Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Saree Makdisi and Marvin Hier have contrasting LA Times op-eds about a museum being built on a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. Ben White says Palestinian nonviolent protests could be transformative. Hamas boycotts a meeting over municipal elections. Quartet Envoy Blair will intensify his work with Special Envoy Mitchell. Fatah urges Hamas to sign the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation plan. Jordan calls for a time frame for a two-state solution. Experts say an explosion of violence is unlikely despite a flare-up in Israeli-Palestinian clashes. Israeli soldiers kill two Palestinians at Gaza border. Israel faces a global delegitimization campaign. An Israeli court approves a Jews-only housing complex in Jaffa. Israel confirms no independent probe into Gaza war, but a Jerusalem Post commentary says the controversy is far from over. An Israeli soldier's alleged killer "was tired of life." Several Arab commentaries call for tough stances towards Israel on peace talks.

A Museum of Tolerance we don't need
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Saree Makdisi - (Opinion) February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

The Simon Wiesenthal Center's plan to construct an outpost of Los Angeles' Museum of Tolerance atop the most important Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem is temporarily in disarray. This presents an opportunity to call on the center to abandon this outrageous project once and for all. The site in question is Ma'man Allah, or the Mamilla Cemetery, which had been in continuous use for centuries until 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled or driven into flight and their private property, including Ma'man Allah, was handed over to Jewish users.

A proper site for a Museum of Tolerance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Marvin Hier - (Opinion) February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Listening to the few vocal opponents of our Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem project -- among them the notorious Sheik Raed Salah, leader of the extremist Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel -- you would never know that the Israeli Supreme Court deliberated for almost three years before unanimously rejecting all their claims and authorizing the Wiesenthal Center to begin construction. Just six weeks ago, Chief Justice Dorit Beinish also rebuked those who re-petitioned the Supreme Court for an "abuse of court proceedings," ordering them to pay professional costs.

Peaceful Palestinian resistance is paying off
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ben White - (Opinion) February 11, 2010 - 1:00am

For many, the idea of Palestinian resistance is synonymous with terrorism, conjuring up images of suicide bombings and rockets. This is a distortion shaped by the media and our politicians. Beyond the headlines, Palestinian resistance has always included nonviolent tactics. Today, in rural villages from Bilin and Jayyous to Nilin and Beit Ommar, this kind of Palestinian persistence against Israel’s separation barrier and illegal settlements is paying off – and attracting the participation of international supporters and Jewish Israelis.

Hamas boycotts meeting over municipal elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

No members of the Hamas party attended the Thursday meeting of PLO factions alongside the elections committee to prepare for a June municipal vote across the West Bank and Gaza, Fatah General Elections Commissioner Muhammad Al-Madani said. Though Hamas is not part of the PLO, the party was invited to the meeting, Al-Madani said, to prepare for elections called by the Ramallah-based caretaker government on 2 February. The Palestinian Authority Cabinet, under appointed Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, set the elections date for 17 July 2010.

Blair to 'intensify' work on Mideast peace-Clinton
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Sue Pleming, Andrew Quinn - February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Middle East envoy Tony Blair will "intensify" his work with U.S. negotiator George Mitchell to broker peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday. The former British prime minister represents the "quartet" of Middle East negotiators made up of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia. "Tony Blair, as the Quartet representative, will intensify his partnership with Senator Mitchell in support of the political negotiations," Clinton said in a statement after speaking with Blair.

Fatah urges Hamas to sign reconciliation file before AL summit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

A high-ranking official of Palestinian Fatah movement Thursday in Egypt urged Hamas to sign the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation file before the yearly Arab summit next month. Nabil Shaath, a member of the Fatah central committee, made the remarks in a statement carried by the state-run MENA news agency. "The movement (Fatah) will not hold any discussions with Hamas unless Hamas accepts an Egyptian-sponsored paper on inter- Palestinian reconciliation," Shaath said in the statement.

Jordan calls for time frame to realize two-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 11, 2010 - 1:00am

Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh on Thursday emphasized the urgency to set a specific time frame to fulfill the two-state solution, which leads to the creation of an independent Palestinian state. During talks with Mark Otti, the European Union (EU)'s envoy to the Middle East, Judeh said it is important to intensify regional and international efforts to restart the stalled Palestinian- Israeli peace talks, the state-run Petra new agency reported.

