Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The AIPAC convention dominates coverage: PM Netanyahu takes a hard line on Jerusalem settlements, but so does Sec. Clinton and the LA Times says she's right; US and Israeli officials seek to lower tensions; David Horovitz says Israel is blundering towards disaster in its relations with the US. Britain expels an Israeli diplomat over the Dubai assassination. A new anticorruption website is a headache for the PA. Access to clean water, sewage is a growing problem in Gaza. Palestinians say a leader of nonviolent protests has been tortured in an Israeli prison. The PA cabinet vows no return to violence. A settler leader hopes to triple the Israeli population of the occupied territories. American officials will convey Israeli responses to Palestinian negotiators this week. Akiva Eldar says a strong Obama is good for Israel. A new study says most settlers are attracted for economic reasons. Hassan Barari says it's time for Arab action. Ezzedine Choukri Fishere says Europe should make Israel pay an "occupation tax."

Netanyahu Takes Hard Line on Jerusalem Housing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, under extraordinary pressure from the Obama administration to curb the construction of Jewish housing in Jerusalem, served notice on Monday that his government would not yield easily to American demands. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the gala banquet of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference on Monday night.

Britain to Expel Israeli Diplomat Over Dubai Case
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Ian Deitch, Aron Heller, Gregory Katz, Raphael G. Satter - March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Britain will expel an Israeli diplomat on Tuesday to rebuke Israel for its alleged use of forged British passports in the assassination of a Hamas operative in a suspected Mossad hit, a U.K. government official said. Foreign Secretary David Miliband was scheduled to address Parliament over the issue, following an investigation into the use of 12 fake U.K. passports in the incident. Britain's Foreign Office would not provide any details of Miliband's statement in advance.

At AIPAC conference, U.S., Israel try to lower tensions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

The United States and Israel on Monday attempted to get their relationship back on track after nearly two weeks of tension by continuing to disagree on Jewish construction in a disputed area of Jerusalem but pledging to press forward on peace efforts with the Palestinians.

Anti-corruption campaigner is headache for Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Karin Laub, Dalia Nammari - March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

After getting a top Palestinian official suspended over an embarrassing sex tape, self-styled anti-corruption campaigner Fahmi Shabaneh feels unstoppable. The former Palestinian intelligence agent is already zooming in on his next targets, including his former boss and a top Islamic court judge. He also set up a Web site so ordinary Palestinians can send him evidence of official misconduct, thievery and nepotism. "I'm going to the end," he said of his unprecedented crusade.

Settlements strain Israel's relationships with U.S. and Hillary Clinton
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Dana Milbank - (Opinion) March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

As members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee entered the Washington Convention Center on Monday for their annual conference, a man stood outside, handing out copies of what he called "today's statement." On AIPAC letterhead, the statement trumpeted: "AIPAC Calls on the Israeli Government to Immediately Defuse Tensions with United States; Urges Israel to Freeze All Settlements."

Hillary Clinton stands firm on Israel construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Paul Richter - March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gave no ground Monday on U.S. opposition to Israeli construction in disputed areas, signaling that Washington would continue pressing Israel during two days of high-profile events. Clinton told a powerful, pro-Israel lobbying organization that U.S.-Israeli ties were "rock solid." But she did not retreat from the Obama administration's condemnation this month of Israel's plans for 1,600 new housing units in disputed East Jerusalem.

Frankly, Clinton's right
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
(Editorial) March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Friends tell friends when they're wrong, even when they don't want to hear it. That's what Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton did Monday when she told the American pro-Israel lobby that perpetuating the status quo with the Palestinians does not serve Israel's long-term security or U.S. strategic interests, and that "unilateral statements and actions" such as announcing new settlement construction undermine prospects for peace. It's not easy for a U.S. administration to stand up to powerful lobbies, so Clinton deserves credit for her frank remarks.

Thirsty Gaza residents battle salt, sewage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Erin Cunningham - March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Activists around the world are marking World Water Day today with school campaigns, films, and concerts – all designed to draw attention to the fact that access to safe drinking water is something 1 in 5 people don't enjoy, while 40 percent of the world's population doesn't have adequate sanitation.

Popular committee says organizer tortured
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

An organizer of popular resistance activities in the village of Al-Ma'asara alleged he was tortured while in Israeli prison, a report from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said on Monday. According to a statement from the committee, Al-Ma'asara organizer Omar Ala Ad-Din was detained as he passed through the Container checkpoint, an internal West Bank military post, on 14 March.

PA cabinet: No return to violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Ramallah – Ma'an - During its weekly cabinet meeting on Monday, the Palestinian government in Ramallah condemned the killing of four Palestinians in Nablus in less than 24 hours by Israel forces. The cabinet also condemned Israeli military strikes on the Gaza Strip.

International Quartet statement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 21, 2010 - 12:00am

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, United States Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell, and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union Catherine Ashton -- met in Moscow on 19 March 2010. They were joined by Quartet Representative Tony Blair.

Jewish settler leader sees building boom
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - (Interview) March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Jewish settlement of the West Bank could triple to one million people despite Western pressure to curb the growth of enclaves in occupied land, says a leader of the Israeli settlers' council. "It's totally viable to envisage a million Jews living in Judea and Samaria," said Naftali Bennett, using biblical names for the West Bank, where 2.5 million Palestinians aspire to create their own state, along with 1.5 million in Gaza.

U.S. to convey Israeli responses to Palestinians this week: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, March 23 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian leadership will on Thursday receive Israeli explanations through Washington over a U.S. offer to lead indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians, a Palestinian official said Tuesday. The offer was approved earlier this month, but Israeli plans to expand a Jewish settlement in disputed East Jerusalem shed more doubts on the success of the proximity negotiations before they started.

A strong Obama is good for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet a U.S. president Tuesday who is full of vigor and satisfaction. Barack Obama managed, albeit partially, where many other capable people, including his secretary of state, failed completely. The passage of the health reform bill became a true test of the president's strength. It would not be an exaggeration to say that leaders around the world watched the vote in Congress, and while some feared for the future of the president, others hoped that he would stumble and fall.

Israeli settlements an economic choice, says study
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel builds thousands of homes in the West Bank each year, with settlers drawn mainly by economic benefits, according to an analysis published on Tuesday by the Tel Aviv Macro Center for Political Economics and conducted by Dr. Roby Nathanson. The United States and European Union consider the settlements illegitimate and an obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. But Israelis are attracted by their offer of affordable housing in a pleasant landscape.

Blundering toward disaster
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Horovitz - (Analysis) March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

They applauded her entrance. They applauded intermittently throughout her speech. The loudest and most sustained ovation, predictably, came when she demanded that “Gilad Schalit must be released immediately and reunited with his family.” Overall, the reception, if not euphoric, was warm.

Time to act
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Hassan Barari - (Opinion) March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Arabs are enamoured with senior officials in the American administration who are at a loggerhead with Israel over the controversy of new development in East Jerusalem. Explicit in the plethora of articles in the Arabic press is the hope that the American administration will follow through on its effort to force the Israeli government to submit to American pressure.

Make Israel pay an 'occupation tax'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Ezzedine Choukri Fishere - (Opinion) March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Arab intellectuals and policymakers have often accused Europe of using financial generosity to cover up its political impotence over the Arab-Israeli conflict. If Europe is to be taken seriously as a global player, they argue, it must also flex some muscle when it delivers the money. In Arab eyes, European officials implicitly plead guilty to these charges by pointing to Europe’s complex multilateral politics and the European Union’s bureaucratic nature. Europe’s Arab interlocutors are unimpressed: they want Europe to stop talking like a Great Power and start acting like one.

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