Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinians seek international investment. Dubai police release photos, videos of 11 sought in the assassination of a Hamas operative, and arrest two Palestinians. The PA settles a major lawsuit. Hamas predicts progress on reconciliation. Palestinians detail how they say they have been cheated out of billions by Israel. Most Gaza police applicants want jobs, not to join Hamas. Two are killed in a refugee camp in Lebanon. FM Lieberman says Palestinians are smearing Israel, dismisses peace. Jordan's King Abdallah says peace is at a critical stage. Pres. Abbas says he still waiting for US clarification. A Palestinian police officer is arrested on suspicion of plotting assassinations. Carlo Strenger calls for a rebirth of the Israeli left and Hassan Barari calls for Arab reform. The Arab News says Israel faces a crisis of legitimacy. IPS profiles the new film "Ajami." Joel Beinin describes efforts to counter settlement expansion in occupied East Jerusalem.

Selling a piece of Palestinian Main Street
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Interview) February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Is the West Bank ready for Wall Street? That's a question soon to be answered with the launch of the first-of-its-kind Palestinian private equity fund, which managers hope will raise $50 million to invest in businesses in the Palestinian territories. The Palestine Liberation Organization's finances have at times drawn criticism. Late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat was accused of controlling a $1-billion investment portfolio that, Western intelligence agencies said, was funded in part through money laundering, arms dealing and diversion of international aid.

Police release photos of 11 wanted for Hamas killing, hint at Israel involvement [Updated]
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Borzou Daragahi - (Blog) February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Dubai police have released the names and passport photos from the European identity papers of 11 suspects in the killing of a senior Hamas official last month. According to a report Monday on the website of Al Jazeera International, Dubai police also said two Palestinians had been arrested in the Jan. 20 murder of Mahmoud Mabhouh, a senior figure within the militant group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians reverse on terror victim
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Josh Gerstein - February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

In a highly unusual step likely to come as a significant relief to U.S. officials, the Palestinian Authority has quietly paid an undisclosed amount to settle a lawsuit by the widow of an American killed in Israel in 2002.

Zahhar: Progress on Hamas-Fatah reconciliation imminent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 16, 2010 - 1:00am

A Palestinian reconciliation agreement could be signed within a few days under Egyptian supervision, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Az-Zahhar announced Monday night. Following a celebration of educational institutions in Gaza City, Zahhar told reporters, "It is obvious that Egypt understands ... that the Egyptian reconciliation document needs amendment. I expect the issue to be reconsidered and a signing to be secured."

Cheated: PA trade union head details permit fraud
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 16, 2010 - 1:00am

Thousands of Palestinians hoping to gain work and higher wages in Israel were duped over the last three years by a gang of Israelis and Palestinians selling forged permits, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Trade Union Shahir Sa’d said Tuesday. The scam was routed Sunday when Israeli police detained dozens of alleged gang members. The undercover investigation was carried out over a number of months under Commander Dorit Ben-Meir, the Israeli news site Ynet reported at the time. According to the report, 23 Israelis and 11 Palestinians were involved in the scam.

Most Hamas police applicants only want jobs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ben Hubbard - February 16, 2010 - 1:00am

Take this for a measure of Gaza's economic woes: When the territory's Hamas rulers announced plans to hire about 1,000 new policemen, 15,000 applied. Only a few of those reporting for fitness tests one recent afternoon expressed an interest in police work or said they belonged to the Islamic militant group. Most just wanted a job. Plagued by poverty for decades, Gaza's private sector has been all but wiped out by nearly four years of closed borders and last year's devastating Israeli offensive. In the meantime, Hamas has solidified its grip, making it Gaza's second largest employer.

Clash in Palestinian camp in Lebanon kills 2
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Zeina Karam - February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Islamic militants clashed with Fatah gunmen in a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon on Monday, killing at least two people, Palestinian security officials said. It was not immediately clear what prompted the shootout in the Ein el-Hilweh camp, where gunfights are common between armed groups jockeying for power. Monday's confrontation involved gunmen from the militant Asbat al-Ansar group, which is on a U.S. terrorism list and which Washington has accused of being linked to al-Qaida.

Israeli FM: Palestinian government smearing us
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel's foreign minister on Monday accused the Western-backed Palestinian government of spearheading an international smear campaign against Israel and predicted that even if negotiations between the two sides resume, they would fail. Avigdor Lieberman's tough comments could mean new trouble for U.S.-led efforts to restart peace talks, which broke down more than a year ago. U.S. envoy George Mitchell has spent months trying to bring the sides back to the negotiating table, but so far has been unable to break the deadlock.

