Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Jerome Segal says Palestinians should declare statehood. A new Israeli missile defense system sparks controversy. Mark LeVine says student protesters at UC Irvine should not face harsh punishment. Pres. Abbas says Israel's claims upon sites in the occupied territories could spark religious war, and Islamic Jihad says it may resume attacks against Israel. The Gaza fishing industry continues to struggle. With Mideast peace talks stalled, alternative scenarios proliferate. A Hamas leader suggests Israel may have infiltrated the organization. Israeli forces invade parts of Gaza. The son of one of Hamas' founders reportedly served as an Israeli agent for many years. Aluf Benn says Israel faces opposition from both settlers and Palestinians. Gabi Sheffer asks why Israel is so resistant to US peace efforts. Israel is moving olive trees to the east of the separation barrier. An aide to an assassinated Hamas operative is arrested in Damascus. The parents of killed US peace activist Rachel Corrie sue the Israeli military. US Jewish leaders press PM Fayyad on incitement. ATFP President Ziad Asali analyzes the Palestinian state and institution building project.

Declare a Palestinian State
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
by Jerome M. Segal - (Opinion) February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

France’s foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, has alarmed the Israeli government with his recent statement that “one can envision the proclamation soon of a Palestinian state, and its immediate recognition by the international community, even before negotiating its borders.”

Israel's 'miracle' anti-rocket defense plan raises anxieties
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

The rockets may not strike as often these days, but residents of this working-class town say they can't shake the anxiety that comes with living in Israel's most frequently bombed city. Pedestrians strolling downtown keep an eye out for the nearest concrete-reinforced bus-stop shelter in case public loudspeakers crackle with a 15-second warning to dive for cover. Many motorists forgo seat belts so they can ditch vehicles quickly. A playground is equipped with 5-foot-wide concrete pipes that are brightly painted to look like giant caterpillars but double as children's bomb shelters.

Unfairly throwing the book at the 'Irvine 11'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Mark Levine - (Opinion) February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

The 11 students who each briefly disrupted Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's speech last week at UC Irvine have no 1st Amendment protection for their actions and deserve to be punished, writes my colleague, law school Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, in his Feb. 17 Times Op-Ed article. Reading Chemerinsky's piece, you'd think a group of hysterically angry Muslim men prevented Oren from speaking at all. But the situation, as a look at a video recording of the event makes clear, was much more complicated.

Abbas: Heritage row could spark war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 24, 2010 - 1:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas warned Tuesday that Israel's plan to nationalize religious landmarks in the occupied West Bank could lead to war. Speaking in Brussels, Abbas slammed an announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem Israeli "national heritage sites." Netanyahu hit back shortly after the remarks, which his office described as a "campaign of lies and hypocrisy," the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

In seaside Gaza, fish in short supply
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - February 24, 2010 - 1:00am

With their fishermen at risk of being shot at by the Israeli navy, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are finding new ways to supply the blockaded territory with a staple that is in short supply. Seafood is coming into the Mediterranean enclave through tunnels from Egypt and fish farms are starting to fill a supply gap resulting from restrictions that stop fishermen from venturing more than 3.4 miles (5.5 km) from the coast.

With talks stalled, Mideast "alternatives" aired
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Alastair MacDonald - (Analysis) February 24, 2010 - 1:00am

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has lost its global audience as both sides haggle over talks about talks on issues the world thought were long settled. Don't let it fool you. Here on the ground in this Belgium-size bit of Mediterranean coast a new war is raging, so far of words, over the "two-state solution" so consensually accepted in the West since the 1990s.

Hamas lawmaker hints at Israeli security breach
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 24, 2010 - 1:00am

A Hamas lawmaker on Wednesday hinted that an Israeli security breach to his Islamic movement was possible. "When the movements become victims of security breach, they should announce this openly," said Mahmoud Al-Rumhi, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), based in the West Bank. "The movements of resistance are always the subject of many attempted breaches through spies and Israel has facilities enabling it to try spying on the factions. It might had succeeded in some cases and failed in others," he told reporters.

Israeli forces roll in two parts of Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 24, 2010 - 1:00am

sraeli forces carried out three low- scale incursions into the Gaza Strip, sparking armed clashes with Palestinian militants, witnesses and security sources said Wednesday. Two of the raids targeted the eastern parts of Khan Younis city in the southern Gaza Strip and one in Beit Lahiya town in northwest Gaza, the sources said. Residents said sounds of gunfire and blasts were heard in the areas during the incursions which started after dawn. There has been no word on casualties.

