Middle East News: World Press Roundup

ATFP President Ziad Asali explains the Palestinian state and institution building program. At a major conference in Israel, PM Fayyad demands an end to the occupation, and DM Barak says without peace, Israel will be an apartheid state. Hamas says it may broaden the conflict with Israel. Israel is still considering options on a prisoner exchange. Hamas submits its response to the Goldstone report. A senior Fatah leader makes a goodwill visit to Gaza. A third "barrel bomb" washes up on an Israeli beach, and Israel bombs a Gaza smuggling tunnel in response. Dubai warns Israel, Hamas. A Ha'aretz commentary says fear of peace will be the death of Israel. Israeli officers and international experts say the Israeli military violated the rules of war by placing soldiers lives ahead of civilians. Special Envoy Mitchell reportedly urges Europeans to push for renewed negotiations.

Paving the Way for Palestinian Statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Progress
(Interview) February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

Ziad Asali, president & founder, American Task Force on Palestine. Interview with Middle East Bulletin. Can you tell us a little bit about the newly released report, “Palestine: Moving Forward, Priority Interventions for 2010”? What are the core principles behind it? How to does it relate to the original August cabinet document?

Palestinian premier speaks at Israeli conference
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

Before Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad stepped on stage here Tuesday before a gathering of Israeli intellectuals and policymakers, he had already been likened to Israel's founder, David Ben-Gurion, vilified as the leader of a movement bent on undermining the peace process and dismissed as a technocrat without popular support. But his presence here -- at a packed conference in the heart of Israel, in a town named after the founder of modern Zionism -- perhaps said as much as any comment about the role he has played as the Palestinians' chief go-between with Israel and the West.

Hamas threatens to take fight against Israel beyond Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Erin Cunningham - February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

In the wake of a Hamas claim on Friday that Israeli agents assassinated one of its operatives in Dubai last week, the Islamist movement is vowing to take revenge against the Jewish state for the militant’s death – even if it means going abroad. Hamas officials from Damascus, Syria, and the Gaza Strip are threatening to match what they say is Israel's expansion of the conflict to foreign countries.

Israel mulls freeing Hamas 'underwear bomber'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Erin Cunningham - February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

In a bedroom overlooking Jabaliya refugee camp's narrow, potholed streets, an array of new cosmetics and a hairbrush are lined up neatly in anticipation of a daughter's early release from prison. Next to a portrait of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, a framed photo of Wafa al-Biss looks out into the room she has not seen since being arrested at the Israeli border with 20 pounds of explosives sewn into her underwear in 2005. She was 21 years old. In the photo, Wafa is dressed in bluejeans, heavy makeup, and a lace head scarf. She is unsmiling, almost defiant.

Israel must "roll back" and end occupation: Fayyad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

Addressing an audience alongside Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, Salam Fayyad said rolling back should start by ending army incursions in the West Bank, where the Palestinians aim to establish their state, along with Gaza. "Unfortunately those incursions continue," Fayyad told the Herzliya Conference, which annually attracts prominent figures in the Israeli political and diplomatic establishment.

Hamas gives U.N. response to Gaza war crimes report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

The Islamist group Hamas on Wednesday formally rejected allegations it had committed war crimes during last year's fighting in Gaza, charges made in a United Nations report. Hamas officials said the group set out in a 52-page response handed to a U.N. official in Gaza that the killing of three Israeli civilians in rocket attacks during Israel's Dec. 27, 2008-Jan. 18, 2009 offensive was an accident and military installations had been targeted.

Fatah leader visits Gaza in goodwill trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Rizek Abdel Jawad - February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

A senior Fatah leader is visiting Gaza for the first time since the territory was seized by Fatah's Islamic militant Hamas rivals in 2007. Nabil Shaath, a Gaza native, said Wednesday that his three-day trip is meant to improve the atmosphere between the two factions. Repeated attempts at reconciliation have failed. Shaath handed his passport to Hamas border guards for registration, in a symbolic recognition of Hamas authority. Shaath says the trip has the blessing of Fatah's leader, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Police destroy third 'barrel bomb' washed ashore south of Tel Aviv
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yuval Azoulay, Anshel Pfeffer - February 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Police on Wednesday said they had destroyed the third explosive device washed ashore in Israel this week. Bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion at Palmachim beach, some 10 kilometers south of Tel Aviv, police said. Two barrels packed with explosive charges were picked up on Israeli beaches at Ashkelon and Ashdod on Monday. Two more are believed to have exploded on the shores of the Gaza Strip.

