Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Roger Cohen says Israel is driven by deep but groundless fears. Hamas still preaches resistance but is criticized by more extreme groups for suppressing anti-Israel activity. Several Israeli leaders hint at an unannounced settlement freeze in occupied East Jerusalem, and PM Netanyahu suggests territorial compromise on Arab neighborhoods and a Palestinian state with "temporary borders." Hamas says Palestinians expelled from the West Bank will not be allowed into Gaza. Palestinians say a settler rally is a "provocation." Special Envoy Mitchell meets DM Barak, as Israel offers "gestures" to the Palestinians. The UN says the recent easing of the Gaza blockade shows more can be done. Yossi Verter says Israel cannot avoid US pressure. The Forward condemns intimidation against Judge Goldstone. Patrick Seale looks at the rise of religious fanaticism in the Israeli military. George Hishmeh says Israel is in danger of becoming a pariah state.

Israeli Unassailable Might and Unyielding Angst
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - (Opinion) April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — For Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his people are not traumatized by some wild delusion. No, there are facts: the rise of Iran, the fierce projection of Iran’s proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, and the rockets that have been fired by them. Netanyahu is firm in his core self-image as the guarantor of threatened Israeli security. Israeli withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza, led only, in his view, to the insecurity of life beneath a rocket threat. The question he poses himself, contemplating the West Bank, is how to stop this happening a third time.

Hamas is accused of being moderate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - April 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Hamas, the Palestinian faction viewed by many in the West as a nest of terrorists and Islamic hard-liners, is battling a curious new epithet: moderate. Fifteen months after a punishing Israeli offensive failed to dislodge Hamas from power in the Gaza Strip, rival resistance groups and some former supporters say the organization has become too political, too secular and too soft.

Is Israel willing to freeze East Jerusalem construction?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - April 22, 2010 - 12:00am

US Middle East Peace Envoy George Mitchell arrived here late Thursday for talks with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in an attempt to get the two to agree to terms for so-called proximity talks. Mr. Mitchell's trip comes despite recent indications from President Barack Obama that his administration is losing patience with the two parties in the conflict.

Deportation orders will not proceed, Haniyeh
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

The de facto government in Gaza will erect a tent at the Erez crossing to receive Palestinians deported to Gaza under the new Israeli military orders, Hamas government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Thursday. The deportees will not be permitted to enter Gaza, but will rather be housed at the tent while international rights groups insist that they be permitted to travel to the West Bank, where their families are, the de facto prime minister explained.

Settler rally during Mitchel visit a deliberate provocation, Fatah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Fatah's Revolutionary Council member Dimitri Diliani called the Israeli government's decision to grant permission for a protest by "extreme right wing Israeli colonial Settlers" to rally in Silwan a provocation as US officials are in the region. Fatah's Jerusalem Affairs chief, Hatem Abdul Qader, announced that the Israeli government had given the go-ahead for the rally on Thursday. Commenting on the issue Dilani called the move "state sponsored provocation of instability to undermine the visit of Special US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell to Israel and Palestine."

U.S. envoy Mitchell meets Israeli leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Douglas Hamilton - April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

U.S. envoy George Mitchell told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday Washington was committed to Israel's security and wanted a peace settlement that would give the Palestinians a state. "That has been American policy. That is American policy. That will be American policy," Mitchell told Netanyahu, repeating President Barack Obama's pledge of strong and enduring ties to Israel on its 62nd anniversary earlier this week.

Israel PM seeks new plan as US envoy visits-report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed Palestinian statehood with temporary borders, to sidestep a deadlock over settlements ahead of talks on Friday with a U.S. envoy, a newspaper said. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected past Israeli suggestions for a state with provisional borders, but the Haaretz newspaper said Netanyahu was proposing a new interim deal to try and entice him back to the negotiating table.

