Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinians try to create a “Facebook revolution.” Dashiell Shapiro says Egypt should resume responsibility for Gaza. Hamas urges Gaza students not to study the Holocaust. Israel tests another advanced weapon. Israel permits tomato exports from Gaza. Israel may seek an interim agreement with the Palestinians. Israel plans more settlement units in occupied East Jerusalem. Israel says settler evacuations are not a new policy. Pres. Abbas urges the Quartet to launch a “meaningful” peace process. Hamas again demands reform of the PLO. Ha’aretz says to keep Israel Jewish, settlements must be frozen. Aluf Benn says PM Netanyahu lacks international credibility. A veteran Israeli diplomat says both the PM and the FM are harming Israel’s international standing. Israeli rightists march in Jaffa. Eitan Haber says Israel needs peace with Syria. Jehan Sadat says the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty is not in danger. Settlers accuse Netanyahu of imposing a de facto settlement freeze. J Street leaders say being pro-Palestinian is being pro-Israel. Hussein Ibish is interviewed on Palestinian state building.

Palestinians try to create 'Facebook revolution'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - March 1, 2011 - 1:00am

The mass demonstrations sweeping the Middle East are touching the Palestinian territories, where West Bank and Gaza Strip activists are trying to organize their own "Facebook revolutions." The Palestinian activists are inspired by the calls for democracy that toppled autocratic leaders in Egypt and Tunisia and threaten longtime rulers in Libya and Bahrain.

Return Gaza to Egypt: It will help Israel – and the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Dashiell Shapiro - (Editorial) March 1, 2011 - 1:00am

The departure of Hosni Mubarak generates fear in Western capitals, and for good reasons. Egypt has been a steadfast ally of the West for decades, as it maintained peace with Israel and worked against Iranian influence in the region. Many Western leaders are frightened to realize that all this may evaporate if anti-Western forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood, gain power in a new government. But a new reality in Egypt may also present opportunities for peacemaking in the region that would have been unthinkable only weeks ago.

Hamas govt urges children not to study Holocaust
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Gaza government officials on Tuesday urged school children to leave classrooms if human rights lessons included information about the Holocaust. The Hamas-led government said it would do everything it could to prevent children being taught about the Holocaust in UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip. It accused the UN agency of overstepping its humanitarian and relief role. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness explained that human rights education has been part of the agency's curriculum in schools across the region since 2002. In Gaza, the agency runs 228 schools, educating over 200,000 children.

Israel army tests advanced tank weapon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 2, 2011 - 1:00am

A state-of-the-art anti-rocket system designed to protect tanks had its baptism of fire on Tuesday as Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian gunmen on the Gaza border, the army said. The military said an Israeli tank on border patrol was attacked by an anti-tank missile, but used the new equipment to neutralize the attack and did not return fire.

Israel eases Gaza blockade, permits tomato exports
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - March 2, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel further eased its blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Wednesday by permitting a first truckload of cherry tomatoes destined for Europe to pass through their common frontier, officials said. Raed Fattouh, a liaison coordinator with Israel, said the truck had passed through a main crossing and its produce was to be shipped to Europe. Israel's Defence Ministry had said on Sunday the shipment was to go through with the produce scheduled to be sent to Europe, in coordination with the Dutch government.

Israel might seek interim Palestinian peace deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Maayan Lubell - March 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel is considering pursuing an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians, a senior official said on Tuesday, signalling the government might abandon efforts to secure a single, comprehensive accord. The official, who declined to be named, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might seek a "phased path" towards a permanent deal rather than a treaty that resolved all the core issues as envisaged by the United States and European allies. "Obviously Israel would prefer a final-status agreement but the consistent Palestinian refusal makes that difficult," the official said.

Housing for Jews approved in east Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - March 2, 2011 - 1:00am

Jerusalem officials approved new housing for Jews in the heart of an Arab neighborhood, officials said Wednesday, infuriating Palestinians who see the growing Jewish presence in the city's war-won eastern sector as undermining their aspirations to statehood. The approval further complicates efforts to restart deadlocked negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The municipality said the plan to build 14 apartments in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood met all the necessary conditions for approval.

Settlement evacuation not a sign of Israeli new policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Adam Gonn - March 2, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday told a member of his Likud party that Israel cannot ignore world pressure over its construction of settlements in the West Bank. Netanyahu said his government is trying to maintain the current pace of building, but Israel now faces a new international reality. The comments were made one week after the United States used its veto in the UN Security Council to block a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank, while the 14 other members of the council voted in favor.

