Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Pete McCloskey says the US veto of a UN resolution on settlements was “cowardly;” the Jerusalem Post claims the PA is using it to bolster its image; the JTA says it shows the US is not ready to pressure Israel at the UN; Palestinians in Lebanon protest. PM Fayyad uses social media to seek popular input on ministerial appointments. 11 Palestinians are injured by Israeli shelling in Gaza. Israel blocks red cross aid to homeless Bedouins. Palestinian Amb. Areikat says a two-state solution is still possible. A Palestinian home is surround by settlement units. Gazans hope Egypt will end the blockade. Aluf Benn says DM Barak is PM Netanyahu’s best friend and worst enemy. Dan Shapiro will be the next US ambassador to Israel. Israel’s foreign ministry will insist that all new recruits are taken to Hebron. FM Malki says Palestinians hope for statehood by September. Raed Salah is arrested for arson. Kenneth Bandler says plans to push Arabs out of Israel are unacceptable. Pres. Peres says peace talks are urgently needed. The BBC asks if Arab protests will spread to Palestine.

U.S. veto of settlements resolution shows cowardice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The San Francisco Chronicle
by Pete McCloskey - (Editorial) February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

One of the great disappointments of the Obama presidency came from the White House instructing our representative to the United Nations to veto the Security Council resolution Friday that would have condemned Israel's West Bank settlements as illegal. Those settlements have been condemned by every U.S. president, Democrat and Republican, since Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 War. The settlements are recognized as illegal under the Geneva Conventions, which the United States took the lead in creating and signing.

Fayyad asks Facebook: Who to be in govt?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

As young people across the Middle East are using Facebook and Twitter to bring down governments, appointed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has asked his followers on both sites to help put one together. "In the light of the ongoing consultations aiming to form a government list, which people do you consider credible, have excellent leadership and scientific skills, and can be reliable to hold a ministerial portfolio," Fayyad asked on his Facebook page shortly before noon on Wednesday.

Clash east of Gaza city, 11 injured
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

An Israeli shell hit east of Gaza City on Wednesday afternoon, with initial reports saying 11 were left injured, including three members of an armed group and three children, witnesses said. The shelling came moments after four Israeli bulldozers and four tanks entered into the Gaza Strip, apparently preparing to tear-up agricultural lands along the occupied border zone. The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, issued a statement shortly after the incident saying two mortar shells were fired on the bulldozers and tanks as they entered the Gaza border.

Israel bars ICRC aid from reaching homeless Bedouin
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Residents of the tiny Bedouin hamlet of Amniyr crowded into a small cave in the rocky hills south of Hebron to sleep on Wednesday night, after their tent homes were destroyed by Israeli demolition crews claiming the hamlet as state land. Village elder Hajj Mahmoud said the three families that live in the area spent the day in the open air, trying to salvage items from the buried heaps left by Israeli demolition crews.

PLO official says two-state solution still possible for Israel, Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Charleston Gazette
by Kathryn Gregory - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

A two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians is still possible, but the longer it takes the governing bodies to come to an agreement, the less the solution will satisfy everyone involved, a Palestinian leader told a Charleston audience Tuesday. "Everyday that goes by without an agreement, we get further away from peace," said Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat, chief Palestinian Liberation Organization representative to the United States. "[Chances for peace] will be better today than two years down the road."

Palestinian house inside cage in Jewish settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ben Hubbard - February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

The al-Ghirayib family lives in one of the stranger manifestations of Israel's 43-year occupation of the West Bank: a Palestinian house inside a metal cage inside an Israeli settlement. The family's 10 members, four of them children, can only reach the house via a 40-yard (meter) passageway connecting them to the Arab village of Beit Ijza farther down a hill. The passageway passes over a road used by Israeli army jeeps and is lined on both sides with a 24-foot-high (8-meter) heavy-duty metal fence.

Gazans hope new Egypt regime will end blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

A rare euphoric mood is sweeping through the Gaza Strip, where people are hoping the downfall of Hosni Mubarak will give the coastal territory a chance to get out from under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has stifled the economy. Throughout the Middle East, the Egyptian president's ouster Feb. 11 has been greeted as a sign of hope — mostly by pro-democracy activists trying to topple their authoritarian rulers. But in Gaza it's seen as a chance to ease the widespread unemployment and international isolation residents believe is caused by the blockade that began in 2007.

Netanyahu's new best friend and his greatest enemy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Editorial) February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

When I was in the army I learned that assignment interviews with the commanders end in one of two ways. When you bend the system, they send you off with your assignment order with neither a blessing nor a hug; they just want you gone. When the system screws you the interview summary always concludes with the words, “I wished the soldier success on his chosen path.”

