Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israeli extremists stage a provocative rally in occupied East Jerusalem. Indirect negotiations may begin soon. Israel is continuing to impede Palestinian access to a West Bank highway. Efforts are underway to preserve Gaza's antiquities. A Hamas fighter is killed by Israeli forces. Hamas issues an animated video of a captured Israeli soldier. Israeli officials say that despite claims to the contrary PM Netanyahu has ordered a settlement freeze in Jerusalem. Pres. Abbas will meet Pres. Obama soon. Sen. Schumer and ADL leader Foxman join the chorus of condemnation against the administration's Israel policies. The Guardian says Netanyahu may be counting on a Republican victory in November. The US military is united in its conviction that lack of peace is major strategic problem. The National is skeptical about proximity talks. The Arab News and Abdullah Al Shayji call for major changes in US policy. Ghassan Khatib Says the occupation is the ultimate incitement.

Israeli Rightists Stir Tensions in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - April 25, 2010 - 12:00am

A small group of ultra-right-wing Israelis marched through a volatile neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Sunday, arousing passions over the future of the contested city as an American envoy wrapped up an inconclusive three-day visit aimed at getting peace talks under way. The Obama administration’s Middle East envoy, George J. Mitchell, met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders over the weekend in an effort to reach understandings that will allow the start of indirect, American-brokered negotiations.

Signs of Life for Mideast Peace Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - April 23, 2010 - 12:00am

The American envoy to the Middle East, George J. Mitchell, planned to meet on Friday with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, a sign that indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace talks may be getting back on track, officials from all three parties said. In advance of encounters with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, separately, with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, Mr. Mitchell met on Friday with the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, Reuters reported, but no details of the discussions were made public.

Sharing a West Bank highway proves a tall order for Israel, Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Janine Zacharia - April 26, 2010 - 12:00am

For eight years, Israeli commuters have whizzed between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on Highway 443, a road whose West Bank portion is lined with barriers, off-limits to Palestinians who live along the way. Naji Suliman, mayor of the Palestinian community of Beit Ur al-Tahta, thought that would change after a decision by Israel's Supreme Court calling for the ban on Palestinians to be lifted by May. Then, after meeting with an Israeli military commander last week, Suliman concluded that Israel's actions came "just for public relations."

Hamas fighter killed by Israeli forces
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli forces besieged the home of a prominent Hamas fighter on Monday morning in Beit Awwa, southern Hebron, and later killed him, witnesses said. Eyewitnesses told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers were seen taking Ali Sweiti's body after demolishing the home of his wife's sister, where he was believed to be hiding.

Hamas releases animated Shalit video on web
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 26, 2010 - 12:00am

A video produced by Hamas' armed wing the Al-Qassam Brigades, will broadcast a 3D animated video of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Sunday, over the movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station.

Hamas uses new technique in psychological war with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by David Harris - April 26, 2010 - 12:00am

A superbly-made futuristic animated cartoon broadcast by the Islamist Hamas movement on Sunday is creating waves in Israel. It is thought to be the first of its kind from the military wing of Hamas that does not depend on the traditional images of brave Hamas warriors fighting against Israel. The film wants to send the message that unless there is a real change in thinking on the part of the Israeli government, captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit will be returned to his family in a coffin rather than standing on his own feet.

News Analysis: U.S. ups Mideast diplomatic activity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by David Harris - April 26, 2010 - 12:00am

U.S. special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell was making his way back to Washington on Sunday after three days of meetings with Palestinian and Israeli leaders. The veteran American diplomat is expected back in the region next week as part of a serious American push to reboot the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Meeting Mitchell on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel's face was turned towards peace.

Officials: East Jerusalem construction in de facto freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
April 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Two Jerusalem officials said on Monday that Israel has frozen new construction in the city's disputed eastern sector - despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's declarations to the contrary. Two weeks ago Haaretz reported that recent tensions with the United States had brought about a de facto construction freeze, with building projects requiring approval from Jerusalem's district planning committee on hold for more than a month.

Netanyahu must stop East Jerusalem construction if he wants peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) April 25, 2010 - 12:00am

After the latest round of talks with Special U.S. Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell, a cautious hope is emerging that indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians, with American mediation, will begin in the first half of May. As reported by Haaretz on Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama has invited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the talks, although he has not been able to secure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a public and explicit commitment to a total freeze on construction for Jews in East Jerusalem for the duration of the negotiations.

Erekat: Abbas to meet with Obama soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
April 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Aides to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas say the Palestinian leader could meet with US President Barack Obama soon. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that the Palestinians requested such a meeting and were told by Obama's envoy that the US leader would see Abbas in the near future. Erekat said Sunday that no date was set. Another aide, Yasser Abed Rabbo, told Palestinian radio that "there is talk about an invitation for President Abbas to visit Washington," possibly next month.

Foxman: US shift in Israel policy "deeply distressing"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Rebecca Anna Stoil - April 26, 2010 - 12:00am

The Anti-Defamation League’s National Director Abe Foxman over the weekend joined the growing tide of American Jewish leaders criticizing US President Barack Obama’s policy toward Israel. In a statement, Foxman described as “deeply distressing,” the “significant shift in US policy toward Israel and the peace process, which has been evident in comments from various members of the Obama Administration and has now been confirmed by the president himself in his press conference at the Nuclear Security Summit.”

Israel-Palestine conflict: Imposing solutions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
(Editorial) April 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Peace talks in the Middle East could be about to resume this week after a gap of 16 months. The optimism, if such a concept applies to this moribund lifeform, is contained in hints last week that Palestinian negotiators were considering inducements to start talking: the release of 1,000 prisoners, the lifting of some roadblocks, the easing of the Gaza blockade.

White House says Schumer attacks unfounded
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
April 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Sen. Charles Schumer's criticism of the Obama administration's Israeli policy drew a rebuke from the White House. In a radio interview last week on the "Nachum Segal Show" in New Jersey, Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the administration's Israeli-Palestinian policy "counterproductive."

Top Military Brass Concur: Mideast Conflict Affects All
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - April 21, 2010 - 12:00am

U.S. Army general David Petraeus might have shocked some pro-Israel activists when he openly spelled out the difficulties caused to American military efforts by the lack of progress in the Middle East, but fellow generals were not taken by surprise. “CENTCOM commanders had always said this was the No. 1 issue that affects everything that goes on in the region,” said Anthony Zinni, who headed the U.S. Central Command, known as CENTCOM, a decade before Petraeus.

Will proximity talks bring us closer to peace?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) April 25, 2010 - 12:00am

The news that the Obama administration is calling for US-mediated proximity talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel next month is reason for more of a groan than a cheer. Under current conditions, we fail to see how the much discredited and maligned “peace process” is served by such talks; it seems that they give us more of a process without putting us any closer to peace.

US is shooting itself in the foot
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Abdullah Al Shayji - (Opinion) April 26, 2010 - 12:00am

When Barack Obama came to power there was optimism that there could be a breakthrough in the stagnant Middle East peace process, especially after his appointment of George Mitchell as his special envoy, his support for a two-state solution and his Cairo speech.

Desperate plea
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) April 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Since Obama has declared that Middle East peace is a strategic priority for the United States, Abbas now wants Obama to put his money where his mouth is and do something about his priorities.

Of stones and glass houses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - April 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel has recently returned to condemning Palestinians and their leadership over what it calls "acts of incitement". It is clear that Israel is trying to draw attention away from the important issues on the table. This is a strong indication of the predicament that faces the country in light of mounting pressure from the international community, especially the US, to cease the illegal expansion of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.

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