Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Human rights groups warn that a new Israeli military order could authorize the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank. Zbigniew Brzezinski and Stephen Solarz say Pres. Obama and Arab leaders should travel to Jerusalem and Ramallah with a specific peace plan. Aaron David Miller warns against US efforts at regime change in Israel. Islamic Jihad says Hamas has a secret cease-fire with Israel, and Hamas fighters arrest armed men. Israel threatens to shut off West Bank water. Hamas raises taxes in Gaza. Fatah vows unilateral steps on national reconciliation. Construction in Jerusalem is on hold. Jewish Americans continue to support Pres. Obama. An Israeli court dismisses a lawsuit against the separation barrier. Seth Freedman says the Israeli economy needs a peace deal. Abdullah Iskandar says PM Netanyahu's canceled trip to Washington is another slap in the face. Uri Avnery says all peace hopes now center on Palestinian state building. Stephen Walt replies to Robert Satloff. Hussein Ibish says a US peace plan should be formulated but only publicized at the right time.

Human Rights Groups Warn of New Powers for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - April 11, 2010 - 12:00am

A recently amended military order that allows Israel to remove people from the West Bank if it does not recognize their legal status could lead to the expulsion of thousands of Palestinians, Israeli human rights groups warned Sunday. The amendment — to a 1969 order on dealings with those judged to be infiltrators of the West Bank — was signed by military officials last October and is due to take effect on Tuesday.

To achieve Mideast peace, Obama must make a bold Mideast trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Zbigniew Brzezinski, Stephen Solarz - (Opinion) April 11, 2010 - 12:00am

More than three decades ago, Israeli statesman Moshe Dayan, speaking about an Egyptian town that controlled Israel's only outlet to the Red Sea, declared that he would rather have Sharm el-Sheikh without peace than peace without Sharm el-Sheikh. Had his views prevailed, Israel and Egypt would still be in a state of war. Today, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, with his pronouncements about the eternal and undivided capital of Israel, is conveying an updated version of Dayan's credo -- that he would rather have all of Jerusalem without peace than peace without all of Jerusalem.

U.S. acts as though it seeks regime change in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Regime change. Generally it's a term and tactic reserved for America's enemies. But what if the Obama administration is developing a more nuanced version for one of the United States' closest allies -- Israel?

Islamic Jihad: Hamas has secret ceasefire deal with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

De facto government police in Gaza released on Sunday a group of resistance fighters affiliated with the militant wings of Islamic Jihad and Fatah following a four-hour detention, sources within the movements said. The release was conditional, sources said, and the men were asked to promise to abstain from any resistance activity in the near future. According to a second source, the group was planning a "qualitative operation" against Israeli forces somewhere in Gaza.

Israel threatens to shut off taps for West Bank water
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 8, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau threatened to restrict the West Bank water supply if no sewage treatment plants were installed in the area, a UN alert warned on Wednesday. The official reportedly told Israel's Army Radio that "They get clean water from us, and in return they give us sewage. This destroys nature, and I would also say that this is the way that wicked people behave."

Palestinians in Gaza face new challenge -- taxes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Hamas has begun taxing Gaza street vendors and shopkeepers, raising speculation the ruling Islamist group is in a financial crisis fuelled partly by Egypt's building of a border wall to stop smuggling tunnels. Experts said on Monday that perhaps only a few dozen of the hundreds of tunnels are still functional as a result of the steel wall being pounded deep into the ground along the 14-km (8-mile)-long frontier.

Fatah to move unilaterally to end rift with Hamas: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party will try unilaterally to end political split between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, a member of Fatah central committee said Monday. Abbas headed a meeting of the central committee in Ramallah Sunday, during which the members "agreed to exert more efforts in the Fatah side to speed up the Palestinian internal reconciliation, " Fatah official Mahmoud al-Aloul told Xinhua.

