Middle East News: World Press Roundup

An aide to Pres. Abbas is suspended following sexual harassment allegations. Hamas detains a British journalist for 15 days. Sec. Clinton says US can't force Israel and the Palestinians into talks, and meets with Palestinian negotiators in Qatar. The PIF plans a new IT Park. Rep. Baird says the US should break the blockade of Gaza. Hamas is being increasingly challenged by more extreme Islamists. Palestinian protesters pose as Na'vi from "Avatar." Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian in Hebron. Ha'aretz profiles PM Fayyad, and Ziad AbuZayyad says he deserves congratulations for his Herzliya speech. Israel's Defense Ministry identifies settlements in violation of the partial settlement freeze. Amira Hass describes the arrest of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy by occupation forces. Robert Fisk asks what has happened to Israel's self-image, and Donald Macintyre says a new Israeli McCarthyism is stifling internal criticism. The Israeli military is actively working with Human Rights Watch. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Israeli Deputy FM Ayalon. Helga Baumgarten says Pres. Abbas' successor is likely to be a Palestinian security figure.

Palestinian President Suspends Aide in Sex Scandal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - February 14, 2010 - 1:00am

Facing a corruption scandal that has rocked the highest echelons of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, the Palestinian president suspended his chief of staff on Sunday while a committee investigates accusations that the aide sought to trade influence for sex. A videotape broadcast by an Israeli television station last week shows the chief of staff, Rafiq Husseini, waiting naked in bed for a Palestinian woman who was said to have come to the president’s office seeking government help.

Hamas Detains U.K. Journalist
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

A British freelance journalist in Gaza will be held for 15 days, Hamas officials said Monday, in an unprecedented step against a foreign reporter since the Islamic militants seized control of Gaza in 2007. Documentary filmmaker Paul Martin was detained Sunday at a Gaza courthouse where he was to testify on behalf of a defendant accused of collaborating with Israel, said Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Ehab Ghussein.

Clinton: US can't force Israel, PA into peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday made an unusual acknowledgement of frustrations with the long-frozen Palestinian-Israeli negotiation process. Speaking at the US-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, on the first day of a trip to the Middle East, Clinton said, know people are disappointed that we have not yet achieved a breakthrough.”

Palestine Investment Fund plans IT park in new development
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Mirroring Dubai's 'city' model, the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) announced plans to establish what organizers call a "Techno Park," housing hubs for the budding technology sector of Palestine, PIF Chief Executive Muhammad Mustafa said Thursday. The park will be built as part of the new housing development Ar-Reihan, west of Ramallah, alongside that project's housing and commercial sectors.

Congressman says US should break Gaza blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

The United States should break Israel's blockade of Gaza and deliver badly needed supplies by sea, a U.S. congressman told Gaza students. Rep. Brian Baird, a Democrat from Washington state, also urged President Barack Obama's Mideast envoy to visit the Hamas-ruled territory to get a firsthand look at the destruction caused by Israeli's military offensive last year. The Obama administration, like its predecessor, shuns Hamas because the Islamic militant group refuses to recognize Israel or renounce violence.

Muslim firebrands challenge Hamas rule in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Karin Laub - February 14, 2010 - 1:00am

They preach global jihad, or holy war, adhere to an ultraconservative form of Islam and are becoming a headache even for Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza. Jihadi Salafis, as they are known, have organized into small, shadowy armed groups that have clashed with Hamas forces and fired rockets at Israel in defiance of Hamas' informal truce.

Palestinian protesters pose as Na'vi from "Avatar"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian protesters have added a colorful twist to demonstrations against Israel's separation barrier, painting themselves blue and posing as characters from the hit film "Avatar." The demonstrators also donned long hair and loincloths Friday for the weekly protest against the barrier near the village of Bilin. They equated their struggle to the intergalactic one portrayed in the film. Israel says the barrier is needed for its security. Palestinians consider it a land grab.

Erekat to hold talks with Hillary Clinton in Qatar late Sunday
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 14, 2010 - 1:00am

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat revealed that he will hold talks on Sunday night with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Qatar. "I will meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Doha, Qatar to receive U.S. answers to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas questions related to holding indirect peace talks with Israel," Erekat told Xinhua on telephone from Qatar.

Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian in Hebron: medics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 12, 2010 - 1:00am

A 41-year-old Palestinian resident of the West Bank city Hebron died of his wounds after he was shot and critically wounded by Israeli soldiers' gunfire on Friday afternoon, medical sources and witnesses said. The sources said Fayez Farraj was critically wounded after Israeli soldiers opened fire at him in the neighborhood of Bab el- Zawya. They said he died in a hospital a few hours later. However, the Israeli army said Farraj had tried to stab an Israeli soldier in the neighborhood by a knife he was carrying.

A day in the life of the Palestinian Ben-Gurion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - February 13, 2010 - 1:00am

There are tens of millions of people in the world who glory in the title "public servant," but Dr. Salam Fayyad is apparently the only one who wakes up in the morning and goes to work to build a state for his people. Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, is not calling for peace talks, for violent resistance to the occupation or even for civil disobedience. That's the department of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The most violent protest in which Fayyad participated was a ceremonial bonfire of goods produced in Jewish West Bank settlements.

Defense Ministry reveals West Bank settlement freeze abuses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Security sources have found and made public 28 incidents of settlements violating the ten-month building freeze in the West Bank declared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Haaretz learned on Monday. Responding to an appeal made by Meretz MK Haim Oron to clarify alleged settlement freeze infringements, deputy defense minister, Matan Vilnai, responded by that saying "The court order to halt construction has been given out. The implementation of the building freeze will be examined."

A Palestinian arrest so ridiculous even the Israeli judges smiled
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Something about 12-year-old Bassam caused two Israelis to smile. Two Palestinians noticed, but did not remember their smiles as being disparaging or arrogant. On the contrary. The Palestinians regarded the smiles as a rare moment in which two Israelis - and not just any Israelis, but military judges - realized how ridiculous the situation was.

The new McCarthyism sweeping Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - February 13, 2010 - 1:00am

It's hard, sitting on the other side of the office table from which Naomi Chazan is picking at her modest hummus and salad snack lunch, to believe that the amiable 63-year-old university professor with a self-deprecating sense of humour has suddenly become the most discussed, not to say demonised, woman in Israel.

State of denial: Robert Fisk searches for peace in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Robert Fisk - (Opinion) February 11, 2010 - 1:00am

There are no armed guards on the gate of Number 17 Ben-Gurion Boulevard in Tel Aviv, just a tired, two-storey villa set back from the street and an open door that leads to a dark kitchen and a little room with a cot on the floor.

IDF Turns To Human Rights Watch for Help
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Gal Beckerman - February 10, 2010 - 1:00am

As human rights organizations continue to be vilified by an Israeli government still smarting from the effects of the Goldstone Report, the Forward has learned that the Israeli military has been in conversation and even actively working with Human Rights Watch, the international organization that has been often — and loudly — denounced by the Jewish world.

Asharq Al-Awsat Talks to Israel Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali al-Saleh - (Interview) February 14, 2010 - 1:00am

Perhaps for security reasons, the meeting with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister David Ayalon was at the Israeli Embassy in a neighborhood across the affluent High Kensington Street in central London. One feels the security measures even before arriving at the big gate to this exclusive area near Kensington Palace, the private residence of the late Princess Diana. You are watched from a distance by a number of British policemen in their traditional uniform, but the untraditional part of the scene is the machine guns they are carrying.

Yasser Arafat's successor will likely be a Fatah security figure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Helga Baumgarten - (Opinion) February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Although it appeared that the leadership transition inside the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestinian Authority, and the Fatah movement was resolved smoothly with the January 2005 election of Mahmoud Abbas following the death of Yasser Arafat, many Palestinians continue to view Abbas’ election as only an interim solution to Palestinian problems. In the meantime, the struggle for succession inside Fatah has continued behind closed doors and recently has come out into the open due to Abbas’ waning legitimacy and popularity.

Dr. Fayyad in Herzliya
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Quds
by Ziad Abu Zayyad - (Opinion) February 7, 2010 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s speech before the Herzliya Conference was met with mixed reactions among Palestinians. The comments that circulated on the Internet and in blogs were predominantly negative to the extent that one commentator wrote saying that Fayyad is collaborating in the laying down of Israeli security policy.

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