Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israelis and Palestinians bicker over street names. Israeli soldiers kill two Palestinian militants in Gaza. Egypt closes the Rafah crossing as Israel warns all its citizens to leave the Sinai, and Hamas orders Gaza tunnels to shut down. Controversial new Israeli deportation orders come into effect. Israeli Pres. Peres says a Palestinian state is in Israel's interests. Special Envoy Mitchell will return to the region next week. Shaul Arieli says Israel must give up the idea of exclusive sovereignty in Jerusalem. The Israeli military complains Palestinian protests are not nonviolent. Senators urge Sec. Clinton to heal relations with Israel. Gen. Petraeus calls Israel a strategic ally. The Jerusalem Post confirms PM Netanyahu avoided the nuclear summit for bilateral reasons. A 43-nation plan for managing Mediterranean water resources collapses because Israel will not accept the term "occupied territories." UK advertising authorities warn Israeli tourism officials not to represent the occupied territories as part of Israel. Mahmoud Habboush despairs over Palestinian disunity. Omar al-Sharif says Jordan is changing its policy towards Israel. Rami Khouri says an international peace plan would be better than an American one.

Mideast Land Conflict Now Includes Street Signs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

A city project marking every street name and house number in this temporary Palestinian capital has stirred an international dispute and exposed yet again how the Israelis and Palestinians live in sealed narrative bubbles and seem almost incapable of hearing one another. The dispute started last week when an Israeli television crew came through. As it passed the office of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the construction site of the new presidential compound, it noticed that a main road bore new blue signs declaring it Yahya Ayyash Street.

Israeli Troops Kill 2 Militants in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

At least two Palestinian militants were killed and two others were wounded Tuesday when Israeli troops shot at them as they tried to plant explosives near the border, according to an Israeli military spokesman in Tel Aviv and Palestinians in Gaza. Tanks rolled in to chase down the Palestinian assailants. Residents said the Israelis also used machine guns, artillery and missiles.

Egypt closes Rafah crossing indefinitely
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Egyptian authorities announced Wednesday morning that the Rafah crossing into Gaza would be closed to travelers indefinitely. The crossing is usually opened on Wednesdays and Thursdays to allow Palestinian patients who have completed their treatment in Egypt to return to Gaza. However, Egyptian authorities gave no explanation as to the decision's motives. Mustafa Al-Tayeh, an Arab Doctors Federation official, said authorities informed him that the decision would be implemented for an "indefinite period of time."

Hamas orders Gaza smuggling tunnels shut
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Gaza's Hamas rulers have ordered residents to shut smuggling tunnels along the border with Egypt indefinitely, cutting off the economic lifeline for 1.5 million Palestinians in the impoverished territory, residents and tunnel operators said Wednesday. Forces of the Islamic militant Hamas moved into the border area late Tuesday and ordered tunnel operators to cease operations until further notice. The operators were allowed to retrieve food and other perishable goods, but otherwise barred from the area on Wednesday.

Israel's West Bank deportation order comes into force amid controversy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Two military orders that authorized Israeli army to deport Palestinian residents from the West Bank came into effect on Tuesday, revealed Israeli human rights organization HaMoked. "Signed but not revealed by Israeli authorities, the orders are worded so broadly, such as theoretically allowing the military to empty the West Bank of almost all its Palestinian inhabitants," said HaMoked. The military orders, with prevention of infiltration and security provisions, view anyone who is present in the West Bank without an Israeli permit as an "infiltrator," said the rights watchdog.

Israel should help create Palestinian state in its interest: Peres
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

PARIS, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres said here on Tuesday that the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians should be relaunched soon and a Palestinian state could be set up as long as it was in Israel's interest. "It's already late. A negotiation must be relaunched urgently so that we can reach a compromise ... We should help to create a Palestinian state in Israel's interest," the president said after meeting with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

Prospect unpromising as U.S. Middle East envoy to return to push talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by David Harris - April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The United States special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell is expected back in the region next week to try once again to advance the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Israel dispatched its senior negotiators to Washington on Monday for consultations with members of the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. Back in Jerusalem, senior Israeli government ministers met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night to consider their formal response to a series of pointed questions from Obama.

