Middle East News: World Press Roundup

National Security Advisor Jones meets Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as the US and Egypt reiterate their determination to restart negotiations. Israel says it's open to "proximity talks." Jordan arrests a taxi driver on suspicion of placing a roadside bomb that misses an Israeli diplomatic convoy. Palestinian reconciliation talks are stalled. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is stymieing potential marriages. International tourists are flocking to see the West Bank separation barrier and meet Palestinian nonviolent protesters, two of whom have been released from jail by Israel. Turkey reportedly warns Lebanon of a possible Israeli attack. Elections for the Kadima leadership may be held soon. The National describes Israel's handling of relations with Turkey as "immature," but Hassan Haidar says Arab hopes for a major rift are unrealistic. Miko Peled says the US and Israel must move in the direction of Palestinian independence. Abdel-Moneim Said writes a second article denouncing those who are more interested in attacking Egypt than helping the Palestinians.

US security envoy meets Israeli, Palestinian leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — US President Barack Obama's national security adviser James Jones held talks with Palestinian and Israeli leaders on Thursday aimed at furthering US-led peace efforts. "Jones confirmed Obama's determination to arrive at a comprehensive peace in the Middle East despite the difficulties, and said the key to peace in the region is to resolve the Palestinian issue," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP after Jones met president Mahmud Abbas.

Obama's second try at Mideast peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
(Editorial) January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

Last year, the Obama administration urged Israel and Arab players in the region to take several interim steps that might create enough confidence to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table. For lack of sufficient step-taking by all sides, it didn’t work. Rather than regroup and suggest another series of steps – because that’s how progress in the Middle East tends to move, incrementally – the administration is now looking to take a giant leap forward.

Bomb in Jordan Misses Convoy of Israeli Diplomats
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Charles Levinson - January 15, 2010 - 1:00am

A roadside bomb exploded near a convoy of vehicles carrying Israeli diplomats in Jordan on Thursday, but no one was injured, according to Israeli and Jordanian officials. "All I can say at this moment is there was an attack that targeted an Israeli embassy vehicle," foreign-ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. "The Israeli embassy staff in the vehicle were not injured. The vehicle proceeded." A senior Israeli official said Israel's ambassador to Jordan, Danny Nevo, wasn't in the convoy, but refused to specify who was.

U.S. tells Abbas pushing hard for Mideast talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

Earlier, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made clear he still wants U.S. President Barack Obama to press Israel to halt all expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem before he would consider new negotiations. U.S. national security advisor Jim Jones told Abbas in Ramallah that Washington was "trying very hard to find a way to resume the negotiations," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Reuters after the meeting.

Egypt works on resuming Palestinian-Israeli negotiations soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

CAIRO, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Egypt is now working to create some common ground between the Palestinians and Israel so as to resume their talks in the near future, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki on Thursday. Egypt's official MENA news agency quoted Zaki as saying that negotiations based on a U.S. vision for the final settlement is what Egypt is working to achieve. "We hope to see the U.S. move in this direction," he said, adding that Egypt is talking with all parties in coordination with Washington.

Fatah-Hamas dialogue idle as Hamas says 2010 the year of reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly - January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party said Thursday it will not hold talks with rival Hamas unless it accepts an Egyptian-drafted pact for national reconciliation. The statement dimmed Hamas' hope of a dialogue with its rival despite that deposed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haneya said the year 2010 will be a year of reconciliation.

MIDEAST: Will You Marry Poor Me
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Eva Bartlett - January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

The Israeli siege imposed shortly after Hamas's election in early 2006 has ruled out marriage for many. Palestinians traditionally marry young, between 18 and 25, but more and more now pass their mid-twenties single. With unemployment levels above 45 percent, and the price of most goods doubled or more, living, and marrying, are becoming unaffordable.

Occupation tourism: A new trend at West Bank fence protest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Coby Ben-Simhon - January 15, 2010 - 1:00am

An old man in a black galabia who is leaning on a walking stick catches the attention of Ferdino Madno. In the center of Bil'in, while waiting for the start of the weekly demonstration against the separation fence, Madno, 41, scurries around with two cameras slung over his shoulders.

