Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel begins to demolish the famous Shepherd Hotel in occupied East Jerusalem to make room for a new settlement. Sec. Clinton, the EU and other international leaders condemn the action, and the PA says it is destroying chances for peace. Palestinian-American business interests are trying to take over an Israeli real estate company. Israel bombs Gaza, with no injuries. Hamas urges militants in Gaza to stop attacking Israel. Israeli officials will travel to Washington for talks. Palestinians may ask for UN recognition. Israeli academics call for boycotting settlement universities. Hamas denies its leaders meet with Israeli officials. Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu's policies are creating a Palestinian state. The EU says East Jerusalem should be regarded as the Palestinian capital. A Knesset committee approves a draft bill to revoke citizenship from those accused of terror or espionage. Occupation forces kill a Palestinian man at a checkpoint. The BBC looks at the plight of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Tony Karon says the death of Palestinian protesters has reawakened the Israeli left. Ian Buruma says Israel is acquiring inappropriate friends on the European extreme right.

Israeli Demolition Begins in East Jerusalem Project
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - January 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli bulldozers demolished part of a landmark building in a predominantly Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Sunday to make way for a Jewish housing project, prompting condemnation from Palestinian officials and symbolic claims to the site from both sides. Plans for development at the landmark, the Shepherd Hotel, have been in the works since the 1980s. But Jerusalem officials did not give the final go-ahead for the project until March, at the height of tensions between Israel and the Obama administration over construction in contested East Jerusalem.

Palestinian-American fights to buy Jerusalem housing project
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

A wealthy Palestinian-American businessman is fighting to take over a troubled real estate firm that builds Jewish-only housing units in Arab-dominated East Jerusalem, but right-wing Jewish groups have vowed to kill the deal. Bashar Masri, a West Bank native who holds American citizenship, has offered to buy debt-burdened Digal Investment and Holdings Ltd., which has been building the 400-unit Nof Zion housing project overlooking the Old City.

WEST BANK: Fall of Jerusalem hotel brings down hopes for revival of peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - (Blog) January 9, 2011 - 1:00am

As the Israeli bulldozers began to demolish Shepherd Hotel in the Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Sunday in order to build a new Jewish settlement in its place, Palestinians warned that not only the hotel has fallen, but also the entire peace process and U.S. efforts to revive it. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, strongly reacted to the hotel demolition. Its fall, he said, “has brought down with it all U.S. efforts (to revive the peace process) and ended any possibility to return to negotiations.”

Airstrikes hit two sites in Gaza, none injured
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Blog) January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Shortly before midnight on Sunday night Israeli warplanes launched three missile strikes at areas said to be training grounds for Hamas’ military wing the Al-Qassam Brigades. The strikes, which caused no injuries according to medics in Gaza, hit east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, and in the northern Strip near Gaza City. The first hit landed in the south at 11:40 p.m. A second hit in the same area fell approximately 30 minutes later, and a third hit targeted an open area west of Gaza City shortly after 1a.m.

PA: Israel demolishing chance for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Hossam Ezzedine - January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian officials on Sunday slammed Israel's demolition of an East Jerusalem hotel to make way for settler homes, accusing Israel of destroying any chance of peace. Palestinians reacted furiously to the demolition of part of the Shepherd Hotel, which sits on a piece of land in occupied East Jerusalem where developers plan to build a complex of 20 luxury apartments for Jewish settlers. "By doing this, Israel has destroyed all the US efforts and ended any possibility of a return to negotiations," Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement.

Clinton 'concerned' about Jerusalem demolition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Blog) January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the Sunday demolition of a Palestinian hotel in Jerusalem a "disturbing development undermines peace efforts to achieve the two state-solution." In a statement issued the evening following the demolition, Clinton said the demolition of The Shepherd Hotel by Israeli settlement builder Irving Moskowitz "contradicts the logic of a reasonable and necessary agreement between the parties on the status of Jerusalem."

Hamas urges militant groups to stop attacking Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal al-Mughrabi - (Blog) January 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas said on Sunday it has begun talks with other militant factions in the Gaza Strip to urge them to stop firing rockets at Israel, attacks that have raised Palestinian fears of a new Israeli offensive. The talks are a signal that Hamas hopes to avert any large-scale Israeli military operation in the enclave similar to a three-week campaign that ended in January 2009 and in which 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.

Israel envoy to discuss reviving peace talks in U.S.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ori Lewis - (Blog) January 8, 2011 - 1:00am

An envoy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Washington next week to discuss ways to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, a statement from Netanyahu's office said on Saturday. "(Netanyahu's representative) Yitzhak Molcho and a Palestinian representative will travel to Washington next week with the aim of advancing the diplomatic process," the statement said. When asked, a spokesman for Netanyahu declined to comment whether Molcho would meet his Palestinian counterpart.

