Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel closes four international missions. Saeb Erekat explains his resignation. The Washington Post denounces the prosecution of UC Irvine students. Janessa Gans Wilder says Israel cannot ignore nonviolent Palestinian protests. The EU says it supports Palestinian statehood by September. An emboldened Palestinian delegation pushes for a UN resolution on settlements. Pres. Abbas says Israel has no vision for peace. Abbas disbands the NSU following leaks. The PLO and PA settle a lawsuit. The Knesset moves forward with a law punishing Israeli citizens who promote boycotts. Ha'aretz says unrest in the Arab world should spur Israeli peace efforts. Gazans participate in a conference in Sderot. The Israeli military dismantles an unauthorized outpost. Meir Margalit says conditions in occupied East Jerusalem will lead to a popular uprising. PM Fayyad says the PA will try to wean itself off foreign aid by 2013. A British TV show looks at the plight of children in Gaza. Following unrest in Egypt, Israelis eye the prospect of a multi-front war. ATFP President Ziad J. Asali urges international support for Palestinian state-building. The National says the Palestinian leadership is right to call new elections. Basma Kodmani says the leak of the "Palestine papers" was "malevolent" and "manipulative."

Israel: Four Foreign Missions Closed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - February 15, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel temporarily closed four of its diplomatic missions abroad in recent days because of suspicions that they were under threat of attack, an Israeli official said on Tuesday. He refused to specify their locations, for security reasons, but he said that two had partially reopened. The precautions were taken after “unusual occurrences were identified recently around a few missions abroad,” the Israeli government said in a statement.

Palestinian Erekat says he resigned to set example, not because of contents of leak
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - February 15, 2011 - 1:00am

Saeb Erekat, the longtime chief Palestinian negotiator who resigned Saturday after a massive leak of documents from his office, said Tuesday that he did not leave because of the substance of the leaks but because they happened on his watch. Excerpts from the documents released last month by the al-Jazeera satellite television channel showed Palestinian negotiators discussing significant concessions on the issues of East Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees during talks in 2008. The revelations caused a storm of controversy among Palestinians and in the wider Arab world.

A wrongheaded prosecution of UC-Irvine student protesters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
(Editorial) February 15, 2011 - 1:00am

ONE BY ONE the students rose in the auditorium, shouting and drowning out a lecture by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren last year at the University of California at Irvine. "Michael Oren, you are a war criminal!" yelled one student, as a group of others cheered him on. "Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech!" shouted another minutes later.

EU targets Palestinian state by September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Steve Weizman - February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Tuesday said the international community still sought to achieve a peace deal and a Palestinian state by September, despite the region's political turmoil. Despite the impasse in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and the resignation of the Palestinian Authority cabinet as well as Saab Erekat, their chief negotiator, Ashton said the goal was still achievable. "It's a time-frame that everybody has signed up to," she told reporters in Jerusalem ahead of talks with President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

PLO to press on with settlement vote at UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian representatives at the UN will push forward with a draft resolution calling on the Security Council to condemn settlement construction, PLO Executive Committee member Saleh Raafat said Tuesday. A vote will be held on the resolution "[d]espite all of the pressure exerted on the Palestinians and the Arab-state supporters by the US," Raafat said.

Abbas: Israel has no vision for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that the current Israeli government had no vision for an end to the occupation. Addressing Palestinians released from Israeli detention, at his Ramallah headquarters, the president said Israel continued to shut down all avenues to peace. Abbas said the US administration pledged that negotiations launched in September would establish a Palestinian state within a year. He asked how long the international community would watch a population live under occupation if an agreement wasn't reached.

Palestinian peace negotiation unit disbanded
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
February 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to disband the Negotiations Support Unit (NSU) which provided him with technical help during long-running peace talks with Israel, an official said on Monday. The decision was made after it was discovered that employees in the unit were behind the leak of hundreds of documents to the television station al Jazeera which embarrassed Abbas's administration.

APNewsBreak: Palestinian Authority settles RI suit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Eric Tucker - February 14, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority has settled a federal lawsuit in Rhode Island over the shooting deaths 15 years ago of a couple driving home from a wedding in Israel, according to court papers filed Monday. The documents don't reveal the terms of the settlement, and it's unclear how much, if any, money the Palestinian Authority offered to resolve the case.

Knesset committee approves bill allowing Israel boycotters to be fined
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jonathan Lis - February 15, 2011 - 1:00am

The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved a bill on Tuesday that calls for heavy fines to be imposed on Israeli citizens who initiate or incite boycotts against Israel, despite the Foreign Ministry's objections. The Knesset approved an initial reading of the bill over six months ago. The bill will now move on to a first reading in the Knesset for approval. If it becomes a law, the fines would apply to anyone boycotting Israeli individuals, companies, factories, and organizations.

