Middle East News: World Press Roundup

IMF says Israeli restrictions, lack of donations imperil West Bank economic growth. Administration officials say there is no US peace proposal and no plan to draft one. USA Today says Israeli policies are making it difficult to be its friend. Israeli soldiers reportedly watch as settlers beat Palestinians. Israel lifts a gag order on a journalist charged with espionage. Turkish PM Erdogan says Israel is "the main threat" to Mideast peace. Bradley Burston says a proposed UC Berkeley divestment from Israel plays right into the hands of the occupation. Gideon Levy says Israel should stop fighting the world. Ari Shavit says a deal with Syria is achievable, but not the Palestinians. Larry Derfner says PM Netanyahu is not capable of making peace with Palestinians. The National says Palestinian talk of unilateral declarations of statehood gets Israel's attention. Tariq Alhomayed says a Saudi TV cleric's plan to visit Jerusalem was a media stunt. Daoud Kuttab looks at changes in US military attitudes towards Israel. Shlomo Ben-Ami says Netanyahu's policy on Jerusalem is unworkable. Elliott Abrams says the Obama administration, especially James Jones, is threatening Israel. Ghassan Khatib says that the moment is ripe for a peace agreement. The Nation profiles PM Fayyad.

I.M.F. Says West Bank Economic Growth Is Imperiled by Israel and Arab States
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

The International Monetary Fund is preparing a report on the Palestinian economy that praises the actions of the West Bank government and the large donations of Western countries, especially European ones, but argues that healthy recent growth rates are imperiled by the parties that claim to have the most at stake — Israel and the Arab states.

Discussions, but no decisions, on an Obama plan for Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Senior Obama administration officials have discussed whether President Obama should propose his own solution to the intractable conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, including in a recent meeting between the president and seven former and current national security advisers, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

U.S. has considered offering Mideast peace proposal, officials say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Paul Richter - April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

President Obama and other U.S. officials have explored whether the administration should offer its own Middle East peace proposal to break the logjam between Palestinians and Israelis, officials said Wednesday. At a time of growing frustration in the White House over the lack of a peace agreement, Obama and aides recently discussed whether the administration may need to turn to such an approach, officials said.

Israeli settlement push hurts U.S. interests, peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from USA Today
(Opinion) April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Support for Israel doesn’t mean accepting its misguided policies. It has never been a secret that the United States pays a steep price in the Muslim world for being Israel's staunchest ally. But when a U.S. official actually says so, as Gen. David Petraeus did during a Senate hearing last month, it's a sure sign that tension between the allies is rising. And so it has, reaching a peak not seen in some time.

Israel lifts gag order on ex-soldier spy case
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Aron Heller - April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel lifted months of censorship on a military espionage case Thursday, confirming the house arrest of a former female soldier charged with leaking more than 2,000 military documents to a newspaper. Anat Kamm, 23, has been under house arrest since December, but the case was kept under wraps by a court-imposed gag order. The restrictions were eased Thursday after details of the case were reported by foreign media, including The Associated Press.

Israel main threat to Mid-East peace: Turkish PM
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel was the main threat to peace in the Middle East, the visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said here on Wednesday before meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "Israel represents now the main threat to regional peace," Erdogan said before his around an-hour meeting with Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace, local media reported. "If a country makes use of disproportionate force in Palestine and use phosphorous bombs in Gaza ... We demand that how can it do that," the Turkish Prime Minister was quoted by local media.

Berkeley's Israel boycott: The occupation's new friend
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

If I were a person who wanted to see the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land continue for as long as possible, I would be beside myself with relish at the thought of the current Boycott,Divestment,Sanctions (BDS) campaign at the school I love, the University of California, Berkeley. A word of background. At the time when I was an undergraduate at Berkeley, to talk with Palestinian peace activists and to back a two-state solution was to risk arrest in Israel.

What would happen if Israel stopped fighting the world?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

So where did you spend Passover? Tens of thousands of Israelis were in Sinai. They ignored the Counter-Terrorism Bureau's warning, yet returned home safe and sound. Other Israelis - wait until you hear this - visited Cairo. I repeat: Cairo! They too returned tired but happy. They too did not heed the warnings. Haaretz's foreign news editor, for example, went to Egypt with his wife and four small children for the holiday. He identified himself as an Israeli everywhere he went, and believe it or not, was made to feel welcome.

