Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Pres. Mubarak urges Israel to make overtures on peace. Elliott Abrams says Mohammed Dahlan was probably not planning a coup. Occupation forces kill an innocent Palestinian man in his bed during a raid in Hebron. Palestinians say settlers uproot more olive trees. Eyad El-Sarraj wins the 2010 Palme Prize. New Israeli technology is speeding up warfare. The Greek Orthodox patriarch in Jerusalem remains behind locked doors. A flurry of international diplomacy attempts to restart peace talks. Palestinians hope to bring a resolution before the Security Council against settlements next week. Ron Gerlitz says Palestinian citizens of Israel can do much to improve their conditions. Uri Avnery says freedom of speech in Israel is under grave threat. Palestinian business interests plan to takeover a struggling Israeli real estate firm. A Hamas leader makes provocative comments on the Holocaust. The death of an unarmed Palestinian protester draws new scrutiny on Israeli military tactics. Israeli diplomacy is stalled by a bureaucratic strike. Palestinians try to cope with the costs of not working in Israeli settlements.

Egypt: A Chat About Arab-Israeli Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, told Israel on Thursday to “review its positions and policies and to adopt tangible confidence-building measures” toward the Palestinian Authority in order to allow a resumption of peace talks, an Egyptian official told reporters after talks between Mr. Mubarak and Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr. Netanyahu asked Mr. Mubarak to try to persuade the Palestinians to return to “direct, intensive and serious” negotiations, the Israeli government said in a statement. Israeli-Palestinian talks have been stalled since September. Mr.

Dahlan’s Non-Coup
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Council On Foreign Relations
by Elliott Abrams - (Blog) January 5, 2011 - 1:00am

News reports in the last two weeks have made public the turmoil inside Fatah related to Mohammed Dahlan, now alleged to have plotted to overthrow PA President Abbas. Dahlan is a Gazan who was once in charge of Fatah’s security organizations. In that capacity he visited the White House often; in my own years at the NSC, I have must have met with him in Washington or in Ramallah a dozen times. Back when Mahmoud Abbas became Palestinian prime minister in 2003, and again when he became President in 2005, Dahlan was a key figure.

Hebron man executed during Israeli raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
January 7, 2011 - 1:00am

During an arrest raid in Hebron which appeared to target Hamas men released from PA custody the day before, Israeli forces shot and killed a 66-year-old man in his bed, in what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity. Arrested in Hebron overnight were Wael Al-Bitar, Majdi E’beid, Ahmad E’wewy, Muhand Neirukh, and Wisam Al-Qawasmi , all released from PA custody the day before, following intense lobby efforts from the detainees, who had been on hunger strike for weeks. A sixth man released, Mohammad Suqieyah, returned home to Jenin and was not detained during the raid.

Olive trees uprooted; villagers say setters behind vandalism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 7, 2011 - 1:00am

More than 100 small olive trees were uprooted from outside of Qasra village in the northern West Bank, with villagers saying settlers were behind the vandalism. Palestinian official in charge of settlement watch in the north Ghassan Daghlas said villagers reported to him seeing several men wearing skullcaps who they identified as settlers, pulling out the young trees on lands belonging to one of the village residents.

Palestinian psychiatrist wins Olof Palme Prize
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
January 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian psychiatrist Eyad El-Sarraj on Tuesday won the 2010 Olof Palme Prize for his "self-sacrificing and indefatigable struggle for common sense, reconciliation, and peace" in the Middle East, the Swedish jury said. El-Sarraj, who in 1977 became the first psychiatrist to practice in Gaza, is the founder of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, a non-governmental organization focused on improving the mental well-being in the Palestinian community.

Israeli troops kill wrong man in Hamas raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Douglas Hamilton, Dan Williams - January 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli troops killed a 65-year-old Palestinian in his bedroom on Friday during a pre-dawn raid to seize a Hamas suspect who lived in the same building in what the army admitted was a mistake. The man was shot as troops swooped on houses in the occupied West Bank to re-arrest five members of the Islamist Hamas group who had been freed from Palestinian jails just the day before.

New Israeli military technology speeds up warfare
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Ben Hubbard - January 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Intense winds scraped sand from the desert floor, clouding the view and leaving the Israeli soldiers scarcely able to see each other as they practiced blasting artillery shells at distant targets. In a nearby armored vehicle, commanders armed with small screens could easily monitor every cannon, jeep and target involved, ordering strikes with the tap of a finger. Their weapon: a sophisticated communication system that compiles battlefield information in an easy-to-use, video game-like map interface, helping militaries make sense of the chaos of battle.

