Middle East News: World Press Roundup

PM Netanyahu concludes a tense visit to Washington with two lengthy and highly confidential meetings with Pres. Obama, but insists settlement building will go forward. The Washington Post says the confrontation has demonstrated the limits of American power. Britain expels an Israeli diplomat over the misuse of UK passports in the Dubai assassination. Robert Wright says the term "anti-Israel" is being abused. Gen. Petraeus has reportedly asked for the West Bank and Gaza to be included in CENTCOM's remit. The PA says there will be no negotiations if Israel is building settlements, and Israel threatens to delay talks for up to a year. Israel is investigating the killing of two Palestinian youths. An Israeli court rules that settlers may fire into the air to disperse unarmed Palestinians. All discussions in Israel's Jerusalem Regional Planning and Building Committee on settlement activity have been frozen. Hussein Ibish says Palestinians benefited from the US-Israel confrontation. Rami Khouri says more than rhetoric is needed from Washington. Mel Frykberg questions the morality of the Israeli military.

Israel Absorbs Twin Rebukes From Top Allies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Helene Cooper - March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel found itself at odds with its two most stalwart allies on Tuesday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu culminated a tense visit to Washington with a face-to-face session with President Obama that apparently failed to resolve the impasse between the two over a comprehensive Middle East peace plan. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on his way into the White House on Tuesday. His tense visit to Washington lacked the usual trappings of a visit by the head of a government. Multimedia

Against ‘Pro-Israel’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Robert Wright - (Blog) March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Are you anti-Israel? If you fear that, deep down, you might be, I have important news. The recent tension between Israel and the United States led various commentators to identify hallmarks of anti-Israelism, and these may be of diagnostic value. As you’ll see, my own view is that they aren’t of much value, but I’ll leave it for you to judge.

Netanyahu spends unheralded time at White House
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - March 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Amid high tensions in U.S.-Israeli relations, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with President Obama for a total of two hours in two meetings at the White House Tuesday night under a virtual news blackout. No reporters or photographers were invited to record the scene or even a handshake between the two leaders, who met one day after Netanyahu, in a speech to a pro-Israel group, rejected the administration's plea that he halt construction in a disputed area of Jerusalem claimed by Palestinians as their capital.

Dispute with Israel underscores limits of U.S. power, a shifting alliance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - (Analysis) March 24, 2010 - 12:00am

The two-week-old dispute between Israel and the United States over housing construction in East Jerusalem has exposed the limits of American power to pressure Israeli leaders to make decisions they consider politically untenable. But the blowup also shows that the relationship between the two allies is changing, in ways that are unsettling for Israel's supporters.

Netanyahu takes Israel's case to Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Paul Richter, Edmund Sanders - March 24, 2010 - 12:00am

President Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Tuesday amid new signs that the two remain deeply divided over continued Israeli construction in disputed East Jerusalem. In their first face-to-face meeting after months of tension, Obama was expected to press Netanyahu for action to ensure that Israeli housing plans do not endanger peace talks.

Britain says 'compelling' evidence Israel linked to Dubai assassination
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Carol Huang - March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Tuesday that there are "compelling reasons to believe that Israel was responsible" for the forging of British passports used in the Dubai assassination of a Hamas official. Miliband's comments, together with his promised expulsion of a diplomat from Israel's London Embassy, offer the first apparent confirmation of Dubai Police Chief Dahi Khalfan’s claim that Israel was involved in the Jan. 19 attack.

Petraeus requests West Bank, Gaza be included in Centcom's sphere
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from World Tribune
March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

U.S. Centcom chief Gen. David Petraeus has urged the administration of President Barack Obama to include both the West Bank and Gaza Strip in his area of responsibility. Centcom has been responsible for most of the Middle East with the exception of Israel and much of North Africa. Israel as well as the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been located in U.S. European Command.

PA: No talks till Jerusalem construction stops
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

There will be no peace or stability without a Palestinian Jerusalem, presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh said on Tuesday. Responding to comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the conference of the Israeli lobby group AIPAC in Washington on Monday evening, Abu Rudaineh spoke as President Mahmoud Abbas awaited news from the closed-door meeting between the Israeli leader and American President Barack Obama.

Israel investigates shooting of Palestinian youths
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 24, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli army is investigating the shooting deaths of two Palestinian teenagers at the weekend in the occupied West Bank, a spokesman said on Wednesday. The incident in the village of Iraq Burin was one of two fatal clashes in which four died, worsening tension between the sides and further complicating U.S.-led efforts to restart stalled peace talks.