Obama expected to appoint Dan Shapiro Ambassador to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

U.S. President Barack Obama intends to appoint his adviser Dan Shapiro to the position of U.S. Ambassador to Israel, according to the website Politico. Shapiro, considered to be the White House point person for Israel, has served as the main go-between for the U.S. government and Prime Minister Netanyahu. A White House source told Haaretz on Monday, "I cannot confirm the report, but neither can I disclaim it."

Ayalon: Diplomats will tour Hebron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon announced Wednesday that all new Israeli ambassadors and Foreign Ministry cadets will be forced to visit "Jewish heritage sites" in the West Bank, including the Cave of Patriarchs. Ayalon's message came just a few days after Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar announced a new plan for school trips to Hebron, also including a visit to the sacred Jewish site.

Palestinian FM: Statehood by September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Felice Friedson - (Interview) February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

In an interview conducted on eve of UN Security Council vote on a resolution condemning settlement construction, Dr. Riyad Al-Malki, the foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority, spoke to The Media Line about Iranian backing for Hamas, Palestinian statehood on-track for a September declaration and growing international support. The Media Line: Yasser Abed-Rabo said to me the other day that Mahmoud Abbas will not run for president. So, who will?

Sheikh Raed Salah arrested for arson
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yair Altman - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, Sheikh Raed Salah, is in hot water once again: Salah was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly damaging and setting fire to a Eucalyptus forest in Southern Israel two weeks ago. Jerusalem police, which arrested Salah on Highway 1, suspec he took part in the arson in protest of the Jewish National Fund project's taking place in the area. Salah was released from the Ayalon Prison in Ramla last December after spending five months behind bars for attacking a policeman.

On My Mind: Population swap conundrum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Kenneth Bandler - (Opinion) February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Umm el-Fahm was not originally part of Israel. Jordan consented to include the strategically located community – then a town of 4,500 – on the Israeli side of the 1949 armistice line established after theWar of Independence. But some Israeli Jews want to reverse that decision of 62 years ago. Reducing the number Arab citizens, now 20 percent of the population, they believe, would benefit the country’s future. Umm el-Fahm, its largest Arab city, with a population of 43,000, is therefore a target.

Analysis: PA is using US veto to bolster its image
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - (Analysis) February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

In an attempt to bolster its credibility among Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority has decided to take advantage of last Friday’s US veto of a UN Security Council resolution that would have condemned construction in the settlements, and depict President Mahmoud Abbas as a powerful leader who dared to say no to the US president. Since Friday, Palestinian officials in Ramallah have been briefing reporters about the details of a 50-minute phone conversation between Abbas and US President Barack Obama.

Peres tells Spanish officials: Palestinian talks urgent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Greer Fay Cashman - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

There has been a dramatic change in the Middle East of late, President Shimon Peres told Spain’s Congress of Delegates on Tuesday. Events that no one could have anticipated have created a new agenda, he said. Peres, in Madrid to celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties with Spain, urged the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table immediately and to end the conflict.

Will Arab revolt spread to Palestinian territories?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

"There's a problem of legitimacy within the Palestinian leadership," proclaims Ghassan Khatib, peering over his spectacles, in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Tell me something we don't know, would be the response of most Palestinians. But what is unusual is that Mr Khatib is part of the Palestinian leadership. He is the head of the government's media centre and a close adviser to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. "There is no accountability, no checks and balances," Mr Khatib goes on with some regret, as pro-democracy uprisings flare up across the Arab world.

Pressing Israel in U.N. remains a U.S. taboo, veto on settlements resolution shows
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

In the run-up to last week's U.N. Security Council vote on a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal, the Obama administration faced a dilemma. The administration views Jewish settlements in the West Bank as illegitimate, and has made few bones about saying so, but it also rejects the notion that the place to settle the matter is the United Nations, with its long tradition of anti-Israel resolutions.

Burj al-Barajneh's Palestinians protest U.S. veto of U.N. settlement resolution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Van Meguerditchian, Simona Sikimic - February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Marching through mud roads, still loose underfoot from the heavy rains, several hundred Palestinians gathered at the Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp Tuesday to protest the U.S. veto of a Security Council resolution condemning the construction of Israeli settlements. Led by lines of elderly men and a troop of young children beating on drums and playing bagpipes – an eccentric relic of the British mandate of Palestine – the crowd weaved its way through the camp to listen to speeches made by Palestinian Authority representatives.

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