Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israeli concerns about relations with Egypt grow. Israel destroys a Bedouin village. Hamas dismisses calls for Palestinian national unity. PM Fayyad says the US veto of a UN resolution on settlement is a complicating factor, while the Jordan Times calls it "shameful" and Gideon Levy says it brings Pres. Obama too close to the Likud. Israel and the US test a new missile. Hamas expels male stylists from women's hair salons. Shlomo Shamir says the UN may act on Palestinian independence. The PA is expanding its activities in occupied East Jerusalem. A settler gets a nominal sentence for weapons theft. Plans to expand a key settlement in Jerusalem are rejected. PM Netanyahu acknowledges the Palestinian aspiration to statehood. Gershon Baskin says the Knesset is a bastion of xenophobia. Jonathan Cook says the Israeli and Egyptian militaries will become more influential. Linda Heard says Israel increasingly needs peace based on a Palestinian state. Ian McEwan accepts the Jerusalem prize for literature but condemns Israeli policies. Ghassan Khatib says Palestinian leaders are serious about plan for elections. Hussein Ibish says the dream that began in Tunis and Cairo is turning into a nightmare in Libya.

Fear grows in Israel over backlash from Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders, Batsheva Sobelman - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel's so-called cold peace with Egypt is looking colder by the day. Early Tuesday, Egypt reportedly permitted two Iranian warships to enter the Suez Canal for the first time since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. During a mass prayer service Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square, anti-Israel cleric Yusuf Qaradawi— who returned to Egypt after years in exile — called for the "conquest" of Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque, Islam's third-holiest site, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War and sits atop a Jewish holy site.

Israeli bulldozers bury Bedouin village
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

The five tents giving shelter to some 50 Bedouin residents of Amniyr, a tiny community north of Susiya in the south Hebron hills, were torn down on Monday, their olive trees uprooted and water sources covered over. An observer with the Christian Peacemaker Teams said Israeli demolition crews arrived before sunrise, at about 5:30 a.m., and began taking down the tents, then filled a well and a water cistern with earth. "They uprooted several olive trees and buried them under the dirt," he said.

Hamas pours scorn on Fatah call for unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas on Monday shrugged off calls for reconciliation with Fatah, saying its secular rival must prove its seriousness by freeing prisoners. "These declarations lack seriousness and credibility, they make no sense in light of the continued arrests and torture [of Hamas members] in Fatah prisons in the West Bank," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, in response to an appeal by Fatah for the two factions to start talking.

Fayyad: US veto obstructed Palestinian efforts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority Prime Minster Salam Fayyad on Sunday said the US veto of a UN anti-settlement resolution was a clear obstruction to Palestinian efforts to end Israel's occupation. All 14 other Security Council member states voted in favor of the resolution condemning illegal settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land. US President Barack Obama's administration used its veto to torpedo the motion after Obama failed to convince President Mahmoud Abbas to abandon the resolution in a last minute appeal.

Israel, US successfully test Arrow missile
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Matti Friedman - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel and the U.S. carried out a successful test of the Arrow anti-missile system off the coast of California, Israel's Defense Ministry said Tuesday. Israel's Defense Ministry said the Arrow detected, intercepted and destroyed a target missile launched from an offshore platform inside a U.S. Navy firing range in a test carried out late Monday. Tuesday's statement said the trial, the latest in a series of successful tests of the system, "provides confidence in operational Israeli capabilities to defeat the developing ballistic missile threat."

Hamas orders male hairstylists out of lady salons
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
February 21, 2011 - 1:00am

A Gaza rights group says the ruling Hamas militant group has barred male hairdressers from working in women's salons. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said Monday that five male hairdressers were interrogated and forced to sign declarations that they wouldn't work in women's salons. Male hairdressers for women are rare in conservative Gaza where genders rarely mix in public. Hamas tried to impose a similar ban last March, but backed down after an outcry.

The UN is ripe for advancing the Palestinian agenda
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shlomo Shamir - (Editorial) February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

A new era has dawned at the United Nations with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From this point on, new, different rules will characterize discussions of the conflict in the Security Council. The most important and, from Israel's standpoint, alarming change is this: In the one UN body that has the authority to forcibly enforce resolutions, a new alignment of forces is rapidly taking shape, and a new distribution of influence is emerging between the United States and the other four members of the exclusive club of states with permanent membership and veto power.

Shin Bet warns of increased PA security involvement in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Intelligence figures in the Jerusalem District Police and the Shin Bet security service are increasingly concerned about the growing involvement of Palestinian security authorities in East Jerusalem. Recent intelligence reports suggested that militant Palestinians may be trying to prevent the operation of community centers so that young Palestinians will roam the streets and disturb the peace. In another incident, the Palestinian security forces reportedly arrested a man in connection to a dispute between neighbors.

