Middle East News: World Press Roundup

A new poll of Muslim countries shows little enthusiasm for Hamas and Hezbollah. Palestinians reportedly agree to US proximity talks but ask for clarifications. Israeli right-wingers condemn the New Israel Fund. A Wall Street Journal commentary says settlers should stay in a Palestinian state. The head of the Herziliya conference says more Palestinians should participate and former Sharon advisor Weissglas praises PM Fayyad's courage. International donors, Palestinian officials discuss municipal projects. Israeli forces arrest two foreign activists in the West Bank and dozens of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem. Hamas denies regretting Israeli civilians' deaths from rocket attacks. Israel bans a Palestinian geographer from traveling abroad for six months. King Abdallah of Jordan says Pres. Obama's "undivided attention is desperately needed" on peace. A senior Saudi prince says his public handshake with Israel’s deputy foreign minister does not signal a change in policy.

Mixed Views of Hamas and Hezbollah in Largely Muslim Nations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Pew Research Center
February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Across predominantly Muslim nations, there is little enthusiasm for the extremist Islamic organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, although there are pockets of support for both groups, especially in the Middle East.

Bit of a Stir as Clinton Strays From Script on Mideast Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

With an inadvertent bit of shorthand, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton set off a buzz in diplomatic circles on Wednesday, and may have offered a glimpse into how the Obama administration hopes to revive the stalled peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Answering a question at a news conference about how the talks might be revived, Mrs. Clinton said, “Of course, we believe that the 1967 borders, with swaps, should be the focus of the negotiations over borders.”

Israeli conservatives attack U.S.-based philanthropy as unpatriotic
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - February 7, 2010 - 1:00am

A U.S.-based philanthropy that funds human rights groups in Israel is under fire amid accusations that its recipients provided the bulk of evidence to a U.N. commission that issued a report highly critical of Israel's Gaza Strip war a year ago. Leaders of the Washington-based New Israel Fund, whose recipients include several groups that promote Palestinian rights, said Sunday that they are being unfairly targeted by conservatives in Israel seeking to silence opposing viewpoints.

What to Do With the Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Hillel Halkin - (Opinion) February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

There is one obvious solution for Israel's West Bank settlements that has been all but completely overlooked: Let the settlers continue living where they are, but in the state of Palestine. As a conception, it's stunningly simple. Its very obviousness has rendered it invisible, like something in one's field of vision that goes unnoticed because it has been there all the time. If over one million Palestinian Arabs can live as they do in towns and villages all over Israel, why cannot a few hundred thousand Israeli Jews live, symmetrically, in a West Bank Palestinian state?

Herziliya chairman: More Palestinians should participate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 8, 2010 - 1:00am

General (res) Danny Rothschild, chairman of the annual Herziliya conference on Israel's national security, believes more Palestinians should participate in the series. "No doubt Palestinians can benefit from the conference. Direct talks are what we [Israelis] miss. I hope more Palestinians will participate in the future," he said in an interview with Ma'an on Sunday.

International donors, Palestinian officials discuss municipal projects
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Board of directors of the Palestinian Municipal Development Program held a meeting on Monday with international donors in Ramallah in the central West Bank, to discuss developments in municipal services. The conveners included Minister of Local Governance Khaled Al-Qawasmi, member of the board of directors Abdul Ghani Nofal and directors of PMDP as well as representatives of the World Bank, the German Development Bank, the French Agency for Development, the Danish Commission and the German Agency for Technical support.

Israeli forces arrest two foreigners in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ori Lewis, Erika Soloman - February 7, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli security forces made an incursion into a Palestinian city on Sunday to arrest two foreign women belonging to an organisation involved in protests against Israel's West Bank barrier. Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib said the arrest of Spaniard Ariadna Jove Marti and Australian Bridgette Chappell in the city of Ramallah violated interim peace accords that gave Palestinians self-rule in parts of the West Bank.

Palestinians question US on reviving peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Maamoun Youssef - February 6, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinians have asked the Obama administration to clarify a U.S. envoy's proposal to restart long-stalled peace talks with Israel indirectly by shuttling between the two sides, the Palestinian president said Saturday. The talks collapsed a year ago during Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Efforts by President Barack Obama since then to revive them have failed in large part over the issue of Israel's settlement construction in areas the Palestinians want for a future state.

