Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinians seek new paths to statehood. An Israeli investigation finds no crime was committed in the assassination of a Hamas leader in 2002 that caused many civilian casualties. Two Gaza men and a baby are wounded in Israeli attacks. Fouad Ajami says the Arabs have turned their shame into liberty. Israel builds a light railway along a venerable road in Jerusalem. Fatah sets new standards for cabinet appointments. Settlers clash with Israeli police. Hamas suppresses a pro-unity rally. DM Barak says Israel must look past its anxieties and towards peace. Israeli police arrest eight settlers. Jordan’s FM says Palestinian statehood is nonnegotiable. The PLO also opposes power-sharing with Hamas. Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu is exploiting Israeli anxieties to forestall peace, and the PM says he is wary about new international initiatives on negotiations. Neri Livneh says Jewish fundamentalists are as dangerous as Muslim ones. Palestinians use technology to avoid long lines at Israeli checkpoints. Few Israeli politicians are attending the J Street conference. Rabbi Eric Yoffie says Jews and Muslims should work together for peace and democracy. Abdel Monem Said says the US veto of UN resolution on settlements was “shameful.”

Palestinians Seek New Path to State
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Richard Boudreaux - February 26, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian leaders here say they have lost faith in U.S. mediation with Israel and are weighing a new strategy to press for independence, including an appeal for United Nations recognition of a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The evolving strategy, inspired in part by uprisings across the Middle East, also envisions stepping up nonviolent protest against Israeli occupation and trying to end a deep schism between the West Bank's secularist-led Palestinian Authority and the Islamist group Hamas that governs Gaza.

Israeli Panel Finds No Crime in 2002 Assassination
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - February 27, 2011 - 1:00am

Nearly nine years after an Israeli assassination of a Hamas leader in Gaza killed at least 13 civilians and led to widespread international condemnation, a government-appointed panel of inquiry concluded Sunday that the operation was flawed but that the consequences “did not stem from disregard or indifference to human lives.”

Israeli Airstrikes on Gaza Wound Man and Baby
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ben Weyl - February 26, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli warplanes bombed a half-dozen targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, wounding a 7-month-old girl and a Palestinian man, medics in the coastal territory said. An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed that there were at least two airstrikes aimed at militant targets, saying they were in response to rocket and mortar attacks on Israel. Medics said one strike was carried out on a military post of Hamas, the Islamic militant group, in Rafah, which is on Gaza’s border with Egypt. In a home nearby, a baby was hit in the head by fragments, though medics said the injury was slight.

How the Arabs Turned Shame Into Liberty
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fouad Ajami - (Opinion) February 26, 2011 - 1:00am

PERHAPS this Arab Revolution of 2011 had a scent for the geography of grief and cruelty. It erupted in Tunisia, made its way eastward to Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain, then doubled back to Libya. In Tunisia and Egypt political freedom seems to have prevailed, with relative ease, amid popular joy. Back in Libya, the counterrevolution made its stand, and a despot bereft of mercy declared war against his own people.

An old Jerusalem road gets a high-tech makeover
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - February 27, 2011 - 1:00am

Jaffa Road has witnessed empires come and go, watched camel caravans give way to stagecoaches and automobiles, seen pilgrims and pioneers, businessmen and bombers. Now change is coming once again to the iconic Jerusalem route. Supplemented by a network of designated buses and pedestrian malls, a new light-rail train along the city's main thoroughfare will "revolutionize transportation and the city too," said Nadav Meroz, acting director of the Jerusalem Transportation Master Plan.

Israeli artillery fire injures 1 in Rafah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 28, 2011 - 1:00am

At least one man was injured Monday, medics told Ma'an, in what witnesses near the Gaza International Airport said was a volley of artillery fire from an Israeli tank operating near the Rafah border area. Medics said teams were dispatched to the area to evacuate the wounded, while witnesses said ambulances were seen arriving at the airport, following the firing of several shells.

Fatah sets new standards for cabinet selection
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 28, 2011 - 1:00am

The Fatah party's top governing body announced Sunday that it had set standards for the selection of cabinet ministers as freshly appointed Prime Minister Salam Fayyad continues consultations ahead of announcing a new line-up. While the Fatah party holds power in the West Bank, it has no jurisdiction over policy, and it remains unclear to what extent the announced standards will be adopted by Fayyad, an independent, who was tasked by Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas to form a new Palestinian Authority cabinet.

