Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Gary Bass looks at the gradual deterioration of Israeli-French relations. Israeli officials refuse to comment on an American proposal for a 4 months settlement freeze in occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinians say settlers have established yet another outpost. Palestinian Christians are barred from Jerusalem. Israel ends an investigation into the death of a Palestinian. Palestinians accuse Israel of planning to encircle Jerusalem with settlements. Gaza militants say they are preparing for an Israeli attack. Palestinians and Europeans form a committee to aid West Bank projects. Hamas organizes a rally to celebrate Pres. Mubarak's reported recovery. Ahmed Tibi says Land Day is about justice. Ephraim Sneh examines the complexity of Israel's present situation. PA officials arrive in the US for security consultations. A YNet commentary says Iran should be attacked with tactical nuclear weapons and the occupied territories annexed with no political rights for the Palestinians. Settlers plan a new outpost near the first plan Palestinian in the occupied territories. Daoud Kuttab says leaders must be held to their commitments. George Hishmeh says PM Netanyahu's days in office may be numbered. Michael Young critiques the idea that Lebanese and Palestinians can rely on armed struggle.

When Israel and France Broke Up
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Gary J. Bass - (Opinion) March 31, 2010 - 12:00am

IN the face of rising tensions between the United States and Israel over housing construction in East Jerusalem, the Obama administration has rushed to reassert what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently called the “unshakable bond” between the two countries. No doubt, that relationship rests on enduring foundations, including broad American public sympathy for a besieged democracy, a mutual strategic interest in resisting Arab extremism and a sense of moral duty to preserve the Jewish people after the Holocaust.

Israel silent on Obama's four-month building freeze in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - March 31, 2010 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama asked Israel to agree to put a four-month freeze on plans to pursue controversial construction projects in East Jerusalem, in return for enabling direct Israel-Palestinian peace talks to start, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Wednesday. The paper quoted an unnamed official in Jerusalem. Officials at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv were unavailable for comment.

Village: Elon Moreh settlers create new outpost
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Caravan homes, water tanks and tents were installed by settlers on lands belonging to the village of Deir Al-Hatab on Thursday, in what locals said appeared to be an attempt to create an outpost of Elon Moreh settlement. Head of the Deir Al-Hatab village council, Abdul Karim Hussein, said the outpost was set up in the early hours of the morning about 500 meters northeast of the village.

Palestinian Christians to be barred from Old City
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinians, particularly Christians will be barred from entering Jerusalem's Old City and accessing the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Saturday, when eastern Orthodox Christians observe Sept An-Nour, or Saturday of light. Church officials were informed by Israeli police that only international pilgrims would be allowed to access the area, Jerusalem officials said on Wednesday.

Israel ends probe into Palestinian protester death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's military says it will not file any charges in the death of a Palestinian protester last year. Thirty-one-year-old Bassem Abu Rahmeh was killed when a tear gas canister fired by troops hit him in the chest during a protest last April against Israel's West Bank separation barrier. The army claimed Abu Rahmeh was in a group of people throwing rocks at troops. But video footage showed the protesters shouting at soldiers, not throwing anything. The Israeli military said Thursday it closed the investigation after determining the canister was not intentionally aimed at Abu Rahmeh.

Palestinian official: Israel to encircle Jerusalem's Old City with settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

A Palestinian official on Thursday warned that Israel is planning to encircle the Old City in disputed East Jerusalem with Jewish settlements. Such a move would increase tensions since the majority of residents there are Arabs and the walled compound in the Old City includes the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque. The official, Hatem Abdul-Kader, told Voice of Palestine radio that this plan was "oppressive" as some 310 Palestinian houses in nearby Arab neighborhoods would be demolished. The new project will take the shape of a crescent and would embrace the Old City, Abdul-Kader said.

Gaza militants prepare for sudden Israeli military strike
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly - April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian factions' armed wing on Wednesday declared a status of "preparedness" following the increasing Israeli army officials' threats to carry out a sudden military strike against its militants in the Gaza Strip, ruled by Islamic Hamas movement. Abu Obeida, spokesman of Hamas armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades expected on Wednesday that the Israeli army would carry out a sudden military strike on the Gaza Strip "in any moment" in response to last Friday's military attack southeast Gaza Strip, where two Israeli soldiers were killed.

