Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Roger Cohen says the Middle East is starting to change. Israeli ministers reiterate determination to settle occupied East Jerusalem, call US demands "irritating." Rachel Corrie's parents persist in Israel lawsuit. Israeli troops kill Palestinian child, injure several other protesters. A new survey finds 55% of settlers are in Jerusalem. Gaza banks go on strike after Hamas gunmen seize cash in daylight heist. The PA approves $3.9 billion 2007 budget. Akiva Eldar says Israelis are suffering from a plague of darkness. Thousands attend Land Day ceremonies. A court orders more arguments on whether the PLO and the PA are liable for a Hamas terrorist attack. Israel agrees to allow a shipment of clothes and shoes into Gaza. Malcolm Hoenlein says Pres. Obama must do more to mend ties with Israel. British MPs say UK weapons not used in the occupied territories. An Israeli journalist is reportedly being held in secret house arrest for leaking details of Israeli assassinations. Ron Kampeas outlines the present state of the US-Israel confrontation, and analysts say Arab states have failed to take advantage. Tariq Alhomayed says the Arabs must not allow Iranian clients like Hamas to exploit the situation. The Arab News says Pres. Obama should make sure Israel understands the cost of its policies.

Lo, the Mideast Moves
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - (Opinion) March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The passage of the U.S. health care bill is a major foreign policy victory for President Barack Obama. It empowers him by demonstrating his ability to deliver. Nowhere is that more important than in the Middle East. All the global mutterings about the “Carterization” of Obama, and the talk (widespread in Israel) of kicking the can down the road and so getting through the “garbage time” of a one-term president — that is suddenly yesterday’s chatter.

Ministers Reaffirm Jerusalem Stance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Senior Israeli ministers have publicly rejected American demands for curbs on building in Jewish areas of East Jerusalem and other concessions to the Palestinians, indicating no imminent end to the rift between Israel and the United States. Benny Begin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner cabinet — which has met twice since Mr. Netanyahu returned from Washington last week — said Monday on Israel Radio that the status of East Jerusalem should be resolved in direct negotiations with the Palestinians, not in advance.

Rachel Corrie's family takes case to court in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - March 30, 2010 - 12:00am

The American parents sit stoically in a sky-lit courtroom, listening to testimony about how an Israeli military bulldozer crushed their daughter to death seven years ago. They hear about the dangerous game of chicken played for several hours that winter afternoon in 2003, between bulldozers and international activists trying to protect Palestinian homes, before Rachel Corrie disappeared under a creeping mound of dirt.

Gaza: Child killed by Israeli fire, several reported injured
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 30, 2010 - 12:00am

A child was shot and killed by Israeli forces east of the Yasser Arafat International Airport in Rafah on Tuesday, medics said. Muawiya Hassanein, director of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, said Muhammad Zen Ismail Al-Farmawi, 15, was shot dead near the southeasterly border by Israeli forces. Hassanein said ambulances had been unable to retrieve the body because of ongoing clashes in the area.

Report: 55% of Israeli settlers in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 30, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics issued a statement Tuesday to mark Land Day, estimating that more than 85% of Palestinian land remains under Israeli control, with 55% of settlers in the West Bank centered in the Jerusalem governorate.

Gaza banks on strike after de facto raid on branch
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 30, 2010 - 12:00am

All banks across the Gaza Strip announced a general strike on Tuesday, protesting an attack against a local branch on Monday by de facto police. Banks announced action after the Monetary Authority called on branches to respond to the attack against a Palestine Bank in the Ar-Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, in which 1 million shekels was seized by de facto security forces who were executing a court order demanding the branch return the amount to the Patients' Friends Society.

Gaza bank 'held up' in broad daylight... by police
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

When gunmen burst into Gaza's Palestine Bank on Monday and demanded a quarter of a million dollars the branch manager had to give in -- he couldn't say no to the police. The incident in Gaza City took place when police run by the Islamist Hamas movement went to impose a court order unfreezing the assets of a health charity at the heart of a bitter factional dispute. When the Friends of the Patient Society, which operates a small hospital in the impoverished territory, was taken over by Hamas earlier this year, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank blocked the assets.

PNA approves 3.9-bln-USD budget for 2010
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 30, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) cabinet on Monday approved its budget for 2010, which amounts to 3.9 billion U.S. dollars. The cabinet, which is chaired by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, said in a statement after it held its weekly meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah that around 50 percent of the PNA budget was devoted to the Gaza Strip, ruled since 2007 by the Islamic Hamas movement, President Mahmoud Abbas Fatah party's rival.