Abbas wants Quartet to launch "meaningful" peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday called on the European Union (EU) to urge the Quartet of Middle East peace players to launch a "meaningful" peace process. Abbas made his remarks after his meeting with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Hamas demands PLO reform ahead of reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas said on Tuesday that achieving national reconciliation requires the reform of Palestine Liberation Organization. "Any speech on reconciliation is useless without the reform of the PLO and the Palestinian National Council," said Yousef Rizka, an aide to Hamas leader Ismail Haneya in Gaza. He called on the heads of PLO's factions to start the reform immediately. Hamas is not represented in the PLO, which is dominated by the Fatah party of Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Keep Israel Jewish, freeze settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) March 2, 2011 - 1:00am

As might have been expected, the government's decision to inform the Supreme Court of its intention to immediately demolish all unauthorized settler outposts on privately-owned Palestinian land (except for the home of the late Maj. Eliraz Peretz ) has aroused the rage of settlers and their patrons in the Knesset. The right wing has learned that in most cases a combination of violent demonstrations and political pressure is enough to turn such decisions into requests that the Supreme Court instead allow the outposts to remain, and to continue to turn a blind eye to their expansion.

Netanyahu lacks credibility in the eyes of world leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Opinion) March 2, 2011 - 1:00am

Two years after returning to power, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is enmeshed in a web of onerous constraints and seeking a way out. Polls show his popularity plunging, and his Likud party's brand has been squeezed between Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu.

Veteran Israeli diplomat: Netanyahu and Lieberman harm Israel's international standing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - March 2, 2011 - 1:00am

The diplomatic policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are harming Israel's international standing, a senior Israeli diplomat said in his retiring letter on Tuesday, adding that he felt Israel's declared stance regarding regional peace attempts was aiding in its own delegitimization.

Rightists march in Jaffa
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yoav Zitun - March 2, 2011 - 1:00am

Traffic was halted on one of Jaffa's main streets Wednesday morning as 60 right-wing activists prepared to march in protest against "the Islamic Movement's operations in the city" and "the Islamic takeover". Large police forces were deployed to prevent clashes with residents. As the marchers proceeded down the street residents called out, "racists go home" and some clashes broke out. Police detained 16 left-wing activists for questioning after an officer was lightly injured in the clashes.

Peace now, with Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Eitan Haber - (Opinion) March 1, 2011 - 1:00am

One needs to be nuts in order to endorse peace negotiations with Syria at this time, no? Today, with turmoil all around us, as Egypt burns, Libya is in flames, and the same is happening in Yemen, Oman, and Bahrain? Right now? After all, what’s so wrong with the quiet that prevails on the Syrian border? For 37 years now there have been no clashes with the Syrian army on the Golan Heights. No casualties were reported and their soldiers (or so we believe) are terrified in their own bunkers, fearing the rush of Israeli tanks into Syria. So why now of all times?

Jehan Sadat: Egypt-Israel peace treaty not in danger at all
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
March 1, 2011 - 1:00am

The peace treaty between Israel and Egypt is not in danger and all opposition groups said they will respect international treaties, said Jehan Sadat Tuesday night in an interview with Channel 10 News. Jehan, the widow of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat who signed the peace treaty with Israel in 1979, said she does not think there will be any changes made to the treaty and that "the people will not let there be any changes."

Settlers accusing Netanyahu gov’t of imposing silent building freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - February 28, 2011 - 1:00am

Although the 10-month moratorium on building in Jewish settlements in the West Bank was lifted last September, settler leaders complain that no construction is being allowed in the large urban areas and warn that a de facto freeze on all Jewish building in the West Bank is looming. The settler leaders maintain that the Netanyahu administration is refusing to publish new tenders and that all current building is based on a limited number of permits issued years ago by previous governments.

For J Streeters, pro-Palestinian is pro-Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Uriel Heilman - March 1, 2011 - 1:00am

The detractors of J Street, the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobbying organization, like to portray the organization's leader, Jeremy Ben-Ami, as so far to the left of mainstream American Jewish opinion as to be out of bounds. If they think Ben-Ami is too much of a lefty on Israel, just wait till they meet J Street's rank and file.

Realism and State Building in Palestine: Interview with Hussein Ibish
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Prospect
by Charles de la Cruz - (Interview) March 2, 2011 - 1:00am

As another decade is added to the over half-century of conflict in Israel and Palestine, optimism continues to be crushed under the weight of time. The breakdown of direct negotiations last September that resulted from Israel’s refusal to continue the freeze on settlements only made the future bleaker. No matter what side of the issue one sits on, it is clear that the approaches of both sides have failed to produce real solutions. New ideas and approaches are necessary if the conflict is going to be resolved in the foreseeable future.

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