Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Hamas bans male hairdressers from women's salons, accuses the PA of arresting its members, denies Al Qaeda-like groups are operating in Gaza and says negotiations with Israel are a betrayal of the nation. Zion Evrony looks at how the Irish peace process can inform Middle East peace. The PA sends medicine to Gaza. The Irish Foreign Minister calls the Gaza blockade "medieval and inhumane." 60 Palestinians are injured in clashes at holy sites in occupied East Jerusalem. VP Biden may kick off proximity talks next week, but widespread skepticism remains and Ha'aretz reports that the US has agreed to assign blame for any failure. PLO officials accuse Israel of stalling. Yoel Marcus says PM Netanyahu knows what is needed for peace. Yoni Eshpar looks at the track record of boycotts and sanctions in many contexts. Jewish Americans urge VP Biden to reach out to Israelis. Many Palestinian women have become family breadwinners due to the occupation. Ehud Yaari says a Palestinian-Israeli armistice is urgently required before any final agreement. Ziad AbuZayyad says Palestinians must increasingly adopt the tactic of nonviolent resistance.

Hamas bans men from women's hair salons
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
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.

From Ireland to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
by Zion Evrony - (Opinion) March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

During a recent trip to Northern Ireland, one theme that dominated all of my conversations was encapsulated in the words “Who would have believed…?” It was the happiness shared by those present that the unimaginable had happened: The conflict that had once made the province a byword for terrorism and sectarian violence had ended.

Hamas: PA continues political arrest campaign
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas officials released a statement accusing Palestinian Authority forces of detaining three of the party's affiliates from locations across the West Bank overnight Thursday. The three were reportedly from Nablus and Hebron, although the arrests could not be independently verified by Ma'an.

PA sends medicine to Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Health Ministry in Ramallah successfully arranged a delivery of badly-needed medicine to the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, a Thursday report said. The International Committee of the Red Cross coordinated the entry to Gaza with the Israeli military, he said, noting the shipment will be followed by 16 truckloads of medicine and laboratory medical equipment to Gaza, for which arrangements were being made.

Hamas: Return to talks a betrayal of the nation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

Gaza's deputy Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) speaker Ahmad Bahar called a return to negotiations with Israel a "waste of the Palestinian cause," saying the outcomes of any talks would "not meet any standards of legitemacy." The statement on Thursday followed rumors that indirect talks with a US envoy shuttling between Israel and the PLO could start as early as Sunday, after the Arab League gave the go-ahead on Wednesday for talks within a four-month timeframe.

Gaza a Year Later
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
by MICHEÁL MARTIN - (Opinion) March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Last week I visited Gaza, the first European Union foreign minister to do so in over a year. My purpose was very much a humanitarian one, to see for myself the impact of a blockade that has now been imposed on the people of Gaza for some two-and-a-half years and to meet with the courageous and dedicated staff of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), including its director of operations, Irishman John Ging. They play an indispensable role in maintaining vital humanitarian services to the people of Gaza.

Clashes erupt at Jerusalem holy site
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ari Rabinovitch - March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli police and Palestinians clashed near Jerusalem's flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque on Friday and about 30 people were injured, Israeli police and Palestinian medical workers said. Israeli police entered the compound housing the mosque and fired stun grenades to disperse Palestinians who they said had thrown stones on police officers and Jewish worshippers nearby. Palestinian medical workers said at least 17 Palestinians were injured by tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, one seriously. About a dozen police officers were also lightly hurt in the clashes, a police spokesman said.

Hamas denies al-Qaida-style groups operating in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas authorities on Thursday denied reports that al-Qaida-style groups were operating in the Gaza Strip to shake Hamas' rule. "There is no group representing the international definition of Jihad," Hamas' Interior Minister Fatthi Hammad told Xinhua. "There were small groups that have been suppressed," he added. "The situation on the ground is still good and we still maintain order," Hammad said.

