Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Mohammad Mustafa says the international community, and particularly the Quartet, must show more political will to promote Palestinian state building and development. Palestinians angrily accuse settlers of torching a West Bank mosque. As proximity talks are set to begin, Israel is highlighting Palestinian "incitement," but Yossi Alpher says this campaign is hypocritical. The PA says all Palestinian laborers must stop working in settlements by the end of 2011. Palestinian nonviolent protesters, including children, face Israeli prison terms. PLO factions struggle to form a united list for municipal elections. An Israeli court asks why an unauthorized outpost has not been dismantled. Amira Hass says ordinary Israelis are perpetuating the occupation. Israel says it's planning a new West Bank train network linked to Israeli railways. David Axelrod says Pres. Obama agrees negotiations should not start with Jerusalem. Giora Eiland says talks are bound to fail. Two Israeli soldiers are indicted for using a 10-year-old boy as a human shield during the Gaza war. Warm relations have apparently been restored between the White House and major Jewish groups. Rami Khouri lists 10 reasons why proximity talks should not be dismissed. Osama al-Sharif says the region cannot continue suspended between no war and no peace.

Political will is the missing ingredient in construction of a new Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Hill
by Dr. Mohammad Mustafa - (Opinion) May 5, 2010 - 12:00am

Last month, in two separate reports, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) corroborated what the Palestinian private sector has been saying for years, that the hope for sustainable economic development in the West Bank, as well as East Jerusalem and Gaza, is being structurally stymied by the Israeli government.

Palestinians’ Emotions Run High After a Fire Destroys a Mosque in the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

A fire swept through a mosque in this Palestinian village early Tuesday, angering Palestinians who said they were certain that extremist Israeli settlers were to blame, although investigators have found no proof. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, echoed those sentiments and warned that the blaze “represented a threat to the efforts to revive the peace process.”

If Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resume, Israel plans to highlight incitement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

With some expecting US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to resume this month, Israel is complaining of Palestinian government-sponsored "incitement'' against the Jewish state. Israel is planning to highlight claims of demonization of Israel and glorification of terrorism by Palestinian leaders after months of being on the defensive over settlement expansion in the West Bank and Jerusalem, analysts said. Government spokesman Mark Regev said that progress on incitement would be a "crucial'' issue in peace negotiations.

PA sets deadline to end settlement work
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 5, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority is working in full swing to make sure no laborers will be working in Israeli settlements by the end of 2011, PA Minster of National Economy Hasan Abu Libda said Tuesday. “There are currently 25,000 Palestinians who make their living from working in Israeli settlements. They should stop as they aren’t any different from 200,000 other unemployed workers,” Abu Libda said in an interview with Ma'an.

Anti-wall demonstrators face prison term, fines
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 3, 2010 - 12:00am

An Israeli military court sentenced a 16-year-old Hebron boy to three months in prison, while six others were sentenced to three years of probation and a 2,000 shekel (537 US dollars) of fines for participation in an anti-wall rally. The sentencing, carried out at the Ofer military base and detention center near Ramallah in the West Bank on Sunday, saw the Israeli military prosecutor argue that the men and teenagers had endangered the lives of Israeli soldiers.

Israelis and Palestinians stand to gain from talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Karin Laub - May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

Both Israelis and Palestinians stand to gain by renewing U.S.- mediated contacts this week — the Obama administration's first sustained, on-the-ground attempt to bridge vast differences over what a Palestinian state should look like.

PLO factions fail to stand united in municipal polls
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 5, 2010 - 12:00am

Factions of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) failed to agree on entering municipal elections in the West Bank under a unified list, representatives said on Tuesday. "Forming a unified list is far away and difficult now despite the talks," Amin Maqboul, a member of Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Xinhua. President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, the main faction in the organization, held several dialogues with the leftist groups of the PLO over the past two months to unite in the elections that would be held in July.

Court orders state to explain why Amona outpost not demolished
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - May 5, 2010 - 12:00am

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a temporary injunction requiring the state to explain why it has not followed through with evacuating every illegal outpost built on Palestinian land in the West Bank. The court made its ruling particularly with regard to the Amona outpost, where settlers began to build in 1995 and have continued to do so despite an official evacuation as recently as 2006.