Israel faces emboldened Palestinian delegation in the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shlomo Shamir - (Opinion) February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinians are vigorously working to get the United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement building passed. They are working quickly to get support from the organization's general assembly before Israel's new UN ambassador Ron Prosor, takes up his position.

Israel should join the new reality of world diplomacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, the demonstrations in Iran and Bahrain and the general feeling of an earthquake rumbling across the Middle East have thus far conferred a sense of deliverance on Israel, as it has managed to escape the spotlight. After all, who wants to deal with the peace process, dismantling settlements, marking the border between Israel and Palestine or defining security arrangements when the entire world is holding its head, uncertain how to act in the face of these budding democracies?

Sderot conference hosts Gaza residents
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

A conference that opened in Sderot Monday, called 'Gaza-Sderot', brought a number of Palestinian residents of the Strip to the nearby southern town, where they stayed the night. The delegation was meant to include 30 people, but only 15 succeeded in gaining entry into Israel after fervent security measures. Many of the Palestinians who attended the conference asked to remain anonymous, for fear they would be attacked upon returning home.

Army razes illegal settler outpost
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yair Altman - February 15, 2011 - 1:00am

Six Jewish settlers were arrested on Tuesday during the razing of the illegal West Bank outpost Ramat Migron. The settlers hurled stones at security forces and tried to block their path. Soldiers arrived at the outpost in the morning and quickly took it over while additional forces blocked roads and trails leading to it to prevent rightists from disrupting the demolition works. The soldiers left after they razed five makeshift structures in two hours.

The 10 plagues of east Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Meir Margalit - February 15, 2011 - 1:00am

The revolution in Cairo’s streets should raise the alarm in Jerusalem too. Like many Egyptians and Tunisians, the Arabs of east Jerusalem have been humiliated and trampled upon for years. Here too, patience is running out. The winds in east Jerusalem are the same ones blowing through Egyptian streets, and may ultimately bring down a regime that anticipated never-ending rule.

Palestinian Authority to Wean Itself Off Foreign Aid by 2013
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Felice Friedson - February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is undertaking a major effort to wean itself from foreign assistance, a move that will strengthen plans to declare statehood by this summer, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told The Media Line. “The current expenditure has been reduced from $1.8 billion in 2008 to $1.1 billion in 2010 and we will gradually wean ourselves from [foreign] aid by 2013,” Fayyad said. “It is an important benchmark for reducing reliance on the need for external assistance,” he added.

TV review: True Stories: War Child | Nuns Aloud
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Sam Wollaston - (Film Review) February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian kids in True Stories: War Child (More4) lost a lot in Israeli missile attacks on Gaza. Brother and sister Mahmoud (10) and Amal (nine) lost their father, a younger brother, and their house. Amal was buried under rubble for four days and still has shrapnel in her brain. Another Mahmoud (12) saw his friend Hossam blown in half in front of him. Little Loay (10) lost his sight. Ibraheem (10) saw the family fishing boat, their livelihood, destroyed. All lost their childhoods.

With Egypt in turmoil, Israel rethinks readiness for multi-front war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - February 15, 2011 - 1:00am

Although it’s still far from clear how the uprising in Egypt is going to play out, the volatility there is already raising questions in Israel about the Jewish state’s readiness for a war on several fronts. The optimistic view in Israel is that a wave of democracy will sweep the Middle East from Cairo to Tehran, making war in any form less likely. The pessimists -- there are many here -- see an ascendant Islamic radicalism taking hold in Egypt and elsewhere, thus compounding the military threats facing Israel.

To build Palestine, support the plan that will establish a state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Ziad Asali - (Opinion) February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

For decades, little attention has been paid to what has actually been happening on the ground with regard to the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. The institution-building programme of the Palestinian Authority, which has been spearheaded by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is surrounded by a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding. This may be a function of the very nature of the programme: a political project that has its foundation in the technical aspects of building a nation.

Past time for PA to break impasse in the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Recent events may have given the Palestinian Authority the nudge, but it was already standing very close to the brink. On Saturday, the PA promised presidential and parliamentary elections in September; two days later, the entire cabinet quit. In a quieter news cycle, those decisions would have dominated the Middle East agenda, but protests in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Iran produce new headlines every day. Indeed, it is worth asking what this recent shake-up in the West Bank will achieve.

A blessing for the region: an interview with Bassma Kodmani
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
(Interview) February 10, 2011 - 1:00am

BI: How would you assess Wikileaks' contribution to the revolutionary popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere?

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