Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinians ask for international protection against Israeli settlers. A Palestinian kidnapped by Israel describes his ordeal. Sarah Palin visits Jerusalem, but not Bethlehem. 21 Palestinians, including at least seven children, are injured in Israeli air strikes on Gaza. Settlers open fire on a Palestinian funeral procession. Israeli forces reenter a Palestinian village in the West Bank. Israel evacuates a building in occupied East Jerusalem claimed by Russia. A UN official accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing.” Hamas again objects to UN schools in Gaza teaching the Holocaust. Hamas vows to restore order in Gaza, and end attacks on Israel. The Israeli military is investigating left-wing NGOs. Ha’aretz says new legislation threatens both Arabs and Israeli democracy. Akiva Eldar says US actions in Libya make Palestinian statehood more likely. Gershon Baskin says that Pres. Abbas has once again proven he is a man of peace. The UN says both sides need to do more to comply with the Goldstone report. Jesse Rothman and Logan Bayroff explain why they support J Street. Gazans seek to join the “Arab Spring.” Israel begins a diplomatic offensive in Latin America.

WEST BANK: Palestinians ask for international protection citing rise in attacks by Israeli settlers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - (Blog) March 21, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority asked for international protection Monday citing a sharp rise in Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. The call came after three Israelis from the Havat Maon settlement allegedly stabbed and seriously injured 33-year-old Mahmud Ibrahim Awad of Khirbat Tuba, a tiny village south of the West Bank city of Hebron, as he was walking home Monday morning. Awad was stabbed in the head, chest and arm.

WEST BANK: Palestinian who went missing in Ukraine describes abduction by Mossad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - (Blog) March 21, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian who went missing last month in Ukraine after boarding a train in Kharko headed to Kiev, was kidnapped by agents of Mossad, the Israeli spy agency and brought to Israel against his will, according to a report published Monday by the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights. The report says one of its lawyers was able to visit Derar abu Sisi, 42, in his Israeli prison cell, and learn the truth behind the Gaza resident's sudden disappearance.

Palin visits Jerusalem, reaching out to Israel's right
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - March 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Following a path tread by many a US presidential hopeful, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is making her first visit to Israel. Today, she toured the Old City of Jerusalem wearing a Star of David necklace before arriving at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence for a private dinner. Though the visit is being described as private, Ms. Palin's three-day stop on the way home from India could both burnish her thin foreign policy credentials and curry favor with Jewish and evangelical constituencies back home.

Israeli artillery, strike injure 2 east of Gaza City
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli artillery fire and a drone strike injured two Palestinians Tuesday in separate incidents east of Gaza City, after a night of heavy shelling on the Strip that injured 18. Shortly before 10 a.m. artillery fire injured one man in the Ash-Shuja'iyya neighborhood, just after witnesses reported Israeli vehicles penetrating the Gaza Strip in the area.

Settler opens fire on funeral procession
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Two Palestinians were shot Monday afternoon when a settler disembarked from his car on the Jerusalem-Hebron road and opened fire on a funeral procession heading to the Beit Ummar cemetery. Medics said two were injured in the shooting, including 59-year-old Muhammad Ali Abu Safiyya who was in critical condition after being shot in the chest, and 32-year-old Bassam Zaq’aqiq, who was shot in his right thigh. Both were evacuated to hospital.

Israeli forces re-enter Awarta
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli forces re-entered the northern West Bank village of Awarta at sunrise Tuesday, announcing via loudspeaker that the community was under curfew the for a second time this month. The village had been under a military curfew from March 12-16 as Israeli police, military and intelligence forces searched the area for evidence relating to the murder of five settlers in the adjacent illegal settlement Itamar.

Israeli air strikes wound 19 in Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal al-Mughrabi - March 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel launched air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Monday, wounding at least 19 people, after militants fired mortar shells and rockets into the Jewish state, witnesses and militant groups said. The number of raids and casualties in one evening showed the rising tension between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza. Hamas has stepped up rocket salvoes into Israel after a hiatus since the two sides fought a war two years ago, claiming responsibility for firing more than two dozen mortar shells and rockets at the weekend.

Israel vacates Jerusalem building claimed by Russia
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel on Monday began vacating the premises of a Russian landmark in Jerusalem, an official said, in an apparent goodwill gesture ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit this week to Moscow. The two countries had decided several years ago that the historic 19th century stone-hewn building near the Old City, would be handed over to Russia, but there were delays in implementation.

Israel engaged in ethnic cleansing -UN investigator
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's expansion of Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem and eviction of Palestinians from their homes there is a form of ethnic cleansing, a United Nations investigator said on Monday. U.S. academic Richard Falk was speaking to the U.N. Human Rights Council as it prepared to pass resolutions condemning Israeli behaviour on territory it has occupied since 1967.