Ousted patriarch behind locked doors in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Josh Lederman - January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Six years ago, Irineos I was the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem with about 100,000 followers. Today, he sits behind locked doors in his Old City apartment, claiming he has been imprisoned by the successor who ousted him in a dispute over sale of church land to Israelis. The only way Irineos could speak to The Associated Press Thursday was through a wireless microphone hoisted at the end of a rope to his roof — in the same black shopping bag supporters use nightly to deliver him groceries.

Flurry of int'l diplomacy launched in bid to revive Mideast peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Gur Salomon - January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Following a long hiatus in international involvement in the stalled Mideast peace process, intense diplomatic activity was launched this week in an effort to get Israelis and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met in Egypt's resort town of Sharm el- Sheikh on Thursday to explore ways to break the current diplomatic impasse.

PA seeks UN vote next week on resolution condemning West Bank settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 7, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinians are hoping for a vote next week on a UN resolution demanding that Israel stop all settlement activities immediately and completely, a Palestinian diplomat said Thursday. The draft Security Council resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, would reaffirm that all Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.

Time to turn a page
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ron Gerlitz - (Opinion) January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

The recent wave of racist attacks against Israel's Arab citizens has brought relations between Arabs and Jews in this land to a new and disturbing low point. These attacks join repeated threats by Yisrael Beiteinu and its coalition partners to revoke the citizenship of Israeli Arabs, threats that invoke blatant racist rhetoric, and government policies that have continuously discriminated against Arabs and excluded them from positions of powers, from decision-making circles and from public life in general.

Freedom of expression in Israel is a hollow pretension
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Uri Avnery - (Opinion) January 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Jonathan Pollak is due to go to prison in another few days because of his views. The official reason for his arrest was his participation in a quiet protest by cyclists demonstrating in Tel Aviv against the Gaza blockade. The police said the demonstration slowed traffic. Not nice, to slow traffic, so off to prison with him.

'It's not politics – it's just business'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Danny Rubenstein - January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Bashar Masri is trying to to calm the panic. "I'm not interested in Israeli real estate or any Israeli company, not in Tel Aviv and not in Netanya," he stresses, "but in a residential project in Jabel Mukaber, a Palestinian neighborhood in east Jerusalem. I'm not a politician but a national Palestinian businessman who knows his work, and if my business serves my people – I feel better."

Hamas leader denies Nazi Holocaust
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

A senior Hamas leader on Thursday accused Israel of carrying out "countless holocausts" against the Palestinians while saying the Nazi genocide was a "lie." Mahmoud al-Zahar made the remarks during a memorial ceremony for 43 Palestinians who were killed at a UN school in the Jabaliya refugee camp during Israel's 22-day war on Gaza that began in December 2008.

Protest Death Spurs Scrutiny of Israeli Tactics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Danielle Cheslow - January 5, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israeli army’s alleged killing of Jawaher Abu Rahmah, the unarmed woman who reportedly died from tear gas inhalation during a protest of Israel’s West Bank separation barrier, is putting the army’s tactics at such demonstrations under greater scrutiny, along with its moral credibility. At the same time, the army is attacking the protesters’ credibility. It is challenging accounts from Abu Rahmah’s family members and other protesters, from medical personnel at the scene and from contemporaneous press and Twitter accounts all reporting on Abu Rahmah’s fatal encounter.

Israeli Diplomacy at Standstill as Foreign Ministry Staff Stage Labor Action
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Benjamin Peim, David Rosenberg - January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Everyone from the president of Russia to Filipino guest workers and new immigrants is being blocked from entering Israel as a work slowdown by the country’s diplomatic corps enters its 11th day. Foreign Ministry employees have stopped arranging official visits and processing visas for immigrants and foreign workers, and have stopped working with other branches of the government, said Amir Sagie, a member of the union’s negotiating team. The diplomats are coming to their offices and embassies, but they have shed their suits and ties for jeans and sneakers, he said.

Palestinians count cost of settlement work ban
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - January 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Although they regard Israel's settlements as a threat, tens of thousands of Palestinians such as Mohammed Ali, 26, a labourer, fear their families would starve without them. Every morning he and dozens of other informal workers huddle near the entrance of Ma'ale Adumim, one of the largest of roughly 120 rapidly expanding settlements in the West Bank. The men wait for offers to paint Jewish houses or manicure gardens. The odd jobs can pay quadruple what they would earn in nearby Palestinian communities - that is, if they can find any work there at all.

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