Middle East News: World Press Roundup

PM Netanyahu finds himself caught between his coalition partners and the United States, but no agreement has been reached. In spite of the ongoing controversy, the US and Israel sign a major arms deal and Israelis say Gen. Petraeus affirms defense links. Julian Kossoff says Jewish American support for Obama in the confrontation is heartening. The LA Times profiles the Palestinian security forces. Christopher Hazou says Israel has glorified terrorists. The Boston Globe Supports Sec. Clinton's "tough love" for Israel. Occupation authorities are preparing to allow Palestinians to use a major West Bank highway. Yossi Verter says Netanyahu needs to shape up before relations with the US get worse, but Akiva Eldar says it's too late. Palestinians say the US has asked Israel to cede control of more West Bank areas to the PA. Arab foreign ministers pledge $500 million to support Palestinians in Jerusalem. Time asks if it is too late to share Jerusalem. Lara Friedman and Daniel Seidemann explain the top six bogus excuses for East Jerusalem settlement expansion.

Conflicting Demands Test Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - March 25, 2010 - 12:00am

After contentious meetings in the White House, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, returned home on Thursday with the politically explosive task of responding to an unyielding American demand that he limit Israeli building in East Jerusalem.

U.S. Fails to Persuade Israel on Housing Plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Helene Cooper, Isabel Kershner - March 25, 2010 - 12:00am

With Israeli officials saying that construction on a contentious Jewish housing project in East Jerusalem could begin at any time, President Obama seemed to have failed on Wednesday to persuade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give a written commitment to rein in any further building and to move ahead on peace talks with the Palestinians.

As U.S.-Israel rift continues, Netanyahu finds himself in a bind
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Janine Zacharia - March 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was welcomed home Thursday night with signs reading "Obama, No You Can't" and "Netanyahu Stand Strong" after a trip to Washington that appeared only to widen a two-week-old rift between the close allies over Israeli housing construction.

Palestinian security forces walk a careful line
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - March 26, 2010 - 12:00am

As the highest-ranking commander of nearly 8,000 Palestinian security troops, Maj. Gen. Diab Ali is accustomed to being top gun. But the salutes often stop when he leaves the military base and travels through the West Bank. Experience has taught the general to leave his gun behind and trade the uniform for civilian clothes, lest some young Israeli checkpoint guard decide to hold him for questioning or block his way. "It avoids problems," said Ali, commander of the National Security Forces of the Palestinian Authority.

Israel glorifies its own murderers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Christopher Hazou - (Opinion) March 25, 2010 - 12:00am

In their March 17 Times Op-Ed article, "Why glorify the murderers?" Ron Kehrmann, Yossi Mendelevich and Yossi Zur make a number of misleading statements and remove all historical context in their effort to demonize Palestinians as people who hate Israeli children more than they love their own.

Tough love for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
(Editorial) March 26, 2010 - 12:00am

SECRETARY OF State Hillary Clinton delivered the right message to the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Monday night, declaring that America’s commitment to Israel’s security is “rock solid, unwavering, enduring and forever’’ while affirming that “a two-state solution is the only viable path for Israel to remain both a democracy and a Jewish state.’’

Palestinians to start using Ramallah highway
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli authorities are preparing to implement a High Court decision allowing Palestinians to use a West Bank highway that had previously been designated for exclusive Israeli use. Israel's military released a statement Thursday evening affirming that Palestinians will be allowed to travel on highway 443, which runs near the villages of Beit Sira, Beit ‘Ur Al-Fauqa, Kharbatha Al-Misbah, and At-Tira. Palestinian cars using the Ramallah-area highway will first undergo inspection at a military checkpoint to be erected near the Ofer detention center, the military statement said.

Israel says it will still build in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - March 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel insisted on Friday it would not change its policy of building homes in East Jerusalem, keeping the Jewish state at odds with Washington on how to renew stalled peace talks with Palestinians. The statement on Jerusalem came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened senior cabinet ministers to consider confidence building steps for reviving negotiations, as proposed by U.S. officials while Netanyahu was in Washington this week.