Major outbreak unlikely despite flare-up in Israeli- Palestinian clashes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by David Harris - February 11, 2010 - 1:00am

For months Palestinian leaders have warned that if there is no progress on the peace front with the Israelis, Palestinians will become increasingly disillusioned and frustrated, with some likely to resort to violence. This week has seen clashes between the Palestinians and Israeli security personnel in Jerusalem and a deadly stabbing attack at an Israeli soldier in the West Bank.

IDF thwarts knife attack on soldier in Hebron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Anshel Pfeffer - February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

The Israel Defense Forces thwarted an attempted stabbing attack by a Palestinian in Hebron on Friday. No soldier was injured during the incident, but the Palestinian attacker was shot in the stomach by IDF forces and later succumbed to his wounds at a hospital. IDF forces entered Hebron's Old City on Friday in response to reports of Palestinians throwing stones at a settler's home. Palestinians then proceeded to throw stone at the IDF forces that entered the area.

Think tank: Israel faces global delegitimization campaign
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel is facing a global campaign of delegitimization, according to a report by the Reut Institute, made available to the cabinet on Thursday. The Tel Aviv-based security and socioeconomic think tank called on ministers to treat the matter as a strategic threat. The report cites anti-Israel demonstrations on campuses, protests when Israeli athletes compete abroad, moves in Europe to boycott Israeli products, and threats of arrest warrants for Israeli leaders visiting London.

Israel upholds legality of Jews-only housing complex in Jaffa
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ofra Edelman - February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

The Tel Aviv District Court rejected a petition this week against a decision to lease land in Jaffa's Ajami neighborhood for the exclusive use of members of the religious Zionist community. The petition, filed by Jaffa residents and human rights groups, challenged a decision by the Israel Lands Administration and the Tel Aviv municipality to lease the land in question to B'Emuna, a company specializing in housing complexes for the religious Zionist community. Its plan is to build three apartment buildings at the site.

No independent probe of Gaza war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel believes that the report it gave UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this month on the investigations it is conducting into Operation Cast Lead is sufficient, and there is no need to set up an independent inquiry committee, The Jerusalem Post has learned. “Israel feels the report it gave was a serious, comprehensive, credible and complete answer to the UN secretary-general,” one senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Goldstone fire far from extinguished
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Dan Izenberg - (Analysis) February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

The government is often accused of conducting a policy of “extinguishing fires” – that is, of careening from one emergency to another without managing to establish a systematic and well-thought-out program. But in some cases, including very important ones, it seems that its policy is to do no more than dampen fires, without bothering to go to the trouble of extinguishing them altogether, even though one day in the distant – or not so distant – future, the flames may start up again.

West Bank stab suspect 'suicidal'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

A Palestinian man accused of killing an Israeli soldier in the West Bank may have been suicidal, the Israeli military has said. A senior military officer who spoke to alleged killer Mohammed Khatib, 34, told journalists "he said he was tired of living". Sgt Maj Ihab Khatib, 26, was stabbed in the chest as he sat in a 4x4 army vehicle on Wednesday. The attack has been condemned by the Palestinian Fatah movement. 'Personal circumstances' Mohammed Khatib, who is not related to the victim, is a senior police officer working for Fatah.

Bare Hands and Deteriorating Minds
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Zuheir Kseibati - (Opinion) February 11, 2010 - 1:00am

The opinion polls do not reveal surprising facts in Israel, as they promise the Likud Party and its leader Benjamin Netenyahu with more publicity among the Israelis. These polls promise to reward their extremism with more seats in the Knesset.

It's time to get tough with Israel's leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Inch by inch, the Palestinian president appears to be once again succumbing to American pressure. He is about to allow his junior officials to start so-called "proximity talks" with their Israeli counterparts to pave the way for the resumption of peace negotiations, which broke down after Israel's invasion of Gaza in December 2008.

Talks and more talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian side seems to have caved in to the US demand to restart negotiations with Israel. The only condition this time, is to have talks conducted indirectly! So far so good, except for the fact that since direct talks with Israel went nowhere for so long, one wonders what the wisdom of continuing to talk is.

Peace making requires application of the law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Of the many long-running conflicts that see two communities competing for the same piece of land, three in particular have always caught my attention: Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Palestine-Israel. The first is on the way to being resolved through peaceful political negotiations, with another advance this week in the areas of police powers and administration of justice. The Cyprus conflict has long lost its military edge, and shows signs of moving towards a breakthrough, due to both internal leadership changes and external pressures and inducements.

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