Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israeli human rights groups say they're under siege. A Saudi cleric vows to visit Jerusalem. David Francis says the US can pressure Israel without cutting aid. An aide to Pres. Abbas is fired for misconduct, but cleared of corruption. Settlers attack protesters in occupied East Jerusalem. Two Israeli military investigations fault soldiers in Palestinian deaths. Gandhi's grandson criticizes settlements, praises nonviolent protests. The EU provides €21 million to the PA to pay salaries. The PLO says Israel planned 3,226 new settler housing units in Jerusalem in March, and PM Netanyahu vows to continue building. King Abdullah of Jordan says Israel's long-term future is threatened by the lack of a peace agreement. Gaza factions announce an end to rocket fire aimed at Israel. Israeli officials compare Turkish PM Erdogan to Gaddafi and Chavez. The Israeli military denies a Palestinian man died because he was held at a checkpoint. Israel is constructing another barrier along its Egyptian border to keep out African migrants. Some Jews and Arabs in Israel seek recognition of a non-ethnic "Israeli" nationality. Martin Indyk says an interim solution is needed for Jerusalem. Blogger Anne Selden Annab recounts a visit to ATFP's offices.

Israeli Rights Groups View Themselves as Under Siege
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - April 5, 2010 - 12:00am

Leaders of some of Israel’s most prominent human rights organizations say they are working in an increasingly hostile environment and coming under attack for actions that their critics say endanger the country. The pressure on these groups has tightened as the country’s leaders have battled to defend Israel against accusations of war crimes, the rights advocates say, raising questions about the limits of free speech and dissent in Israel’s much vaunted democracy.

Saudi Arabia: Prominent Cleric Plans Jerusalem Visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
April 5, 2010 - 12:00am

A Saudi cleric announced Monday on his television show that he would visit Jerusalem next week to bolster Muslim claims to the city. If the cleric, Sheik Mohammed al-Areefi, goes ahead with his plan, it would be an unprecedented trip for a prominent Saudi. Jerusalem is the third-holiest site in Islam, but most Muslim countries — including Saudi Arabia — observe a strict boycott of Israel and ban travel there.

US can raise the pressure on Israel without cutting aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by David R. Francis - April 5, 2010 - 12:00am

Come April 15, tax day, Josh Ruebner plans to send his group's members to post offices, dozens of them across the country, to "educate" people mailing in their tax forms that the United States should end military aid to Israel.

Inquiry clears Al-Husseini of corruption
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas informed his former chief of staff Rafiq Al-Husseini Monday that an inquiry had cleared him of charges of nepotism, blackmail, and corruption, but that he was dismissed for "tainting" his office with personal mistakes. The outcome of the inquiry was relayed to Al-Husseini in a letter, who released a statement saying detailing its contents. "I [Abbas] certify that your performance as a chief of staff was excellent and professional, and valuable accomplishments were achieved during your term," Al-Hussein said the letter read.

Settlers attack East Jerusalem rally
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Five people were lightly injured when Israeli settlers attacked a group of protesters gathered in the flashpoint neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday. Ma'an's reporter said settlers stormed the neighborhood near the Al-Ghawi and Hanoun family homes and attacked relatives and activists. Both homes are slated for demolition and confiscation by the Israeli government. Ayman Al-Ghawi, Mahir Hanoun, and three international members of the Would Council of Churches sustained bruises during the incident.

Israeli FM warns Palestinians not to declare state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Matti Friedman - April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's hard-line foreign minister warned Palestinians against plans to unilaterally declare independence next year, saying in an interview Tuesday that such a move could prompt Israel to annex parts of the West Bank and annul past peace agreements. Avigdor Lieberman also made harsh comments about Turkey, Israel's increasingly alienated ally, saying the Turkish prime minister was coming to resemble Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi. Lieberman, who heads an ultranationalist party, has become known for a belligerent tone that has earned him critics abroad and inside Israel.

Gandhi says Jewish settlements obstruct establishment of Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 5, 2010 - 12:00am

Rajmohan Gandhi, the grandson of late Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, said here Monday that the Jewish settlements in the West Bank obstruct the establishment of the future Palestinian state. Gandhi, chairman of the Initiatives of Change International, an NGO working for peace, reconciliation and human security worldwide, toured the West Bank and met with several Palestinian leaders. Gandhi told a news conference in Ramallah that the Jewish settlements, the road barriers and the separation wall in the West Bank are "more illegal and humiliating than I believed."

EU pays 21 million euros for PNA servants' salaries
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

The European Union announced on Monday that it provided the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) with 21 million euros to pay the salaries of working and retired civil servants in the West Bank and Gaza. Christian Burger, the EU representative in Ramallah said in a press release e-mailed to reporters that around 85,000 Palestinian employees would get their salaries for March paid. "The 21 million Euros are part of a European agreement reached with the Palestinian side to pay 158.5 million euros to the Palestinian National Authority during the year 2010," said Burger.