Netanyahu to craft response to US pressure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Gavin Rabinowitz - March 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to convene his inner forum Friday in a bid to craft an Israeli response to mounting pressure from the United States, officials said. A tight-lipped Netanyahu returned home Thursday after a tense visit to Washington that appeared to deepen a bitter row with the administration of US President Barack Obama over the building of Jewish settlements. The Americans have reportedly given Netanyahu a series of demands needed to kickstart moribund peace talks with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu better shape up before U.S. tensions get worse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - (Opinion) March 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from the United States Thursday with egg all over his face but also with a painfully sharp insight - gone are the days when the White House was considerate about the intricacies of Israeli domestic politics. Former prime ministers used to tell American presidents, "Understand, I have a problematic coalition." This no longer works. Obama is not making any effort to show sensitivity to Netanyahu's distress and worse - he's ignoring it as though he intends to wreak some political chaos here.

Netanyahu and Obama are at point of no return
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) March 26, 2010 - 12:00am

The strife between Israel and the United States concerns something far bigger than the proximity talks with the Palestinians. As far as President Barack Obama and his senior advisers are concerned, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to blame for nothing less than damaging the standing of the U.S.in the Middle East and the Muslim world.

Despite row, U.S. and Israel sign massive arms deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - March 26, 2010 - 12:00am

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington this week absorbing the full wrath of the Obama administration, the Pentagon and Israel's defense establishment were in the process of sealing a large arms deal. According to the deal, Israel will purchase three new Hercules C-130J airplanes. The deal for the three aircrafts, designed by Lockheed Martin, is worth roughly a quarter billion dollars. Each aircraft costs $70 million. The aircrafts were manufactured specifically for Israeli needs, and include a large number of systems produced by Israel's defense industry.

Palestinians: Obama wants Israel to hand over Abu-Dis to PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - March 26, 2010 - 12:00am

The Obama Administration is demanding that Israel hand over more West Bank land to exclusive PA control, including the Abu-Dis area adjacent to Jerusalem, Palestinian sources told Ynet Thursday. According to the US vision, the move will take place as part of reverting to the state that prevailed in the West Bank before the outbreak of the last Intifada.

Arabs pledge $500 million in east J'lem aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - March 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa on Thursday announced that the organization's member states approved a $500 million assistance package for Palestinians residing in Jerusalem. The Arab foreign ministers convened Thursday for a preparatory meeting in the Libyan city of Sirte, ahead of the Arab League summit scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

US general reaffirms military bond with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - March 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Political crisis, but no military crisis: US General David Petraeus on Wednesday spoke with Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi and reassured him that he never said Israel's policies endanger US troops in the Middle East. Recent reports about Patraeus' alleged comments during a Congress hearing were denied by American security officials. However, the general insisted on clearing the air himself and called the Israeli chief of staff.

Is It Too Late to Share Jerusalem?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Andrew Lee Butters - March 26, 2010 - 12:00am

The disputed fate of Jerusalem has long epitomized the stalemate in the Middle East peace process, and over the past two weeks it has been at the center of rare diplomatic brawl between Israel and the U.S. But even as the Obama Administration and the Israeli government square off over demands that Israel refrain from announcing new construction projects in occupied East Jerusalem, the tussle as Israel extends its grip and Palestinians push back is a flashpoint. "The tinder is dry in Jerusalem," says one Western diplomat.

A healthy decision: American Jews rally to Barack Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Telegraph
by Julian Kossoff - (Opinion) March 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Over 80 per cent of American Jews voted for President Barack Obama; only African-Americans backed him in greater numbers. They voted for him because he is a Democrat, a liberal and a reformer. They voted for him because he signalled early on that the right to health care, enjoyed by citizens of most Western nations, would be a top legislative priority and a signature moral mission.

Settlements in Focus: Top 6 Bogus Excuses for East Jerusalem Settlement Expansion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Americans For Peace Now
by Lara Friedman - (Opinion) March 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Bogus Excuse #1 - "Everybody knows these areas will always remain part of Israel." The Truth: There is nothing objective or neutral, or even constant, about what "everybody knows" in East Jerusalem.

ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United States Trade and Development Agency
March 15, 2010 - 12:00am

USTDA supports local efforts in the West Bank to develop information and communications technologies (ICT) and wastewater treatment infrastructure. The two grants awarded today will support the Rawabi Project, a private sector development that will create an affordable and environmentally sustainable residential community in the West Bank. The project is being developed on a 250-acre site in the West Bank, six miles north of Ramallah and is envisaged to eventually grow to accommodate 40,000 residents, plus a commercial center, schools, a clinic and a hotel.

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