Report: Turkey warns Lebanon that Israel may be planning attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week warned Lebanese leaders that Israel may be planning an attack on its northern neighbor, Lebanese sources told the London-based Arabic language daily A-Sharq al-Awsat on Thursday. At a meeting in Ankara with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and President Michel Suleiman on Monday, Erdogan declared that Israel was endangering world peace by using exaggerated force against the Palestinians, breaching Lebanon's air space and waters and for not revealing the details of its nuclear program.

Report: Jordan attack suspect nabbed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - January 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Jordanian security forces apprehended a taxi driver suspected of planting the explosive device detonated near an Israeli diplomatic convey traveling from Amman to Israel, the al-Arabiya network reported Thursday evening. The report is based on eyewitness accounts, the network said.

Mofaz: Kadima elections coming soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Tova Dadon - January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

Kadima members will soon be called upon to vote in the party primary elections, Knesset Member Shaul Mofaz told supporters Thursday during a meeting in southern Israel. "Prepare to be called to vote soon; this is for Kadima's future and for the State of Israel's future," the party's leadership hopeful, who is hoping to dethrone current Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, told the audience of about 150 people. During the meeting, Mofaz continued to slam Livni's policy, charging that Kadima is facing an absence of leadership and a party rift.

U.S. Policy Shift Seen As Direct Israeli-Palestinian Talks May Be Near
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Week
by James D. Besser - January 12, 2010 - 1:00am

The Obama administration is set to open a new chapter in Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy with a shift to quiet, below-the-radar negotiations and a new diplomatic juggling act for special envoy George Mitchell.

Israel’s immaturity cause for concern
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

If the Turkish ambassador to Israel was surprised by his humiliation at the hands of Danny Ayalon, he should not have been. This is what the deputy Israeli foreign minister considers his job. He is no suave advocate for Israel, like the media spokesman Mark Regev. He takes his cue instead from his boss, Avigdor Lieberman, engaging in diplomacy with all the tact that might be expected of a Moldovan nightclub bouncer.

Israel Loses Its Temper
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Hassan Haidar - (Opinion) January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

It seems that Israel is unable to comprehend the transformation that took place in Turkey. Or rather, it did comprehend it but lost its temper because it refuses to believe that it is about to lose a key ally in the region in the blink of an eye. Turkey seems confident, firmly implementing the new course of its foreign policy without clamor or awkward positions like those of Iran. Instead, it deals in its capacity as a regional superpower that relies on its history and present, and seeks to contain the junior players in the region, including Israel.

A U.S. ‘charade’ in peace effort
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The San Diego Union-Tribune
by Miko Peled - (Opinion) January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian national struggle continues to be largely ignored by the Obama administration. Our new president has failed to bring a new approach. As has been the case for the last 40 years, Palestinian attempts to settle the conflict through diplomacy are ignored or downplayed. When violence erupts, Palestinians are blamed and labeled terrorists. The United States maintains the charade that peace in Israel/Palestine is a priority and every new administration promises to bring the much-promised peace to the region only to fall into the same pattern of inaction and excuse-making.

Israel Releases Palestinian Boycott Activists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Benjamin Joffe-Walt - January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

International campaign ends in release of two prominent Palestinian activists. A prominent West Bank activist said by Palestinian groups to be the first Palestinian imprisoned for promoting an international boycott of Israel has been released after being detained by Israel for over 100 days without charge. Mohammad Othman, a 34 year old resident of the West Bank village of Jayyous, was released Wednesday after 113 days in Israeli custody.

Defending Egypt II
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
(Opinion) January 14, 2010 - 1:00am

Since the founding of the modern Egyptian state and with the dissemination and growth of the mass media, Egyptians have sympathised with the oppressed peoples and nations of the world. For two centuries or more, the majority of our people felt that to side with the cause of justice in the region and elsewhere was not only to defend what was morally right but to defend Egypt as well, as Egypt had for centuries been victim of various forms of tyranny and aggression.

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