Middle East News: World Press Roundup

In addition to state building and diplomacy, the PA increasingly backs nonviolent protests against the occupation. David Ignatius says Pres. Obama is "seriously considering" issuing a US peace plan, and Rami Khoury says the US must clarify its position. Palestinians say US efforts to influence Israeli policy have met with a "dead end." A projectile fired by Gaza militants injures 5 Palestinians. The PA will license a third mobile provider. Israel seizes land for a checkpoint near a highway that will now be open to Palestinians. FM Lieberman warns Palestinians not to declare statehood. PM Fayyad says municipal elections will pave the way for presidential and legislative ones. Settlers push to evict more Palestinian families. Israel admits to illegally removing large amounts of money from the occupied territories. Due to a dispute with DM Barak, the IDF Chief of Staff will not be reappointed. A YNet commentary asks what Israel is doing to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and another says a deal on Jerusalem should be prioritized. David Newman says Israel should not link the restoration of the Hurva synagogue to broader ambitions in Jerusalem. Schmuley Boteach is appalled that Jewish Americans, especially in Congress, are siding with Pres. Obama. Palestinians say the recent shipment of clothes to Gaza has been ruined by storage.

Palestinians Try a Less Violent Path to Resistance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

Senior Palestinian leaders — men who once commanded militias — are joining unarmed protest marches against Israeli policies and are being arrested. Goods produced in Israeli settlements have been burned in public demonstrations. The Palestinian prime minister has entered West Bank areas officially off limits to his authority, to plant trees and declare the land part of a future state The Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, said he planted trees in the West Bank last month “to establish our presence on our land and keep our people on it.”

Obama weighs new peace plan for the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by David Ignatius - April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

Despite recent turbulence in U.S. relations with Israel, President Obama is "seriously considering" proposing an American peace plan to resolve the Palestinian conflict, according to two top administration officials.

Erekat: US efforts to jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian talks hit 'dead end'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

The White House has hit a wall in its attempts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a senior Palestinian official said Tuesday. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said that recent US efforts to get the two sides back to the negotiating table – or at least nearby tables as part of proximity talks – had reached a "dead end."

Misfired projectile injures 5 in north Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

Five Palestinians were injured when a misfired projectile landed in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, witnesses said Tuesday. The misfiring proceeded after Israeli officials announced six projectiles landing in open areas of the western Negev, with no injuries reported. Eyewitnesses said projectiles were being launched from areas in the north of the Strip, when a sudden explosion was heard in the Beit Hanoun area. Neighbors said it hit a residential area and injured five.

PA: Third mobile provider in works
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

A third mobile provider will be licensed to operate in Palestinian areas by 2013, Palestinian Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology Mashhur Abu Daka announced Wednesday. The minister said the initiative was out of the "interest of the ministry to free Palestinian frequencies and mobile users from the control of the Israeli occupation," and came only days after the ministry announced a ban on the sale of Israeli phone cards and SIM chips in the West Bank under a government ban on settlement goods.

OCHA: Land requisitioned for new checkpoint on 443
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli forces will confiscate 173.2 dunums of Palestinian land to construct a military checkpoint on highway 443, ordered open for Palestinian traffic by an Israeli court judge in December 2009. Previously a Jewish-only road, highway 443 extends 25 kilometers north from Jerusalem through the West Bank's Ramallah district and exits the area south of Ni'lin.

Palestinian fears U.S. Mideast push in trouble
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ali Sawafta - April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

The United States appears to have hit a dead end in its attempts to revive Middle East peace talks, a senior Palestinian official said on Tuesday, urging Israel to halt settlement building on occupied land to give U.S. diplomacy a chance of success. The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority has demanded a full halt to Israeli settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank before any resumption of negotiations suspended since December 2008.

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.

Palestinian PM stresses local elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Tuesday stressed that municipal elections would be carried out to pave the way for legislative and presidency elections. "The local municipal and village councils must be elected and their authority should be rotating," Fayyad said during an inauguration ceremony in Ramallah. He added that elections are a key part of his two-year plan to upgrade national institutions to be ready for a possible declaration of a Palestinian statehood next year.

