Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel enjoys a somber 62nd Independence Day. Richard Cohen says Pres. Obama should reach out to the Israeli people. Hamas leaders say they will never recognize Israel, vow more executions and threaten to capture more Israeli soldiers. Gaza merchants complain of unreasonable Hamas taxes. PM Fayyad prepares to reshuffle his cabinet. Israel seeks to cut off funding for Palestinian nonviolent protests. Avishai Margalit urges lifting the siege of Gaza. The PA prepares to fight West Bank deportations. DM Barak says Palestinians will rule themselves "whether you like it or not." Bilal Hassen says Pres. Obama has backed down. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Fatah's Azzam al-Ahmad. Linda Heard says Israel may start a war in Lebanon for political reasons. Murad Bustami says violence is counterproductive for Palestinians. Foreign Policy seeks a variety of views on why Middle East peace has failed thus far. Aaron David Miller says peace between Israel and the Palestinians is not possible under current circumstances.

Mood Is Dark as Israel Marks 62nd Year as a Nation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - April 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Every year, Israelis approach the joy of their Independence Day right after immersing themselves in a 24-hour period of grief for fallen soldiers. Before the fireworks burst across the skies Monday night to celebrate the country’s 62nd birthday, the airwaves filled with anguished stories of servicemen and -women killed, the Kaddish prayer of mourning and speeches placing the deeply personal losses of a small country into the sweep of Jewish history.

Obama, don't forget Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Richard Cohen - (Opinion) April 20, 2010 - 12:00am

These have been busy days for Jewish bloggers when it comes to Israel. One of them, the formidable Ed Koch, has virtually incinerated President Obama for his Israeli policy. The Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel has taken out full-page ads in major newspapers to tell Obama, in effect, to lay off Jerusalem, and Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, wrote the president to say how concerned he was about the administration's Israel policy. In short, it stinks.

Mash'al: Hamas won't recognize Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Hamas leader Khalid Mash'al said Monday that Arab officials had urged the movement to accept the International Quartet's conditions and recognize Israel in exchange for amendments to the Egyptian-backed unity deal. "Whoever asks us to recognize Israel will be disappointed," Mash'al, the senior-most Hamas leader said during a speech marking a week of Prisoners Day activities in Damascus, where he has lived since his August 1999 expulsion from Jordan.

Gazans imposed "unreasonable taxes" as Hamas passes fiscal crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan - April 20, 2010 - 12:00am

A'ahed al-Shawa, a 31-year-old meat vendor, who owns a butcher shop in western Gaza City, was shocked when representatives of the Hamas-ruled municipality informed him that he has to pay annual taxes for placing his grill machine outside his shop. "They asked me to pay 1,500 Israeli new shekels (404 U.S. dollars) every year for putting my grill meat machine outside my store," al-Shawa said, adding "I have never paid such kind of new unreasonable taxes before, either to Israel or to the Palestinian (National) Authority."

Palestinian PM may reshuffle West Bank government: source
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad may reshuffle his government which holds sway in the West Bank, a government source said on Monday. A member of the government told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that there were discussions between President Mahmoud Abbas' office and the government to conduct the reshuffle. Earlier in the day, pan-Arab al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper reported that the differences focus on the interior ministry, as members of Abbas's Fatah party wants someone from the security establishment to hold that portfolio.

Hamas vows to continue executions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 19, 2010 - 12:00am

The Islamic Resistance Movement ( Hamas) will continue executing collaborators and people convicted of serious crimes in the Gaza Strip, Hamas interior minister Fathi Hammad said Monday. "Executions would be carried out against anybody trying to stand on the way of the people or trying to contact the Zionist enemy and convey information to it," Hammad told a press conference in Gaza city. "The government won't step back implementing executions against those who harmed our national interests."

In its 62nd year, Israel is in a diplomatic, security and moral limbo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
(Editorial) April 20, 2010 - 12:00am

The joy attendant on Israel's Independence Day traditionally focused on emphasizing the growing list of the young state's achievements and the sense that the country was progressing toward a better future - one of peace, enhanced physical and existential security, integration into the family of nations and the region, and a normalized existence. But the country's lifespan, which was considered a great virtue in and of itself during the first few decades, has become secondary to a far more important question: Within what dynamic is Israel operating? Is time on Israel's side?

IDF looks to cut off PA protest funding
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - April 20, 2010 - 12:00am

The army has begun looking into ways to crack down on the Palestinian Authority’s financial support of the so-called nonviolent public uprising it is supporting in the West Bank, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Leading efforts against the PA’s financial mechanism is the IDF’s Central Command, in conjunction with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). IDF sources said recently that PA officials, including Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, were directing and overseeing the weekly protests that the IDF faced in the West Bank, including in Ni’lin, Bil’in and near the Shavei Shomron settlement.

