Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Proximity talks are set to begin, but Israeli intelligence says Pres. Abbas is preparing for their failure. Israelis harshly criticize a PA ban on settlement goods, but the PA insists on the legitimacy of the ban and the Palestinian Economy Minister defends the ban in the Jerusalem Post. PA security officers are arrested in Jerusalem by Israel. Israel considers expanding areas of Palestinian control in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians accuse settlers of setting fire to a mosque. Hamas fears an economic crisis could spark a revolt in Gaza. Settlers continue to expand unauthorized outposts. The UK has refused to accept the new Mossad representative after expelling its predecessor. Six Palestinian MKs who traveled to Libya are under heavy criticism after returning to Israel. Emile Hokayem says the one-state agenda is a romantic but dangerous fantasy. Adel Safty says PM Netanyahu's stated positions do not allow for any progress.

Framework Set in Mideast for Indirect Peace Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - May 3, 2010 - 12:00am

The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, met on Monday with Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, in the Sinai resort of Sharm el Sheik, and the Obama administration’s envoy arrived in the region amid final preparations for the start of indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The talks, expected in days, will be the first in more than a year. But the atmosphere in the region was hardly enthusiastic, with Israeli officials expressing skepticism about the prospects of a breakthrough and Palestinian officials warning Israel against taking any steps that could torpedo the talks.

PA security officials detained in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli forces detained seven Palestinian locals from several neighborhoods in Jerusalem on Tuesday at dawn, after they were accused of affiliation to the Palestinian Authority security forces. The seven detainees were at an Israeli court in Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon, and are accused of affiliation to PA security. They were expected to be detained for nine days, but attorney Saleh Ayoub sought a shorter remand.

Government backs settlement goods ban
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

Following Israeli complaints about the Palestinian Authority ban on settlement goods in the West Bank, the Government Media Center issued a statement confirming that the "campaign is implementing the rule of law." In the statement, PA officials reiterated their commitment to "all economic agreements with Israel," but said authorities would not back down from efforts to replace the "illegal products of Israel’s settlement [with] legal Palestinian and other imported products."

Israel mulls wider Palestinian control in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel is considering handing over security responsibilities to Palestinians in additional West Bank towns under U.S.-backed plans for resuming peace talks, Israeli and Palestinian security sources said. The sources named Abu Dis, a town at the edge of Jerusalem once seen as a possible Palestinian seat of government, as one of the more significant sites where Israel is weighing whether to soon permit armed Palestinian police to patrol.

Jewish settlers blamed for West Bank mosque fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Mohammed Assadi - May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinians accused Jewish settlers of setting fire to a mosque in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, an incident that raised tensions as a U.S. envoy began a mission to get peace talks going. Israeli security officers were at the scene investigating the fire but have not determined its cause. Evidence was taken for forensic examination, an Israeli police spokesman said. The mosque in the village of Libban al-Sharqia, near the Palestinian city of Nablus, was gutted overnight by the blaze that also burned holy books.

MI: Abbas laying the groundwork for failure of proximity talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jonathan Lis - May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

Military Intelligence research division chief Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz on Tuesday presented a bleak forecast for the opening of a negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. "[PA President Mahmoud] Abbas' goal is to expose Israel's true face and show that we do not want peace," Baidatz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, adding that "Abbas is interested in an agreement with Israel, but his leeway on the core issues is limited."

MESS Report / Hamas fears economic crisis could spark uprising
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

It turns out that not only Greece and Spain are suffering economic hardship. The Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip is facing a severe economic crisis due to the dwindling foreign assistance the organization normally relies on. The financial distress is raising concern among Hamas leaders that they may not be able to withstand the increasing public pressure, which could lead to a popular uprising against the government.

Four years after eviction, Amona settlers are building anew
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

Evacuating the outposts does not appear to be high on the national agenda Next Independence Day it would be appropriate to award the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement and exceptional contribution to the nation to the State Prosecutor's Office. The creativity its people have shown for the sake of the West Bank settlement project knows no bounds. Especially not the boundaries of the Green Line, the pre-Six-Day War border.

New Mossad rep not welcome in London
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Itamar Eichner - May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

month-and-a-half after the United Kingdom expelled the Mossad representative in London over Israel's alleged forging of UK passports used in the assassination of Hamas man Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, Britain refuses to allow a new representative to enter the country, Yedioth Ahronoth has learned. The paper reported on Tuesday that London's refusal to accept a new Mossad rep comes despite prior understandings between the two countries, according to which the UK would allow a new representative to take the place of the one that was expelled.

Peace products
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

The issue of settlements and their illegality under international law should dominate debate surrounding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and a return to negotiations. Israel’s refusal to adhere to international law or its previous commitments, particularly its obligation to freeze all settlement construction as stipulated under the 2003 road map, has led to a low point in relations with Washington. Israel’s policy of building settlements on occupied Palestinian land undermines prospects for peace, and continues at the expense of all Palestinians.

Israel’s Arab MPs face backlash over Libya visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - May 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Six Arab members of the Israeli parliament returned last week from a visit to Libya at the personal invitation of its leader, Muammer Qadafi, to a storm of protest in Israel, including threats to prosecute them and bar them from standing in future elections. The delegation of 39 public figures from Israel’s Arab minority, who were flown to Tripoli on Mr Qadafi’s private plane last weekend, had requested the visit in the hope of breaking their isolation in the Arab world.

Road to a one-state solution is paved with good intentions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Emile Hokayem - May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

An idea is gaining ground in the Arab world and beyond that the Palestinians are better off opting out of a frustrating peace process and that they should embrace the vision of a one-state solution. The emotional and intellectual appeal of a binational state of both Israelis and Palestinians is undeniable, especially for well-intentioned but distant academic and cultural elites. The argument speaks to a higher sense of justice and human dignity – that peoples can transcend their suffering and narratives to live side by side, forging a new identity.

Peace talks require good faith
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Adel Safty - May 3, 2010 - 12:00am

Last week, the Israeli press reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a Cabinet meeting, following his talks with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, that Israel and the United States want to "begin a peace process immediately", and without any preconditions. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that Israel and the Palestinians were to begin indirect peace talks this week, with the expectation that these proximity talks would lead to direct negotiations in due course.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017