Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel says no charges will be filed in the case of an American badly injured by occupation forces in the West Bank. Controversy continues over Israel's alleged use of white phosphorus in the Gaza war. The term of the Palestinian parliament expires. Hamas says prisoner negotiations with Israel have ended, and insists that it's not afraid of elections. Three explosive devices wash up on a beach in Israel. Iran blames Israel for the assassination of a Hamas operative in Dubai, but Hamas points to Arab killers. Jordan is criticized for stripping citizenship from Palestinians. Israel risks Muslim anger over holy site construction. The limited settlement moratorium is reportedly starting to have an impact. King Abdallah of Jordan urges more US peace efforts. Pres. Abbas is seeking a way to return to peace talks, and The National says people should heed his warnings. The UN presents evidence contradicting Israel's claims about Gaza war crimes. Palestinian politicians in Israel say they face persecution. Tariq Alhomayed asks whether Hamas is threatening Israel or the Arabs when it pledges revenge for the Dubai murder. Hussein Ibish analyzes the new PA budget for state and institution building.

No charges to be filed in case of American injured in protest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - February 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli officials have said they will not file charges against police involved in injuring Tristan Anderson, a U.S. resident who suffered brain damage when he was struck in the head with a tear gas canister during a West Bank protest in March. Anderson, 38, remains hospitalized in Israel. Officials said there was no criminal intent on the part of the police.

Israel admission on white phosphorus doesn't settle larger debate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - February 1, 2010 - 1:00am

The revelation by Israel that two senior military officers have been reprimanded for using white phosphorus in last year’s Gaza war has been met with both criticism and measured applause; Haaretz columnist Amos Harel welcomed it under the headline, “At Last, A Real Response.”

Palestinian parliament expires four years after Hamas electoral upset
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Erin Cunningham - January 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Four years after Hamas won an upset victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, prompting swift international sanctions and a Western-led diplomatic boycott, the mandate for the parliament it dominated officially expired on Monday. According to the Palestinian Constitution, new parliamentary elections should have been held Sunday, Jan. 24, in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But continued political division between the West Bank, governed by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA), and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, has delayed the elections indefinitely.

Swap talks over, Hamas official says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

Prisoner swap negotiations with Israel will be stopped for an undetermined period of time, a Hamas official said, blaming the alleged assassination of a military wing co-founder, Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh. A senior official in Hamas, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Saudi daily Ukath that the 20 January assassination, allegedly carried out by agents of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, thwarted talks aimed at securing the release of some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for one captured Israeli soldier.

Haniyeh: Hamas isn't afraid of elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

De facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Monday that Hamas seeks national reconciliation and is not afraid of elections "because we came to move forward and take responsibility and we will not back down under any circumstances." His remarks came during a ceremony honoring Gaza Transportation Minister Usama Al-Isawy. Haniyeh pointed out that the transportation sector has developed in a variety of ways, including new parking standards and the removal of unregistered cars, which he said once threatened residents' safety.

Explosive devices float onto Israeli beaches
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ori Lewis - February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

At least two explosive devices have washed up on Israeli beaches in what security officials described on Tuesday as an attempt by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip to attack Israel. On Monday, sappers detonated one such device on a Mediterranean beach in the southern city of Ashkelon a few kilometres (miles) north of the Gaza Strip, police said. Another was discovered further north on a beach in the port city of Ashdod.

Iran blames Israel for Hamas commander killing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Fredrik Dahl, Reza Derakhshi - February 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Iran blamed Israel on Tuesday for the killing of a Hamas commander in Dubai last month. Israel's government has declined official comment on the Jan. 20 death of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, which the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Friday announced as an assassination. But Israeli security sources linked him to rockets and other arms that reach Gaza from Iran. "This is another indication of the existence of state terrorism by the Zionist regime (Israel)," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference.

Jordan criticized for stripping Palestinian rights
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Dale Gavlak - February 1, 2010 - 1:00am

A U.S.-based human rights group criticized Jordan Monday for stripping the citizenship of nearly 3,000 Jordanians of Palestinian origin in recent years. Nearly half the kingdom's 6 million people are of Palestinian origin and Jordan fears that if Palestinians become the majority, it will disrupt the delicate demographic balance. Those concerns have been heightened by some Israeli hard-liners who argue that neighboring Jordan should become the Palestinian state and that more West Bank Palestinians should be pushed into Jordan.