Like a plane without a pilot
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unjustifiably draws fire for policies that move ahead without his involvement. The Jewish intellectuals, who suddenly saw the darkness and were terrified, should know: Even if not one more Jewish home is built in the occupied territories ?(including East Jerusalem?), the enormous apparatus of domination continues to operate there with an inner logic of many years’ duration. It moves along by itself, like some huge aircraft without a pilot.

Israel planning new West Bank train network, minister says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) announced Tuesday that the ministry was promoting a plan to establish a train network in the West Bank which will converge with the new train tracks planned throughout Israel. Katz said that the plan had been drawn up with the cooperation of international organizations which have expressed great interest in the issue. He added that a train track is planned to run between Jenin, the Yizrael Valley and to Jerusalem.

Obama advisor: Jerusalem issue at end of talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - May 5, 2010 - 12:00am

Just before the start of proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the Obama administration has indicated that the issue of Jerusalem will be discussed at the end of the talks, and not at the beginning. The US interest in Jerusalem stems from construction plans made public during Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the region, just a short time before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to meet with US President Barack Obama in the White House.

Proximity talks doomed to fail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Giora Eiland - (Opinion) May 5, 2010 - 12:00am

We were recently told about the expected renewal of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the future of a final-status agreement. Even though we are only dealing with proximity talks – a sort of indirect dialogue with US assistance – there is seemingly reason for optimism: After 18 months, the sides are again talking. However, if we perform in-depth analysis of the interests of the three involved parties, we would reach the conclusion that there aren’t many reasons for celebration.

Soldiers charged with using boy, 10, as human shield
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Ben Lynfield - May 5, 2010 - 12:00am

Two Israeli soldiers were charged in a military court yesterday with forcing a 10-year-old Palestinian boy in the Gaza Strip to handle objects they suspected of being rigged to explode. The soldiers were indicted for "ordering the boy to open cases that they thought were explosives", Major Dorit Toval, the prosecutor, said. The alleged crime took place during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli military onslaught waged more than a year ago with the aim of halting Hamas rocket fire at southern Israel. A gag order was placed barring publication of the names of the soldiers.

White House charm offensive pays off: Wiesel says tension is ‘gone’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - (Opinion) May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

When Elie Wiesel says it's all kosher, it's good. For now, anyway. President Obama capped an intensive two weeks of administration make-nice with Israeli officials and the American Jewish community by hosting Wiesel, the Nobel peace laureate and Holocaust memoirist, for lunch at the White House. "It was a good kosher lunch," was the first thing Wiesel pronounced, emerging from the White House to a gaggle of reporters. And not just the food. "There were moments of tension,” Wiesel said. “But the tension I think is gone, which is good.”

Ten reasons why we shouldn't dismiss proximity talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) May 5, 2010 - 12:00am

The broad agreement to launch “proximity talks” between Israelis and Palestinians this week has been widely dismissed as a gesture without much hope or substance. That may be too pessimistic and too early a conclusion. The talks, in which George Mitchell will shuttle between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, may include some intriguing elements that are worth watching, especially vis-à-vis the US and its views on a permanent peace settlement.

ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) April 26, 2010 - 12:00am

The incitement issue is rife with hypocrisy on both sides. It is exaggerated by both Israelis and Palestinians so as to excuse their refusal to negotiate and to "score points", particularly with the international community. While the latter should be tough on incitement, it should not permit that issue to obfuscate the need for immediate progress toward a solution in more pragmatic spheres of the conflict.

Mitchell to give peace train a fresh push
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Osama Al-Sharif - (Opinion) May 4, 2010 - 12:00am

But perhaps the big question today is: Are there still believers in the US-sponsored peace process? We've seen this before in the past. The US special envoy to the Middle East heads to the region amid signs that peace talks, bogged down for what seems like an eternity, are about to resume. The peace process, an American coinage that dates back to the 1970s, is going into its penultimate thrusts. It has become an institution, a diplomatic edifice that thrives and withers depending on geopolitical agendas and regional crises.

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