Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Martin Indyk says PM Netanyahu must choose between confronting his right wing or the US president, and that when Israel can go it alone, it can decide things on its own. FM Lieberman says an "imposed solution" would provoke violence. Hamas burns recreational drugs, taxes cigarettes. The PA denies reports of an upcoming peace summit. US officials strongly criticize an ad saying Jerusalem is beyond politics. Bradley Burston says Israel must be freed of the occupation. YNet interviews PM Fayyad on state-building and nonviolent protests. The Israeli military complains about settler violence, prepares for a West Bank pullback. The New Israel Fund gets more donations in the wake of intense criticism. American Jewish leaders are criticizing the administration in public, but defending it in private. Israeli and Palestinian villagers build relationships across the Green Line. Rahm Emanuel says there is no US peace plan. The UN says Palestinian armed factions in Lebanon are a threat to regional stability. Bret Stephens says the US should leverage Israeli concerns about Iran for progress on settlements. Rashid Khalidi says Israel is acting in bad faith in Jerusalem.

When Your Best Friend Gets Angry
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
by Martin Indyk - (Opinion) April 19, 2010 - 12:00am

How do you know when there’s a real crisis in U.S.-Israel relations? It’s when the president of the United States convenes a nuclear security summit to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the Israeli prime minister declines the invitation. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has made Iran’s nuclear threat to Israel’s existence the central organizing principle of his second term. Yet at the nuclear summit in Washington last week, President Obama was the one to do the heavy lifting, persuading China to join in a new round of U.N. sanctions against Iran.

"Imposed" Mideast solution would stoke violence - Israel FM
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

In a veiled warning to U.S. President Barack Obama, Israel's foreign minister said on Tuesday that any move to impose a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians would lead to greater conflict. "Any attempt to force a solution on the parties without establishing the foundation of mutual trust will only deepen the conflict," Avigdor Lieberman told the assembled diplomatic corps at an event marking Israel's Independence Day.

Hamas burns recreational drugs, taxes cigarettes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by RIZEK ABDEL JAWAD - April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Gaza's Hamas rulers on Tuesday burned nearly 2 million pills of a painkiller many Gazans take recreationally because they say it relaxes them and provides temporary relief from the territory's hardships. The disposal of the drugs comes days after the Islamic militant group confiscated cigarettes from Gaza shops to collect taxes on them. Both moves are part of Hamas' efforts to strengthen its grip on Gaza and impose its strict interpretation of Islam on the impoverished seaside territory's 1.5 million Palestinian residents.

U.S. piles pressure on Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by David Harris - April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

As Israelis marked the 62nd anniversary of the nation's independence on Tuesday, the country's Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned them that in all probability much of the land currently held by the Jewish state will have to be ceded to the Palestinians. Barak made the comment on Monday, the Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day. It was the headline maker from an interview he granted to the country's Army Radio to mark the most introspective of days on the Israeli calendar.

PNA denies upcoming summit on Middle East talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

A Palestinian official on Tuesday denied reports that Washington had suggested a summit meeting on stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in Egypt. "This is untrue at all," said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator. "From time to time, Israel releases trial balloons to evade obligations the international community wants it to meet," he told Voice of Palestine radio.

Indyk: If Israel manages alone, it can decide alone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said on Wednesday that if Israel is a superpower that manages alone, then it can make decisions alone. In an interview with Army Radio, Indyk said that if Israel sees itself as a superpower that does not need any aid from the United States, then it can make its own decisions. However "if you need the United States, then you need to take into account America's interests," said Indyk.

U.S. officials slam pro-Israel Jerusalem ad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

United States administration officials have voiced harsh criticism over advertisements in favor of Israel's position on Jerusalem that appeared in the U.S. press with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's encouragement. The authors of the most recent such advertisements were president of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel. "All these advertisements are not a wise move," one senior American official told Haaretz.

Declare Independence. Free Israel. End the Occupation.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

It's taken us years and years, but we've finally realized the dream of every Israeli. It was my wife who noticed. "I really like this," she said one Friday as we left the house, "getting out and going to a foreign country every weekend." Our fellow Israeli Jews, inveterate world travelers that they are, literally go out of their way to avoid this place, which is called East Jerusalem. Some steer clear because it scares them, others simply because it feels so, well, foreign.