With settlement resolution veto, Obama has joined Likud
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Editorial) February 20, 2011 - 1:00am

This weekend, a new member enrolled in Likud - and not just in the ruling party, but in its most hawkish wing. Located somewhere between Tzipi Hotovely and Danny Danon, U.S. President Barack Obama bypassed Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan on the right and weakened their position. The first veto cast by the United States during Obama's term, a veto he promised in vain not to use as his predecessors did, was a veto against the chance and promise of change, a veto against hope. This is a veto that is not friendly to Israel; it supports the settlers and the Israeli right, and them alone.

Settler gets community service for weapons theft
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Raanan Ben-Zur - February 21, 2011 - 1:00am

A 19-year old settler was sentenced to just 100 hours of community service Monday, without a conviction, for stealing weapons and ammunition from IDF warehouses in the West Bank. The Kfar Saba Magistrates' Court accepted his attorney's claim that the theft, executed three years ago, was a matter of "youthful frivolity" and decided to punish him lightly. He was also fined NIS 1,000 ($277). In February of 2008 stun and gas grenades, ammunition for M-16 rifles, sniper rifles, and sub-machine guns, and a spike barrier were stolen from an IDF warehouse.

Plans to expand Har Homa rejected
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - February 21, 2011 - 1:00am

Jerusalem Municipality's local planning and construction committee announced Monday it would not approve plans to expand the Jewish Har Homa neighborhood in east Jerusalem. The announcement came just a few days after the US vetoed a UN vote to condemn construction in settlements, causing speculation that the plans were not approved due to political pressure.

PM’s latest stance on Palestinian state likely a thank-you
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

In what could be the initial repayment to the US for its Friday veto of the Palestinian anti-settlement resolution in the UN Security Council, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went further toward embracing the idea of a Palestinian state in a statement he issued Saturday night than in any of his previous speeches or statements.

Encountering Peace: Mirror, mirror on the wall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Editorial) February 21, 2011 - 1:00am

While riding in a Jerusalem taxi recently I noticed that the name of the company was decorated with stars of David. I asked the driver about it. He replied: “Yes, our company only hires Jewish drivers, so our passengers can feel safe.” I remember moving trucks in Jerusalem with large signs reading “Jewish workers only.”

Egypt and Israel's armies will only grow more powerful
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

has been indulging in a sustained bout of fear-mongering since the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was toppled earlier this month. The ostensible aim has been to warn the international community that the lengthy "cold peace" between the two countries is on the verge of collapse. In reality, the peace treaty signed three decades ago is in no danger for the forseeable future. The Egyptian and Israeli armies have too much of a vested interest in its continuation, whatever political reforms occur in Egypt.

Shameful position
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Opinion) February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

The US veto of a draft resolution condemning Israel’s continued settlement programme on Palestinian lands is wrong and fraught with immeasurable dangers. The resolution was sponsored by all Arab delegations at the UN headquarters in New York. It expresses complete Arab rejection of the Israeli construction of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, while fully supporting a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Israel isolated and under threat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Linda Heard - (Editorial) February 21, 2011 - 1:00am

A country that was considered all-powerful a mere month ago now finds itself out in the cold for a variety of reasons at a time when it is governed by, arguably, the most intransigent and short-sighted prime minister in its history; a man who puts right-wing ideology before real politic.

Nihilism, the novel and political creativity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from ABC News
by Ian McEwan - (Editorial) February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Amid much controversy, Ian McEwan recently accepted the Jerusalem prize for literature, an honour awarded biennially to writers whose work deals with themes of individual freedom in society. On 20 February 2011, Ian McEwan gave an acceptance speech during the award ceremony.

Preparing for September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Blog) February 21, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian officials view the September 2011 deadline for statehood very seriously and most of their political behavior between now and then needs to be taken in that context. The attempt to go to the United Nations Security Council should be viewed as part of Palestinian attempts to build up an international position that is more responsive to the failure of the bilateral approach and the inaction of the United States, the country sponsoring the bilateral process on behalf of the international community.

Is Libya the nightmare version of the dream that began in Tunis and Cairo?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ibishblog
by Hussein Ibish - (Blog) February 21, 2011 - 1:00am

Last Saturday morning I blogged that I thought that the epicenter of the Arab revolt was now in Libya and that it was the place to watch in the immediate term, and that Yemen probably would be the most volatile and significant in the medium term. This was as opposed to the obsessive and misguided focus on Bahrain that was largely the consequence of the physical presence of international media in that relatively open society and a lack of understanding about the differences between the rather unique political mix in the "Island Kingdom" and the generalized pattern in the broader Arab world.

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