Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Dubai police say an assassinated Hamas operative was drugged and then killed. Two of the suspects may have traveled directly to the United States following the killing. Violence in the occupied territories spreads from Hebron to Jerusalem. Hamas may have been infiltrated by Israeli operatives. The Gaza Rafah border crossing is reopened. The EU says the PA is making "enormous progress" toward statehood. The Palestinian cabinet's weekly meeting is relocated to Hebron. Hamas seeks to extend the detention of a British journalist. Palestinians look for Arab support on proximity talks. Moshe Dayan's widow says Israel does not know how to make peace. Akiva Eldar says no one would accept PM Netanyahu's conditions. Amira Hass profiles Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank. The National and the Arab News denounce Israel's claims on holy sites. Articles in the American Interest look at the history and the legality of settlements, and the state of US-Israel relations.

Slain Hamas Operative Was Drugged, Dubai Police Say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Robert Worth - February 28, 2010 - 1:00am

A Hamas official who was killed in his hotel room here in January was first injected with a fast-acting muscle relaxant and then suffocated, Dubai police officials said Sunday. The disclosure was the latest in a near-daily drip of information about the killing, which has riveted people across the Middle East and provided a rare level of detail about a political assassination widely believed to have been carried out by Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad.

Israeli Police Clash With Stone Throwers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - February 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli police officers in Jerusalem entered the plaza containing Al Aksa Mosque on Sunday after Palestinian youths barricaded inside threw stones at visitors they believed to be radical Jewish settlers. Dozens of young Palestinians had spent the night in the compound, holy to Muslims and Jews, because of rumors that militant Jews planned to take it over during the Purim holiday, which began Sunday. The resulting clashes ended with more than a dozen youths injured, seven men detained and four police officers slightly injured. The site was calm but tense by late afternoon.

Once seemingly impregnable, Hamas shows signs of vulnerability
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Janine Zacharia - January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

Struggling to maintain its strength in the West Bank amid a crackdown by Israel and Palestinian police and suffering after the assassination of one of its top leaders, Hamas has sustained another blow with news that the son of one its founders had been spying on it for Israel.

Two Dubai Suspects Traveled to U.S.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

At least two of the 26 suspects sought by Dubai police for the alleged killing of a top Hamas leader appear to have entered the U.S. shortly after his death, according to people familiar with the situation. Records shared between international investigators show that one of the suspects entered the U.S. on Feb. 14, carrying a British passport, according to a person familiar with the situation. The other suspect, carrying an Irish passport, entered the U.S. on Jan. 21, according to this person. Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's body was found in a Dubai hotel room on Jan. 20.

Rafah crossing opens after two months of closure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing on Monday, allowing Palestinians to both enter and exit Gaza for the first time in two months. Shortly before noon, two buses had already passed into Egypt from the Strip. The increased movement at the crossing is expected to continue for three days, officials said.

EU says PA made 'enormous progress' in statehood prep
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority has made “enormous progress” in preparing for statehood based on the rule of law and in the spirit of good governance, “even under the current difficult political environment”, said Christian Berger on Friday, the EU representative in the occupied Palestinians territories. His comments came as officials from the EU and the PA met in Brussels on Friday to continue dialogue on human rights, good governance and the rule of law in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Gunman opens fire near E.Jerusalem settler block
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

A gunman opened fire near an apartment block housing Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem on Monday, slightly wounding a security guard, police said. Tension has been high in Jerusalem since violence broke out on Sunday at the city's most sensitive holy site and Israel's announcement that it plans to refurbish two West Bank religious shrines, sacred to Jews and Muslims, as part of a Jewish heritage project.

Palestinian Cabinet stakes claim amid shrine furor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Cabinet moved its weekly meeting to Hebron on Monday, a symbolic protest against Israel's addition of a contested shrine in this volatile West Bank city to its list of national heritage sites. Israel's decision last week drew widespread international criticism and heightened Palestinian suspicions of Israel at a time when the U.S. is trying to restart peace talks. Israelis and Palestinians have clashed frequently in the past over two West Bank shrines added to the heritage list: the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem.