PLO: Israel approves 3,226 houses in Jerusalem in March
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 5, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel approved the construction of a total of 3,226 homes for Jews in the disputed East Jerusalem in March, a report by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said on Monday. The biggest projects involved the building of 1,600 housing units in Ramat Shlomo settlement and another 600 homes in a nearby settlement, the report said. Moreover, Jerusalem municipality has drawn up plans and is waiting an approval to build 50,000 houses in the comings months, according to the report.

Jordan King: Israel's long-term future is in jeopardy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Jordanian King Abdullah has warned that Israel's long-term future would remain in jeopardy unless a permanent solution to the Middle East conflict was achieved, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "I think the long-term future of Israel is in jeopardy unless we solve our problems," Abdullah told the paper in an interview that appeared online Tuesday. The Jordanian monarch, who is scheduled to arrive to Washington on Saturday to attend President Barack Obama's Nuclear Security Summit, cautioned against "wasting too much time" in resolving the conflict in the region.

Four Gaza factions halt rocket fire, in bow to Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Four Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip will cease firing Qassam rockets at Israel, they announced on Monday. The move followed significant pressure from Hamas on the three smaller factions - Islamic Jihad and the Popular and Democratic Fronts for the Liberation of Palestine. Hamas has controlled the territory since the summer of 2007. It failed to persuade small, break-away groups to adhere to the cease-fire. Palestinian sources said the announcedment followed a meeting Saturday of representatives of the four factions.

Netanyahu at Mimouna: We will continue developing in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Some two million Israeli Jews will participate today in Mimouna, the traditional Moroccan festival marking the end of Passover, according to the World Federation of Moroccan Jewry. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara celebrated Mimouna with the Fahima family in Or Akiva, where Netanyahu said "We will continue developing in the north and the south, and certainly in Jerusalem." Federation chairman Sam Sheetrit said the group would like to see less of a focus on food as the central aspect of the holiday.

Lieberman: Erdogan turning into Gaddafi
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Iran is heading towards a nuclear bomb, Turkey continues to verbally attack Israel, the Palestinians are threatening to declare a state and US President Barack Obama is demanding to control construction in Jerusalem. But Foreign Minister Avgidor Lieberman remains optimistic, despite all of these plagues. "We’ve weathered Pharaoh, we'll overcome this period as well," he told Ynet on Monday evening. "Those who fought for independence and for the State's existence must stand up to pressure. There is no alternative."

IDF: Palestinian who died was not held up at checkpoint
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

An IDF investigation determined that the 63-year-old Palestinian who died of dehydration and cardiac arrest on Saturday after waiting for several hours at an army checkpoint in the Jordan Valley was not delayed by soldiers manning the checkpoint. The army claims that Muhammad Alian, from the West Bank village of Deir Abu De'if, arrived at the checkpoint without an identification card and was not forced to wait there.

Israel: Erdogan, don’t become Chavez
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel, in a sharply worded response to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest rhetorical slam, advised him on Monday night “not to turn into another extreme leader such as Hugo Chavez.” Erdogan should not try to integrate his country into the Arab world at Israel’s expense, a Foreign Ministry official said, in a rare direct response to one of Erdogan’s now almost routine attacks on Israel.

New Barrier To Be Constructed Along Israel-Egypt Border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - April 5, 2010 - 12:00am

Seven years after starting work on the controversial West Bank security barrier, Israel has decided to build another barrier — along its border with Egypt. In March, the Cabinet approved a plan to seal Israel’s southwest border, which is currently secured by only patrols and monitoring devices. Egypt has not raised any objection.

Court asked to define ‘Israeli’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

A group of Jews and Arabs are fighting in the Israeli courts to be recognised as “Israelis”, a nationality currently denied them, in a case that officials fear may threaten the country’s self-declared status as a Jewish state.

On how not to forget about Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Martin Indyk - (Opinion) April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Long after the recent humiliation in Israel of Vice President Joe Biden is forgotten, if not forgiven, and President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recommit themselves to the “rock solid” relationship with Israel, and the Israeli ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren, downgrades the hurricane to a tropical storm, there will still be the issue of Jerusalem.

Blogger Visits ATFP Office
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
(Blog) April 5, 2010 - 12:00am

This past Saturday my husband Jaffar and I had a delightful visit with Dr. Ziad Asali the founder of the American Task Force on Palestine, his fascinating wife Naila, and the brilliant Hussein Ibish, having arranged to stop by to see their 7th floor offices in Washington DC and to have a chat.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017