Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The World Bank says the PA is on track with state building, but hampered by Israeli restrictions. Israel's new military order allowing for the potential eviction of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank draw heavy criticism. Richard Cohen praises a new film about Israel's West Bank separation barrier. Aluminum and wood will be allowed into Gaza for the first time in three years. Reports say the US is refusing entry to Israeli nuclear scientists. Israeli forces kill a Palestinian in Gaza. Bradley Burston says Middle East experts who claim time is on their side are lying. David Makovsky says there are few prospects for improved relations between Pres. Obama and PM Netanyahu, and Simon Tisdall says it could get worse. Israel's mayor in Jerusalem wants to resume Palestinian home demolitions. Israeli officials say they will reject US proposals for timelines and benchmarks in peace talks. Sacked Palestinian official Rafiq Husseini says he was set up. The Independent looks at the plight of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

Towards a Palestinian State: Reforms for Fiscal Strengthening
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

A viable state requires public institutions that create an enabling environment for private sector-driven growth, manage public finances efficiently, and are able to deliver effective services to the population. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is making steady progress on implementing its reform program and building the institutions required by a future state: the PA has strengthened its public financial management systems, improved service delivery, and made significant reforms to increase security and shore up its fiscal position.

It takes a village to humanize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Richard Cohen - (Opinion) April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Budrus is a Palestinian village just inside the West Bank. "Budrus" is also a documentary about what happened in that village when Israeli authorities tried to use some of its land -- cherished olive groves -- to build a security fence separating Arab from Jew or, as has too often been the case, terrorist from target. The villagers resisted, the Israelis insisted, and in the end an agreement was reached. On paper, it looks like a compromise. On film, it's an Israeli rout.

Palestinian state on track says World Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck - April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian government is on track to deliver on its promise of building the institutions of an independent state, the World Bank said on Monday. In its latest report, the bank offers a clear endorsement of the policies of Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister and the architect of an ambitious programme designed to achieve independence and statehood by the middle of next year. It notes the impressive economic growth in the West Bank in 2009, and praises recent improvements in the management of public finances.

Aluminum to enter Gaza after 3-year Israeli ban
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel has informed the Palestinian Authority that aluminum and wood will be permitted entry into Gaza, officials said Monday. The announcement was made by Nasser As-Seraj, assistant undersecretary in the Ministry of National Economy, and was confirmed by Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh. Fattouh told Ma'an that the first truckload of wood is expected to enter Gaza on Thursday -- the first delivery for over three years -- but that it remains unclear when the transfer of aluminum is expected.

Erekat: World must compel Israel to revoke military order
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat called on US Mideast envoy George Mitchell, among others, to immediately intervene and pressure Israel to revoking a military order mandating the expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank defined as "infiltrators." Erekat further issued the same communique to EU Mideast representative Marc Otte, the UN's special coordinator for the peace process, Robert Serry, Russia's special envoy to the region, Alexander Saltanov, and Quartet envoy, Tony Blair.

Israeli nuclear scientists denied entry to U.S.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from World Tribune
April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli sources said scientists employed at Israel's nuclear facility at Dimona have been denied visas to the United States. They said the Israelis were not allowed to enter the United States for training in chemistry, nuclear engineering and physics. "This is a new policy decision of the Obama administration, since there never used to be an issue with the reactor's employees to study in the United States, and until recently, they received visas and studied in the United States," the Israeli daily Maariv said.

Israeli forces kill Palestinian gunman in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ori Lewis - April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

A Palestinian gunman was killed and three were wounded in Israeli military strikes in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Palestinian medics and the Israeli army said. The Palestinian death was the first in the Islamist Hamas-ruled territory since three gunmen and two Israeli soldiers were killed more than two weeks ago in the most serious clash between the two sides in 14 months. A spokesman for the Islamic Jihad militant group said Israeli tanks fired shells and a helicopter launched a missile at its men east of the al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

Fayyad: New IDF orders threaten to empty West Bank of Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA)
April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian leadership on Monday protested against Israeli military orders that could see tens of thousands of Palestinians deported from the West Bank. On Sunday Haaretz revealed that 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.