Israel arrests dozens of Palestinians in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli military forces stormed on Monday morning a refugee camp in East Jerusalem and arrested dozens of Palestinians. Local sources in the camp told Xinhua that a large force of Israeli soldiers reinforced by military bulldozers stormed the Shu 'fat refugee camp in the north of East Jerusalem, who raided houses and arrested dozens of young men. Israel deems Jerusalem as its indivisible capital, while the Palestinians want the east section of the holy city as capital of their future state. Hence, conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians in the region happen every now and then.

Hamas denies regretting Israeli civilians' death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 6, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas said Saturday that it did not regret the death of Israeli civilians by rockets militants fired from the Gaza Strip during Israel's military operation against the coastal strip. "There has been no regret or apology, on the contrary, we held the Israeli occupation responsible for the crimes committed during the war," said Mohammed al-Ghoul, minister of justice of the deposed Hamas government.

Abbas give in to U.S. pressure for indirect Mideast talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff, Barak Ravid - February 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Following heavy international pressure, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to the U.S. proposal to hold talks with Israel - in the format of indirect negotiations conducted by U.S. special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell. Senior Palestinian sources confirmed Sunday that Abbas has agreed in principle to the U.S. proposal for indirect talks. According to the same sources, Abbas intends to ask for a number of clarifications with the U.S. administration and will consult with Arab leaders prior to giving Washington his final response.

Israel bars Palestinian expert on settlements from travel abroad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - February 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Interior Minister Eli Yishai has banned Palestinian geographer Khalil Tufakji, a resident of Jerusalem, from traveling abroad for six months, citing unspecified security concerns. The ban was issued on the recommendation of the Shin Bet security service and is based on 1948 Emergency regulations. "Having been convinced that there is real concern that the exit of Mr. Khalil Tufakji from Israel may harm the security of the state, I order that he be banned from exiting the country until 2 August, 2010," the order reads.

The Visionary of the Palestinian State
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Yedioth Ahronoth
by Dov Weissglas - (Opinion) February 7, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad addressed the 2010 Herzliya Conference. He addressed the conference, with characteristic courage, despite criticism from Hamas and Al-Jazeera, because he believed that it was important, specifically at this current juncture in time in which the two governments are unable to communicate, to speak directly to the Israelis. In his speech, Fayyad promised that a Palestinian state would be established by the end of 2012-a state that he has been toiling to organize and prepare for the past number of years.

Distribution of Beit Yehonatan evacuation orders called off
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - February 8, 2010 - 1:00am

The handing out of evacuation and sealing orders to the Jewish residents of a building in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan has been called off. The Jerusalem Municipality said that it was operating according to police instructions. Inspectors were meant to arrive in the neighborhood on Monday to issue the orders to the residents of Beit Yehonatan, and the residents were meant to receive a seven-day warning before the actual evacuation.

Jordan's king: US credibility under question
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - February 7, 2010 - 1:00am

Jordan's King Abdullah believes time is running out for negotiations. In a CNN interview CNN aired Sunday, Abdullah estimated that there was no more than a month to move the peace process forward. He warned of what may take place in the Arab League summit, criticized the American administration and noted that "the credibility of the US is under question."

Israel satisfied with Ban’s report on Goldstone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
February 7, 2010 - 1:00am

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's report to the General Assembly "reflected accurately" Israel's response to the Goldstone report, the Foreign Ministry said. "This Israeli document expresses Israel's full commitment to carry out credible independent investigations that meet the standards of international law," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement released shortly after the General Assembly's meeting last Friday on the status of the implementation of the Goldstone report's recommendations.

Saudi prince’s handshake with Israeli minister ‘does not change policy’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Caryle Murphey - February 7, 2010 - 1:00am

A senior Saudi Arabian prince said yesterday that his public handshake with Israel’s deputy foreign minister after a testy exchange of words in Germany on Saturday does not signal a change in Saudi government policy. “This event should not be taken out of context or misunderstood,” Prince Turki al Faisal said in a statement. “My strong objections and condemnations of Israel’s policies and actions against the Palestinians remain unchanged.”

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