Golan, not Jerusalem, is key to Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Analysis) April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

The solution to the Jerusalem problem is widely known: The Jewish neighborhoods stay in Israel, the Arab ones are given to Palestine and the Holy Basin becomes part of a special regime. The solution to the refugee problem is also commonly known: Palestinians' right of return will apply to the territory of the Palestinian state, while such claims will not apply to the territory of the Jewish state. Just as well known is the solution to the settlement problem: Territory swaps and annexing large settlement blocs to Israel, and the eviction of isolated settlements.

Rattling The Cage: Nyetanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Which way will Bibi go? This seems to be the big question – whether Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will bow to American pressure, exchange his right-wing/religious government for a “peace coalition” and start taking down the occupation, or whether he will dig in. I don’t think there’s any doubt about it – he’s going to dig in. This is not the prime minister who’s going to divide the land with the Palestinians.

The real moral of the Anat Kam story
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Daniella Peled - (Opinion) April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli reporter Anat Kam – whose long period of house arrest has been subject to a stringent gagging order that has been lifted only today – was not arrested for doing her job as a journalist. She was arrested for stealing and passing on classified military documents. Not that that makes her case any less unjust.

Statehood bid forces Israel to pay attention
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

There are several sure-fire ways for Palestinians to get Israel’s attention to their grievances. One is to carry out military attacks, including suicide bombings. Another is to threaten to abolish the Palestinian Authority, saying in effect to Israel: “You want to collect our garbage and clean our streets? Go ahead.” It’s a third way, however, that has succeeded in really getting under Israel’s skin recently. By again floating the idea of unilaterally declaring an independent state, Palestinian officials have sent their Israeli counterparts into convulsions.

Al Arifi and the Visit to Jerusalem!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) April 7, 2010 - 12:00am

It’s not the controversy surrounding the announcement made by the Saudi preacher Dr. Mohammed al Arifi to visit Jerusalem to film an episode of his weekly program there that bothers me. Rather, what worries me is the following question to al Arifi, his supporters and others; what about the Arab journalists who want to cover the Sheikh’s visit and the moment he enters Israel? Will they be held accountable for normalizing [ties] with the enemy or not? Will the [news] agencies and the press of slogans launch attacks against the journalists?

Genie out of the bottle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

The taboo was finally broken and the genie is out of the bottle, despite some attempts to force it back. America's military leaders have had enough and decided to speak out about the liability that a hardline Israel causes to America's national interest. Popular American General David Petraeus finally said the words that many have been saying behind closed doors for decades. The statement of the star-studded general puts American blind support for Israel in direct opposition to the country's most sacred institution, the military.

Benjamin Netanyahu's plan for Jerusalem is ill conceived
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Shlomo Ben-Ami - (Opinion) April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on Jerusalem is ill conceived. This was amply demonstrated by the announcement of the construction of 1,600 new apartments in the occupied eastern segment of the city during what was supposed to be a charm visit by US Vice President Joe Biden, Israel’s best friend in President Barack Obama’s administration. And yet, while Netanyahu might not be a great peacemaker, the Obama administration, by portraying the announcement as a deliberate attempt to frustrate the upcoming indirect talks with the Palestinians, exaggerated the incident for its own purposes.

Terms of Endearment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Weekly Standard
by Elliott Abrams - (Blog) April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

“Obama to Impose Terms on Israel” is the headline you didn’t read on David Ignatius’s column in the Washington Post today. The story ran under the title “Obama’s Mideast Plan,” which Ignatius describes as “proposing an American peace plan to resolve the Palestinian conflict.”

Textbooks, Grasshoppers, and the Question of Incitement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) April 5, 2010 - 12:00am

There is a great opportunity in the next few months to reach a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. This may seem a surprising view just now, but there is a competent and responsible Palestinian government in place which is serious about establishing a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel. And there is strong public support for this objective. The evidence is all around you if you come to see the reality.

The Nation: A Visit With Salam Fayyad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Nation
by Letty Cottin Pogrebin - April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Before I arrived in Israel a few weeks ago, I'd read that Israeli President Shimon Peres had likened Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, to David Ben-Gurion, Israel's George Washington. So I was intrigued when, on my first night in Jerusalem, the conversation at my Israeli friends' Sabbath table was about the impressive speech Fayyad had delivered to the princes of Israel's security establishment at the recent Herzliya conference.

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