Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Arab League approves proximity talks, which are expected to start soon. Dubai police call for the arrest of PM Netanyahu. Hamas bans men from women's hair salons. UN officials call for easing the Gaza blockade. Israel's High Court approves protests in occupied East Jerusalem. Pres. Peres says PM Netanyahu is being held back on peace by the right wing. The PA consults map experts. Settlers in Sheikh Jarrah sing songs of praise for Baruch Goldstein. Part two of a YNet commentary on prospects for another intifada. A Facebook posting stymies a planned israeli raid in the occupied West Bank. A new organization of Palestinians overseas is formed. Adam Ingram says Hamas must disarm before it can be a partner in peace. Support for Palestinians grows at the UN. Daoud Kuttab critiques Israel's "heritage sites" claim. Osama al-Sharif looks at challenges facing Pres. Abbas.

A Skeptical Arab League Backs Indirect Peace Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner, Michael Slackman - March 3, 2010 - 1:00am

Arab League foreign ministers on Wednesday approved an American proposal that Palestinians hold indirect talks with Israelis, a move that could help restart direct discussions between the two sides that broke down more than a year ago.

Palestinians are expected to join Israel in indirect peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

A year after peace talks collapsed, Israelis and Palestinians appear headed back to the negotiating table -- just not the same table. A U.S.-backed proposal to launch so-called proximity talks moved forward Wednesday when the Arab League gave its blessing for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to join the effort.

Dubai assassination: Dubai wants Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu behind bars
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Carol Huang - March 3, 2010 - 1:00am

The Dubai police chief plans to seek the arrest of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the murder of Hamas leader here Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday. The warning adds to the series of threats that Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim has lodged in recent days against Israel, whom he said “insulted” the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by allegedly carrying out the Jan. 19 assassination here. Dubai, a trade, tourism and banking center is the second largest of the Emirates.

Hamas bans men from women's hair salons
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Rizek Abdel Jawad - March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Gaza's Islamic Hamas government on Thursday banned men from working in women's hair salons, the latest step in its campaign to impose strict Islamic customs on Gaza's 1.5 million people. Since seizing Gaza in 2007, Hamas has taken steps in that direction while avoiding a frontal assault on secularism. The majority of Gaza residents are conservative Muslims, but Hamas is under growing pressure from more radical groups to prove its fundamentalist credentials by imposing ever harsher edicts. The latest measure irked one of the victims of the ban.

Israel allows less than quarter of needs into Gaza: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel allows in only less than quarter of goods the Gaza Strip needs, a Palestinian official said Thursday following a call by a senior UN official to relax sanctions on the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave. "Only 15 percent of Gaza's basic needs are allowed in through one crossing that operates on partial capacity," said Jamal El- Khodary, chief of a public anti-siege committee in Gaza.

PLO defends AL's nod for indirect Palestinian-Israeli negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Thursday defended an Arab League (AL)'s decision authorizing Washington to lead indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians for four months. "This decision moves the ball in Israel's court," said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a member of the PLO's executive committee, in response to Islamic Hamas movement and other Palestinian factions that rejected any resumption of peace negotiations.

Jewish residents of East Jerusalem home offer trade-off
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

The Israeli activists who settled recently in a disputed building in East Jerusalem on Thursday offered a compromise to the State Prosecution, according to which they would seal off the top levels of the building they claim is theirs in exchange for the right to live there. In a letter to State Prosecutor Moshe Lador, the residents of Beit Yonatan said that would forfeit the top three floors of their building, thus keeping their own residence to four stories.

Peres: Netanyahu's peace moves restricted by the right wing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jonathan Lis, Mazal Mualem, Yossi Verter - March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

In private conversations Peres has had over the past few weeks with senior political figures and party leaders, he has been making statements to the effect that Prime Minister Netanyahu cannot advance the peace process with the present coalition government controlled by the right wing. To move forward, the president has been saying, Netanyahu will have to bring Kadima into his coalition and broaden the base of his government with moderates.

