Middle East News: World Press Roundup

An Israeli soldier is released after murdering an unarmed Palestinian man in his bed In Hebron by mistake, while attempting to murder a Hamas operative neighbor. Israeli human rights groups claim they are being persecuted by new laws. Israel drops an investigation into the shooting of a Palestinian motorist. Palestinians, with the help of the Arab states, prepare to submit a Security Council resolution on settlements and hope the US will not veto it. Gaza extremists fire at Israeli civilians. The PLO hoists the Palestinian flag at the mission in Washington DC for the first time. Gaza children risk their lives searching for scrap in no man’s lands. Palestinians seek more Arab support on Jerusalem. Leaked cables suggest the US sought more intelligence on Israeli and Palestinian officials. Israel insists a Palestinian protester died from medical malpractice, not teargas inhalation. Israel establishes a homeland security ministry. Israeli teens protest against growing racism. At least half of the pledged aid to Palestine in 2010 was not delivered. The PA promises to stop court-martialing civilians. Israeli tanks attack northern Gaza. Naomi Shepherd says Israel needs a real opposition parties. Israel investigates Arab funding of left-wing Israeli NGOs. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid says Arab leaders have forgotten the concept of stepping down from power. Jonathan Power says the settler movement is out of control.

Israeli Soldier Discharged Over Killing of Unarmed Palestinian
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israeli military announced Wednesday night that a soldier’s military career had been terminated after the fatal shooting of an unarmed 65-year-old Palestinian man in his bed during an arrest last week in the West Bank city of Hebron. Soldiers apparently mistook the man, Omar al-Qawasmeh, for a Hamas militant whom they had come to arrest, and who lived in an apartment in the same building.

Israeli army to discharge soldier in mistaken killing of Palestinian
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israeli army said Wednesday that it will discharge a soldier for fatally shooting a 66-year-old Palestinian man in his bed in the West Bank city of Hebron during an early-morning roundup of Hamas militants on Jan 7. The man, Omar al-Qawasmeh, was killed by special forces troops who apparently mistook him for a militant who lived in the same building. Qawasmeh's wife said he had been sleeping and she was praying when soldiers came to their bedroom and immediately opened fire.

Israeli human rights groups sound alarm over parliamentary panel on funding
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

An initiative in the Israeli parliament this month to investigate the funding of local human rights organizations has intensified debate here about the role of the groups, which rightist critics have accused of harming Israel. Human rights advocates say they are working in an increasingly hostile public climate - particularly since the Gaza war two years ago, which brought allegations of Israeli war crimes - and they warn that free speech and the right to dissent are being challenged.

Israel drops investigation into police shooting of Palestinian
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli officials said Tuesday they were dropping a criminal probe of an Israeli border policeman who shot to death a Palestinian motorist after the man sideswiped a foot patrol of soldiers and then tried to escape when they opened fire. Justice Ministry officials described the incident as a "lethal and rapid chain of events that ended tragically with a man's death," but said in a statement that there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges.

Palestine hopeful US won't use veto
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

Member of the Palestinian negotiating committee Nabil Shaath told a French delegation Tuesday that he believed the US would have a hard time using their veto on a draft resolution submitted to the UN over Israeli settlement building. US officials, however, the same day warned at the United Nations that putting the resolution to a Security Council vote would "complicate" peace efforts. While the US has still not said though whether it would veto the measure, Israeli media has said indications are that the resolution will be quashed.

Brigades claim fire on Israeli civilians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

A statement from the Gaza militant group the Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades said Wednesday that fighters targeted a civilian Israeli vehicle traveling on the main road near the border and fired. The brigades, affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said the attack was against "three settler cars" near Kissufim, an Israeli military base north of Khan Younis, and that militants "opened fire directly" on the vehicles. The statement said the attack took place in the afternoon, and that injuries had been sustained by the cars' passengers.

Palestinians hoist flag in Washington for first time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington on Tuesday hoisted its national flag for the first time, a highly symbolic gesture that drew an angry response from a senior US lawmaker. The US State Department, enmeshed in an uphill struggle to revive stalled Middle East peace talks, said that the ceremony was approved several months ago and did not change the status of the Palestinian representation in Washington.

In search of scrap, Gaza children risk lives in border zone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Katie Nguyen - January 18, 2011 - 1:00am

Children in Gaza risk regular gunfire from Israeli troops while looking for construction material in destroyed buildings close to the blockaded enclave's border with Israel, Save the Children said on Tuesday. Citing a report by a UNICEF-led group on children caught up in conflict, it said 26 children were shot by Israeli soldiers near the border last year, including 16 outside the buffer zone which extends 300 metres (yards) from the border security wall and fence.

Palestinian faults Arabs over Jerusalem support
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

Arab states are failing to help the Palestinians in Jerusalem, a Palestinian official said on Wednesday, criticising them for paying only a fraction of funds pledged to sustain Palestinian life there. Foreign Minister Riad Malki's comments reflected the Palestinians' frustration over the Arab failure to support them in the face of what they see as an Israeli campaign to "Judaize" Jerusalem, the city at the heart of the Middle East conflict.

