Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The LA Times outlines the history of Israeli assassinations, and its use of identity theft in Dubai. Israel seeks to use ordinary citizens to improve its image. Israel reimposes a ban on foreign nationals using a Bethlehem bus line. A report says Israel is planning another settlement in occupied East Jerusalem. Jordan adds it's condemnation of Israel's claim over two sites in Hebron, and the UN reiterates its concern. Accidents claim the lives of four Palestinians in Gaza. Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu's approach to Jewish heritage sites is dangerous. Yoel Marcus says the Dubai assassination doesn't mitigate the urgent need for progress with the Palestinians. The PA says it thwarted a suicide attack aimed at Israel. The UN General Assembly takes up the Goldstone report. President Sarkozy backs the goal of Palestinian statehood. Palestinians are accused of selling land to Israel. Tariq Alhomayed looks at the possibility that Hamas officials were involved in the Mabhouh assassination, and Linda Heard and Michael Glackin both say Israel miscalculated in the killing.

Israel relies on a deadly specialty
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

When Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman faced questions Monday from European diplomats over Israel's suspected role in the Dubai assassination of a Hamas militant, he responded with familiar indignation: Why is Israel always the first to be blamed, he asked.

Journalist describes strange twists of 'German' suspect in Dubai hit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - (Blog) February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

In Israel, much has been said and much more not disclosed about the fake European passports used by the assassins in Dubai. On Monday, Ronen Bergman, an Israeli journalist specializing in intelligence issues, shed some light on the one passport that has so far been found to be genuinely issued, a German passport allegedly used by one of the suspected assassins. Part of the details had previously been published in Der Spiegel. In an interview to Army Radio on Monday morning, Bergman says this is how it went:

From Israel, a plan to win friends and influence people by working on its image
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

Acknowledging that Israel's image in the world these days is perhaps not at its apex, the Israeli government is asking its citizens to be more proactive in shaping the image of the Jewish state around the globe. The government is launching a media campaign to get Israelis to "change the picture" of how they are portrayed through the global media, and dozens of workshops on how to conduct one-on-one discussions with people they meet when they travel abroad.

Israel renews ban on key West Bank bus line
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

A month after Israel rescinded a ban on foreign nationals using a main Bethlehem bus line, travelers say authorities are again pulling internationals off buses en route to Jerusalem. Mid-December, for reasons that remain unclear, tourists leaving the central West Bank city were banned from line 21, a route used predominantly by Palestinian holders of East Jerusalem residency cards.

Israel plans new Jerusalem-area settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli authorities have approved a plan to build 549 new homes for settlers on land across the Green Line in south Jerusalem, an advocacy group said on Monday. Ahmad Laban, an official with the Israeli-led group Ir Amim said a regional planning body in the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem Municipality approved the plan, which still needs to take further bureaucratic strides before it is finalized. The regional committee of organizing and building in the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem had approved to present a new settlement plan to build 549 housing units.

Jordan condemns Israel's plans to annex West Bank sites
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

Jordan on Monday condemned Israel's plans to annex historical sites located in the West Bank to its heritage list, the state-run Petra news agency reported. On Sunday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau announced that Israel would annex Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi and Rachel's Tomb in Hebron in the West Bank. Al Haram Al Ibrahimi is one of the holiest shrines in Islam and Rachel's Tomb is known to the Muslim world as Belal Mosque. The two sites are scared to both Jews and Muslims.

UN official "concerned" as Palestinians outraged over West Bank shrines
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

A senior UN official on Monday voiced his concern over the Israeli government's decision to include two West Bank shrines into the Jewish state's list of heritage sites. In a statement sent to the media, Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said he was " concerned" since the two sites are located "in occupied Palestinian territory and are of historical and religious significance not only to Judaism but also to Islam, and to Christianity as well."

Four Palestinians killed in southern Gaza Strip: medics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

Four Palestinians, including three children were killed on Monday night in two separate incidents in southern Gaza Strip ruled by Islamic Hamas movement, medics in Gaza said. They said that three children, all are brothers, were killed at their home in the village of Abbassan, east of the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, when an electric generator exploded, adding that five family members were injured.

Netanyahu's weakness for Jewish heritage costs lives
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

In an interview with Ari Shavit published Monday in Haaretz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reported there are signs negotiations with the Palestinians would start in the foreseeable future. According to Jordanian sources, the talks between Israel and the Palestinians, mediated by the United States, are scheduled to open on March 12 and continue for three months. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) announced on Sunday in Tripoli that he received answers to the 10 questions of clarification he presented to the Americans regarding the talks.

Dubai hit can't distract from need for Palestinian talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yoel Marcus - (Opinion) February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

Okay, it was a successful operation. Maybe here and there a bit clumsy. Amos Biderman's cartoon in Haaretz in which "our fine young men" were all wearing the same glasses because there was a sale at Opticana reflects our preoccupation with the killing of one Arab, dangerous and wicked as he may be. But it doesn't solve any of the really serious problems facing the country.

Palestinians: We thwarted suicide attack against Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority thwarted a suicide attack about six weeks ago that a young woman from Nablus had planned to carry out in Israel, Palestinian security sources have told Haaretz. The woman, who belongs to the Islamic Jihad, was arrested by the Palestinian security forces. A spokesman for the Palestinian forces, Adnan Damiri, said he had no information on the subject. According to Palestinian security sources, they have recently thwarted a number of attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians. Rocket handover

Goldstone Report back on UN agenda
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

The UN General Assembly is scheduled to convene Friday in order to vote on an extension period of five months for Israel's internal investigation of Operation Cast Lead as well as the investigation announced by the Palestinian Authority following the Goldstone Report. Outcomes According to a resolution submitted by Western countries, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be asked to once again report on the progress of the individual probes to member states after the five month period comes to an end.

France's Sarkozy backs 'viable' Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

French President Nicolas Sarkozy backed the creation of a "viable" Palestinian state on Monday but was cautious about repeating his foreign minister's support for possible recognition of a state before its borders were set. Speaking at a news conference in Paris with visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Sarkozy repeated France's support for statehood for Palestinians but added: "We have always said a viable Palestinian state."

'PA officials involved in sale of Jerusalem assets to Jewish groups'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

Former Palestinian General Intelligence chief Fahmi Shabana told a press conference in Jerusalem Monday that a senior officer in the Palestinian Authority's security apparatus sold Palestinian assets in the Old City to a Jewish organization. According to Shabana, the officer was not prosecuted despite the fact that investigators were able to gather solid evidence against him.

Dubai and Hamas and the “Real Killer”
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

The assassination of Mahmoud al Mabhouh in Dubai has entered a new, dramatic chapter. After the Dubai Police Chief accused Israel’s Mossad of being responsible for the elimination of al Mabhouh, and following the disclosure of important details taken from images and passports used in the assassination, the story has taken on international dimensions involving Britain, France and Germany.

The Dubai killing and European tolerance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Michael Glackin - (Opinion) February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

In diplomatic circles, Israel increasingly resembles a distant relative who drunkenly turns up at family functions, does something embarrassing, and leaves the rest of the family wringing its hands in bewilderment. Whether or not firm evidence emerges linking Mossad to the murder of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on January 19 (and as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was at pains to point out last week, there is currently no proof of Israeli involvement), it is clear there are few better suspects if you follow the old adage of “Who benefits?”

Israel's arrogance has boomeranged
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Linda Heard - (Opinion) February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

A British columnist writing in The Telegraph referred to it as “the Keystone Spooks”, while ordinary Israelis who, initially, were gleefully patting one another on the back aren’t grinning any longer.

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