Hamas: Dubai assassins were likely Arabs, not Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

A preliminary investigation conducted by Hamas suggests that the assassination of one of its officials in Dubai last month was likely carried out by agents of an Arab government, and not by Israel's Mossad spy agency. When Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas official reportedly behind the smuggling of Iranian arms to Gaza, was found dead in his hotel room on January 20, the organization was quick to point the finger at Israeli intelligence, vowing revenge attacks. But details of a Hamas inquiry passed to Haaretz reveal that Arab states, not Israel, now top the suspect list.

Netanyahu risks Muslim wrath over Jerusalem holy site
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

Will Netanyahu use a court decision to forgo a plan to alter the Mughrabi Gate? King Abdullah of Jordan is distancing himself from Israel's prime minister because of the violation of the status quo in East Jerusalem. The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is waiting in the corner for the slightest provocation against Islamic holy places by the Israeli government. The only trouble Benjamin Netanyahu is still missing is that of the Mughrabi Gate, at the entrance to the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary compound.

West Bank settlement growth slows as freeze starts to bite
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

The settlement freeze is having an impact, figures obtained by Haaretz reveal: In the second half of 2009, one third of all West Bank settlements experienced slower population growth than the average inside Israel - a larger proportion than during the first half.

Jordan king urges more peace efforts from Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

US President Barack Obama telephoned Jordan's King Abdullah II to discuss efforts to "overcome obstacles" facing the launch of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, the palace said. "The two leaders discussed Middle East developments, mainly efforts aimed at overcoming obstacles facing the launch of serious and effective Palestinian-Israeli negotiations in line with a two-state solution," a palace statement said.

Helping Abbas climb down the high tree
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - (Analysis) February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

If anyone sought proof that President Mahmoud Abbas was planning to return to the negotiating table with Israel in the near future, it was provided by the results of “public opinion” polls published in the past few days by a number of Fatah-controlled media outlets and an interview he gave to Britain’s Guardian newspaper. The polls are seen by many Palestinians as an attempt to prepare local public opinion for the possibility that the Palestinian Authority will soon resume the stalled peace talks with Israel.

UN find challenges Israeli version of attack on civilian building in Gaza war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - February 1, 2010 - 1:00am

A new Israeli report defending the military's conduct in the Gaza war was challenged tonight after evidence emerged apparently contradicting one of its key findings. Israel submitted a 46-page report to the UN on Friday saying its forces abided by international law throughout the three-week war last year. It was meant to avert the threat of international prosecutions and to challenge a highly critical UN inquiry by South African judge Richard Goldstone, which accused both Israel and Hamas of "grave breaches" of the fourth Geneva convention, war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Arab politicians 'facing increased persecution’ in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

Leaders of the Arab minority in Israel warned this week that they were facing an unprecedented campaign of persecution, backed by the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu, designed to stop their political activities. The warning came after Said Nafaa, a Druze member of the Israeli parliament was stripped of his immunity last week, clearing the way for him to be tried for a visit to Syria three years ago.

A dismal and serious view from Mr Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) February 1, 2010 - 1:00am

It would be easy to dismiss the recent warning by the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, that the peace agenda he advocates risks irrelevance if the relentless Israeli colonisation of Palestinian land does not cease. After all, Mr Abbas has repeatedly raised alarm bells and threatened to leave his position over the stalemated peace process with Israel, only to stay in place. But as the beleaguered leader of an occupied people and a man who has rejected armed struggle in favour of negotiation, Mr Abbas deserves a hearing.

Hamas is Threatening Who?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) February 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Following the assassination of Qassam Brigades leading figure Mahmoud al Mabhouh in his [hotel] room in Dubai, the leaders of Hamas came out threatening and promising to avenge his death. This is understandable and only expected due to the nature of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; however what was not clear was whether Hamas was threatening revenge on Israel or was threatening to violate the land of Arab countries.

A real plan to build Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

Two weeks ago the Palestinian Authority issued a detailed budget for the state and institution-building programme it adopted last August. The programme calls for Palestinians to unilaterally build the administrative, economic and institutional framework of an independent state in spite of the Israeli occupation and as a peaceful, constructive means of countering it.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017