Hamas protests UN plans to teach Holocaust in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak - March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

The United Nations has launched a new plan to teach the Holocaust in Gaza schools, drawing fierce condemnation from Gaza's militant Hamas rulers, school teachers — and even the body tasked with peace negotiations with Israel. If implemented, it would be the first time most Palestinian children learn about Jewish suffering. But the outcry underscores how sensitive the issue is to Palestinians.

Hamas vows to restore calm with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

The deposed government of Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, and its armed wing al- Qassam Brigades vowed Monday to restore calm with Israel. Hamas government said in a short press statement sent to reporters that "it still respects the national factional accordance over the security situation to foil the Israeli occupation plans to overcome its crisis on the expense of our blood." Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida said in another statement that if the "enemy" commits not to escalate but to end the aggression, "we will be committed to calm too."

Israeli army to track anti-Israel groups in Palestinian territories, abroad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 21, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli army's Military Intelligence (MI) Directorate, or Aman, has begun an effort to collect data on left-wing organizations operating in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and abroad. The decision to increase resources and personnel for monitoring and battling attempts by pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli groups to delegitimize Israel, according to military sources, comes as a "result of the rising complexity and intensity of this threat."

A blow to Israeli Arabs and to democracy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Two or three bills are to be voted on by the Knesset today on second and third reading, each of which is inappropriate in its own right. Taken together, however, just prior to the Knesset's spring recess, they represent a discordant and worrying summation of the current Knesset session. The so-called Nakba Law has deliberately vague wording. It would bar entities receiving public funding from organizing or themselves funding any activity "which would entail undermining the foundations of the state and contradict its values."

After Libya, Obama will have hard time thwarting Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

The attack by the allies on Muammar Gadhafi's forces, with the Arab League's encouragement, should be reminding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Western-Arab attack on Iraq at the beginning of 1991. The price tag the Arabs showed the (Republican) American president, George Bush the elder, for their support in the war against a member of the Arab league was the dragging of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to an international peace conference in Madrid. Bush demanded of Shamir that he choose between expanding the settlements in the territories and a reduction in American aid.

Air Force strikes in Gaza; 'children hurt'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian sources in Gaza said Israeli aircraft bombed a number of targets in the Hamas-ruled territory late Monday night. At least 17 people, among them seven children and two women, were injured in the air raids, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Adham Abu Salmia said. The IDF has yet to confirm or deny the report.

Encountering Peace: Abbas, man of peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) March 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Abbas faced the Israeli nation on Saturday evening on Channel 2’s Meet the Press and answered every question Israelis have regarding the seriousness of the Palestinians regarding peace. To me, it is quite amazing that none of the Israeli newspapers wrote anything about the interview on Sunday morning. I am quite sure that if Abbas had spoken against peace it would have made headlines. If Abbas did not say he wanted to reach a full comprehensive agreement that would end the conflict and end all historic claims, as he did, it would have made news.

UN: Both sides need to do more to comply with Goldstone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jordana Horn, Tovah Lazaroff - March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians has made significant progress in investigating claims of war crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead, said a United Nations committee in Geneva on Monday. The committee was addressing the 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which on Monday debated a report on Israeli and Palestinian compliance with the 2009 conclusions of the UN fact finding mission led by South African judge Richard Goldstone. The Goldstone panel looked into Israel’s military activity during Cast Lead and accused both Israel and the Palestinians of war crimes.

Why J Street speaks to us
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Logan Bayroff, Jesse Rothman - (Opinion) March 21, 2011 - 12:00am

On the heels of J Street’s Second National Conference, there have been a series of predictable – but still saddening – verbal and written attacks from the Right. Given these attacks, it would be reasonable to ask: Why did 500 students – a great number of whom, like us, grew up in youth movements, Jewish summer camps, are active in our Hillels and hang Israeli flags on our dorm room walls – travel to Washington to participate? Here’s why: because we’re tired of the relationship we were told we had to have with Israel. And we’re forging a new one.

Gaza Strip residents seek to join the 'Arab spring'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jon Donnison - March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

A friend of mine's cat recently leapt from the tenth floor of a tower block in Gaza City, yet emerged with just a few grazes and a bit of a limp. It was a Gazan cat, I was told. On Saturday afternoon, I witnessed toughness and resilience shown by two young Gazan women who had been trying to demonstrate in one of the main squares in Gaza city. They were part of a small protest calling for political unity between Hamas, who are in power in Gaza, and Fatah, who run parts of the West Bank.

Bethlehem a step too far for Palin's Israel visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Catrina Stewart - March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Sarah Palin, the US former vice presidential candidate, yesterday appeared to make an aborted trip to Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, when her vehicle approached an Israeli checkpoint before turning back.

Israel US woo Latin America after neglect leads to tilt away
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - March 21, 2011 - 12:00am

The United States and Israel appear to be heading toward increasing their focus on the area following years of neglect that has resulted in closer ties between Latin America and Iran -- and gains for the Palestinians. The shift comes amid Iran’s deepening influence in the region, as well as the successes of a Palestinian diplomatic offensive that has seen eight Latin American nations agree to recognize a Palestinian “state” in recent months.

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