Joint Palestinian-European committee to convene on supporting Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

A Palestinian official announced on Wednesday that the Joint Palestinian-European Committee will hold a meeting in Brussels in June to support vital projects in the Palestinian territories. A preparatory meeting was held Wednesday in the West Bank city of Ramallah, attended by both senior Palestinian and European officials. Reyad al-Malki, minister of foreign affairs in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) government, said in a press statement that the two sides agreed to prepare a joint working plan.

Gazans celebrate Egypt's Mubarak's recovery
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Dozens of Palestinians gathered at the border between southern Gaza Strip and Egypt on Wednesday to celebrate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's recovery and return home. The rally, organized by the Islamic Hamas movement which rules the Gaza Strip, called on Mubarak to release Palestinian prisoners in Egyptian jails. "We came here today to the borderline area to send our congratulations to President Mubarak for his recovery and also to urge him to release the Palestinian prisoners in Egyptian jails," said the organizer.

For Israel's Arabs, Land Day is our narrative and our justice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ahmad Tibi - (Opinion) April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

I remember the events of Land Day 1976 in particular detail. I was taking part in the demonstration in the center of Taibeh, just opposite the taxi station, when police began dispersing us with clubs, then shot and killed one of the demonstrators, Rafat Zohiri, in cold blood. As on all such days marked by the Arab population of Israel, discussions on Land Day revolve around the question of Arab citizens' place in Israeli society and also on our insistence on commemorating Nakba Day, Land Day and the riots of October 2000 every year.

When friends are mad at you
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ephraim Sneh - (Opinion) April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

The current crisis between Israel and the United States is fundamental and serious. Even if a nominal solution is found, it will be temporary, until the next one, which won't be far off. These crises are harmful to our national interests, and a true, enduring solution must be implemented. To achieve this, there are 10 assumptions that must be taken into account: 1. Israel cannot keep up a confrontation with its friends for long while its legitimacy is being eroded. This will soon begin to adversely affect the economy, based as it is on exports.

PA officials in US for security consultation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Interior Minister Saeed Abu Ali has left for Washington together with the commander of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service, Ziyad Hab al-Rih, for security consultations. The meetings are aimed at examining the Palestinian Authority's preparedness for taking full security control of additional territories in the West Bank, which now belong to Areas B and C and will become part of Area A. The two officials will be joined by additional Palestinians officers later on.

Leverage the crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Steven M. Goldberg - (Opinion) April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Rahm Emanuel famously proclaimed, "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before." Ironically, although the president's chief of staff has proven to be a false friend of Israel, the leadership of the Jewish state would do well to heed his advice.

Settler activists claim area near Rawabi
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Some 60 right-wing activists took a stand at dawn Wednesday to stake a claim to a partially developed area close to the new Palestinian city of Rawabi, which is now under construction in the Binyamin Region. According to one of the group leaders, Elad Meir, they went to an area close to Rawabi, which has structures that were partially built years ago and then abandoned. The Palestinian Authority had hoped to use the structures to house policemen. These buildings are well-suited to help settlers begin a new community, which they will call Bear Zeit, Meir said.

What accountability?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

The US is the only world power that can help Israelis and Palestinians achieve peace. Few dispute the unique American standing. For the US to be able to help shepherd a serious peace process, the trust of both parties to the conflict is critical. The absence of trust, more than settlement announcements, seems to be the real reason behind the current anger of the Obama administration toward its most important Middle East ally.

Netanyahu's days may be numbered
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) April 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Believe it or not, Benjamin Netanyahu may return to Washington next weekend. The Israeli prime minister has apparently overcome the embarrassment of his stressful encounter with President Barack Obama last month on ending illegal Israeli colony construction on occupied Palestinian land, especially in occupied East Jerusalem, where the Palestinians hope to establish their capital. But whether he will have his tail tucked between his legs remains to be seen.

Hizbollah, Hamas and the false promise of resistance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Michael Young - (Opinion) March 31, 2010 - 12:00am

In a recent interview with Hizbollah’s Al Manar television station, Bashar al Assad, the president of Syria, was asked about the state of Syria’s relationship with Lebanon after years of tension following the assassination of the former prime minister, Rafiq al Hariri, in 2005. “Damascus cannot be neutral when one side is engaged in resistance and another is against the resistance,” he responded.

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