U.S. vows to assign blame if Israel-PA talks fail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

The United States government has committed to playing a role in indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and promised that if the talks were to fail, the U.S. will assign blame and take action, according to a document sent by the U.S. to the Palestinian Authority, which Haaretz obtained on Friday. The U.S. government sent the document to the Palestinians responding to their inquires regarding the U.S. initiative to launch indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

If Netanyahu wants peace, he knows what to do
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yoel Marcus - March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

British statesman Leopold Amery's plea to prime minister Neville Chamberlain - "For God's sake, go" - has undergone many incarnations, and I'm surprised at my colleague Nahum Barnea, who made do with a simple "Go" in reference to Avigdor Lieberman. The suspicion that Lieberman received documents relating to the investigation against him from our ambassador in Belarus is now being checked by the police. It doesn't smell good - not to mention that the stench of the foreign minister's behavior justifies speeding up the distribution of gas masks.

Are boycotts and sanctions really effective?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yoni Eshpar - (Opinion) March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

When it comes to the Middle East and other areas of the world, a certain word seems to have taken over the current affairs agenda: sanctions. While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is using every possible platform to call for painful sanctions against Iran, Israel's ambassadors are busy contending with a movement that is calling for the imposition of a boycott and sanctions on Israel.

Palestinian sources: 60 wounded in Temple Mount clashes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

Waqf sources in Jerusalem and Palestinian medical sources reported that at least 60 Arabs, east Jerusalemites and Palestinians were wounded in clashes on the Temple Mount from tear gas, stun grenades, and smoke inhalation. The Palestinians claim that the security forces are using force in areas where there are no clashes and making it difficult for worshippers to leave the mosque. Also according to the reports, five Palestinian protesters were wounded in clashes with the security forces in Nabi Saleh.

Report: Biden to open indirect talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

Days before a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer expressed optimism about the situation in the Middle East and said that "peace negotiations with the Palestinians will begin very soon." A Palestinian source told the al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper that indirect negotiations mediate by the United States may be launched next week upon Biden's arrival. According to the minister, he and his fellow Labor Party members "are making sure that the prime minister begins peace negotiations, day and night."

Dahlan against talks: Israel just wants to gain time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

Despite support from the Arab League for renewing indirect talks with Israel, more and more Palestinian voices are being heard opposing the move. On Thursday evening, Fatah Central Committee spokesman Mohammad Dahlan added his voice to the chorus. "In light of Israel's acts," he said, "in particular the continued settlement and aggression against holy sites, there is no point to direct or indirect negotiations with the Israeli government."

Jewish leaders to Biden: Reach out to Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
March 3, 2010 - 1:00am

Jewish leaders who met with Vice President Joe Biden stressed the need to convey the Obama administration's message to the Israeli public. Biden hosted a number of leaders at his residence Tuesday, a week ahead of his visit to Israel. Participants said the meeting, which included top White House Middle East staffers Dan Shapiro and Dennis Ross, lasted an hour -- well beyond the 20 minutes allotted.

Occupation Turns Palestinian Women Into Breadwinners
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Mel Frykberg - March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

The World Bank (WB) warned over a year ago that unless Israel eased its restrictions on movement and access in the West Bank the Palestinian economy would further deteriorate. In February the WB released another report, ‘Checkpoints and Barriers: Searching for Livelihoods in the West Bank and Gaza, Gender Dimensions of Economic Collapse’. The report outlines the devastating impact Israel’s occupation has caused to Palestinians financially, and women in particular.

Armistice Now: An Interim Agreement for Israel and Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Affairs
by Ehud Yaari - (Opinion) March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

More than 16 years after the euphoria of the Oslo accords, the Israelis and the Palestinians have still not reached a final-status peace agreement. Indeed, the last decade has been dominated by setbacks -- the second intifada, which started in September 2000; Hamas' victory in the January 2006 Palestinian legislative elections; and then its military takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 -- all of which have aggravated the conflict.

The power of nonviolence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ziad Abu Zayyad - (Opinion) March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

There are signs of mounting distress among the Israeli police and other security forces in the way they are dealing with the Palestinians who stage weekly demonstrations in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. These protests, in which Palestinians are joined by foreign sympathizers and activists of the Israeli left, are intended to express opposition to the eviction of Palestinians from their homes, which are then inhabited by Jewish families.

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