Israel is to blame for Jerusalem's rising Arab population
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shaul Arieli - (Opinion) April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The conduct of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet marks a new peak in the government's march of stupidity on Jerusalem. In the best case this march will put Israel in an inferior position when negotiations with the Palestinians are renewed. In the worst case it will advance the transformation of Jerusalem into a capital with an Arab majority of a single state between the Jordan River and the sea.

IDF concerned over 'Fayyad intifada'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The IDF has been relaying messages to the Palestinian Authority asking that it work towards curbing riots and demonstrations in the West Bank, particularly those surrounding the security barrier. The army fears the protests may lead to further escalation, and IDF Central Command chief Major-General Avi Mizrahi has ordered a series of measures aimed at defusing tensions.

US senators press Clinton on Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

An overwhelming majority of US senators urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday "to do everything possible" to shore up ties with Israel and thaw the frozen Middle East peace process. Seventy-six of the 100 US senators signed a letter urging Clinton to ease tensions over Israel's decision to build more settlements in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek as the capital of their future state. 'Unbreakable bonds.' Clinton and Netanyahu (Archive photo: Amos Ben-Gershom, GPO)

Petraeus: Israel vital strategic ally
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

US Gen. David Petraeus reiterated Tuesday that "Israel is - has been, is and will be a - an important strategic ally of the United States." In an address to Washington based think tank the "Woodrow Wilson Center," Petraeus, commander of the US military’s Central Command, said reports claiming that he was seeking to relocate both Israel and Palestinian Territories from the European Command to his Central Command were “not correct".

PM’s pullout from nuke summit draws spotlight
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - (Analysis) April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pulled out of this week’s conference on nuclear security near midnight Thursday, Israeli officials put out word he wanted to avoid efforts by Muslim countries to use the forum to attack Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal. Officials told The Jerusalem Post that by not attending, other countries’ ability to focus on Israel would be greatly reduced since it would “not be the same” without Netanyahu in the delegation.

Israel warns citizens to leave Sinai amid terror fears
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

The prime minister's office said it had "concrete evidence" that terrorists were planning to attempt to kidnap Israelis in the peninsula. Israel took the unusual step of calling on families of the Israelis who are visiting Sinai to contact them. It fears that Palestinian militants will transfer hostages to Gaza through tunnels under the border. The warning by Israel's security agencies came after a rumour that an Israeli had been kidnapped in Sinai. The Israeli emergency service Zaka later said that rumour was untrue.

Arab-Israeli row thwarts Med water deal in Barcelona
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The Mediterranean Union conference in Barcelona had hammered out 99% of a draft text, delegates said. But the deal failed when Israel and Arab countries disagreed over how to describe the Palestinian territories. Israel objected to "occupied territories", while "territories under occupation" did not suit the Arab bloc. The United Nations has warned that almost 300 million people in the Mediterranean region will face water shortages by 2025.

Israel tourism advert featured picture of Occupied Territories
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Stian Alexander - April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli tourist office has been criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for including images of the Palestinian-run West Bank in an advert for a holiday in Israel. The advert for the Israeli government's Tourist Office stated that you could "travel the entire length of Israel in six hours".

Four years after leaving Gaza, feuding makes me lose hope
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Mahmoud Habboush - (Opinion) April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

I can’t remember how early I woke up the day I left Gaza. It was still slightly dark when I said my farewells to my parents and brothers and sisters. It’s been a little over four years since that morning and I haven’t been back to Gaza since. Before I left, I’d only been on short trips to Egypt and Saudi Arabia. I had never been on a plane.

Jordan on verge of changing policy toward Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Osama Al-Sharif - April 13, 2010 - 12:00am

King Abdallah of Jordan had harsh words for Israel in his statements to the Wall Street Journal last week. The interview received considerable attention in media and policy circles in both Israel and the United States, not least because of the “rebuke” the monarch directed toward his western neighbor. The criticisms, coming from one of the most moderate Arab rulers, were unfamiliar to the Israelis.

What an American peace plan requires
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - April 14, 2010 - 12:00am

The Obama administration is indicating that it may offer its own version of a reasonable Palestinian-Israeli peace plan, if the parties themselves cannot agree to start the US-mediated “proximity talks.” This may be useful, but it must be carefully thought out – much more carefully than all other American-organized Mideast peace moves in the past generation.

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