Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Sallai Meridor looks at Israeli concerns about unrest in Egypt. Gazans rally in support of the protests. NATO says it would provide peacekeepers if Israel and the Palestinians want that. Pres. Peres inaugurates a hi-tech recruitment program for Palestinian citizens of Israel. Pres. Abbas calls Israel's policies "dangerous." FM Lieberman says he may leave the Netanyahu coalition. A Jewish Israeli woman gives birth in a Palestinian hospital. Occupation forces demolish both settler and Palestinian structures in the West Bank. US officials reaffirm the American commitment to Israel's security. Local elections may deepen the Palestinian divide. FM Hauge says the peace process is at risk. Daoud Kuttab asks why Americans seem to be boycotting Bethlehem's mayor. Michael Young says Israel's fears about Egypt are the consequences of its own short-sightedness. George Hishmeh says PM Netanyahu should worry about peace with the Palestinians, not events in Egypt.

What Israel fears in Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Sallai Meridor - February 9, 2011 - 1:00am

One might expect that Israelis, who live in the only democracy in the Middle East, would turn out in the squares of Jerusalem and the gardens of Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the demonstrators in Egypt. The protesters, after all, are seeking to overthrow an authoritarian regime. Israelis, however, have stayed at home, warily following events on TV and the Internet.

Gazan students hold Egypt solidarity rally
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Several hundred Islamist students rallied in central Gaza on Wednesday in a show of solidarity with the ongoing anti-government protests in Egypt, onlookers said. "Gaza salutes the Egyptians" they shouted, denouncing embattled President Hosni Mubarak as "an American collaborator." Waving Egyptian and Palestinian flags, they also shouted angry slogans against Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman and Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq. Earlier on Wednesday, Egyptian immigration officials told AFP they had been ordered to bar Palestinians from entering the country.

NATO offers troops after Mideast peace deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
February 9, 2011 - 1:00am

NATO would offer peacekeeping services to Israelis and Palestinians if both parties request it in a peace deal, the alliance's secretary general said Wednesday Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO would intervene if a future peace treaty was broken or if the two sides needed assistance. Until then, NATO would "not (become) involved in the Mideast peace process and is not seeking a role in it," Rasmussen said. The NATO leader spoke at an annual security conference in the Israeli city of Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv.

Israeli president inaugurates Israeli-Arab hi-tech recruitment program
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli President Shimon Peres Wednesday inaugurated a 50-million-U.S.-dollar initiative to increase the numbers of Israeli-Arabs in the hi-tech workforce, called Maantech. The term "Maan" in Arabic mean "together," and in this case, that means backing by the government and two dozens leading Israeli and international firms, among them are Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Amdocs, Checkpoint, and Oracle. The Israeli government is footing 20 million dollars of the sum, with the remainder coming from private sources.

Abbas says Israeli measures against Palestinian dangerous
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday described Israeli measures against people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as "dangerous." In his meeting with visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez, Abbas called on Israel to stop house demolitions and settlement building in east Jerusalem, and to lift the blockade on Gaza. "These dangerous violations must stop," Abbas said.

Lieberman mulls leaving Netanyahu government if conversion bill fails
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is considering withdrawing from the government and bringing about a general election unless his party pushes through the military conversion bill that recently passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset. Lieberman said as much last month in a meeting with MKs from his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, at a Dead Sea hotel. The meeting was documented by journalist David Deri of Channel 10's Saturday news magazine. The report will be broadcast this Saturday.

Jewish Israeli woman gives birth at Palestinian West Bank hospital
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - February 9, 2011 - 1:00am

A Jewish Israeli woman gave birth at a Palestinian West Bank Hospital, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported on Wednesday, with the new mother expressing the hope that the child be awarded Palestinian citizenship. The woman, a former Haifa resident who moved to the Arab Israeli town of Sakhnin after marrying an Arab Israeli man, went into labor while shopping in central Ramallah, and was ushered to a nearby public hospital.

IDF razes settler outpost, illegal Palestinian structures
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
February 9, 2011 - 1:00am

The illegal outpost Mitzpe Avichai near Kiryat Arba was demolished Wednesday for the eight time, but Jewish settlers rebuilt it just a few hours later. "Each time they destroy it we expand it a little more," one of the settlers said. IDF forces and Civil Administration inspectors arrived at the site at around 3 am and demolished three structures in which three settler families and two single settlers resided.

US officials emphasize commitment to Israel security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
February 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon at the White House Wednesday where they emphasized the US's commitment to Israel's security and its qualitative military edge in the region. According a press release, Barak met with the US officials for an hour and 15 minutes, during which time they discussed events in Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia and Turkey and as the status of negotiations with the Palestinians.

Municipal Elections Likely to Widen Palestinian Divide, Politicians Say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Miller - February 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian municipal elections called for this summer will likely accentuate the rivalry between Fatah and Hamas, Palestinian politicians said. Fatah officially welcomed on Wednesday an announcement by the Palestinian cabinet to hold elections on July 9, the first in the Palestinian Authority since 2006. In a statement, Fatah said the elections would “forge political unity.” Local elections were previously set to take place on July 17, 2010, but were postponed by the PA after Hamas refused to participate.

Middle East peace process at risk, William Hague says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
February 8, 2011 - 1:00am

William Hague, who is touring the region, said it could "lose further momentum" if international focus shifts to countries like Tunisia and Egypt. He urged Israel to avoid "belligerent language" and called for "bold leadership" from the United States. Protests are continuing in Egypt with the aim of ousting the president. Last month, Tunisia's President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali stood down after weeks of anti-government demonstrations.

Why Do U.S. Officials Boycott Bethlehem's Mayor?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Daoud Kuttab - February 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Why does the US boycott one of its own citizens who happens to be the Christian mayor of Bethlehem? This has been the case regarding Victor Batarseh, the elected mayor of the Palestinian town of Bethlehem.

Egypt makes Israel nervous for all the wrong reasons
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Michael Young - (Opinion) February 10, 2011 - 1:00am

According to a State Department cable written in August 2008 and posted on the website of The Daily Telegraph this week, Israeli officials favoured General Omar Suleiman to succeed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. "There is no question that Israel is most comfortable with the prospect of" Mr Suleiman taking power, an American diplomat in Tel Aviv reported to his superiors.

The bigger picture eludes Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) February 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Why is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (and many other Israelis) behaving like an ostrich? He is digging his head in the sand and wondering why the Egyptian uprising, triggered by the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, has engulfed the Middle East and posed a threat to Israel. Netanyahu and his extreme right-wing cabinet may now be regretting their failure to push harder or, at least, be more accommodating in reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinian National Authority.

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