Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The New York Times contrasts the Washington trips of DM Barak and Jerusalem Mayor Barakat. Nonviolent protests are spreading among Palestinians. Another leftist opposition group condemns Hamas tax policies. Hamas accuses Egypt of causing the deaths of tunnel workers. Israeli troops kill a Palestinian protester in a "no go area." The PA says Israel is helping settlers seize Palestinian land. Settlers are briefly arrested after violent attacks on Palestinians. The PA urges Palestinians to stop using Israeli cell phone providers. Interior Minister Yishai is invited to visit the White House. Residents of Silwan present a plan to prevent the demolition of their homes. D. Bloomfield says both Israel and the Palestinians want peace, but with the Obama administration and not each other. Larry Derfner says Israel won't budge on its own. Gideon Rachman says Israelis may hate and fear Pres. Obama, but his policies are in their interests. Jewish American leaders express satisfaction with administration outreach. A commentary from Middle East Progress urges flexibility and perseverance on peace. Elliott Abrams says US policy has undermined the Palestinian leadership. George Hishmeh says PM Netanyahu must choose between political expediency and Israel's national interests. Michael Jansen replies to Aaron David Miller.

2 Officials and 2 Views on Discussing Mideast Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

For those wondering why it has been so hard for the United States and Israel to get past their dispute over Jewish housing, consider the disconnect on display this week in Washington. On Tuesday, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, made the rounds at the State Department and the Pentagon, warmly welcomed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. At a White House meeting with the national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones Jr., President Obama dropped by, lingering for 40 minutes.

Borrowing from Gandhi? Palestinian passive resistance gains followers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

As has become ritual in this Palestinian village for the last five years, every Friday several hundred demonstrators march toward Israel's security fence - and toward a confrontation with soldiers stationed on the other side.

Hamas tax laws trigger leftist protests in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) called on Gaza residents and particularly the poor to attend a series of peaceful rallies demanding change to the recent tax laws enforced by the Hamas government. Marking a further rise in tensions over the issue and a clear alignment of leftist parties against what Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) officials called "harsh" means of tax collection and an arbitrary mandate for collection, the protests are expected to take place Friday.

Gaza police accuse Egypt in deaths of 4 tunnellers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian police accused Egyptian security forces of killing four smugglers from the Gaza Strip and injuring three others on Wednesday by blowing up their cross-border tunnel. Under pressure from Israel and the United States, Egypt has tried to stem the secret passages from its Sinai peninsula, which have allowed Palestinians in Gaza to import weapons and commercial goods in defiance of an Israeli-led blockade.

Israeli troops kill Gaza border protester - medics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi, Dan Williams - April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian who approached the Gaza Strip border on Wednesday to demonstrate against a no-go buffer zone imposed there by Israel, witnesses and hospital officials said. They said the 20-year-old was shot as he and scores of other protesters planted Palestinian flags in the ground near the border fence, east of Gaza City. Some threw stones, drawing gunfire from an Israeli patrol on the far side of the fence.

PNA: Israel aids settlers to confiscate Palestinian land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Wednesday accused the Israeli government of supporting Jewish settlers to confiscate Palestinian-owned land. The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release that the Israeli authorities "prevent farmers and shepherds in Tubas district in northern West Bank from reaching their farms." "The Israeli authorities allow hundreds of armed settlers to erect tents in the area where Palestinian shepherds usually feed their sheep," said the ministry.

Settlers attack Palestinian village to protest police crackdown
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
April 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Far-rightists from the West Bank settlement of Yizthar on Thursday marched through a neighboring Palestinian village and attacked local homes, to avenge a series of arrests by Israel Police earlier in the day. The group stormed through Hawara to show their anger at the "police crusade against the settlers" after 11 residents of their community were detained, settler spokesman Avraham Binyamin.