Hamas quashes small pro-unity rally in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
February 28, 2011 - 1:00am

A Hamas security man surveyed the scene on Monday -- 10 activists drawn by a Facebook page invitation to a Gaza rally for Palestinian unity. "Where's the revolution?" he asked with a note of sarcasm. Within minutes, security forces of the enclave's ruling Islamist movement moved into Gaza's main square. Witnesses said one of the security men punched the organiser of the rally and the other nine protesters obeyed orders to disperse.

Israel's Barak: Must look beyond risks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - February 28, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel's defense minister said Monday that his country would be ready to talk peace with Syria if Damascus were serious about doing so — a sharp departure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's go-slow approach to peacemaking while the Middle East is in turmoil . Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel must look beyond the risks arising from the changes sweeping the Middle East, where longtime autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt have been toppled and the 42-year dictatorship of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi is under assault from opposition forces.

Israeli police arrest 8 settlers in violent clash over outpost
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 28, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli police and Jewish supporters of an unauthorized West Bank outpost clashed early Monday morning, as authorities moved in to demolish several structures in the small village. The Police arrested eight settlers, and Israel Radio and other media reported that 15 protesters were injured when authorities moved in to dismantle temporary structures at Gilad Farm, in northern West Bank.

Jordan FM stresses Palestinian statehood non-negotiable right for Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 28, 2011 - 1:00am

Jordanian foreign minister said on Sunday the Palestinian statehood is a non-negotiable right for the Palestinian people. In a joint press conference with Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh stressed that the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian soil with East Jerusalem as its capital is a non-negotiable right. The Jordanian foreign minister said that developments in the Middle East must not divert attention away from the Palestinian issue, which is a central issue in the region.

PLO opposes sharing power with Hamas as it controls Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 28, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) would oppose a plan by prime minister-designate to include Hamas in a united government while keeping its rule in Gaza, a PLO official said Sunday. "So far, the Executive Committee of the PLO did not discuss Salam Fayyad's initiative," said Wassel Abu Yousef, a member of the Executive Committee, "but the Palestinian people will not accept the continuation of the split or the formation of sort of confederation between Gaza and the West Bank."

Netanyahu is exploiting anxiety over instability to stave off peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) February 28, 2011 - 1:00am

In a childish response two weeks ago to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goaded, "whoever is in a bunker should stay there." Speaking on the Knesset rostrum a few days later, Netanyahu invited the citizens of Israel to join him in his bunker. The prime minister spoke of the missiles fired by Hamas from Gaza, reprimanded the fools who forced the settlers to leave their Gush Katif bunkers, and peppered his remarks with references to the Iranian threat.

Netanyahu wary of new international efforts in peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 27, 2011 - 1:00am

Four days before Mideast Quartet officials are planned to meet Israeli and Palestinian representatives, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still hasn't decided whether or not he will be sending his adviser and peace-talks representative Yitzhak Molcho. The forum of seven senior ministers will be meeting this Tuesday to reach a decision on the matter. Over the weekend, the United Nations envoy to the Middle East, Robert Serry, announced that Quartet representatives would hold separate meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials later in the week in Brussels.

Palestinians Turn to Computer Technology to Avoid Israeli Roadblocks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Arieh O'Sullivan - February 27, 2011 - 1:00am

Adopting an attitude of “If you can’t beat’em, go around’em,” Palestinian computer programmers have developed a simple text-messaging system to help cope with surprise or crowded checkpoints set up by the Israeli army across the West Bank. Called “Ezma,” or Arabic for traffic, the program is sustained on a user-fed databank that ferries it to subscribers, much like a traffic monitoring system in other countries.

At J Street Conference, Israeli Politicians Are Scarce
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - February 27, 2011 - 1:00am

Although relations between J Street and the Israeli government had thawed in the past year, the group’s recent refusal to denounce a U.N. resolution condemning Israel’s settlement policy has soured relations once again. J Street’s second annual conference is, therefore, taking place without any official representatives of the Israeli government in attendance.

An Appeal to My Muslim Friends
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Eric Yoffie - (Opinion) February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

I need your help and your reassurance. This is, I know, a time of great uncertainty in large stretches of the Muslim world. The Middle East is in turmoil. Dictators have been toppled, others cling desperately to power, and demonstrators fill the streets and the squares of the Arab world to demand freedom.

Shame on Obama and the US
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Abdel-Moneim Said - (Opinion) February 26, 2011 - 1:00am

The US veto of the Security Council draft resolution to condemn Israeli settlement construction is a disgrace on the part of President Barack Obama and the United States. This ignominy will forever remain in the history books, and the voting records of the UN Security Council. The veto is shameful firstly because the US, by using its veto power, has adopted a stance in opposition to the entire world.

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