Israel, undeterred, to build in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - March 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Undeterred by turbulence in its ties with the United States and Britain, Israel on Wednesday confirmed further plans to expand the Jewish presence in occupied East Jerusalem, with more building freshly approved. In a move sure to anger Palestinians and frustrate Western proponents of a freeze on settlement construction, a city official said approval was given to develop a flashpoint neighbourhood from which Palestinians were evicted last year.

Court ruling lets settlers shoot in air to repel Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

A recent Jerusalem Magistrate's Court verdict indicates that settlers may fire in the air to repel unarmed Palestinians, a ruling that a Palestinian rights advocate called a dangerous precedent. Magistrate's Court Judge Hagit Kalmanovitch ruled last month that Abraham Hofi, of the settlement of Halamish, was not guilty of issuing threats or mishandling a weapon when he fired in the air from his father's balcony on May 6, 2005, after observing three Palestinians shepherding a herd some 100 meters from the settlement fence.

Peace talks could be delayed for a year, warns Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Rupert Cornwell - March 24, 2010 - 12:00am

An unyielding Benjamin Netanyahu held a 90-minute meeting with Barack Obama at the White House last night as the US intensified pressure on the Israeli Prime Minister to rein in settlements in disputed East Jerusalem. But, in talks earlier in the day with Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill, Mr Netanyahu warned that peace negotiations could be delayed another year unless the Palestinians dropped their "illogical and unreasonable" demand for a full settlement freeze, according to his spokesman.

Netanyahu's reluctant gift to Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) March 24, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu is not being honest with his fellow Israelis by insisting that settlement building is compatible with a peaceful future between Israelis and Palestinians, or that the colonisation of occupied East Jerusalem "in no way harms" Palestinians and is not in any sense different from building in Tel Aviv.

Britain expels Israeli diplomat over Dubai passport row
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

The UK is to expel an Israeli diplomat over 12 forged British passports used in the killing of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January. David Miliband said there were "compelling reasons" to believe Israel was responsible for the forgeries. The foreign secretary said the misuse of British passports was "intolerable". Israel's ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, said he was "disappointed", but Israel confirmed there would be no tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsion.

No sign of breakthrough in Netanyahu-Obama meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
March 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama met twice during a dramatic evening in the White House, but no signs emerged of a breakthrough in a row over Jewish settlements. Obama hosted Netanyahu in the Oval Office late Tuesday for 90 minutes, but with the two sides embroiled in their most testy disagreement in years, unusually did not appear before the cameras with his visitor. As an evening of intense diplomacy developed, Netanyahu then asked to consult privately with his staff, a US official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

J'lem building c'tee meetings frozen
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
March 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Since the furor when plans to build 1,600 new housing units in east Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo were announced during Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel, all discussions by the Jerusalem Regional Planning and Building Committee over new construction in the capital have been frozen, it was announced Wednesday. Jerusalem Municipality official Yair Gabai made the statement in an interview with Army Radio, and it was later confirmed by the Interior Ministry. "Unfortunately, since Biden's visit, all committee meetings have been frozen until further notice," said Gabai.

Israeli Army World's Most Moral?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Mel Frykberg - March 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Many Israelis like to believe, and the cliché is repeated regularly in Israel, that their army is the "most moral army in the world." However, following the Gaza war which left 1,400 Palestinians dead, most of them civilians, some Israelis have begun to question this. Furthermore, the fatal shooting of four Palestinian teenagers in the course of 24 hours over the weekend, in highly questionable circumstances, has forced the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) to investigate the incident amidst contradictory statements issued by the soldiers involved.

Historic change or just empty rhetoric?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) March 24, 2010 - 12:00am

The important relationship between the United States and Israel is evolving in unpredictable ways. Their recent tensions are important for what they reveal about a more sophisticated and integrated American view of its Middle East policies, one which balances a firm commitment to Israel’s security against the problems Washington suffers from its excessive pro-Israel tilt and the continued Zionist colonialism in occupied Arab lands.

Netanyahu meets Obama as new housing controversy emerges
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen - (Blog) March 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is supposed to meet with President Obama at the White House at 5:30pm. The meeting comes shortly after Israeli media reported that late last week, the Jerusalem municipality gave final approval to a group of settlers to construct 20 apartments at the Shepherd Hotel site in the contested Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

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