Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Coverage continues about the son of a Hamas founder who spied for Israel. Dubai names more suspects in the Mabhouh assassination. Israeli officials insist the botched killing hasn't harmed relations with Western intelligence services, but Australia says forging passports isn't the act of a "friend." Israel becomes an issue in a California Senate race. The PLO says Israel's claims on holy sites in Hebron invalidates peace talks, and the US adds its condemnation. Sec. Clinton is upbeat about resumed negotiations. Pres. Abbas expresses satisfaction with EU support for East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Ari Shavit says to save Zionism, Israel must end the occupation. Gideon Levy mocks Israeli propaganda. Palestinians in Hebron march to commemorate the Goldstein massacre. Larry Derfner comparison the Mabhouh hit with the 1997 attempted assassination of Khalid Mishaal. Ghassan Khatib says peace is the strongest Palestinian weapon. Nathan Jeffay examines the challenges to peace posed by settlements. Daoud Kuttab asks if serious negotiations are really about to start.

Son of Hamas founder says he served Israel as an informant
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

The son of one of Hamas's founders says in a new book that he served as a top informant for Israel for more than a decade, providing top-secret intelligence that helped prevent dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks against Israelis.

Dubai names more suspects in Hamas assassination
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Borzou Daragahi - February 24, 2010 - 1:00am

Adam Korman loves to travel. According to police in Dubai, an Australian passport holder by that name visited the United Arab Emirates city-state three times in 10 months. The last time the muscular young man visited, police said Wednesday, he allegedly joined 25 other European and Australian passport holders and a pair of Palestinians who allegedly made up the hit team that killed suspected Hamas weapons procurer Mahmoud Mabhouh.

GOP Senate race grows heated over Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Seema Mehta - February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

In a dispute that commingles foreign policy and a quest for political advantage, U.S.-Israel relations have taken an unexpectedly central role in the California race for Senate. Rivals in the race for the Republican nomination are questioning whether former Rep. Tom Campbell is sufficiently supportive of Israel. They base their criticisms on his voting record, statements about a Palestinian homeland and capital, and some of his past associates.

Israeli: Mossad hit didn't upset intel ties
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Eli Lake - February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

The embarrassing trail left by a suspected Israeli hit team — a trail that began with doctored European passports, led to the assassination of a Palestinian terrorist in a Dubai hotel room, and ended on the front pages of world papers — has not worsened the country's intelligence cooperation with Western countries, a senior Israeli official insists.

PLO: If Netanyahu wants our holy sites, he can't have peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

The Executive Committee of the PLO will not support talks with Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu government in light of its decision to declare sites in Palestinian areas "Israeli heritage sites," the body announced after a meeting Wednesday. "We will reject any kind of negotiations, even indirect talks," Secretary General of the PLO body Yasser Abed Rabbo said after the meeting in Ramallah.

Clinton: US hopes talks will start soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told US lawmakers on Wednesday that she hoped Israelis and Palestinians could resume negotiations toward a peace settlement “soon.” A year of US efforts to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table have failed so far, but Clinton struck an upbeat tone in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Clinton sounds upbeat on Israeli-Palestinian talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Arshad Mohammed, Andrew Quinn - February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday she hoped Israeli-Palestinian peace talks would resume "shortly," sounding more upbeat than usual for a U.S. official. Separately, Israel's ambassador to the United States told Reuters if negotiations resumed after being frozen for more than a year they would start as indirect "proximity talks," with U.S. envoy George Mitchell shuttling between the sides.

Abbas satisfied with EU's support as Ashton plans Mideast trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed his satisfaction at the European Union (EU)'s support for Jerusalem as the future capital of both the Israeli and the Palestinian state when he met European Council President Herman Van Rompuy on Wednesday. Abbas said the idea marked "the start of a political role" for the EU in the region and he would like the United States to adopt such a position. He reiterated that an independent Palestine would be in Israel' s "vital interest" when he spoke to Belgian senators and deputies during his two-day visit to the EU.

Report: Australia already warned Israel against faking its passports
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Australian authorities had already warned Israeli intelligence against using doctored passports in its clandestine activities around the world, the Australian newspaper The Australian reported on Thursday. The Australian report came as Canberra warned Israel earlier Thursday that if it was involved in the alleged use of three forged Australian passports in the assassination of a Hamas leader in Dubai, it would not be considered the act of a friend.

To preserve Zionism, Netanyahu must end the occupation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Opinion) February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Finally there is a vision. Speaking to Haaretz earlier this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defined for the first time his vision of the future: Israel as a global technology leader, grounded in its values and moving toward peace from a position of power. You can like the vision or hate it, accept it or reject it, but now it is clear what Netanyahu is proposing against Peace Now of the left, and how he is dividing those in the center. His overall goal is now apparent.

Dispersing white phosphorous clouds over Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

If you have a moment or are bored or depressed, if you suspected there might be some truth in the criticism of Israel, or if you just feel like laughing out loud, just enter the Information and Diaspora Ministry's Web site.

US slams Israel over designating heritage sites
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

The Obama administration criticized Israel for designating two shrines on Palestinian territory as Israeli national heritage sites. The criticism came as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday she hopes long-stalled peace talks between Israelis and the Palestinians will resume. Clinton told a congressional committee that groundwork is being laid to restart the talks with the help of US envoy George Mitchell. She did not say exactly when the negotiations might resume, but her remarks come amid a flurry of US diplomatic activity in the region.

March to mark Goldstein massacre
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Greer Fay Cashman, Yaakov La, Tovah Lazaroff - February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Amid heightened tensions in Hebron, Palestinians plan to march in the city on Thursday, to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Baruch Goldstein massacre. On February 25, 1994, the Israeli American physician killed 29 Muslims who were praying at the mosque that is part of the Cave of the Patriarchs complex. He wounded another 150 before being beaten to death. The march comes after the cabinet on Sunday added the Cave of the Patriarchs to the list of Jewish heritage sites marked for renovation and preservation.

A tale of two assassinations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) February 24, 2010 - 1:00am

There are times when it's a good idea to assassinate a Hamas leader, even in a foreign country, and times when it's a bad idea. The killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last month (which everyone presumes to have been the Mossad's work) was a bad idea. By contrast, the Mossad's attempt in September 1997 to kill Khaled Mashaal in Amman was a good idea that went bad in the execution, so to speak, as I wrote in a column titled "Hit 'em back" two weeks afterward.

Palestine's strongest weapon is peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

To live under occupation is to face many indignities and dilemmas. How to deal with the occupier? By violence or by peaceful means? History has examples of both. But parallels are never exact. The dilemma facing Palestinians is whether to go on working with the international consensus that supports our independence, or to wage war against the overwhelmingly superior forces of the occupier, Israel.

‘Two-State Solution’ Faces a Patchwork of Challenges
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - February 24, 2010 - 1:00am

As the Obama administration struggles to restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, a two-state solution remains the final goal, supported by governments in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Washington and Moscow. It enjoys at least lip service from everyone from Benjamin Netanyahu on the right to Noam Chomsky on the left. It is a term that has become as much mantra as policy.

Are serious negotiations around the corner?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) February 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinians and many others around the world are trying to figure out whether the current US-backed push to restart Mideast talks will lead to serious negotiations or will it be just another act that leads nowhere.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017