Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Time examines PA concerns about events in Egypt. Aaron David Miller looks at Israeli anxieties. Palestinians rally in Ramallah, but PA security forces are accused of suppressing demonstrations. Pres. Abbas meets with Jordan's King Abdullah. Contractors say the PA owes them money. The UK says a peace agreement is essential to curbing Iranian influence. A former Israeli official says talks with Syria in 2008 were very close. Palestinians welcome the Quartet's role. A Hamas militant escapes prison in Egypt and returns to Gaza. Israeli authorities in occupied East Jerusalem go forward with plans that will lead to more Palestinian evictions. Pres. Peres says unrest in Egypt shows how urgently peace with the Palestinians is needed. Jessica Brandt says both Israeli and Palestinian leaders need to do more to prepare their peoples for peace. Israel rejects an Egyptian request to increase its forces in Sinai. Uri Avnery looks at implications of a new Egypt for Israel.

Why the Palestinian Authority Is Worried About Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Karl Vick - February 5, 2011 - 1:00am

On the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Authority (PA) headed by Mahmoud Abbas may not qualify as a sovereign government. But it is moderate and U.S.-backed, and has been behaving of late like one of the region's brittle and freshly vulnerable autocratic regimes.

Why Israel fears a free Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Aaron David Miller - (Editorial) February 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Having dealt with the Israelis for the better part of 40 years, I have learned never to dismiss or trivialize their foundational fears. As both former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and current premier Binyamin Netanyahu reminded me on different occasions, Israelis don't live in some leafy Washington suburb, but in a much tougher neighborhood. And today, it is impossible to overstate the angst, even hysteria, that Israelis are feeling about their neighborhood as they watch what is unfolding in the streets of Cairo.

Huckabee of Judea
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - February 7, 2011 - 1:00am

"There are vast amounts of territory that are in the hands of Muslims, in the hands of Arabs. Maybe the international community can come together and accommodate" the Palestinians

Protesters rally in Ramallah in solidarity with Egyptians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Protesters rallied in Ramallah on Saturday in solidarity with the Egyptian people's uprising against their government. Residents, students and civil society representatives raised Egyptian flags and posters calling on the Egyptian president to resign. Protesters held banners including "From Ramallah to Tahrir Square, the people want change," and "Down with oppressive regimes." Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi attended the rally, as did Mamdouh Al-Ikir, the commissioner general of the Independent Commission for Human Rights.

Abbas, Abdullah meet as region remains in turmoil
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 7, 2011 - 1:00am

President Mahmoud Abbss sat with Jordan's King Abdullah on Sunday, the PA government press agency WAFA reported, saying the two discussed the latest political developments in the region. The two met as Jordan's Islamists refused to join a new government, days after Abdullah sacked the old cabinet and appointed a new prime minister, and the International Quartet warned that instability in Egypt could derail the peace process.

Palestinian contractors say owed millions by PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 7, 2011 - 1:00am

In the course of its state-building program, the Palestinian Authority has accumulated millions of dollars in debts owed to contractors, the union of Palestinian contractors said Sunday, urging officials to pay companies what they are owed. "The union demands that the Palestinian government pays contractors in return for the projects they executed for the government. Huge debts have been accumulated since November 2010, and some contractors have overdrawn their bank accounts," said Adel Auda, union chief in the West Bank.

UK to Israel: help us curb Iran with Palestine deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Dan Williams - February 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel could bolster the international campaign to head off Iran's nuclear programme by pursuing peace with the Palestinians, Britain said on Sunday.

Ex-official: Direct Israel-Syria talks were close
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - February 6, 2011 - 1:00am

A high-ranking official in the previous Israeli government said Sunday that Israel and Syria were close to resuming direct peace talks in late 2008, and that the Syrians signaled readiness to ease past demands for a full Israeli withdrawal from captured lands. Turkish-mediated talks between the two sides were to have progressed to direct talks in December 2008. But Israel launched a war against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip that month, and the talks were derailed, said the former official in the government of Ehud Olmert.

Palestinians welcome Mideast Quartet's role in peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 6, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian leadership on Sunday welcomed the Quartet of Middle East negotiators to engage in reviving Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. The Quartet's call for separate discussions between its members and the concerned parties in the Middle East "is an unprecedented development that cannot be bypassed," said Saeb Erekat, the top Palestinian negotiator. The Quartet, which comprises the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia, made the call following its meeting in Munich, Germany, on Saturday.

Hamas militant escapes from Egypt prison, arrives in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, announced on Saturday that one of its militants managed to escape from an Egyptian prison and arrived at his home in Gaza. The movement said in a leaflet emailed to reporters that Ayman Noofal, who has been in an Egyptian prison for three years had managed to flee and had arrived at his home in Gaza on Saturday evening. "Ayman Noofal kissed the soil of Gaza after being kidnapped in the Egyptian prisons for three years," said Hamas statement.

Jerusalem council set to approve Jewish housing in Arab neighborhood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - February 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Several Palestinian families in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah will be evicted to pave way for two new buildings meant to comprise 13 apartments. The Jerusalem Municipal Committee for Planning and Building is expected to approve Monday the construction of two buildings that will include 13 apartments for Jewish residents in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

Peres: Israeli-Palestinian peace urgent in light of Egypt crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 6, 2011 - 1:00am

President tells 11th annual Herzliya conference that the sluggish pace of the peace process means that the conflict is being 'exploited to the detriment of all sides'. President Shimon Peres urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to move quickly toward a solution in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in light of the crisis that has wracked Egypt over the last two weeks.

Palestinian security suppressing West Bank fervor over Egypt protests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - February 7, 2011 - 1:00am

The European-trained Palestinian Special Police Force has become a leading security apparatus in the West Bank.

Why are peace talks secret?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Jessica Brandt - (Opinion) February 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Op-ed: Israel, PA must do better job of preparing public opinion for necessary concessions The recently released Palestine Papers make for juicy reading, but they aren’t really news. They tell us what any close observer of the conflict already knows: that an agreement will require both sides to ease their grip on long-held taboos and come to compromise that meets the long term national interests of both peoples.

Israel says no to more Egyptian troops in Sinai
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - February 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Senior army official: We don’t want it to seem as if the peace treaty is meaningless, particularly when there could be a regime change in Cairo. Fearing a complete breakdown of the peace treaty with Cairo, the government last week refused a second Egyptian request to allow it to deploy more military forces in Sinai, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Revolt in Egypt, impact on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - February 6, 2011 - 1:00am

WE are in the middle of a geological event. An earthquake of epoch-making dimensions is changing the landscape of our region. People are afraid of change. Israelis are no exception. While in neighboring Egypt earth-shattering events were taking place, Israel was absorbed with a scandal in the army high command. But what is happening now in Egypt will change our lives. As usual, nobody foresaw it. The much-feted Mossad was taken by surprise, as was the CIA. Yet there should have been no surprise at all — except about the incredible force of the eruption.

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