bush’s tenure, according to Israel’s Washington ambassador, Michael Oren. Yet, relations between Jerusalem and Washington are still marred with problems of miscommunication fed by mutual suspicion.

West Bank land sales by Church spur uproar
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - January 13, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH // The Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem is once again being rocked by controversy over alleged land sales to Israeli investors in the West Bank. So incensed is the local Palestinian orthodox community that Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, had to be accompanied by security guards in full riot gear when he arrived in Bethlehem last week to celebrate Christmas.

More Like “Tunnel Supervisor”
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali Ibrahim - (Opinion) January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

No level-headed politician, who wants to gain regional and international legitimacy, can justify illegitimate or illegal activity without risking his credibility. Therefore, it was very odd that the head of the Hamas politburo Khaled Mishal said that smuggling goods via the tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Rafah in Egypt is a legitimate trade that benefits both sides.

Asharq Al-Awsat Talks to Hamas's Musa Abu Marzuq
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali El-saleh - (Interview) January 13, 2010 - 1:00am

London, Asharq Al-Awsat- In a telephone interview with Asharq Al-Awsat from his headquarters in Damascus, Abu Marzuq Deputy Chairman of the Hamas politburo talks about Khaled Mishal’s recent visit to Riyadh, the issue of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah and Egyptian mediation, the Arab role in the reconciliation process, the deal to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. [Asharq Al-Awsat] Was Khaled Mishal’s visit to Saudi Arabia not the first of its kind by a Hamas official since the Mecca Agreement was concluded in March 2006?

Obama must put pressure on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

Barack Obama does not want to resort to using the stick, although this approach has been effective in the past, especially in settling Arab-Israeli disputes. This was pointed out by his special Middle East envoy, George J. Mitchell, when he recalled that recent US presidents have done so with notable success. Obama may yet be forced to change his mind. One reason for this is the arrogance of the right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who declared on Tuesday that Israel would never cede control of Occupied Jerusalem nor retreat to the 1967 armistice lines.

To get nearer to peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Opinion) January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a slippery sort. One day he goes to Cairo and impresses officials there with his willingness to talk about all issues, issues he would apparently never have talked about before. This causes the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Abul Gheit, to go out and say that Israel is ready for serious negotiations, which obviously include the future of Jerusalem, the eastern part of which is illegally occupied territory.

‘Karameh’ for Palestinians at a time of indignity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

Although the Arabic word karameh simply means dignity, it has become an expression that has many more usages and meanings.

‘Israel scuttling peace efforts’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Ghazanfar Ali Khan - January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and China called on Israel on Wednesday to comply with UN resolutions and create a conducive atmosphere to restart peace talks. Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, addressing a joint news conference with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, said Israel was trying to prevent a settlement of the Middle East conflict and warned Tel Aviv against “swallowing Palestinian lands.”

Inter-Palestinian Fighting Spreads to Lebanon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Report
by Rachelle Kliger - January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

A row between the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a clan affiliated with Fatah has turned violent as both sides claim control over a mosque in a Beirut suburb. The Furqan Mosque, located in the southern suburb of the Lebanese capital, has become a new battleground for the intra-Palestinian struggle. Two people were lightly wounded in a brawl between the parties on Tuesday, according to Lebanese news reports.

ATFP Original Translation: “Not through a narrow prism!”
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ayyam
by Hassan Al-Battal - (Opinion) January 9, 2010 - 1:00am

One can excuse the Palestinians for viewing the problems of Middle East and terrorism through their own narrow prism. This is precisely the same prism they are using to view the recent events of Rafah and Al-Arish.

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