Mashaal vows to capture more soldiers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
April 20, 2010 - 12:00am

The leader of Hamas has vowed to capture more Israeli soldiers to use in bargaining for the release of Palestinian prisoners. Khaled Mashaal accused Israel of obstructing a deal to trade captured soldier Gilad Schalit for hundreds of jailed terrorists. Gaza militants captured Schalit in a 2006 cross-border raid. A deal brokered by Egypt and Germany for his release had appeared close in November.

Avishai Margalit: Lift the siege!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Steve Linde - (Interview) April 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Prof. Avishai Margalit is considered to be the country’s foremost philosopher. In granting him this year’s Israel Prize for Philosophy, the prize committee described Margalit as “one of the most important philosophers in the State of Israel and one of the most valued in the world today.” Known as a clear thinker, eloquent speaker and incisive writer, he is on the left of the political spectrum and advocates what he calls a return to “the little Israel” of 1948.

Abbas to fight Israeli orders on West Bank deportations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
April 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Last week it was revealed the Israeli Defence Force changed their orders broadening the definition of people they could remove from the West Bank. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said he was prepared to take the issue to the UN Security Council, reports say. He said the order that would affect West bank residents without Israel-approved IDs was "a provocation". "Israel has no right to deport any Palestinian," Mr Abbas said after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Denied

'Palestinians will rule themselves' says Ehud Barak
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
April 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak has said Israel must, eventually, allow the Palestinians to rule themselves. In an interview with Army Radio he said in the future there would be a separate Palestinian state "whether you like it or not". The interview comes as Israelis mark Memorial Day, commemorating Israeli soldiers killed in action. Mr Barak, a former top ranking soldier, leads the Labour Party which is part of the current government coalition.

Israel Attacks and Obama Backs Down
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Bilal Hassen - April 19, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli announcement about deporting the Palestinian "infiltrators" from Gaza to the Gaza Strip or to Jordan is the beginning of a new stage in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Asharq Al-Awsat Talks to Fatah's Azzam al-Ahmad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali El-saleh - (Interview) April 19, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority [PA] through more than one of its officials has called on Israel to rescind its decision to deport what it described as "infiltrators" into the Palestinian territories. Azzam al-Ahmad, member of Fatah Central Committee and leader of its parliamentary bloc, interprets the Israeli decision as a return to the military orders and military rule that existed before the Oslo Accord in 1993. According to Al-Ahmad, this means "relinquishing the Oslo accord and wriggling out of it, which in its turn means that the occupation still exists."

War would take the heat off Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Linda S. Heard - (Opinion) April 20, 2010 - 12:00am

As clouds of volcanic ash loom high over Europe, clouds of war are once again lurking over Lebanon. In recent days, Israel's President Shimon Peres has accused Syria of supplying Hezbollah with Scud ballistic missiles that can reach Israeli cities. Damascus has denied the charge while Hezbollah has refused to deny or confirm it, saying it's nobody's business. US officials remain doubtful due to an absence of proof. However, a spokesman for the US State Department has said his government is "increasingly concerned about the sophisticated weaponry that is allegedly being transferred."

Violence will only end up harming the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Murad Bustami - (Opinion) April 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Covered faces, stones and tear gas: This was the scene on the streets of East Jerusalem in the “day of rage” last month, which was declared in response to the opening of a synagogue in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Fatah Behind Bid to Reshuffle the PA Cabinet?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Rachelle Kliger - April 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Conflicting views over participation of high-ranking Fatah members in the Ramallah-based government. Rumors of an imminent reshuffle in the Palestinian cabinet have ignited debate over expanding Fatah Party presence under the independent Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is planning a cabinet re-shuffle to include more members of Fatah’s Central Committee.

Middle East Peace: So Why Have We Failed?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Yossi Beilin, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Saeb Erakat, Gamal Helal, Daniel Kurtzer, Robert Malley, Michael B. Oren, Dov Weissglas, James Wolfensohn, Anthony Zinni - (Interview) April 19, 2010 - 12:00am

More than 60 years after Israel's stunning victory in the 1948 war that birthed the Jewish state, an end to the world's most exasperating conflict seems more distant than ever. U.S. President Barack Obama is trying to drag both sides kicking and screaming to the negotiating table after nearly a decade of no progress. But is there still any reason for hope?

The False Religion of Mideast Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) April 19, 2010 - 12:00am

On October 18, 1991, against long odds and in front of an incredulous press corps, U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Soviet Foreign Minister Boris Pankin announced that Arabs and Israelis were being invited to attend a peace conference in Madrid.

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