The plague of darkness has struck modern Israelites
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

One of the harshest of the 10 plagues has smitten the children of Israel this Passover, and they are stumbling about in pitch darkness, bumping blindly into anyone in their way as they head toward the edge of the precipice. Warm friends, cool friends, icy enemies: Jordan and Turkey, Brazil and Britain, Germany and Australia - it's all the same.

Thousands attend 'Land Day' ceremony
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Sharon Roffe-ofir - March 30, 2010 - 12:00am

Thousands of people arrived in Sakhnin Tuesday to attend a ceremony marking the 34th anniversary of 'Land Day'. Participants waved black flags and Palestinian flags and called, "Barak, Barak, defense minister, how many children have you killed today?" Mosques throughout the northern city called on worshippers to participate in the rally and churches rang bells of mourning for the deaths of six activists who died protesting the confiscation of their lands in 1976.

US judge to reconsider ruling in terror case
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
March 30, 2010 - 12:00am

A federal appeals court said a judge must hear arguments on whether the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority can be forced to pay more than $116 million for a Hamas terrorist attack that killed a US citizen and his wife. The 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals said US District Judge Ronald Lagueux in Rhode Island should have taken more factors into account before deciding last May to uphold the default judgment against the PLO and the Palestinian Authority. The court sent the case back to Lagueux for more arguments.

'Israel to allow clothes, shoes into blockaded Gaza'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel will allow a shipment of clothes and shoes to be delivered to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip for the first time in its almost three-year-old tight blockade of the enclave, Palestinian officials said on Monday. They said the first 10 truckloads would be arriving via the Israeli-controlled Gaza border point on Thursday. Israel is under international pressure to relax its blockade, which the United Nations says punishes Gaza's 1.5 million people over their leaders - the Islamist group Hamas, who are pledged to Israel's destruction.

'Obama must do more to mend ties'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

A top Jewish leader on Monday urged the Obama administration to do more to push back against negative aspersions about the Jewish community and the state of the US-Israel relationship in the wake of recent tensions between the two countries. “The outward appearances have been perceived and described in much of the media in very negative terms and I would hope that’s something theadministration would address,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

Ensure Israel arms curbs, say MPs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
March 30, 2010 - 12:00am

The UK government must ensure that military equipment sold to Israel is not used in the occupied territories, MPs have said. Ministers must learn "broader lessons" about ensuring the ban on the trade in such products for use in Gaza and the West Bank is enforced, a report adds. The MPs said it was "regrettable" that UK arms sold to Israel were "almost certainly" used in Gaza in 2008. However, they said the UK provided less than 1% of arms exported to Israel.

Israel gags news of soldier turned journalist under arrest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel has held a journalist under secret house arrest since last December based on allegations that during her military service she leaked classified documents suggesting that the Israeli army violated laws dealing with targeted killings. Anat Kam, 23, was arrested last December and charged under Israel's espionage and treason laws, JTA has learned. Prosecutors are seeking a 14-year sentence, which is considered severe by Israeli standards.

No resolution to U.S.-Israel tensions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

For Benjamin Netanyahu, the formula for resolving U.S.-Israeli tensions came in the form of a flow chart. The Israeli prime minister took the chart with him when he met with Obama administration officials and visited the White House last week, two weeks after Israel angered the U.S. administration by announcing plans for 1,600 new housing units in a Jewish neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem during a visit to Israel by Vice President Joe Biden. But the flow chart presentation didn't quite do the trick, and Netanyahu's relationship with President Obama remains on the rocks.

Arab countries miss opportunity to cash in on strained Israeli-US relations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The 22nd Arab League summit that ended on Sunday was, as is common by now, long on rhetorical support for the Palestinians but short on practical measures to implement such support. Arab leaders did agree to draw up a strategy, in the words of Amr Moussa, the league’s secretary general, to stand up to Israel. In this context, however, it was surprising that the apparently strained US-Israeli relations were not more of a topic.

The Sons of Iran!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) March 29, 2010 - 12:00am

It can’t be a coincidence that Hamas announced on Saturday its clashes with the Israelis in order to “deter Zionist arrogance and confront the occupation forces…and respond to the continued crimes of the ongoing occupation,” according to the Al Qassam Brigades statement, and at the same time Iran called on the Arab Summit in Libya to make tough decisions and “raise the alarm” to protect Jerusalem. The reason we say this can’t be a coincidence is because Hamas avoided responding to Israel for 14 months, so why now?

At a dead-end
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) March 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The announcement by Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas at the Arab League summit that he will not enter into indirect talks with Israel unless it backs down on settlements, coming immediately after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected anew international calls to stop settlement building in East Jerusalem, means that the peace process has hit a dead-end.

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