Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israeli troops kill three Palestinians near the Gaza border. Palestinians seek international recognition. Israel organizes field trips for students to the West Bank. A Fatah official warns that Israel is exploiting international focus on Egypt to build settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, and Pres. Abbas says the Armenian quarter will be part of Palestine. An Israeli human rights group says Israel is not restraining settler violence. Jordan says a murderer of Israelis will serve a life term. PLO officials say elections can go ahead without Hamas. Jordan calls for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks. PM Netanyahu faces international criticism. The US urges Palestinians to drop a UN resolution on settlements, and may be proposing a statement instead. Larry Derfner says Israel must reach out to the Arab world. Palestinians are largely quiet as unrest grips the Arab world. The Arab News says Israel fears change.

Israeli troops kill 3 Palestinians on Gaza border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak - February 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli forces shot dead three Palestinians along the tense border with the Gaza Strip before dawn Thursday. The Israeli military released a statement saying soldiers fired on the men after they were spotted planting an explosive device in a no-go zone along the border between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

Palestinians seek global recognition through South America
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Juan Forero, Janine Zacharia - February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Before a slew of South American countries recently recognized an independent Palestinian state in quick succession, a seasoned Palestinian diplomat had quietly begun lobbying the government of one critical country on the continent: Argentina. Home to the region's largest Jewish community, Argentina posed a special challenge. But Walid Muaqqat, who has the status of Palestinian ambassador here, made sure things ran smoothly when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived for a 2009 tour.

Israeli government to organize school field trips to West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ben Lynfield - February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israeli government plans to begin organizing high school field trips to a contested West Bank religious site in a move that could reignite tension over a historic flash point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The initiative, announced yesterday, could bring hundreds of thousands of Israeli teens to Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, revered in Judaism as the burial site of the biblical figures Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Muslims revere the same compound for its ties to Abraham, referring to it as the Ibrahimi mosque after the man they look up to as a prophet.

Jerusalem official warns eyes on Egypt put city at risk
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

With global political attention on Egypt, a Fatah spokesman warned Wednesday, "Israel has been increasing settlement activity in East Jerusalem," and putting the future of the city at risk. Recent decisions by Israeli forces, including the announcement of three new settlement construction projects and plans to move the police training college into the occupied eastern flank of the city, spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi said in a statement, have officials concerned.

Rights org says Israel failing to control settler violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli rights group Yesh Din released a report Wednesday, accusing Israel of "chronic failure" to enforce the law on Israeli citizens who commit offenses against Palestinians in the West Bank Nine out of 10 investigations of Israeli attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank are closed with no indictment served, the report said.

Jordan: Israelis' killer will serve life sentence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Jamal Halaby - February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Seeking to allay Israeli anger, Jordan reassured its neighbor Wednesday that a soldier who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls in 1997 will serve out his life sentence. On Monday, Justice Minister Hussein Mjali had joined a protest in Amman calling for the release of Cpl. Ahmed Daqamseh. Mjali, once Daqamseh's defense lawyer, promised the protesters that he will seek his former client's immediate release. In comments that particularly angered Israelis, Mjali portrayed the soldier as a hero who does not deserve to be in prison.

Aide: Palestinian elections proceed without Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian elections will go ahead this fall regardless of whether the Islamic Hamas participates, an aide to the Palestinian president said Wednesday. Yasser Abed Rabbo's statement means presidential and parliamentary elections might take place only in the West Bank, as Hamas has refused to allow elections in the Gaza Strip. "We can't be held hostage by Hamas and remain without elections," Abed Rabbo said.

Jordan calls for resuming Palestinian-Israeli peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh on Wednesday urged intensified international efforts to realize progress in resuming Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. In a joint press conference with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Judeh stressed the need for pushing peacemaking efforts forward and re-launching serious and effective negotiations that will address all final status issues. These negotiations should lead to the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, Judeh said.

Abbas stresses Palestinian clinging to Jerusalem's Armenian Quarter
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stressed Wednesday his leadership will never give up the Armenian area in East Jerusalem under any peace deal with Israel. "The Armenian Quarter is an undividable part of East Jerusalem, which is the capital of the (future) independent Palestinian state, " Abbas said during a meeting with Christian leaders at his office in Ramallah.

Netanyahu faces international isolation as peace process stalls
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under increasing pressure and international isolation as a result of the breakdown in the peace process. European leaders do not believe he is serious about achieving peace, the Chinese are still furious with him for canceling his trip at the last minute in November, and India has been diplomatically sidestepping his request to visit.

U.S. pushing Palestinians to drop UN resolution on settlement construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 17, 2011 - 1:00am

The United States is putting heavy pressure on the Palestinian Authority and Arab states to withdraw a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlements. The resolution is due to come up for a vote at the United Nations Security Council on Friday. Washington has made it clear that it will veto the resolution should it come to a vote, and has implored the Palestinian Authority and other Arab nations to withdraw the proposal, but to no avail.

Rattling the Cage: We must turn Israel inside out
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

This is an extraordinary time for the Middle East, an unprecedented one, a glorious one – and it’s passing Israel by.

Palestinians Stay Quiet as Storms Rage Across the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Miller - February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

As turmoil spread to previously quiet areas of the Middle East like Bahrain and Libya this week, the West Bank and Gaza Strip remained placid. Palestinians say they are as firmly opposed to Israel’s occupation as ever, but they don’t face the same restrictions on freedom of expression that their brothers and sisters elsewhere in the region and so they have no reason to explode in rebellion now. Most are satisfied with the rule of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

U.S. reportedly proposing U.N. ‘statement’ on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
February 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The United States reportedly is backing a United Nations Security Council statement that would slam Israel on settlements but would stop short of a resolution.

Editorial: Israel fears change in Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) February 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Indeed, everything about winds of change sweeping through the Arab world is seen by the Israelis in terms of what will the consequences be for Israel.

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