Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Hussein Ibish argues that the "Arab street" is both a pernicious myth and a dynamic reality that bears no resemblance to the bogeyman of the Western imagination. Relatives say Israel is secretly holding a Palestinian man from Gaza. PM Netanyahu is under heavy political pressure. Israeli Amb. Oren says his country welcomes Arab democracy. Uri Dromi says Israel needs a new leadership for peace. A Gaza crossing is still closed due to a transport strike as Hamas urges Egypt to ease movement of people. Netanyahu's new adviser could be a sign of change. Netanyahu requests a meeting with Pres. Obama. Hamas may be planning to resume operations in the West Bank. Israeli leftists plan a new settlement. Bedouins reject compensation from the Israeli government. Larry Derfner takes another look at pro-Israel arguments. A former Mossad chief doubts a deal between Israel and the Palestinians is possible. Israel may soon have its first museum of Arab culture and art. A Knesset committee will investigate the activities of J Street. Ahmad Majdoubeh says Israel may face Palestinian protests. The Jordan Times denounces Netanyahu's position on the Jordan Valley. Aaron David Miller says there may be a flurry of peace process activity coming up, but prospects of success bleak.

The Myth of the Arab Street
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bookforum.com
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) March 11, 2011 - 1:00am

With the recent wave of popular uprisings in the Middle East, Western observers have had the chance to face up to an important realization: that the oldest of clichés about Middle Eastern politics, "the Arab street," is both a pernicious myth and a dynamic reality. For decades, Orientalist stereotypes about Arab culture and attitudes imbued this so-called street—a crude and monolithic metaphor for Arab public opinion and popular political sentiment—with almost uniformly negative connotations, which would then segue into dire warnings about the consequences of its eruption.

Israel Holds Gaza Engineer, Relatives Say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram - March 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Relatives of an engineer from Gaza who disappeared last month in Ukraine said Thursday that he had been kidnapped by Mossad agents and transferred to an Israeli prison. The engineer, Derar Abu Sisi, is the operating manager of the only power plant in Gaza, the Palestinian enclave that is controlled by Hamas, the Islamic militant group. He is married to a Ukrainian woman and was in the country applying for citizenship, relatives said.

Netanyahu faces test of political survival skills
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - March 11, 2011 - 1:00am

In a country where most prime ministers lose power after about three years, Benjamin Netanyahu's political survival skills have impressed many. Heading a fractious coalition, he has stood up to American pressure to halt West Bank settlements, diverted blame for collapsed peace talks and deftly navigated challenges from his right flank. But though his coalition is viewed as stable for now, the Israeli leader, nearing the two-year mark, is starting to show signs of vulnerability.

Envoy: Israel welcomes Mideast democratization
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Ben Birnbaum - March 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel’s ambassador to the United States offered a welcoming hand to democracy movements in the Middle East on Tuesday, after weeks in which senior Israeli officials fretted that Egypt’s revolution could produce another Islamic republic. “I want to say here unequivocally - unequivocally, categorically - that Israel welcomes the democratization process in the Middle East, that if democracies arise in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere, we will be the first to embrace them,” Ambassador Michael Oren said.

Israel needs new type of leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Miami Herald
by Uri Dromi - March 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Pressure is growing on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a move on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The Israeli press, world media and heads of states are prodding him to jump-start the failed negotiations. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israel’s best friend in Europe, said some solid words in his ears when they spoke recently. One Israeli diplomat, Ambassador Ilan Baruch, even resigned because of the lack of diplomatic progress.

Gaza crossing still shut amid transport strike
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 10, 2011 - 1:00am

A transport workers strike as kept Gaza's Kerem Shalom crossing for a fifth day Thursday, as truck drivers take the wheel of a protest demanding an end to the closure of Gaza's only bulk goods crossing, announced the week before. The strikers were demanding that the PA retract its agreement on the closure of the bulk goods crossing, saying the new arrangements would mean not only a reduced flow of goods into Gaza, but also increased risk to drivers making the trek from the southenmost tip of Gaza to the northern population center of Gaza City over what drivers say are dangerous roads.

Amidror appointment could signal change by Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Adam Gonn - March 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday that he had decided to appoint Major General Yaakov Amidror to head the National Security Council following the resignation of the current head Dr. Uzi Arad. Amidror has served as head of research for the Military Intelligence branch of the Israeli army and until recently served as vice president of the Lander Institute in Jerusalem.

