Middle East News: World Press Roundup

PM Netanyahu cancels a trip to Washington. NSA Jones says "no decision" has been taken on drafting a US peace plan. Mathias Mossberg and Mark LeVine propose a "parallel state structure" for Israel and the Palestinians. Hamas calls for the seizing of more Israeli soldiers. Pres. Obama waives restrictions on fund transfers to the PA and PLO. Arnaud De Borchgrave analyzes the US and Israeli strategic positions. Rival Palestinian factions clash in Lebanon. Hamas prepares executions in Gaza. Palestinian FM Riak meets with IBSA leaders in Brazil. Refugees say they need more services from UNRWA. PLO officials say the US should pledge to recognize a Palestinian state. Ha'aretz says the replacement of the IDF Chief of Staff gives DM Barak a free hand. Adi Mintz and Uri Dromi both say Netanyahu needs a plan, not more ambiguity. U.S. Treasury officials praise PA efforts to crack down on Hamas funding. The PA says a Ramallah street was named after a Hamas bomb maker by local officials 12 years ago. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews PM Fayyad. Charles Cogan says Israel is not yet desperate enough to seek to break the impasse with Washington by attacking Iran. Robert Satloff defends Dennis Ross following criticisms from Stephen Walt.

Netanyahu to skip Obama summit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Josh Gerstein, Laura Rozen - April 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has abruptly canceled his plans to attend President Barack Obama’s nuclear security summit next week, creating an embarrassing distraction on the eve of a high-profile meeting the White House has sought to carefully choreograph. An Israeli official confirmed Netanyahu’s decision not to attend, which was revealed by Israeli media outlets Thursday afternoon Washington time.

NSA Jones: "No decision" on U.S. peace plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen - (Blog) April 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Obama's National Security Advisor Jim Jones says there's been no decision yet on the U.S. proposing its own Middle East peace plan. "There’s been no decision on that," Jones told reporters aboard Air Force One, regarding recent reports that the Obama administration is being urged to propose its own detailed Middle East peace plan if there is no progress on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations by the fall.

The solution for Israelis and Palestinians: a parallel state structure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Mark Levine, Mathias Mossberg - (Opinion) April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Growing US-Israeli tension over continued East Jerusalem settlement construction – which the White House appears unable to stop – underscores a deeper reality: The two-state solution is no longer possible. The occupied territories are politically, economically, and geographically so deeply integrated into Israel that there is no practical way to transfer them to Palestinian sovereignty within the framework of a two-state solution. Israeli scholars have been warning of this to anyone who would listen for over two decades.

Amid jail strike, Hamas urges more soldier abductions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 9, 2010 - 12:00am

The solution to the prisoner-swap stalemate is to capture more Israeli soldiers and force the hand of the Israeli government, Hamas leaders said Thursday. Sparked by the start of the second week of a prisoner strike, officials in Gaza are seeking to support Palestinians in Israeli custody as they demand equal treatment by prison officials.

Obama waives laws over fund transfers to PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 9, 2010 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama cited national security concerns when he announced the re-issuance of wavers on Wednesday, easing rules for fund transfers to the Palestine Liberation Organization and its government in the West Bank. A second waiver, similar to the one signed by Obama in April and October 2009, allows the PLO to retain its office in the American capital city of Washington, DC.

Armchair warriors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
by Arnaud De Borchgrave - (Analysis) April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

It is becoming increasingly difficult to sort fact from fiction between legacy media and the new media of libel-proof blogs sans editors. Blogmocracy is a time-consuming exercise in democracy. Media-watchers say to be well informed and up to speed one must scan at least 100 blogs. Also "Wikileaks," a Web-based investigative journalism outfit that recently released a video that showed a U.S. Apache helicopter opening fire on a group of men, killing 12, including two Reuters employees, on July 12, 2007. The Apache carried a gun camera. Wikileaks posted 38 minutes of what the gun was doing.

Rival groups clash at Palestinian base in Lebanon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Zeina Karam - April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Rival groups armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers battled for hours Thursday inside a Palestinian military camp in a remote part of eastern Lebanon, killing one person, security officials said. The Ein al-Bayda camp is one of several bases run by Palestinian militant groups in Lebanon. Most of them are located in the eastern Bekaa Valley near the border with Syria, whose government supports the groups.

Hamas in Gaza takes steps to carry out executions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by RIZEK ABDEL JAWAD - April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Human rights activists urged Gaza's Hamas rulers Thursday not to execute Palestinians who spied for Israel, as Hamas officials prepared to resume executions following a decade-long lull. Eleven men are on death row in Gaza, six convicted by Hamas courts of murder and five of spying for Israel, said the Gaza-based Independent Commission for Human Rights. Six others have been sentenced to death in absentia.