Clinton slams Israeli demolition of historic hotel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Matthew Lee - January 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is strongly criticizing Israel for the demolition of a vacant but historic hotel in an Arab neighborhood of east Jerusalem, saying that the move undermines U.S. efforts to restart stalled peace talks.

Israeli academics' petition calls for boycotting university in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Over 150 senior Israeli university lecturers and researchers have signed a petition calling for an academic boycott of the Ariel University Center, located in the largest Israeli town in the central West Bank. The petition, initiated by Nir Gov with the Weizmann Institute, stated that the college was built on occupied land "only a few kilometers away from Palestinians living in villages and refugee camps under unbearably harsh conditions and without basic human rights," local daily Ha'aretz reported.

Hamas leader does not meet Israeli personalities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Prime Minister of the deposed Hamas government in Gaza Ismail Haneya does not meet Israeli personalities, an aide to Haneya said Sunday. "Initially, Haneya rejects to see any Israeli persons seeking to meet him," said Yousef Rizka, the advisor of Haneya who leads the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. Thus, Haneya is unlikely to meet Israeli activists who plan to visit Gaza to urge him to help release Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was captured by the Hamas in 2006, according to Rizka.

Netanyahu will deliver a Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

What do you want from Benjamin Netanyahu? For the first time, the prime minister promised last July that he wants to forge an agreement within a year with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Since that day, the Israeli right wing has simmered with consternation. Virtually not a day passes without its leaders contributing another brick to the building of Palestine.

EU diplomats say East Jerusalem should be treated as Palestinian capital
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

East Jerusalem should be treated as the capital of the Palestinian state, according to a report compiled by the heads of European diplomatic missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah. The report includes several other unprecedented recommendations to the European Union regarding its attitude toward East Jerusalem. The European diplomats, mainly consuls, also recommend that EU officials and politicians refuse to visit Israeli government offices that are located beyond the Green Line and that they decline any Israeli security in the Old City and elsewhere in East Jerusalem.

Knesset committee okays Citizenship Law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The Knesset's Internal Affairs Committee on Monday approved a bill allowing citizenship to be revoked from Israelis convicted of terror or espionage crimes. The bill will be brought to the Knesset plenum for its first reading. The Shin Bet, which had previously supported the motion, announced during the discussion that they had reversed their opinion on the matter. A stormy verbal confrontation broke out during the meeting between the initiator of the bill, Knesset Member David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu), and Balad Chairman MK Jamal Zahalka.

EU diplomats step up opposition to east Jerusalem building
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The European Union stepped up its opposition to Jewish building in east Jerusalem on Monday. In an internal document sent to 25 EU Consuls General in Jerusalem, the EU said: "Israel has left Palestinian neighbourhoods ever more isolated" and "by legal and practical means, is actively pursuing its [illegal] annexation by systematically undermining the Palestinian presence in the city," London-based The Independent reported.

Israeli troops kill Palestinian at West Bank checkpoint
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
January 8, 2011 - 1:00am

The man leapt from a taxi and ran towards the checkpoint east of Nablus carrying a pipe bomb, ignoring orders to stop, a spokesman said. Troops later found a second explosive device on his body. Palestinian security officials said the man was a member of the militant group Islamic Jihad in the town of Jenin. Last Sunday another Palestinian man was shot dead at the same checkpoint. Israeli officials said he had tried to attack troops with a bottle after they refused to let him through.

Palestinian plight in northern Lebanon refugee camps
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Wyre Davies - January 8, 2011 - 1:00am

It is sometimes controversially said that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live in worse conditions than those during the Israeli occupation in Gaza. There is no better place to witness and document the plight of Lebanon's refugees than Nahr al-Bared. It was such conditions that contributed to the destruction of the refugee camp, in 2007, as troops from the Lebanese army fought with Islamist militants. In May of that year, fierce fighting erupted here - a sprawling Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli in northern Lebanon.

Israeli left reawakens after death of Palestinian protestors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Tony Karon - January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The security forces had set up roadblocks to stop us from reaching the black township to attend a funeral for one of the thousands they had killed to protect our "security". So we had to take backroads and cross open ground. Some were intercepted and turned back, but hundreds of us white activists still made it in, to stand side by side with a mourning community rededicating itself to the fight for justice - and to make clear to them, and to our own communities, that we would resist the crimes committed in our name.

Israel's wrong friends
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Ian Buruma - January 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel has been welcoming some rather peculiar visitors of late. The Dutch populist, Geert Wilders, is a frequent caller, telling sympathetic audiences that Israel is on the front line of the Western war against Islam. And, in December, a delegation of European far-right politicians toured Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank, pleasing their hosts by reassuring them that this was “Jewish land”.

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