Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Two Palestinian citizens of Israel are arrested on charges of spying for Hezbollah, hundreds protest. The UN development says there is a lack of human security in the occupied territories. A fire at an Israeli warehouse causes heavy losses to Gaza merchants. Israeli settlers increase attacks on Palestinian mosques. Bradley Burston suggests Israel is starting to resemble a police state. Israel says it will demolish 46 settler structures for violating the partial moratorium. Gideon Levy describes Israel's campaign against pro-Palestinian foreign visitors. An Israeli NGO seeks to keep a West Bank highway closed to Palestinians. DM Barak says the occupation is eroding Israel's global status. Gershon Baskin urges optimism on proximity talks. Daoud Kuttab says peace must be pursued by all means. Uri Avnery says John Mearsheimer is wrong to think peace is impossible. Ghassan Khatib says settlements remain the make or break issue. Yossi Alpher says PM Netanyahu wants direct negotiations. Mkhaimar Abusada says any failure will produce a period of volatility in Palestinian politics. Sasha Polakow-Suransky summarizes Israel's deep relationship with apartheid South Africa in light of accusations against Judge Goldstone.

Israel detains Haifa man for alleged spying
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 11, 2010 - 12:00am

A Palestinian citizen of Israel was detained by Israeli forces on Thursday, two weeks after authorities handed down a travel ban imposed by Israel's Interior Ministry. Amir Makhoul, director of Ittijah and chairman of the Popular Committee for the Defense of the Political Freedoms, was arrested by Israeli forces on 6 May during a raid of his home, noting that police raided the offices of the organization, confiscating equipment and documents.

UN report says human security absent in Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The widespread absence of human security in the occupied Palestinian territory has impeded progress for Palestinians, the latest UN Human Development Report found.

2 Israeli Arabs suspected of spying for Hezbollah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Ian Deitch - May 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel has arrested two Israeli Arabs suspected of spying for Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, police and security services said Monday, partially lifting a gag order on the case. Websites flouted the gag order and made the arrest of political activist Amir Makhoul into a rallying cry for critics of Israel's treatment of its Arab minority. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the gag order was imposed to avoid harming the investigation.

Fire at Israeli warehouse causes heavy losses to Gaza traders, importers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Emad Drimly - May 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian traders and importers said Monday they suffered heavy losses due to a massive fire that broke out several days ago in a warehouse in southern Israel, where their goods, supposed to be sent to the Gaza Strip soon, are stored. Gaza traders and merchants told Xinhua that the massive fire destroyed the entire warehouse in the area of Moshav Shuva in Negev in southern Israel, adding "the losses were estimated with a value of seven million U.S. dollars."

Israeli Settlers Step Up Attacks on Palestinian Mosques
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Mel Frykberg - May 11, 2010 - 12:00am

"Despite living under a brutal military occupation and being subjected to regular attacks by Israeli settlers for decades, normally places of worship were spared," Hussein, a spokesman from this Palestinian village, near Nablus, in the northern West Bank, told IPS. "People could forget about the economic hardship, the political oppression and their personal problems for a few hours a week as they retreated to pray in the mosque." All this changed dramatically for the agricultural village of 3,000 residents a few weeks ago.

Special Place in Hell / If the secret police ran a Jewish state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) May 10, 2010 - 12:00am

If a Jewish state were run by the secret police, Israelis could disappear without a trace. No contact with lawyers. Court-ordered muzzles on broadcast and print news media. If a Jewish state were run by the secret police, there were be gag orders forbidding journalists to write even of the existence of the gag orders. Thank God such a thing couldn't happen here.

Israel to demolish West Bank construction freeze violations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - May 11, 2010 - 12:00am

The Civil Administration is planning to raze buildings in 46 locations in the northern West Bank where violations of the freeze on settlement construction were found to have occurred. According to a document obtained by Haaretz, the plan includes razing six foundations for buildings in the settlement of Yitzhar. A law enforcement source told Haaretz that efforts to raze structures erected in violation of the freeze will be expedited in the near future, due to Israel's desire to show that it is serious about the freeze now that proximity talks with the Palestinians are beginning.

Israel's security measures? Don't make me laugh
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Opinion) May 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Who says Jewish humor has disappeared from Israel? Who says that even the state's shadowiest organizations don't enjoy occasional moments of levity, in between carrying out assassinations and foiling conspiracies? Israel's ongoing fascistization, isolation, nationalism and militarism don't make for much comic relief. So listen to what Barak Ravid reported in Haaretz on Thursday.

