Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The assassination in Dubai complicates Israel's efforts at normalization with the Arab world. Richard Cohen says Israel should not be accused of apartheid. Tensions run high after Israel's claim on occupied holy sites, and the EU and the Palestinian Cabinet condemn the move. Sen. John Kerry urges Israel to ease the blockade of Gaza. Hamas faces growing challenges from more extreme Muslim radicals. PLO leaders say US clarifications are not yet sufficient for a resumption of talks. Because of the blockade, Gaza is now an importer of fish. A Hamas leader disowns his son who spied for Israel. Hamas says it is determined to introduce rockets into the West Bank, and says either Jordan or Egypt were responsible for the Dubai assassination. Akiva Eldar says Israel's High Court is abetting "illegal outposts." At the request of PM Netanyahu, Israel's mayor in Jerusalem suspends plans to demolish 20 Palestinian homes in the Silwan neighborhood. The US government condemns plans for new settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar.

Dubai cracks down on Israelis after killing of Hamas operative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

In Israel's quest for normal ties with the Arab world, the United Arab Emirates has been among the few countries to offer a slight opening. It allowed an Israeli cabinet minister to attend an energy conference, let an Israeli tennis star play in a recent tournament, and offered a wink and a welcome to Israelis arriving with U.S., European or other third-country passports.

Israel has its faults, but apartheid isn't one of them
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Richard Cohen - (Opinion) March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

Toward the end of last year, Jimmy Carter apologized for some of his very harsh statements about Israel. In an "open letter to the Jewish community" -- and with a vagueness that ill becomes him -- he airily mentioned criticisms that "stigmatize Israel" but omitted his own contribution: the implication that Israel is, like the racist South Africa of old, an "apartheid" state.

Will Israel heritage sites spark next Palestinian intifada?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Amid spreading Palestinian protests against Israel's decision to declare shrines in two West Bank cities as Israel heritage sites, the Palestinian cabinet held a solidarity meeting Monday in the city of Hebron near one of the sites while some here worried about a new Palestinian intifada. Clashes on the Temple Mount plaza in Jerusalem's Old City Sunday capped a week of violence since the declaration of Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem as official Israel heritage locations.

US Senator John Kerry presses Israel on Gaza access
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

US Senator John Kerry raised the issue of Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip during his meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials in the Middle East, his spokesman said on Monday. The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman "has long called for heightened access for humanitarian goods and foodstuffs," said spokesman Frederick Jones on the phone from Washington.

In Hebron, PA cabinet criticizes Israeli heritage list
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

In what was billed as a move to support the city, the Palestinian Authority cabinet held its weekly session in the Hebron Municipality Hall on Monday, protesting Israel's decision to include the Ibrahimi Mosque on the list of its national heritage sites. Under pressure from settlers, Israel listed Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque and Bethlehem’s Rachel’s Tomb as national “heritage sites” slated for renovation last week, sparking Palestinian protests.

EU: Israeli heritage list 'hinders peace efforts'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

The EU criticized on Monday Israel’s decision to list shrines in Bethlehem and Hebron as national heritage sites. The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, the EU’s high representative for Foreign Affairs and security policy said in a statement, "The High Representative regards the recent decision by the Government of Israel to add sites in Hebron and Bethlehem to the list of Israeli national heritage sites as detrimental to attempts to relaunch peace negotiations.” “The European Union calls on Israel to refrain from provocative acts,” the statement added.

Hamas and pro-al Qaeda cells set for more conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - (Analysis) March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas Islamists ruling the Gaza Strip face a growing security challenge from al Qaeda-inspired Palestinian groups in the religiously conservative enclave. Fundamentalist Muslims, or Salafis, whose agenda of global jihad, or holy war, against the West is against Hamas's nationalist goals, have stepped up bombing attacks in the Gaza Strip in recent weeks, targeting Hamas security men and offices.

US answers not yet enough for Mideast talks-Dahlan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ali Sawafta - March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

A Palestinian official said on Monday the United States had yet to give adequate answers to Palestinian queries on a proposal for indirect negotiations with Israel. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, facing U.S. and Israeli calls for an immediate resumption of peace talks, had asked the United States to clarify its proposal for indirect negotiations. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week she hoped talks would start "shortly". But Mohammed Dahlan, senior official in Abbas's Fatah party, said the U.S. clarifications received so far were not enough.