US push for Israeli,Palestinian intelligence-Leaks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Dan Williams - January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

The United States instructed its Middle East diplomats in 2008 to gather data on encrypted Israeli communications and build financial and "biometric" profiles of Palestinian leaders, a leaked embassy cable shows. The secret memorandum, signed by then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and published by Wikileaks, suggests the Bush administration fretted about lacking intelligence despite warm ties to Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA).

Media: Palestinian died from medicine, not gas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Mark Lavie - January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel's military contends that a woman who died after a Palestinian protest was the victim of a medical error and was not killed by tear gas, Israeli media reported late Thursday. A Palestinian group disagreed. The Israeli reports said that according to Palestinian medical records, the woman was mistakenly given a dose of medicine 10 times the accepted amount, causing her death. The woman, Jawaher Abu Rahmeh, 36, took part in a weekly demonstration against Israel's West Bank separation barrier on Dec. 31, when soldiers fired tear gas to control the crowd. She died the next day.

Israel establishes homeland security ministry
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday that the newly-formed Knesset Independence faction member Matan Vilna'i will head a newly- established homeland security ministry. Vilna'i will also continue in his current role as deputy defense minister. "No one is more fit than Vilna'i for this post because he has so much experience dealing with this subject," Netanyahu told the assembled ministers and reporters. "The idea is to upgrade protection of the Home Front" in case of attack, Prime Minister Office Spokesman Mark Regev told Xinhua of the step.

IDF discharges soldier involved in Hamas raid which left Palestinian civilian dead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israel Defense Forces said on Wednesday that they have discharged a soldier who was involved in a raid on a West Bank Hamas cell, during which an elderly Palestinian civilian was killed. The IDF raided Hebron earlier this month in order to re-arrest five Hamas members that the Palestinian Authority had released only the day before.

Teens protest against racism in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yair Altman - January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

Hundreds of members of the left-wing HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed (Working and Studying Youth) movement protested in downtown Jerusalem Wednesday evening against the growing racism in Israel. The rally was organized by 11th and 12th graders who recently returned from a trip to Poland. "As teenagers who love this country we fear the racism that is seeping into people's hearts and the indifference displayed by the public and its leaders," youth movement member Tal Kedmi said. "We've decided not to stand by and watch as darkness threatens to take over," she said.

UN met only 52% of target for Palestinian aid in 2010
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - January 20, 2011 - 1:00am

First time such large gap exists between initial aid request, amount of money donated since UN began humanitarian appeal to member states, international organizations in 2003. The UN was only able to fund 52 percent of the humanitarian aid it wanted to provide to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in 2010, according to statistics it released on Wednesday at a press conference in Jerusalem.

PA to Stop Court-Martialing Civilians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Miller - January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian human rights organization have saluted a decision by the Palestinian Authority to halt political arrests in the West Bank, but expressed concern security forces would continue their crackdown on opponents on criminal grounds.

Israeli tanks take part in deadly Gaza Strip raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
January 18, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli tanks have entered the northern Gaza Strip, sparking fighting that killed one Palestinian and injured two. AFP news agency reported that seven tanks had made a limited incursion 200m into Palestinian territory on Tuesday, sparking a shootout with militants. Other reports suggested armoured vehicles and bulldozers were involved. Hamas emergency services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said Amjad al-Zaanein, 23, had been killed by Israeli tank fire east of Beit Hanoun.

Israel needs a coherent opposition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Naomi Shepherd - (Opinion) January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

This week Ehud Barak, defence minister of the most rightwing government in Israel's history, abandoned the Labour party to form a new centrist faction, which remains in the coalition with four ministerial portfolios. In the immediate future, this could strengthen Binyamin Netanyahu's government. But with Labour out of the government, there is now a clear alignment of left and centre parties: a much-needed opposition. The coalition may look more uniform without Labour, but it barely holds together:

Does Arab Money Fund Left-wing Israeli NGOs?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

In the context of Israeli politics, it is the most incendiary charge made thus far against human rights groups and other left-wing nongovernmental organizations: that some of the money that funds their work comes from Arabs — or even from terrorists. As the Knesset steams ahead with plans to probe the country’s human rights groups, critics of the NGOs are now seeking to advance this charge with a study that purports to supply supporting data.

The lost art of stepping down
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed - (Opinion) January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

Former Arab leaders who can peacefully walk the streets of the country they once ruled are something of a rarity. In fact, there are very few former Arab leaders around today. Everyone highlights the example of [Abdel Rahman] Swar al-Dahab, who ruled Sudan for less than one year [1985-86], before voluntarily handing power over to his successor, and returning to his normal life. It is true that al-Dahab is an exception to my earlier statement, but we should not also forget that he came to power via a military coup.

Is Israel the only possible homeland for Jews?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Jonathan Power - (Opinion) January 19, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel allows its settler movement to go on and on claiming more of the West Bank. Is there nothing that can be done? The might of America, combined with the influence of the European Union and the Arab world, have not been able to halt the territorial growth of Israel.

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