Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Limited construction materials enter Gaza. A Gaza man says Hamas tortured him for allegedly having affairs. Palestinian officials say Gaza's banking system is sound in spite of the closure of the Arab Bank branches. Israeli officials vow to keep up settlement activity and demolish Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem, but DM Barak warns against such "provocations" and Ha'aretz calls them "dangerous incitement." The PA accuses Israel of sabotaging peace talks. The US pledges $500 million in aid to the PA. US officials express concern about settler violence. Alan Dershowitz says Salam Fayyad is a real partner for peace. Jewish Jerusalem residents criticize Elie Wiesel's statement on the city. The GAO says Israeli restrictions, Palestinian limitations are hampering the development of new security forces. High school students object to an exam question identifying Edward Said as a Palestinian. The National highlights the difficulties of Palestinian life in Jerusalem. Elias Harfoush is not optimistic about new negotiations. George Hishmeh says Israel should be accountable to the US. Sasha Polakow-Suransky says Jewish critics of Judge Goldstone are ignoring the history of Israeli-South African relations.

Limited construction goods to enter Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Two of the Israel/Gaza terminals will open on Thursday, what will likely be the final day of crossings operations for the week, Palestinian liaison officials were informed early the same morning. Crossings officer Raed Fattouh said he was told to expect approximately 130 truckloads of goods, including 5 truckloads of plastic pipes for the coastal waters, one truckload of goods for the power authority, one truckload of cement for aid agencies and 2 truckloads of iron girders and gravels.

Gazan man says Hamas beat him for alleged affairs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Diaa Hadid - May 12, 2010 - 12:00am

A Gaza art gallery owner said Wednesday that Hamas police repeatedly beat and abused him over allegations that he had had sexual relations with women who are not his wife, which is forbidden by Islamic law. Gaza human rights activists say the rare admission by Jamal Abu Qumsan, who is unmarried, is the clearest evidence yet of a quiet but persistent Hamas morals crackdown in Gaza, as part of an attempt to implement strict Islamic law.

Regulator says Gaza banking OK despite closures
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Karin Laub - May 12, 2010 - 12:00am

The top Palestinian financial regulator sought to assure an anxious public Wednesday that the Gaza Strip is not facing a banking crisis after the Palestinian territories' largest lender closed two of its three Gaza branches last week. The decision by the Jordan-based Arab Bank to shutter the shops set off jitters among its Gaza customers. On Wednesday, dozens of clients lined up at the bank's sole remaining branch in Gaza City, some of them in order to close their accounts.

Israelis: No halt to east Jerusalem construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Amy Teibel - May 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hawkish coalition partners vowed Thursday to keep building Jewish settlements and demolishing unauthorized Palestinian homes in contested east Jerusalem — despite indications the Israeli leader has put the brakes on both. The United States opposes both at this delicate time, when indirect talks between Israelis and Palestinians have just begun. The remarks by Netanyahu's partners show the thin tightrope he has to walk in trying to address the conflicting demands of his political allies at home and Israel's strongest ally abroad.

PNA accuses Israel of putting obstacles before Mideast peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 13, 2010 - 12:00am

A senior Palestinian official on Wednesday accused Israel for putting new obstacles before the Middle East peace process, saying that Israel is not serious in resuming peace talks. Nabil Abu Rdeina, spokesman of the Palestinian president, slammed the earlier statement of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he said that Israel will go on with settlement activities in East Jerusalem.

Arab homes in East Jerusalem to be demolished: Israeli minister
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 13, 2010 - 12:00am

"Illegally built" Arab homes in East Jerusalem will be razed "in the coming days," Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Wednesday. Aharonovitch revealed the plan in response to an inquiry by a Likud legislator during a plenary session of the Knesset, or Israeli parliament.

U.S. pledges 500-million-dollar aid to PNA for the year 2010
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 13, 2010 - 12:00am

The Ministry of Planning of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) announced on Wednesday that the United States will provide the PNA 500 million U.S. dollars as a support for the year 2010. In a statement published by the state-run news agency Wafa, the ministry said it had concluded bilateral talks over executing developing programs in the Palestinian territories with Daniel Rubinstein, representative of the U.S. government, and Howard Somka, chief of USAID.

