Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Hamas tries to stop other militant groups from attacking Israel from Gaza. Jackson Diehl says the Middle East is poised on the brink of war. Guyana becomes the seventh South American state to recognize Palestine in recent weeks, and speculation grows about other regions following suit. Special Envoy Mitchell meets with Israeli and Palestinian officials. Hamas leaders deny that their policies are misogynistic. The Karni Crossing to Gaza is again closed. PM Erdogan says Israel must replace FM Lieberman. Fatah warns Hamas against increasing tensions in the West Bank. PM Netanyahu promises unauthorized settlement outpost homes of slain Israeli soldiers will not be demolished. The Israeli military is confiscating settlers' weapons. Pres. Obama is reportedly forming a Middle East task force. Conspiracy theories about Mossad proliferate in the Arab world. Israel demolishes homes and classrooms in the West Bank. Israeli firms involved in the first planned Palestinian city in the West Bank pledge not to use settlement products. Elliot Jager says Hamas-Fatah reconciliation is unlikely. Ziad Asali and Hussein Ibish say Arabs need to end hypocrisy in confronting terrorism. Michael Felsen says time is running out for a two-state solution.

Gaza: Hamas Tries to Curb Rocket Attacks on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
January 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas deployed forces near the Israeli border on Thursday to try to prevent smaller militant groups from firing rockets, a sign that the movement may be concerned about possible Israeli retaliation. Hamas, the militant Islamist movement that governs Gaza, met with representatives of the groups late Wednesday and told them to hold their fire. The Israeli military says at least 25 rockets and mortar shells have exploded in southern Israel this month, wounding several Israelis.

Mideast threats that can't be ignored
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Jackson Diehl - (Opinion) January 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Barack Obama has been fortunate in the Middle East so far. Yes, his attempt to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been a high-profile failure. But Israel, the Palestinians and the region as a whole have enjoyed a remarkable stretch of relative tranquility and stability during the past two years.

White House seeks new ideas about Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen - January 13, 2011 - 1:00am

With U.S. Middle East peace efforts at an impasse, the Obama administration has sought new ideas from outside experts on how to advance the peace process. One task force has been convened by Sandy Berger and Stephen Hadley, former national security advisers to Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, respectively, to offer recommendations on the Middle East peace process to the National Security Council.

Report: Guyana recognizes Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Guyana became the 10th nation to recognize a Palestinian state on Thursday, joining Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador who all pronounced their support over the past two months. Two other South American nations, Paraguay and Uruguay said recognition would come in 2011, while recognition from Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Cuba came during the 1980s. Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth made the latest announcement on Friday, saying the move comes as a "push for Palestinians and Israelis to negotiate a peace deal."

US meets with Israeli, Palestinian negotiators
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 14, 2011 - 1:00am

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell met separately on Thursday with Israeli and Palestinian envoys as part of Washington's bid to revive peace negotiations, the State Department said. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Mitchell met first with Palestinian envoy Saeb Erakat and then with Israel's Yitzhak Molcho. Direct talks began on September 2, but stalled three weeks later with the end of an Israeli moratorium on settlement building. The Palestinians refuse to talk while Israel continues building.

Hamas and women: Clearing misconceptions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Ahmed Yousef - (Opinion) January 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Women in every society have a different perception of their respective roles, which are generally molded by social and cultural norms. Evidently in many parts of the world, these social and cultural norms have restricted women of their due rights.

Closing Karni crossing will 'only tighten siege'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Editorial) January 14, 2011 - 1:00am

After denying reports that the Karni crossing would close at the end of January, Israeli security officials told The Jerusalem Post that the military intends to close terminal. On Thursday, when Gaza officials learned of the intended closure, spokeswoman for Israel's Coordination and Liaison Administration for the Gaza Strip Lieutenant Nili Aharon told Ma'an she was not aware of any planned changes in the crossings schedule. She said proper notification would be given if such an change were to occur.

Hamas deploys forces to stop Gaza rocket fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak - January 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Gaza's Hamas rulers deployed forces near the Israeli border Thursday to try to prevent smaller militant groups from firing rockets, a sign that the movement fears Israeli retaliation for the escalating barrages from the Palestinian territory. Hamas leaders called together representatives of militant groups in the seaside strip and told them to hold their fire, according to a meeting participant, before Hamas sent its forces to the border area.

Turkish PM: Israel must remove foreign minister
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Hadeel Al-Shalchi - (Opinion) January 13, 2011 - 1:00am

The prime minister of Turkey, whose ties with Israel have been badly strained over the past year, has called on the Jewish state to remove its hawkish foreign minister who he says poses an obstacle to Middle East peace. Avigdor Lieberman is a polarizing figure in Israel and outside, with his outspoken skepticism about peace with the Palestinians and his questioning of the loyalty of Israel's Arab minority.

Fatah warns Hamas against increasing tension in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party on Thursday warned Hamas movement against increasing internal tension in the West Bank. "Fatah is engaged in a political fighting against Israel and hopes that nobody would change the direction of the fight in the West Bank," said Mahmoud al-Aloul, a member of Fatah Central Committee, referring to Palestinian diplomatic moves to secure more global support against the Israeli occupation. "It should be clear that we will not let anybody threaten our unity and support in the West Bank," al-Aloul said.