What is behind Israeli-Palestinian cultural wars?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by David Harris - February 24, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to add two West Bank shrines to a list of Israeli national heritage sites has drawn harsh condemnation from the Palestinians. Deposed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haneya on Tuesday called for popular uprising in the West Bank to protest Israel's decision, one day after Israeli security personnel and Palestinians clashed in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Hamas founder's son worked for Shin Bet for years
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

The son of a leading Hamas figure, who famously converted to Christianity, served for over a decade as the Shin Bet security service's most valuable source in the militant organization's leadership, Haaretz has learned. Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and one of its leaders in the West Bank. The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of terrorist cells, and to the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures.

Netanyahu faces double intifada from Palestinians and settlers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Analysis) February 24, 2010 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is busy day and night, preparing Israel for a fateful confrontation with Iran. But his real problem may occur elsewhere. The territories are heating up, with the Palestinians escalating their protests against the settlements and the separation fence. The settlers, meanwhile, can smell Netanyahu's weakness and are undermining the authority of the state.

Why does Israel continue to dismiss Obama's Mideast peace efforts?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gabi Sheffer - (Analysis) February 24, 2010 - 1:00am

Most Israelis, including the heads of the defense establishment and politicians led by the prime minister and the foreign minister, categorically state that U.S. President Barack Obama will never solve the Israeli-Arab conflict. This lack of confidence in and sympathy for Obama have accompanied him, unjustifiably, since the day he began campaigning for the presidency - and has only intensified following his election. The disrespect toward him and his administration is unwarranted; there is no doubt that it is connected to Obama's ethnic background.

Bilin: IDF moves olive trees to east side of fence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - February 24, 2010 - 1:00am

Another step has been proposed to solve the ongoing conflict near the Palestinian town of Bilin, which has protested for five years over the routing of the West Bank security fence. The IDF spokesman said Wednesday that work had begun to move olive trees from the western side of the planned route to the eastern side, to an area west of Ramallah. The IDF said the work is being carried out for the Ministry of Defense by a private contractor, in coordination with the land's owners, the Civil Administration and the IDF.

Palestinian group threatens attacks over heritage sites
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - February 24, 2010 - 1:00am

The decision to declare the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb national heritage sites ahead of their renovation may lead the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to another boiling point: Abu Ahmed, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad's military wing, threatened Tuesday to launch attacks within Israel. "If the Israelis continue to damage our mosques and holy places, we will respond within the Zionist territory," the al-Quds Brigades spokesman told Ynet. Israel's ministers, however, insist that the government will not renege on its decision.

Report: Mabhouh aide arrested in Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

Syrian authorities have arrested one of the associates of assassinated Hamas member Mahmoud al-Mabhouh for possible involvement in the plot, a Fatah-affiliated website reported Tuesday. The man, Mahmoud Nasser, was said to have been aware of all of Mabhouh's movements and flights. According to an Arab diplomatic source, the Dubai police asked the Syrians to turn over Hamas members for questioning, including Nasser.

Rachel Corrie's family bring civil suit over human shield's death in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

The family of the American activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza seven years ago, is to bring a civil suit over her death against the Israeli defence ministry. The case, which begins on 10 March in Haifa, northern Israel, is seen by her parents as an opportunity to put on public record the events that led to their daughter's death in March 2003. Four key witnesses – three Britons and an American – who were at the scene in Rafah when Corrie was killed will give evidence, according the family lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein.

U.S. Jewish leaders press incitement issue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ben Harris - February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

U.S. Jewish leaders pressed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on incitement and the need to keep Israel a Jewish state. At a meeting Feb. 18 in Jenin between Fayyad and a visiting delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Alan Solow, the chairman of the Jewish umbrella group, said the actions of the Palestinian leadership set back the cause of peace.

Palestinian Prime Minister to Israeli Leaders: We are Building a State While Under Occupation to End the Occupation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Ziad Asali - (Opinion) February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad forthrightly brought his case for building a Palestinian state to Israeli political and military leaders, and they applauded. The new Palestinian attitude towards how to end the occupation that began in 1967 was on full display during Fayyad's speech at the Herzliya conference in Israel earlier this month, and it has had a considerable impact on its Israeli audience. With reports that "proximity talks" between Israelis and Palestinians will begin soon, attention must be paid to Fayyad's remarks and their reception.

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