Barak: Ministers' provocations over Jerusalem harming Israel's interests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
May 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday lambasted several cabinet ministers whose "provocative" comments he said were harming Israel's relations with the United States amid efforts to get the peace process going through indirect proximity talks with the Palestinians. "I recommend everyone, both we and the Palestinians, avoid rash and provocative statements," said Barak, responding to a slew of comments made by ministers over the last few days regarding the contentious issue of construction in Jerusalem.

Incitement Day in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) May 13, 2010 - 12:00am

For a long time now, Jerusalem Day has served as an excuse for the far right to excoriate Arab residents of the city's eastern part and violently demonstrate their presence in their neighborhoods. But this year, the baton of incitement has passed from the delusional fringes to the very heart of the political arena - the government.

US raises issue of settler violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - May 13, 2010 - 12:00am

A senior US official expressed concern on Wednesday with the violence of some settlers, and – alluding to the recent burning of a West Bank mosque attributed to settlers – said the US would like to see better results in Israeli law enforcement and prevention of these types of activities.

'Fayyad is a partner for peace'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Horovitz - May 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor who has become one of Israel’s most committed and articulate advocates, on Wednesday emphatically hailed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as a potential partner for peace, calling him “the best that Israel has, and probably the best that Israel has ever had.” Speaking to The Jerusalem Post immediately after a 90-minute meeting with Fayyad in Ramallah, their first meeting, Dershowitz said Fayyad “genuinely would like to bring peace and a two-state solution, based on his conception of what a two-state solution would look like.”

Jerusalem residents attack writer Elie Wiesel over appeal to Barack Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Chris McGreal - May 12, 2010 - 12:00am

An extraordinary row has broken out between Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor, author and Nobel peace prize winner, and a group of Jewish residents of Jerusalem over who speaks for the future of the disputed city.

GAO faults Israel for limits on Palestinian security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
May 13, 2010 - 12:00am

The U.S. congressional auditor says Israeli restrictions and Palestinian limitations are hampering the effectiveness of an American-led mission to train Palestinian security forces. The General Accounting Office published a report on the $392 million that the U.S. State Department has spent to train and equip Palestinian Authority security forces.

High School Students Object to AP Test’s Use of a Quote by Edward Said
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Debra Nussbaum Cohen - May 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Nearly 2 million high school students worldwide are taking Advanced Placement tests this May, hoping to impress college admissions counselors with high scores and, perhaps, earn a few college credits. But one test question citing the late Palestinian-American scholar and activist Edward Said on the theme of exile is prompting protests from some Jewish students.

‘Neglect and poverty’ – life as a Palestinian in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - May 13, 2010 - 12:00am

Deep inside the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, Adla Jabber shares three rooms with 12 relatives. The 59-year-old widow needs a car, she jokes, to get to her kitchen, a sparse stonewalled room that doubles as a bathroom. It is outside, 20 metres down a narrow alley. The stove, a rusty two-ring gas heater, hides under a stone arch in the alley, barely sheltered from the elements.

Negotiations for the Negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Elias Harfoush - (Opinion) May 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with American mediation, are beginning with each side in the equation distant from the other when it comes to the actual goal they seek. It is ironic that none of these sides believes that these negotiations can lead to a state of peace in the Middle East, for which they all publicly claim to strive.

Israel has broken another promise
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) May 13, 2010 - 12:00am

As Palestinians and Israelis take their first steps in resuming much-delayed peace negotiations, there is strong evidence emerging that the hawkish government of Benjamin Netanyahu is about to break its promise to hold off on its illegal expansionist plans in the Occupied Territories.

Hypocrisy Now!: The Pro-Israel Crowd's Sins of Omission
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Sasha Polakow-Suransky - (Opinion) May 12, 2010 - 12:00am

I have always admired Jeffrey Goldberg and Jonathan Chait for their generally thoughtful commentary on the Middle East and their refusal to follow in the footsteps of more knee-jerk pro-Israel commentators. Until now. On Friday and over the weekend, Goldberg and Chait responded to a Yediot Ahronoth story claiming to have unearthed evidence of Richard Goldstone's past as an apartheid-era judge, digesting it almost completely uncritically.

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