How to tell when a Mideast Expert is lying
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Allow me to begin with a word or two about lying. Lying in the Middle East is not the same as lying other places. In the Mideast, lying is a way of life, which is to say, it is a cultural imperative. It is at once armor and entryway. It cushions and conditions the way people feel and think, it lubricates commercial and social intercourse, it frames all political debate and negotiation.

Obama and Netanyahu can't afford to disagree
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by David Makovsky - (Opinion) April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

It is widely known that the poor relationship between U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands at the center of U.S.-Israeli tension. Yet, it is hard to be hopeful for a variety of reasons. They relate to differences of outlook between them in three key areas: the relationship between vision and trust, different attitudes toward timing and different approaches to the nexus between policy and politics.

Barkat wants to renew razing orders in east Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat demanded recently that the city's police force renew the razing of illegal structures in east Jerusalem on which demolition orders have been issued, Ynet learned Tuesday. The municipality has held off on implementing the orders since October due to political instability and pressure on the part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer responded to Barkat's orders by calling the mayor "a strategic threat to the stability in the Middle East".

World Bank report: PA economy needs more private investment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority economic growth has been largely driven by donor aid, and more private investment is necessary to ensure that the expansion is sustained, the World Bank said in a report Monday. In 2009, the PA received almost $1.4 billion in budget support, following $1.8b. in 2008, allowing for expansionary fiscal policies to support growth, the report said. The share of sectors that are mostly government-funded, such as defense and public administration, rose from less than 21 percent of the economy in 1999 to almost 30% in 2009, it said.

Israel impasse gives US much to ponder
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Simon Tisdall - (Opinion) April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Soothing words from Washington at the weekend, aimed at placating Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai after last week's public falling out, follow a familiar pattern. The White House was livid with Gordon Brown over last year's release to Libya of the Lockerbie bomber. But things were patched up once tempers cooled.

Palestinian official in sex tape scandal denies he abused his position
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

A disgraced senior Palestinian official at the centre of a sex tape scandal claims he was entrapped and says he has not abused his position.

Little relief for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Mary Dejevsky - (Analysis) April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

The scene could have been almost anywhere where the rich and poor worlds collide. A reasonably maintained building surrounded by depressingly visible disintegration; and inside, a bright room where small children, dressed in their best, are waiting to sing, dance and recite for the benefit of cooing foreign visitors. The difference was that this was in Lebanon; in the Beddawi Palestinian refugee camp to be precise, outside the battered northern city of Tripoli. And afterwards each child received an envelope with the cash that would help maintain them and fund schooling for another month.

Israel’s plan is a shot across the bow
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Outrage is the only appropriate reaction. The revelation that thousands of Palestinians could face forced eviction, separation from their families, and imprisonment – and be expected to foot the bill for it all – beggars belief. If approved, two military orders would broaden who is termed a so-called infiltrator into the Palestinian territories. This cannot be allowed to happen, nor can the international community, and particularly the Arab world, remain silent on the issue.

Acting for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Hassan Barari - (Opinion) April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

His Majesty King Abdullah has stepped up diplomatic efforts to create momentum for the restart of the peace process. A week ago, he gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal in which he made it clear that Israel is leading the region into a mess. The interview was timed well before the King’s visit the United States to meet with President Barack Obama. Jordan, a country that worked more than any other to realise a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, is thus sending the message to the American administration that enough is enough.

Sly maneuver
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli Army’s plan to deport tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank is both inhuman and illegal. It is also highly provocative and could reignite the intifada. This, of course, would suit the Netanyahu government very well, since once more, even the indirect peace talks with the Palestinians would be back on hold and Israel could protest yet again that its security was threatened by “terrorist violence.”

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