Mideast peace talks could begin as early as Sunday
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff, Jonathan Lis, Barak Ravid - March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority may begin as early as Sunday, Haaretz had learned. U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell will land in Israel on Saturday night, and the American administration is hoping the sides will declare the beginning of indirect talks the following morning, ahead of the arrival of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Monday.

PA map experts called up ahead of talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority is engaging in consultations ahead of the resumption of indirect peace talks with Israel, a senior Palestinian source told Ynet on Thursday. According to the source, the indirect negotiations are expected to be launched in the coming days, during a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden and Special Envoy George Mitchell to the region. The Palestinian experts slated to deal with the issue have already been summoned to Ramallah, including map experts, as the Palestinians plan to raise the issue of the permanent agreement borders in their talks with Israel.

Sheikh Jarrah Jews praise Baruch Goldstein on Purim
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

A video obtained by Ynet depicts Jewish residents of east Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood during their Purim celebrations singing songs of praise for Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish terrorist who murdered 29 Palestinians 16 years ago at the Cave of the Patriarchs.

On brink of next intifada
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Shaul Mishal - (Opinion) March 3, 2010 - 1:00am

There are fears that Jerusalem will be turning into the focal point of an outburst that would prompt the next intifada. It will be a civilian rather than armed intifada, although it may certainly escalate into a bloody uprising. This intifada may spread like wildfire across the rest of the West Bank and its main centers of activity will be protests around the settlements and mostly near the security fence. Bilin will turn into a focal point that will spread along the fence area.

Facebook details cancel IDF raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

The IDF was forced to cancel a recent arrest operation in the West Bank after a soldier posted information about the upcoming raid on his Facebook page. The operation was scheduled to take place several weeks ago in the Binyamin region. The soldier, from an elite unit of the Artillery Corps, posted on his Facebook page: “On Wednesday, we are cleaning out [the name of the village] – today an arrest operation, tomorrow an arrest operation and then, please God, home by Thursday.”

Jewish-Agency-style ‘Palestine Network’ launched in Bethlehem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Felice Friedson, Arieh O'Sullivan - March 3, 2010 - 1:00am

When Hanny Elqutub, the son of Palestinian refugees, arrived in America 30 years ago he was focused on carving out a life for himself in Houston. Palestinian identity was a frame of mind but never something he engaged personally. “Sometimes people who went to the US or Europe or South America were running away from bad economics, running away from occupation, running away from political circumstances,” Elqutub says.

How to handle Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Adam Ingram - (Opinion) March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

The recent assassination of a founder of Hamas' armed wing, allegedly involved in the smuggling of weapons into Gaza, has strained relations between Britain and Israel, but is also a sad reminder of the wider repercussions of Hamas' control of the Gaza Strip. If Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab world are to find a way to resolve the Middle East conflict, it must be on the basis of politics, diplomacy and a respect for human life.

Support for Palestinians grows in UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Sharmila Devi - March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Two unrelated diplomatic upsets have underlined growing impatience with the behaviour of the Israeli government among western countries that are traditionally supportive. Backing from the European Union and Australia in the United Nations to sustain the issue of Israel’s alleged war crimes in Gaza more than a year ago has coincided with controversy over Israel’s apparent use of western passports in the assassination of Mahmoud al Mabhouh, a Hamas official, in Dubai.

Israeli heritage, Jewish heritage or both?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

The most worrisome aspect of the decision by the Israeli government to recognise various West Bank-based sites as part of Israel’s heritage is the continuous mix and duplicity between the state of Israel and the Jewish religion. Many Arab and international media outlets mistakenly referred to the Israeli Cabinet's decision as a declaration to consider the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb outside Bethlehem part of "Jewish heritage". No such declaration was made. The Israeli declaration on February 21 called these sites part of the state's "national heritage".

Abbas' consequential choices
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Osama Al-Sharif - (Opinion) March 3, 2010 - 1:00am

Ask Mahmoud Abbas, the beleaguered Palestinian president, about the law of diminishing returns and he would probably explain it far better than an experienced economist! And he should. The past year has seen his political fortunes dip in value faster than the world's ailing money markets. And yet he holds on, trying to reverse the trend and looking for ways to point his dilapidated leadership into a new horizon.

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