Hamas urges Egypt to ease movement of Gazans through Rafah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Gaza's Hamas on Thursday urged Egypt to ease the movement of Palestinians to Egypt through the Rafah crossing point. In a letter to Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Prime Minister Ismail Haneya of the deposed Hamas government said that Egyptian authorities at Rafah prevent some Gazans from leaving the Gaza Strip. Earlier this week, Egypt's ambassador to the Palestinian territories Yasser Othman said that Egyptian officials are considering a package of steps to facilitate the situation in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas planning to resume efforts against IDF in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Blog) March 11, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas militants in the West Bank have resumed their efforts to kill Israeli soldiers or civilians and abduct their bodies, Palestinian and Israeli security sources have told Haaretz. The sources said Hamas activists believe they cannot keep Israeli hostages out of the Shin Bet and Palestinian Authority's reach for long. So they plan to kill them, abduct and bury the bodies, then negotiate returning them to Israel.

Left-leaning youth movement to initiate new West Bank settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gili Cohen - March 11, 2011 - 1:00am

The left-leaning Bnei Hamoshavim youth movement is planning to build a new settlement for its graduates in the Jordan Valley, Army Radio reported on Thursday. At a meeting between the movement's secretary general, Eyal Uzon, and the head of the Jordan Valley regional council, David Alhiani, himself a Bnei Hamoshavim graduate, the movement was offered the abandoned Gadi military base, near Moshav Mesua, which is beyond the Green Line.

Bedouin reject compensation offer, accusing Israel of land grab
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zafrir Rinat - March 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israeli government is trying to wedge a divide within the Bedouin community in the Negev in order to seize its lands, Bedouin representatives said on Thursday, in response to a reported government initiative to settle the issue of unrecognized Bedouin settlements in southern Israel.

Rattling The Cage: More tips for information warriors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) March 9, 2011 - 1:00am

In the week since you received the first sheet of talking points, the matzav – the situation, meaning Israel’s situation with the Arabs and the goyim at large – has become more urgent than ever. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he is preparing a plan that will bring peace with the Palestinians, yet he was left off the cover of Time magazine. Defense Minister Ehud Barak asked the US for $20 billion in additional military aid, yet the money has not arrived.

Halevy doubts chance of final deal with Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Greer Fay Cashman - March 11, 2011 - 1:00am

Ex-Mossad head: Interim agreement would be most workable; says, "To end conflict, we need to bring an end to mutual demands on both sides." The most feasible peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would involve interim borders, and though a final peace treaty would be desirable, it is unlikely that one could be implemented, former Mossad chief and national security adviser Efraim Halevy told reporters on Thursday.

Israel to get first museum of Arab art and culture
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - (Blog) March 10, 2011 - 1:00am

In a spring storm of driving rain this week, I visited an art gallery in Umm al-Fahm, an Israeli-Arab city just north of the West Bank. Sitting on a mountain ridge, the town is home to around 50,000 Arab citizens of Israel and its gallery is the only venue in Israel dedicated to Palestinian and Arab art and culture.

Knesset committee to discuss J Street
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
March 10, 2011 - 1:00am

An Israeli Knesset committee will hold a hearing on the activities of J Street. The Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Public Diplomacy Committee said Wednesday that the hearing on J Street, which calls itself a "pro-Israel, pro-peace" organization, will be held as soon as next week. Americans for Peace Now said it was outraged by the hearing.

When is Israel’s turn?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Ahmad Majdoubeh - (Opinion) March 11, 2011 - 1:00am

The recent popular uprisings and demonstrations in a number of Arab countries, largely motivated by desire for more freedom and better economic conditions, have already achieved many tangible results, despite the various complications they are encountering.

Unhelpful posturing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) March 11, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear his country’s belligerent position when he confirmed that Israel will deploy troops along the Jordan River no matter what, even if there are successful peace negotiations and a Palestinian state comes into being. Such a declaration is also meant to dash all hopes for peace, not only with the Palestinians but with its other neighbours as well.

2011: The Year of the (Bad) Initiative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) March 11, 2011 - 1:00am

This is going to be a great year for Middle East peace initiatives, but likely a very bad one for Middle East peace.

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