Hamas seeks extension of detention of UK reporter
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Rizek Abdel Jawad - February 28, 2010 - 1:00am

A Gaza military prosecutor wants to extend the detention of a British journalist, claiming he poses a security threat, a Hamas government official said Sunday. Freelance journalist Paul Martin has been held in Gaza since Feb. 14, the first foreigner to be arrested since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. Martin's case is being closely watched by international organizations with staff in Gaza as a gauge of how the Hamas government will deal with foreigners.

Palestinians expect Arab nod on indirect negotiation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Fares Akram, Emad Drimly - February 28, 2010 - 1:00am

A Palestinian official on Sunday expected that Arab leaders would okay indirect talks between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel. On Tuesday, an Arab League's committee would meet in Cairo to make a decision on a U.S. offer to mediate indirect talks between Israel and the PNA on the borders of the future Palestinian state. "I think the meeting will come out with a conditional acceptance on the U.S. proposal," Hanna Amira, a member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told Xinhua.

Moshe Dayan's widow: Israel doesn't know how to make peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Interview) February 28, 2010 - 1:00am

She turned 93 last Friday, according to the Hebrew calendar. On Thursday, Herzliya awarded her honorary citizenship. Ruth Dayan doesn't rest for a moment. In the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom and in the Palestinian village of Kharbata, she founded an arts and crafts workshop for women. Once every week or two she drives to these places by herself. She's also busy with countless humanitarian issues in the territories. A few months ago she flew to Malta to meet the daughter of Yasser Arafat, the granddaughter of her soulmate, Raymonda Tawil.

No country would accept Netanyahu's conditions for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

The decision to add the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb to the list of historical heritage sites up for renovation was not made with the intention of inflaming tempers and sabotaging efforts to revive final-status talks with the Palestinians. It was merely a routine move by a rightist government, further proof that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "two states" speech at Bar-Ilan University was a milestone on the road to nowhere.

39 army raids, 28 arrests: Just another day in the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

"The year 2009 was the quietest for Israelis from the security point of view and the most violent for the Palestinians from the point of view of attacks by settlers in the West Bank." Just as he was saying this - as an example of one of the absurdities that characterize the political situation - Palestinian Agriculture Minister Ismail Daiq received a phone call from the Jenin district to inform him that five artesian wells in the village of Daan had been destroyed that morning. One person was shot and wounded in the abdomen when he tried to lift the pump to save it from damage.

Israel’s warped priorities hurt peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

On the Jewish holy day of Purim in 1994, Baruch Goldstein entered the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron and began shooting; 29 Palestinians died in the midst of their prayers, another 150 were wounded. It was Goldstein’s perverse reinterpretation of the story of Esther, which Purim commemorates. This year, Jews across the world have just finished celebrating Purim, and once again Hebron and the Ibrahimi mosque, which contains the tomb of Abraham, are a flashpoint for conflict.

ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

This is an annexation of the mosques, which is illegal, and an attempt to trigger religious confrontation. The two mosques are the Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque near Bethlehem and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.

Behind the Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The American Interest
by Daniel Kurtzer - (Analysis) March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Ariel Sharon was considered the godfather of the Israeli settlements movement. His ardent support of settlements construction and the legitimacy he lent to the strategic argument for settlements as a means of enhancing Israeli security were vital to the success of the enterprise, particularly in the years after he left the Israeli military for politics. Sharon’s basic argument revolved around security. During my time as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Sharon would often hold forth on the rationale for and his own role in the planning of new settlements.

Are the Settlements Illegal?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The American Interest
by Nicholas Rostow - (Analysis) March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli settlements in the territories that came under Israeli control as a result of the June 1967 war have long been a subject of often highly emotional debate within the United States, Israel and the international community. The Obama Administration’s decision to focus on settlements right out of the gate heightened attention on this already salient issue, but it is by no means clear that heightened attention will by itself facilitate resolution of the Palestine/Israel problem.

Allies Divided
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The American Interest
by Benjamin E. Schwartz - (Analysis) March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

The storm following Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s rebuff of the Obama Administration’s appeal for Israel to halt all settlement expansion—including “natural growth”—overshadows a rarely noted but more fundamental and intractable divergence between Israeli and American policies. This split is rooted in the two governments’ contrasting answers to the following question: Is Palestinian political and geographic fragmentation a barrier to peace?

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