U.S tensions put Jerusalem construction on hold
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Construction requiring the approval of Jerusalem's district planning committee has been on hold for more than a month in all parts of the city due to concerns about a new crisis in ties with the United States. Staff members of the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee have been instructed to halt their work in an effort to spare Israel further embarrassing incidents like the March announcement, during U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Israel, of plans to expand the Jewish neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem.

IDF order will enable mass deportation from West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - April 11, 2010 - 12:00am

A new military order aimed at preventing infiltration will come into force this week, enabling the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, or their indictment on charges carrying prison terms of up to seven years. When the order comes into effect, tens of thousands of Palestinians will automatically become criminal offenders liable to be severely punished.

IDF bid to expel West Bank Palestinians is a step too far
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

A new military order will take effect this week, enabling the army to deport tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank and prosecute them on infiltration charges, which carry long prison terms. The order, uncovered by Amira Hass in Haaretz yesterday, bears the signature of Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni in his previous capacity as commander of the Israel Defense Forces in Judea and Samaria.

Hamas arrests cell about to open fire on IDF
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

The Hamas government's internal security force in the Gaza Strip released a cell of gunmen Monday who had planned to open fire on an IDF force operating near the border fence. Sources from the Islamic Jihad reported to Ynet that members of the cell – made up of members of Islamic Jihad's military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, and the Nabil Massoud cell, which is one of the armed groups of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades – were released after they committed in writing not to continue these types of activities.

Jews support Obama despite tensions with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – Despite recent friction with Israel, a majority of America's Jews still support their president. The Jewish community continues to be a strong support base for President Obama. Some 57% of US Jews support Obama versus 38% who are opposed to his policies. However, these figures reflect the downward trend in overall American support for the president. In the past presidential elections, some 80% of American Jews voted for Obama.

High Court rejects Palestinian village's petition against security fence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Aviad Glickman - April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

The High Court of Justice rejected on Sunday a petition filed by the Palestinian village of Masha and The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) against the construction of a segment of the West Bank security barrier near the village. According to the ruling, the construction of the segment in question was completed seven years ago. The segment separates Masha, which is home to some 2,000 Palestinians, from the Jewish communities Elkana, Etz Efraim and Sha'arei Tikva.

Israel's peace dividend
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Seth Freedman - (Opinion) April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

The beauty of Israel's economy is in the eye of the beholder: some sceptics routinely sound the death knell for the country's finances, while their optimistic opponents claim the state's coffers have never been in ruder health. Last week, traders and investment funds delivered a resoundingly clear verdict in the latter camp's favour, driving the benchmark TA-25 index to an all-time high.

A New Israeli Slap in the Face for Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Abdullah Iskandar - (Opinion) April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has directed yet another slap in the face at the administration of President Barack Obama.

Salam Fayyad's big gamble
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Opinion) April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

I met Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, two weeks ago, and was again impressed by the calm and modesty he radiates. Generally, I meet him at demonstrations, such as those at the Bil'in fence. This time, too, there was no opportunity for more than a perfunctory handshake and a few polite words.

Robert Satloff doth protest too much
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Stephen Walt - (Opinion) April 9, 2010 - 12:00am

If you would like to read a textbook example of a dust-kicking operation, please look at Robert Satloff's heated response to my recent post explaining the problems that can arise when top-level foreign policy officials have strong attachments to a foreign country. I seem to have struck a nerve. There are only two important issues here, and Satloff ignores both of them. First, do some top U.S. officials -- and here we are obviously talking about Dennis Ross -- have a strong attachment to Israel? Second, might this situation be detrimental to the conduct of U.S. Middle East policy?

A US Middle East peace plan in theory and practice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ibishblog
by Hussein Ibish - (Blog) April 10, 2010 - 12:00am

A few days ago a David Ignatius column in the Washington Post introduced a new Obama administration concept in the standoff with PM Netanyahu: the idea that the United States might develop and begin promoting its own specified plan for a Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. In effect, this plays on Israel's deep concern about a settlement that is "imposed" by outside powers rather than one that is negotiated with the Palestinians.

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