Easing of Gaza blockade shows more can be done-UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Patrick Worsnip - April 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's recent easing of its blockade of Gaza is inadequate but shows restrictions could be lifted further without compromising the Jewish state's security, the top U.N. official in Gaza said on Thursday. Israel tightened controls on the Palestinian territory three years ago after Hamas Islamists seized control there, but in recent weeks has allowed in some goods it used to ban, such as clothes and shoes, wood and aluminum.

Obama administration is playing good cop, bad cop with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - (Opinion) April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Our leaders celebrated Independence Day by singing and giving speeches. But the morning after, they awoke to discover that not a single problem had disappeared amid the smoke of the ubiquitous barbecues.

Netanyahu amenable to Palestinian state within temporary borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is amenable to an interim agreement in the West Bank that would include the establishment of a Palestinian state within temporary borders. Netanyahu considers such an interim step a possible way to unfreeze the stalled political process that was created because of the Palestinian leadership's refusal to resume talks on a final settlement. However, the prime minister insists on delaying discussion on the final status of Jerusalem to the end of the process, and refuses to agree to a freeze on Jewish construction in East Jerusalem.

Netanyahu's 'no freeze in Jerusalem' declarations are hollow
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

The prime minister's response Thursday on Channel 2 that "there will be no freeze [in construction] in Jerusalem," is like Bill Clinton's "I did not have sex with that woman." Benjamin Netanyahu did not insist this time that he will continue construction in Ramat Shlomo, Gilo and Har Homa - something he is leaving for Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to do. Based on the speeches the two gave on Independence Day, Jerusalem Day came early this year.

Gov't source: Israeli gestures ahead of proximity talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli, PA sources optimistic US Mideast envoy's visit will end in declaration of launch of proximity talks. Sources say Israel will make number of gestures to Palestinians, including release of prisoners, removal of checkpoints, transfer of authority over West Bank territories. Palestinian source says US gave Israel 'encouraging' list of demands

Coalition may back PM on J'lem freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Rebecca Anna Stoil - April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel Beiteinu, however, threatens crisis over other demands. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s key coalition partners seemed to give a tacit nod Thursday to the possibility of a building freeze within Jerusalem itself, despite a reiteration by Netanyahu that no such freeze would be enacted. But while that potential source of coalition friction seemed to turn in the prime minister’s favor, other challenges to coalition unity arose during the day from Israel Beiteinu.

Giving ground on Arab east Jerusalem?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Horovitz - April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

On the face of it, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s interview with Channel 2 last night represented a fairly banal outing. Israel wanted to avoid wars, he declared, and it sought peace. Not many headlines there. He may not have signaled the firmest of convictions in President Obama’s capacity to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapons capability, but he didn’t give voice to any specific skepticism he may be feeling either.

Shutting the Doors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

Rabbi Louis Jacobs was well on his way to becoming chief rabbi of the United Kingdom in the 1960s, when his ascension was stopped cold because of a small, brilliant book he had published challenging the traditional view that the Torah was dictated by God from Mount Sinai. Banned from his own Orthodox synagogue, he inspired the birth of the Masorti movement in Britain, and went on to author more than 50 books, achieving worldwide fame for his scholarship, eloquence and aptitude for reconciling Orthodox practice and modern belief.

Israel's messianic terrorists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Patrick Seale - (Opinion) April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Barely a week goes by without news of some act of violence by Jewish colonists against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. By any definition, what colonists and religious activists do to Palestinians is terrorism. But it goes unpunished. Time and again, Muslim graves and mosques are desecrated, harvests torched, sheep rustled, cars stoned and damaged, homes and shops forcibly occupied. Palestinians are chased off their own land by gun fire. Just last week, colonists cut down 300 olive trees.

Netanyahu should listen to reason
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) April 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel, like a child, always sees itself blameless. This is partly thanks to its supporters, who include some key members of the well-entrenched American Jewish community, who cannot see the light of day. It is as if they are blindfolded. Here is one prominent example (and there are many), in which the author of a full-page advertisement, costing tens of thousands of dollars, and which appeared in key US newspapers, made a fool of himself this week, even as some fellow Jews recognised.

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