PA urges Palestinians to stop using Israeli cell phone firms
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - April 29, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority is urging Palestinians to stop using the Israeli cellular companies Pelephone, Orange, Cellcom and Mirs. But PA Communications Minister Mashhour Abu Daqqa told a press conference in Ramallah yesterday that this is not political boycott. Rather, he said, it is an attempt to regulate the PA's cellular communications market. Abu Daqqa told reporters that the Israeli companies operate in PA-controlled areas without a license, in violation of Palestinian law and the Oslo Accords. Moreover, he said, the companies do not pay any taxes to the Palestinian Authority.

Minister Yishai officially invited to White House
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - April 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Interior Minister Eli Yishai has been officially invited to visit the White House. The decision is apparently the result of the US Administration's desire to forge closer ties with the minister they perceive to be behind the east Jerusalem construction turmoil during Vice President Joe Biden's visit in Israel. During Biden's visit last month, the Interior Ministry approved the construction of 1,800 housing units in east Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.

Arabs unveil new plan to thwart demolitions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Residents of Silwan's al-Bustan neighborhood in east Jerusalem presented an alternative plan to regulate illegal construction, in an attempt to thwart the razing of their houses. The alternative plan, unveiled during a Wednesday press conference, has already passed all technical requirements and was issued a zoning file at the municipality three weeks ago.

Seeking peace, or just pretending?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Finally, there’s a Middle East peace process under way, and both sides appear anxious to make progress. No, not the one between Israel and the Palestinians. I’m talking about making peace between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government. After months of acrimony, accusations and attack ads, both sides, feeling battered and bruised, say they’re ready.

Wanna buy a bridge, Mr. Mitchell?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) April 29, 2010 - 12:00am

We make a point of judging everybody on their deeds, not their words – everybody but ourselves. When we say every Israeli wants peace, when two out of three Israelis consistently tell pollsters they’d give up settlements for peace, when our Likud prime minister tells the world he now accepts the two-state solution, we say: You hear that? Listen to our words. What further proof does anyone need of our peaceful intentions? But then there’s this little matter of deeds, of what Israel actually does. On the ground. And our deeds tell a somewhat different story than our words.

Israel’s fear and loathing of Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Gideon Rachman - April 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel’s alarm at the deterioration in its relations with the US is palpable. In Jerusalem recently, even a liberal commentator told me: “Barack Obama is a disaster for Israel. I don’t think the general public realise just how much of a disaster he is.” Government officials are more careful – but only a bit. Danny Ayalon, the deputy Israeli foreign minister, says that it would be a “grave mistake” for America to present its own Middle East peace plan, an idea that the US president’s people are known to be considering.

Obama spreads the love, keeping Jewish leaders happy—for now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - April 27, 2010 - 12:00am

The Obama administration is projecting a new attitude when it comes to Israel, and is selling it hard: unbreakable, unshakeable bond going forward, whatever happens. Jewish leaders have kicked the tires and they're buying -- although anxious still at what happens when the rubber hits the road.

Flexibility and Perseverance Required
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Progress
by Moran Banai, Brendan Melley, James Pickup - (Opinion) April 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Frustration regarding efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has generated much discussion lately about whether the Obama administration should present its own peace plan to the parties. Such a move is a tempting alternative to the lack of obvious progress toward direct negotiations, and it would certainly shake things up. As the idea of a U.S. plan gains currency, however, it is important to consider the implications of such an announcement.

Who Speaks for the Palestinians?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Weekly Standard
by Elliott Abrams - (Opinion) April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Will proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority soon begin? While both Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Abbas have said they hope so, the matter is no longer in the hands of the Palestinians but in those of the Arab League foreign ministers--who meet May 1.

Israel cannot keep stalling peace efforts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) April 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Why has the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accepted an invitation to come to Washington next month to discuss ways to overcome the hurdle placed by Israel before Palestinian-Israeli negotiations can resume? The impression here is that the US and Palestinian positions are not far apart on the steps that ought to be adopted by the hawkish government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before serious peace negotiations can begin.

‘The pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace must not be abandoned’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Jansen - (Opinion) April 29, 2010 - 12:00am

In an article titled "The false religion of Mideast peace", published this week in Foreign Policy, Aaron David Miller argued that it is not possible to achieve peace between Arabs/Palestinians and Israelis.

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