Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinian leaders agree to meet in Gaza, and independent figures prepare to receive Pres. Abbas. Egypt resumes natural gas exports to Israel. Daoud Kuttab says the murder of settlers is unacceptable and that it remains to be seen if popular protests for Palestinian unity will have any lasting impact. A Palestinian man is attacked inside a settlement. The Israeli military renews orders to forcibly keep Gazans away from the border. Jordan says settlements threaten peace. Gaza NGOs call on Hamas to investigate attacks on peaceful national unity rallies, in which at least one person was killed. Ari Shavit says settlements are Israel's nuclear meltdown. Some residents of occupied East Jerusalem will no longer pay local taxes. A new initiative seeks to use Israeli flight attendants for public diplomacy. D. Bloomfield says PM Netanyahu is presiding over terrible PR. Larry Derfner says to prevent future atrocities, Palestinians must loose their victim mentality. Settlers vow to never leave the occupied territories. Sec. Clinton says Egypt will maintain its peace treaty with Israel. JJ Goldberg says the murder of the settler family shows the urgency, not the futility, of Israel working with the Palestinians. George Hishmeh says Israel may need a change of leadership.

Rival Leaders Agree to Hold Gaza Meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - March 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The rival Palestinian leaderships of the West Bank and Gaza appeared to be taking practical steps on Wednesday toward ending their schism, in a rare response to public pressure for national unity after years of deep division. The new talk of unity came as Israel displayed weaponry it seized after intercepting a merchant ship on Tuesday. Israeli leaders said the weapons, including six advanced antiship missiles, originated in Iran, were loaded aboard the ship in Syria and were bound for Gaza.

Egypt resumes natural gas flow to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - March 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Egypt resumed natural gas shipments to Israel on Wednesday for the first time since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak. But many here remain worried about the long-term prospects for the $2.5-billion export deal, which when signed in 2005 was touted as an indication of warming bilateral relations, but could soon turn into an uncomfortable diplomatic dispute with Egypt's new government.

Independents pave way for Abbas in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 17, 2011 - 12:00am

A group of independent Palestinian political figures announced Thursday that preparations were going forward to receive President Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza for what could be the turning point in Palestinian unity efforts. Coalition leader Yasser Al-Wadieh said urgent consultations had been made to prepare the ground for Abbas' arrival, though officials in Ramallah have yet to confirm a date for the trip.

Killings in Itamar not acceptable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) March 17, 2011 - 12:00am

The brutal and inhumane killings of the Fogel family in Itamar is unacceptable and indefensible. No matter what anyone might say about the illegality of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, murder is murder and murder of civilians irrespective of the circumstances must be denounced and rejected at all levels. Palestinians do want an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza. Jewish settlement activity is a major hurdle to Palestinian national aspirations. But all Palestinians fighting for freedom and independence should denounce this barbaric act against an Israeli family.

Palestinian man attacked in Israeli settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
March 17, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian man says he was attacked by masked men inside a Jewish West Bank settlement. Palestinian laborer Sami Snobar says at least eight Hebrew-speaking men approached him at a construction site where he was working Thursday and asked him what he was doing there. He says he was hit on the head and body with a construction tool and a cinder block, and also sprayed. Snobar spoke from a Palestinian hospital. The incident took place in the Shiloh settlement.

Israeli army renews order to distance Gazans from border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 17, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli army on Thursday renewed warning to the Palestinian residents in the Gaza Strip to stay away from northern and eastern borders with Israel. The warning was carried by hundreds of flyers Israeli airplanes dropped in the coastal enclave, especially in areas near the borders, residents said. The Palestinians have to stay 300 meters away from the security fence, the flyers read. "Anybody approaching puts himself in danger, as the Israeli Defense Forces will take the necessary procedures to distance him, including opening fire when necessary. "

Jordan says Israeli settlements threaten Mideast peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Jordan's foreign minister said Wednesday that demographic and geographic changes in the Palestinian territories resulting from Israeli settlement activities have threatened the Middle East peace process, the state-run Petra news agency reported. During his meeting with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry, Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said the unilateral Israeli measures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal.

Gaza groups call on Hamas to probe attacks on peaceful rallies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Gaza-based rights groups on Wednesday called on Islamic Hamas movement's government that rules the Gaza Strip to probe its police's violent attacks against peaceful rallies in Gaza on Tuesday. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank had witnessed on Tuesday massive popular rallies that called on Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas Fatah party to end their internal division and reach a reconciliation agreement.

West Bank settlements are Israel's nuclear meltdown
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Opinion) March 17, 2011 - 12:00am

On quite a few occasions this week, my mobile phone vibrated with text messages from the settlers' lobby, Yesha. Once it was a quote from Minister Gideon Sa'ar (we must resume construction in Judea and Samaria ). Another time it was a quote from Minister Gilad Erdan (stop holding up the construction tenders in Judea and Samaria ). The third time it was a quote from MK Zeev Elkin (it's time to build cities in Judea and Samaria ). The fourth time it was a quote from MK Yariv Levin (I demand the cabinet and Minister Barak approve construction in Judea and Samaria cities at once! ).