Mideast peacemaking efforts at "very critical stage": Jordanian king
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Jordanian King Abdullah II Monday urged coordinated and intensified international action to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as peacemaking efforts are going through a "very critical stage", the state-run Petra news agency reported. The king made the remarks during a meeting with a delegation from J Street, which is an American-Jewish entity that supports the two-state solution and is against Israeli settlement activities. At the meeting, the king said resolving the conflicts should be in line with the two-state solution and within comprehensive peace in the region.

Abbas: No U.S. clarification over peace talks' resumption until now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Monday said the United States has not yet presented the demanded clarification related to the resumption of the indirect peace talks with Israel. The Palestinian state-run news agency Wafa quoted Abbas as saying at the weekly meeting of the Palestinian cabinet in Ramallah on Monday that the Palestinian side has not yet received any clarifications from the United States over the resumption of the peace negotiations with Israel.

PA says won't reveal identity of Dubai assassin suspects
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - February 16, 2010 - 1:00am

The arrest of two Palestinians suspected of being involved in the assassination of a senior Hamas official in Dubai, as well as the publication of video clips depicting the assassins, has reignited the finger pointing between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas claimed Tuesday that the two arrested men, who served in the Palestinian security forces, are proof that the Palestinian Authority played a role in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh on January 20. The PA denied the allegations. "If they want, Hamas can reveal the identity of the suspects," challenged the PA.

PA officer suspected of plotting to kill Fatah officials
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - February 16, 2010 - 1:00am

Days after reports of the corruption affair in the Palestinians Authority and the suspension of President Mahmoud Abbas' chief of staff over a steamy sex tape, another scandal unravels: Ynet has learned that Mujahed Nimer, a top official in the Palestinian security apparatus, was arrested in recent days, on suspicion of heading a group of Fatah operatives who planned to assassinate officials in the PA and the movement.

The silence of Israel's liberals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) February 16, 2010 - 1:00am

It is not a pleasant experience to look at Israel's image in the world nowadays, to put it mildly. To the extent the country makes the headlines, it is in the context of the Goldstone report on Operation Cast Lead, the latest outlandish statement of foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman or Israel's continuing occupation of large parts of the West Bank. Israel's negative image is reflected in events such as ambassador Michael Oren being heckled on University of California Irvine campus and deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon apparently being threatened during an appearance at Oxford University.

It is not just corruption
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Hassan Barari - (Opinion) February 16, 2010 - 1:00am

Few, if any, were shocked by the news that senior Palestinian officials close to President Mahmoud Abbas were involved in various kinds of corruption. One report after another has revealed corruption in the Palestinian Authority (PA) unparallel anywhere else in the Middle East. Indeed, one of the reasons behind the electoral fall of the Fateh movement was the widely held perception of a highly corrupt PA under Fateh rule. As such, it is not that the phenomenon is unknown. It is about the timing for revealing the issue and the identity of the one exposing the corruption.

Challenge to Israel’s legitimacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Linda Heard - (Opinion) February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

The fact that Israel refuses to play according to international rules is eroding its legitimacy as a state with unofficial membership in the worldwide club of democratic nations. Israel has been somewhat of a “wild child” since its founding in terms of its flouting of international laws and norms but its doting allies have always afforded it unprecedented leeway in light of its tenuous position within a hostile neighborhood as well as a collective sense of holocaust guilt.

Telling Film Floats Between Art and the Actual
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jerrold Kessel, Pierre Klochendler - February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

'Ajami' starts as a case of mistaken identity in a semi-tribal, semi-criminal feud: a kid fixing a car in the streets of Ajami, a nondescript Arab neighbourhood of the Mediterranean city of Jaffa, is killed in a drive-by shooting. Soon, a backdrop of acute poverty, crime and social decay evolves into a powerful tale of suffering, vengeance, and survival. 'Ajami' is a somehow a worst-case scenario of lives cast in tragic circumstances, a mirror image of the many conflicts that subdue the lives of Jews and Arabs within Israel/Palestine.

Confronting Settlement Expansion in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Report
by Joel Beinin - February 14, 2010 - 1:00am

The neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, a 20-minute walk up the hill from the Damascus Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem, has become the focal point of the struggle over the expanding project of Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

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