Fayyad: 'Security gains' will foster state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told Ynet he hoped to create a "positive reality" by the summer of 2011, which would help his people with the establishment of a Palestinian state. Security? Army says escalation in West Bank violence unacceptable, taking measures to contain demonstrations against security barrier. 'A stone can be deadly,' senior IDF officer says

IDF: Settlers crossed red line, again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

The IDF on Wednesday continued to condemn the settler attack on a soldier near Yitzhar. During Tuesday evening's clashes, settlers from Yitzhar beat and lightly wounded a solider. The IDF said the settlers also hurled stones and slashed the tires of a military vehicle. Officers in the Central Command said the Jewish settlers had "crossed a red line" once again and urged the leaders of Jewish communities in the West Bank to act with resolve against outlaws.

Campaign against New Israel Fund boosts donations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Donations to the New Israel Fund (NIF) have increased by 35% since Zionist student group Im Tirtzu launching a campaign accusing the fund of direct responsibility for the UN’s Goldstone Report on the IDF’s offensive in Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009.. Im Tirtzu published a report according to which 92 percent of the Goldstone document’s allegations criticizing the IDF’s conduct came from 16 Israeli NGOs that received some $7.8 million from the NIF in 2008-2009 alone.

IDF drafts pre-intifada pullback plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Irish Times
by Yaakov Katz, Tovah Lazaroff - April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

The army has drawn up plans to withdraw to pre-intifada lines in the West Bank, if ordered to do so by the government, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Such a withdrawal was one of the demands that US President Barack Obama made to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during their meeting at the White House last month. The demand refers to the positions the IDF held when the second intifada erupted in late 2000, before the army swept into all the Arab towns and cities in the West Bank. It maintains a presence on the outskirts of many of them today.

Jewish leaders caught between criticizing, defending Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - April 20, 2010 - 12:00am

With anxiety over the White House’s Middle East policy mounting in some pro-Israel circles, several Jewish organizational leaders have found themselves in a discomfiting position: criticizing the Obama administration in public while stridently defending the president in private against the most extreme attacks. It's an upside-down version of what pro-Israel groups usually do: lavishing praise on the U.S. government of the day for sustaining the "unbreakable bond" while making their criticisms known quietly, behind closed doors.

Palestinian village and Israeli town build rare partnership across line
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Sue Fishkoff - April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Mohammed Mansara, a 70-year-old farmer who goes by the name Abu Mazen, indicates with a sweep of his arm the fruit trees and vegetables he grows on his small plot of land in this Palestinian village in the West Bank, population 1,200. Then he points to a small green hill on the western side of the village topped by a tidy cluster of red-roofed homes. That is Tzur Hadassah, an Israeli community of about 5,000 Jewish residents. “Tzur Hadassah has such nice people,” he says in Hebrew. “They are great neighbors.”

Emanuel: No U.S. peace plan for now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
April 20, 2010 - 12:00am

The time is not ripe for a U.S.-promoted Middle East peace plan, President Obama's chief of staff said. "A number of people have advocated that," Rahm Emanuel said Monday on the Charlie Rose show on Bloomberg Television. "That time is not now," Emanuel said. The "time now is to get back to the proximity talks, have those conversations that eventually will lead to direct negotiations, start to make the hard decisions to bring a balance between the aspirations of the Israelis for security and make that blend with the aspirations of the Palestinian people for their sovereignty."

Palestinian armed factions grave threat to Lebanon's security - Ban
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Patrick Galey - April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

The continued presence of Palestinian armed factions in Lebanon constitutes a serious threat to national and regional security, according to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The alleged transfer of Syria-exported Scud missiles to Hizbullah is also a major cause of international concern, the UN chief said. In his latest interim report on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559, seen by The Daily Star on Tuesday, Ban encouraged Lebanese leaders to exert pressure on groups possessing arms outside of state power.

Trading Sanctions for Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Affairs
by Bret Stephens - (Analysis) April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

When Joe Biden touched down in Tel Aviv on March 8, there was no indication that his visit would set off the most serious crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations in decades. The U.S. vice president arrived carrying the text of an effusively pro-Israel speech that was meant to assure skittish Israelis that the Obama administration would remain as committed as any of its predecessors to their security.

Bad Faith in the Holy City
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Affairs
by Rashid Khalidi - (Opinion) April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli government’s announcement in March that it would further expand East Jerusalem settlements was just the latest in a decades-old series of calculated slights to the United States.

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