Dubai warns Mossad, Hamas against covert operations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

Dubai warned Israeli intelligence as well as Hamas of working "behind its back" on Wednesday, in the wake of the assassination of Hamas strongman Mahmoud al-Mabhouh last month. Dubai police chief Dahi Halfan warned international intelligence agencies from working "behind our back," saying anyone who did so "should be wary of his own back. Halfan added that that threat was also applicable "to any intelligence organization around the world, whether Mossad, Hamas or any other agency."

Fear of peace will be the death of Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

As the grandson of anarchists, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for fanatics. Expressions of extremism, and passionately reasoned, exquisitely twisted world views make me feel, how shall I put this, at home. So it was with a certain relish that I approached the cover story of a recent issue of Commentary, "The Deadly Price of Pursuing Peace," written as it was by a talented colleague and friend, Evelyn Gordon.

IDF risked civilians to save soldiers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

The IDF risked the lives of Palestinian civilians in order to minimize the risk posed to its soldiers during Operation Cast Lead, the Independent quoted "a high-ranking" IDF officer as saying in a report published Wednesday. The officer, who reportedly served as a commander during the war in Gaza, acknowledged that following the heavy casualties in the Second Lebanon War, the IDF went beyond its previous rules of engagement on the protection of civilian lives in order to minimize military casualties.

Salam Fayyad: Occupation must end
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

In a rare speech to an Israeli audience, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Tuesday that Israel must show the Palestinians that it is beginning to roll back the occupation, and that the way to do that is primarily by stopping both settlement construction and IDF incursions into Palestinian areas.

Finally, some Palestinian responsibility
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Einat Wilf - (Opinion) February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

The Israeli leadership has recently turned its attention – even if contemptuously – to the possible threat of a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. Regardless of whether such a move will take place or not, the real issue is not in the declaration itself but in the possibility that it points to a deeper cultural change among the Palestinians – a change which was also noted with the participation of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad Tuesday night in the 2010 Herzliya Conference and his subsequent speech.

Barak: make peace with Palestinians or face apartheid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, last night delivered an unusually blunt ­warning to his country that a failure to make peace with the Palestinians would leave either a state with no Jewish ­majority or an "apartheid" regime. His stark language and the South African analogy might have been unthinkable for a senior Israeli figure only a few years ago and is a rare admission of the gravity of the deadlocked peace process.

Israeli commander: 'We rewrote the rules of war for Gaza'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

A high-ranking officer has acknowledged for the first time that the Israeli army went beyond its previous rules of engagement on the protection of civilian lives in order to minimise military casualties during last year's Gaza war, The Independent can reveal.

Michael Sfard: Laws of conflict do not allow for killing civilians in this way
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Michael Sfard - (Opinion) February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

If this commander's quote represents the rules of engagement as they were applied during Operation Cast Lead, then it is a smoking gun because it proves the case that Israel was charged with. It proves the main revelations in the Breaking the Silence report. When I read the testimonies in that report – some of which were difficult to read – what was common to them was a change to rules of engagement so that either there were no rules, or they allowed soldiers to shoot anything that moved in the vicinity.

Israel hits Gaza tunnels in response to barrel bombs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel destroyed two Gaza smuggling tunnels in response to Hamas' attempt to attack Israeli targets in the Mediterranean Sea. Israel's Air Force on Tuesday night struck the tunnels used by Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip, according to the Israel Defense Forces. On Wednesday, a third explosives-laden barrel released by Palestinian terrorists washed up on the beach at Palmachim, in central Israel.

Mitchell Urges Europe to Pressure Abbas Back to Negotiations- French Sources
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Michel Abu Najm - February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

Well-informed official French sources have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that US Envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, has called for French and European officials to pressure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table with the Israelis.

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