Hundreds protest arrest of alleged Arab spies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Sharon Roffe-ofir - May 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Some 300 people rallied in Haifa Monday evening in protest of the arrest of well-known Arab figures Omar Said and Ameer Makhoul on suspicion of contacting a Hezbollah agent. Several Arab Knesset members attended the rally as well, including Balad Chairman Jamal Zahalka, Hadash Chairman Mohammad Barakeh and MK Talab El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta'al). "We won't let (Israel) turn our political activities into security offenses," said Zahalka.

NGO petitions against reopening Highway 443 to Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Dan Izenberg - May 11, 2010 - 12:00am

The Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center organization on Monday petitioned the High Court of Justice on behalf of more than 1,000 Israelis who drive on Highway 443, asking it to reject as insufficient to ensure safety the security measures the IDF intends to apply when the road is reopened to Palestinian traffic on May 29. Until such time as effective measures are in place, Palestinians should continue to be prohibited from driving on the road, Shurat Hadin attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner wrote.

'Ruling others erodes our global status'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
May 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel’s continued control over the Palestinians is eroding Israel’s global standing, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday. “We won’t give up anything connected to security, but it’s important to say that continuing to control another nation is very problematic,” he said at the Labor faction meeting. “We can reach an agreement to end this without sacrificing our security. “ Saying that ruling over the Palestinians “causes our erosion internationally,” Barak called for Israel to present a peace plan “on all diplomatic issues.”

Optimism is also an option
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) May 11, 2010 - 12:00am

I am convinced that it is possible to make real progress through proximity talks, and given the level of mutual mistrust, I even believe it is the preferred means. I am told by diplomats that I am the only optimist in the Middle East. There are certainly reasons to be pessimistic about the chances for peace, but I will not be dissuaded just because we have failed to reach peace so far. The difficulty in restarting negotiations is, of course, a result of many years of failed talks, an intifada, a war in Gaza and the election of a right-wing religious government in Israel.

Two Israeli-Arab activists held for suspected espionage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
May 10, 2010 - 12:00am

Two Israeli-Arab political activists have been arrested and accused of spying and contact with "agents from Hezbollah", Israeli police say. Omar Sayid, a member of the Israeli-Arab political party Balad was arrested on 24 April. Amir Makhoul, head of a group of Arab organisations, was arrested on 6 May. A gag order was lifted on the case on Monday, as Israeli-Arab organisations planned a protest against what they are calling political persecution.

Work toward Middle East peace by any means available
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) May 11, 2010 - 12:00am

Middle East conflict, but it is hard to say what. A breakthrough appears to be at hand, though all the parties still seem to be clinging to their traditional positions. The Arab League has given the go-ahead to indirect Palestinian-Israeli talks, and the various Palestinian leadership forums have approved the resumption of talks. Even the usually boisterous Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat has toned down his rhetoric, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has given an optimistic interview to Israel TV.

Main obstacle to peace psychological
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - May 11, 2010 - 12:00am

I admire Professor John Mearsheimer. His rigorous logic. His lucid presentation. His rare moral courage. A few days ago, he delivered an impressive lecture in Washington DC. He presented a profound analysis of the chances of Israel surviving in the long term. Every Israeli who is concerned about the future of his state should grapple with this analysis. The professor himself sums up his conclusions as follows:

How to bolster a delicate situation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) May 10, 2010 - 12:00am

George Mitchell, the US special envoy to the peace process, seems to have succeeded for a second time in getting both Palestinians and Israelis to agree to start proximity talks. The first time around, the talks were sabotaged by an Israeli decision to build 1,600 settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem during a visit by Joe Biden, the US vice-president. This time, the situation remains equally delicate.

Just plain lucky
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) May 10, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks beginning now will almost certainly end in failure. There is little room for optimism regarding these talks or any other form of peace process that brings together the political camps of PM Binyamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas.

Gold stones, glass houses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Sasha Polakow-Suransky - (Opinion) May 10, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli government has it in for Richard Goldstone. Ever since Goldstone, a Jewish South African judge, issued a report in September charging Israel (and Hamas) with war crimes during the January 2009 invasion of Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has attacked him -- and his report -- as a grave threat to Israel's legitimacy. On Thursday, leading Israeli government officials escalated their campaign against Goldstone, accusing him of sending 28 black South Africans to their deaths while serving as a judge during the apartheid years.

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