Report: East Jerusalem residents exempted from municipal taxes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
March 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Jerusalem city officials have notified East Jerusalem residents living beyond the separation fence that they are no longer required to pay municipal taxes, the official Palestinian news agency reported on Thursday. Citing a report by the rights group Center for Social and Economic Rights, the Wafa Palestinian news agency said that the city of Jerusalem were notified residents of these areas that they do not have to pay municipal taxes, known as arnona tax, after years of paying it.

Israeli flight attendants turn diplomats
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - March 16, 2011 - 12:00am

A new joint initiative between the Foreign Ministry and El Al will place flight attendants at the forefront of Israeli diplomacy. They flight attendants will undertake PR assignments which will, among other places, include university campuses around the world. As part of the project, dozens of attendants will undergo a series of interviews and training program in Public Diplomacy ahead of their participation in the project, which will see them taking advantage of their stay abroad for PR missions.

Washington Watch: Two can play the incitement game
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by D. Bloomfield - (Opinion) March 16, 2011 - 12:00am

You’ve got to hand it to Binyamin Netanyahu, who somehow managed to turn international outrage over the brutal massacre of a young Jewish family as they slept in their beds on Shabbat into widespread criticism of his aggressive settlement policy. The most frequent question I get in speaking to Jewish groups around the country is “why doesn’t Israel get better PR advice.” The answer is simple: The problem isn’t PR, it’s policy and the way it’s announced to the world.

Rattling the Cage: The Palestinian victim mentality
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) March 16, 2011 - 12:00am

The topic of the day-long conference was torture, and Palestinians were describing the horrific methods the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) used in prison to get information out of them. Photos and illustrations of these practices were shown on a screen. Human rights activists, Palestinian and Israeli, spoke at length and in detail about the routine use of torture against Palestinian prisoners.

Demonstrators, Security Forces Face Off in Gaza, Leaving One Dead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Omar Ghraieb - March 16, 2011 - 12:00am

In a move reminiscent of early days of revolution in Cairo and Tunis, Hamas unleashed its security forces over the last two days to disperse thousands of protesters gathered to urge unity between Hamas and Fatah and ensure they don’t launch new demonstrations. At least one person, Baha Al-Ejleh, was reported beaten to death on Wednesday and another 30 were injured in clashes at Gaza Strip’s Al-Azhar University.

West bank settlers: 'We're here to stay'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - (Blog) March 17, 2011 - 12:00am

On a windswept hilltop deep inside the West Bank, Noa Alvily contemplates her family's future with remarkable equanimity, unfazed by political decisions taken less than an hour's drive away in Jerusalem.

Clinton: Egypt will keep the peace with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
March 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Egypt's foreign policy will change, but it has an interest in sustaining its peace accords with Israel, Hillary Rodham Clinton said. "I think there will be different decisions" on foreign policy, the U.S. secretary of state told NPR on Wednesdaty after she toured Egypt. It was Clinton's first visit there since the revolution that ousted longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, who had maintained the Camp David accords with Israel.

Reckoning Wrongly in a Massacre’s Wake
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) March 16, 2011 - 12:00am

“A proper revenge for the blood of a little child/Satan has not yet devised.” So wrote the revered Hebrew poet Chaim Nachman Bialik in his searing poem “On the Slaughter” in April 1903, a few days after the bloody Kishinev pogrom. The two-day rampage by townspeople in the czarist regional capital had left the Jewish quarter a smoking ruin, and 49 Jews hacked or beaten to death, while the czar’s police stood and watched. Bialik’s poem captured the outraged, horrified feelings of Jews across Russia and around the world: “The world is my gallows/And we are the select few/My blood is cheap…”

Netanyahu's schemes won't work
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) March 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas took the right step in condemning in strong terms the massacre of a five-member Israeli family, including two children and an infant, living in an illegal Israeli colony in the West Bank. No one in his right mind would not abhor this callous event, whose perpetrators are still unknown. "A human being is not capable of something like that," Abbas told Israel Radio. "Scenes like these — the murder of infants and children and a woman slaughtered — cause any person endowed with humanity to hurt and to cry."

Wanting an end to the split
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - March 17, 2011 - 12:00am

March 15 marked the launch of yet another Arab youth movement, following those in Egypt on January 25 and in Libya on February 17. The aim of this youth-led movement appears simple: end the split between Gaza and the West Bank and between the PLO and Hamas. Popular uprisings are not new to Palestinians who introduced the term Intifada to the world in 1987. In fact many in Palestine feel that they broke the barrier of fear - a prerequisite for going out in the streets against brutal, violent crackdowns - long before the youth in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain.

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