Palestinian FM to meet with IBSA leaders in Brasilia on Middle East Peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Foreign Minister Malik Riak will visit Brasilia next week to meet with leaders and representatives of India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum to seek support for peace negotiations with Israel, a government official said Thursday. The meeting will take place during the IBSA summit, scheduled for next Thursday in the capital city of Brazil, and will take the form of "3+1", Roberto Jaguaribe, secretary general for political affairs of Brazil's Foreign Ministry, told a press conference.

Palestinian refugees need more service from UNRWA: poll
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Syria expected more services from U.N. Refugees Works Agency ( UNRWA), according to the results of a poll, released here on Thursday. The poll was conducted from October 17 to 25, 2009 by the Beirut-based Organization for the Right of Return (Thabit), Palestinian Return Center (PRC) in London and Damascus-based Palestinian Return Community (Wajeb). It showed that among the 1,460 Palestinian refugees participating the poll, 92 percent of those in Lebanon and Syria support UNRWA's work, though 85 percent said that its work is "not enough".

PNA urges Washington to endorse Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Thursday called on the United States to take the initiative and announce it would recognize the future Palestinian state. "The Palestinians don't want to see new ideas to settle the conflict in the Middle East. They want international resolutions to be implemented," Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio. Erekat explained that the Palestinians want Washington "to go to the Security Council and announce its acceptance of the international law which accepts a Palestinian statehood, with Jerusalem as its capital."

With Ashkenzi out of the way, Barak can finally have his way
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - (Opinion) April 9, 2010 - 12:00am

The sky did not fall on Tuesday afternoon. Israel's security situation will apparently survive even the latest petty scrap between the defense minister and the army chief of staff. Indeed, it is not at all certain that Ashkenazi's term needed to be extended by another year. As is quite usual with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the problem was not with the content, but with the style and the timing of his announcement that the chief of staff's term would be over as planned, after four years, in February 2011.

President Obama is right
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Adi Mintz - (Opinion) April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

One year is sufficient in order to examine the direction our government is heading to. At least this is the view of our prime minister, who recently presented his government’s achievements. However, while Netanyahu boasted of some economic achievements, he could not do the same in respect to the diplomatic front, and hence did not talk much about it. So is the diplomatic approach he adopted this year appropriate, or does he need to change direction at this time?

US Treasury: 'PA making bold bid to curb Hamas funds'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - April 9, 2010 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – The Palestinian Authority has made significant moves to cut off the flow of funding to Hamas, according to a top US Treasury official. David Cohen, assistant treasury secretary for terrorist financing, praised the PA for taking “important steps to limit Hamas’s influence” by supervising the Palestinian banking system and charitable contributions in the West Bank and Gaza. “The Palestinian Authority has been quite courageous in its efforts to regulate the financial system,” Cohen told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Wednesday afternoon.

PA rebuts terrorist street name critique
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Government Media Center on Thursday rejected the Prime Minister’s Office’s harsh critique of the naming of a Ramallah street after arch terrorist Yehiyeh Ayash. The organization told The Jerusalem Post that “the street was named over twelve years ago and it is nothing new,” adding that “the decisions to name streets are made independently by local authorities and municipalities like any other democratic and open society.”

Asharq Al-Awsat Talks to Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali El-saleh - April 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Fayyad stressed in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat that the Palestinian State exists and that the Israeli occupation is bound to end. Fayyad still believed that the establishment of a State is possible within two years, in the second half of 2011 to be specific, as stated in the State blueprint he announced last August.

Netanyahu in a pickle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Miami Herald
by Uri Dromi - (Opinion) April 9, 2010 - 12:00am

This week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summed up the first year of his term. Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem, Netanyahu boasted that, ``We have made 1,500 decisions.'' The good souls here were quick to remind us that this government was formed in a hurry on March 31, 2009, just minutes away from All Fools Day. Pundits ridiculed the abundance of decisions, saying that it was better to check how many of them actually were implemented. Others said that actually, for every one of 750 decisions made, there was one reversing it and so on.

Breaking the Middle East Impasse: How it Might Happen
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Dr. Charles G. Cogan - (Opinion) April 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Negotiations in the Middle East are at an impasse. What two former Israeli Prime Ministers have recognized - that there can be no settlement in the Middle East as long as Israel claims all of Jerusalem -- has been rejected by Benjamin Netanyahu and his rightist cohort. Offers by Ehud Barak to Yasir Arafat, and later by Ehud Olmert to Mahmoud Abbas, of a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem (both of which were declined), have now been taken off the table by Netanyahu.

Defending Dennis Ross
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Robert Satloff - April 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Give Stephen M. Walt his due. After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's tense visit to Washington last month, a cowardly U.S. government official lobbed an "Israel vs. America" dual loyalty canard at my former colleague, National Security Council advisor Dennis Ross. But while he or she hid behind a cloak of journalistic anonymity shamelessly provided by Politico's Laura Rozen, Walt at least has the gumption to stand up and make his McCarthyite case in his own name.

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