Under blockade, coastal Gaza now a fish importer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

Under a sea blockade, the coastal Gaza Strip has now become a seafood importer. Its desperate fishermen — cut off from plentiful fishing grounds by Israeli patrol boats — have turned to sneaking into Egyptian waters in tiny motorboats to buy their catch and bring it home. Others bring in fish by land, in ice-packed plastic foam boxes pulled through smuggling tunnels from Egypt. And even though the Mediterranean is right on Gaza's doorstep, locals are creating fish ponds to provide Gaza's 1.5 million people their key source of protein.

Hamas leader disowns son who spied for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Diaa Hadid - March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

A senior Hamas leader publicly disowned his son Monday, days after the young man announced he had secretly spied for Israel and helped authorities hunt down members of the Islamic militant group. Hamas Web sites published a letter late Monday by Sheik Hassan Yousef that the militant group said was smuggled out of the Israeli prison where he is serving a six-year sentence.

Palestinians warn of third uprising against Israel over religious shrines
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly - March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

The Israeli government's declaration to include two religious shrines in the West Bank into the list of Jewish heritage sites and the attempt of Jewish groups to enter into al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem on Sunday had increased the tension between Israel and the Palestinians. Palestinian analysts believe that the recent Israeli actions " pour oil on the flames," adding "this tension would promote violence on the ground and would open the doors for violent confrontations, although the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has a security control on the territory."

Hamas seeks to have rockets in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

The military wing of Islamic Hamas movement on Monday said it is working on home-made rockets which can be fired on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. "Having a Qassam rocket in the West Bank is a demand that must be achieved," Ezz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement published on its website. The statement came a week after security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas arrested a Hamas cell while preparing to test-fire a rocket near Ramallah city. It was the first time that a home-made rocket be found in the West Bank ready to be fired.

Hamas: Jordan or Egypt likely behind Dubai hit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas suspects the security forces of an Arab state were behind the assassination of a senior group operative in Dubai earlier this year, the Al-Quds Al-Araby daily reported on Tuesday. Mahmoud Nasser, a member of Hamas' political bureau, told the newspaper that slain commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was likely being tracked by agents from Jordan and Egypt prior to the January 19 killing. Nasser said he had been given information regarding such efforts to kill Mabhouh, adding that the evidence indicated that the assassination was carried out earlier than the alleged agents had planned.

Supreme Court abetting, not curbing, illegal settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Next week will be five years since the publication of the report on the outposts by former top prosecutor attorney Talia Sasson at the request of prime minister Ariel Sharon. That report was released in the wake of the government's decision to adopt the road map for peace, according to which it undertook to "immediately dismantle" all the illegal outposts established after March of 2001. The document listed 24 such outposts and noted that the vast majority of them are located, at least in part, on private Palestinian land.

Barkat to suspend Silwan plan at PM's request
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

About an hour before Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat intended to present his full plan for the al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan, which is in the city's east, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked him Tuesday to allot more time to try and reach an understanding with the Silwan residents regarding demloshing their houses for the project. Barkat heeded the prime minister's request.

Palestinians on Silwan: Barkat responsible for potential flare up
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

In a conversation with Ynet on Tuesday, Hatem Abdel Kader, who holds the Jerusalem portfolio in the Fatah movement, said, "Nir Barkat will bear the responsibility for the conflagration that will occur in the city if his plan is carried out." According to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's plan, 20 buildings scattered throughout the western section of the Silwan neighborhood will be demolished so that an archeological park can be built in their stead. In exchange, the evacuated buildings' residents will receive permits to rebuild up to four-storeys in the eastern section of Silwan.

US slams new east Jerusalem homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
March 2, 2010 - 1:00am

The United States criticized Israel on Monday for authorizing 600 new housing units in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev, describing the move as "counter-productive." "We've relayed our strong concerns to the government of Israel, that this kind of activity, particularly as we try to relaunch meaningful negotiations is counter-productive and undermines trust between the parties," said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley.

Q & A with Hamas's Mahmoud al-Zahar
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Saleh Al-Naami - (Interview) March 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Q) Is the recent story published about Musab Hassan Yousef true? A) Israel is trying to distort Hamas's image and weaken and reduce its popularity by promoting the idea that there are many examples like Musab Hassan Yousef. We do not rule out that there could be some rot [in the organization]. The case of Hassan Yousf's son putting aside his religion does not discredit his father who has sacrificed a lot for his religion and country. Q) How close are you to reaching an agreement on a prisoner exchange deal with Israel? A) I have nothing to say in this regard.

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