Settlers push to evict two more East Jerusalem families
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

Settler groups are pushing to evict two more Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, part of a wider program to demolish Palestinian homes in the area to make way for 200 housing units designated solely for Jews. Over the past six months, Sheikh Jarrah has become a focus of leftist protest and a flash point for clashes between Jews and Arabs claiming ownership of property there.

Israel seizing hundreds of millions of shekels meant for Palestinian services
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

For the past 15 years, Israel has been channeling hundreds of millions of shekels it had collected in the West Bank into its state coffers. The move is considered illegal, since international law prohibits an occupying power from appropriating the fruit of economic activity in an occupied territory. Following protests by military lawyers, the deputy attorney general has ruled that the practice should be stopped and ordered an inquiry into whether the Civil Administration in the West Bank should be compensated retroactively.

The race is on for next IDF chief
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced Tuesday that Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi's term will not be extended for a fifth year. Ashkenazi will thus step down at the end of his term in February 2011. The race is now open for the next man to take up the job. Front-runners for the moment are GOC Southern Command Yoav Gallant, deputy chief of staff Benny Gantz, GOC Northern Command Gadi Eizenkot and Maj. Gen. (res.) Moshe Kaplinsky.

A state in progress
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Moshe Elad - (Opinion) April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad said a while ago that they intend to declare Palestine’s independence at the end of 2011. In the past, such statements would anger the Americans, who would rush to reprimand the PA, noting that a Palestinian state will only be established following negotiations with Israel. Yet this time around, even if we heard a response from the White House or the State Department, it was rather meek.

A capital for 2 nations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yoram Kaniuk - (Opinion) April 6, 2010 - 12:00am

At the end of the day, both the Jews and the Arabs have been fooled for years now. Jerusalem will be neither Arab nor Jewish, but rather, the city of the three major religions. It sits in the narrow margins between a populated country and the desert; between the jackals and Tel Aviv’s skyscrapers. Its light, which comes from the Dead Sea, filled it with glory even before the existence of monotheistic religions in the world. Yet its sanctity has turned it into a punching bag for thousands of years now.

Losing legitimacy in the Jewish Quarter
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Newman - (Opinion) April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

The first day of Pessah is a good time to pray at the Kotel if you want to experience the festival atmosphere on the one hand, but avoid the crowds that tend to pray there on most other festivals. A late-night Seder the previous night means many regular worshippers give this particular morning a miss, and you can even find an orderly prayer group (minyan) with enough space and relative privacy to participate with appropriate contemplation.

Barak shows who's boss
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - (Analysis) April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

The timing of Defense Minister Ehud Barak's announcement on Tuesday not to extend IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi's term leaves little doubt that despite the growing threats against Israel, two of the country's main security officials do not get along. Why else would have Barak released such a statement? After all, when the government approved his appointment in 2007, Ashkenazi's term was set as four years, in contrast to his predecessor Dan Halutz, who stepped down prematurely due to the Second Lebanon War.

American Jewry’s deafening silence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Shmuley Boteach - (Opinion) April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

When it came to protecting the right of the Libyan Ambassador to the UN living immediately next door to me in Englewood, my Democratic Congressman, Steve Rothman, found his voice, issuing a three page press release about a deal he had brokered with the State Department 27 years ago for the Libyans to bizarrely remain in a New Jersey suburb.

Small comfort for traders as Gaza blockade loosened
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli authorities have allowed shoes and clothes into the Gaza Strip for the first time in three years of the tight economic blockade of the Palestinian territory. But Gazan businessmen say much of the shipment is ruined and their spiralling costs will never be recovered. Ten containers were allowed into Gaza on Sunday and a further 10 today of goods have sat in storage for three years, costing their owners thousands of pounds in fees and in some cases arriving so riddled with damp that the items are unsellable.

The US must put bite into its position
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

The open disagreement and tough words exchanged in public by the United States and Israel a few weeks ago on Washington’s demand that Israel freeze all new settlements in occupied Arab East Jerusalem has now entered Phase Two. Now, both sides are working quietly behind the scenes to harness their political resources, gauge the other side’s intentions, and prepare to continue the battle.

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