Guyana becomes 7th South American state to recognize Palestinian independence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Following Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile, Guyana has become the seventh South American nation to recognize an independent Palestinian state, Al Jazeera reported on Thursday. In a statement by the country's Foreign Ministry, Guyana's said it hoped "that the increasing recognition of the state of Palestine will contribute to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the creation of lasting peace and stability in the region."

Netanyahu forbids demolition of illegal West Bank homes of slain IDF soldiers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - January 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday he would not allow the illegally built homes of two Israeli soldiers killed in action to be demolished. Both houses were built on illegal outposts in the West Bank, one on private Palestinian land. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that unless a legal solution is found, the state will have to tear down the houses of the two soldiers, Eliraz Peretz and Roi Klein.

IDF collecting settlers' weapons
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Akiva Novick - January 14, 2011 - 1:00am

The Judea and Samaria Division has decided to collect hundreds of weapons handed to West Bank settlers by the army in light of the relative calm in the territories in recent years, infuriating settlement leaders. At the start of the al-Aqsa Intifada, more than a decade ago, the settlers received weapons from the army to help defend their communities. The recent improvement in the security-related situation in the West Bank, alongside a significant increase in weapon thefts in the settlements, has led to a decision to reduce the amount of military weapons available to settlers.

Obama forming Mideast 'task force'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - January 14, 2011 - 1:00am

As chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's emissary Yitzhak Molcho continue their separate talks in Washington with US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell, the Obama administration is looking for new ideas to jumpstart the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The POLITICO website reported Thursday that the Obama administration is seeking new ideas from diplomats and former administration officials familiar with the Mideast conflict and on how to advance the peace process.

It’s a Bird, It’s a Shark, It’s a Mossad Spy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Michael Grubb - (Opinion) January 11, 2011 - 1:00am

The “spy” vulture – a raptor Saudis captured and accused of collecting intelligence for Israel – was finally freed on Monday after six days in captivity. Prince Bandar bin Saud Al Saud, the head of Saudi Arabia’s wildlife agency, confirmed the global positioning technology found on the bird was being used by scientists to track its movements.

Israel demolishes homes and classroom in West Bank village
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - January 14, 2011 - 1:00am

In a bleak but beautiful landscape of undulating stony hills I watched a group of Palestinian schoolchildren take their lessons yesterday in the open air next to a heap of rubble that, until this week, was their classroom. This is the village of Dkaika, about as far south in the West Bank as you can get. It's a community of around 300 people, without electricity or running water, whose days are spent tending their herds of goats and sheep and trying not to attract the attention of nearby Jewish settlers.

Israeli firms on Palestinian building project sign anti-settlement clause
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - January 13, 2011 - 1:00am

A dozen Israeli companies working on a Palestinian construction project have signed contracts stipulating they must not use Israeli products originating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights. The move has sparked calls from Jewish settler groups and their supporters for a counter-boycott. The lucrative contracts are conditional on the firms agreeing to eschew "products of the territories" in line with the Palestinian Authority's boycott of goods and services from settlements.

Will Asia, Africa Follow Latin America on Palestine?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Thalif Deen - January 13, 2011 - 1:00am

"It is a decision to be made by individual countries in their respective capitals," says one U.N. diplomat, who also ruled out any chances of a collective decision by regional or other power blocs such as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) or African Union (AU). But still, the Latin American initiative is expected to pick up steam within the region as other countries join the growing list. The move was led by outgoing Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva when he made the announcement to formally recognise Palestine back on Dec. 3.

The Hamas-Fatah Two-Step
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Ideas Daily
by Elliot Jager - (Opinion) January 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Disturbed by the diplomatic deadlock over negotiations with the Palestinians, many Westerners, and some Israelis themselves, have focused on the need to accommodate the demands of Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA). For, they suggest, the alternative would be much worse: namely, being forced to deal with the chronic and openly violent rejectionism of Hamas, the terrorist movement that controls the Gaza Strip.

Arabs must end the ambiguity and hypocrisy when facing terrorism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Ziad Asali - (Opinion) January 14, 2011 - 1:00am

The recent bomb attacks against Christian communities in Egypt and Iraq have been roundly condemned by most political and religious leaders, commentators and public opinion in the Arab world. They have also been met with an outpouring of passionate condemnation by ordinary people who have taken to the streets to express anger and demand justice. People have sensed the danger to their whole society inherent in such atrocities.

Clock ticking for Israel and Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Michael Felsen - (Opinion) January 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Since then, US efforts to restart the talks, including a generous package of sweeteners to induce a further Israeli settlement-building moratorium, have failed. The Palestinian leadership has consistently argued that it cannot negotiate while settlement construction continues in areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem that will likely be part of a future Palestinian state. Meanwhile, settlement construction proceeds apace. Hence, despite last summer's hopeful beginnings, movement in the direction of peace has come to a screeching halt.

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