Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Hussein Ibish says Israel and Hamas are again drifting towards a potentially disastrous conflict. A bomb attack on a Jerusalem bus station raises fears of renewed violence. Another Palestinian is injured in Israeli air raids on Gaza. Islamic Jihad complains as Palestinian police arrest two of its operatives in connection to the attack. Pres. Abbas and PM Fayyad strongly condemn the Jerusalem attack. Amid the violence, Defense Secretary Gates calls for peace. PM Netanyahu promises an “aggressive” response. Analysts say the violence is a grave risk to negotiations. Hamas says it seeks calm and stability in Gaza. Abbas will visit Egypt soon. Palestinians hold funerals for eight killed in Israeli attacks. Ha’aretz says another war is not the answer, and that Hamas was probably not responsible for the Jerusalem bombing. Ari Shavit says the occupation is making peace impossible. Analysts say Hamas could not win another war with Israel. Most Israelis don’t see J Street as a threat. Letty Cottin Pogrebin says settlers practice arrogance and apartheid in Hebron. Ephraim Sneh says peace must be permanent, not provisional. The National says Palestinians desperately need national unity talks. Daoud Kuttab says both Israel and Hamas are responsible for the escalation.

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

The spread of conflict and violence across the Middle East is dampening widespread hopes of an "Arab Spring" that followed the peaceful ousters of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia. Anti-government demonstrations in Bahrain have taken on an increasingly bitter sectarian character, especially with the military intervention of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and the uprising in Libya has degenerated into an all-out civil war compounded by an international no-fly zone intervention.

Jerusalem Blast Raises Fears of Growing Violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

A bomb exploded at a crowded bus stop near Jerusalem’s main bus station on Wednesday, killing one woman and wounding at least 24 other people. It was the worst attack in Jerusalem in four years, putting Israelis on alert, shattering years of relative calm here and prompting international condemnation. Paramedics and others aided the wounded Wednesday after an explosion at a crowded Jerusalem bus stop. One person was killed and at least 24 were wounded. Residents ran for cover Wednesday during a rocket attack on the Israeli city of Beersheba, about 25 miles southeast of Gaza.

Jerusalem bombing comes amid rising Israel-Gaza violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

The first Jerusalem bombing in years rocked a bus stop in the city center today, wounding more than 20. The explosion comes amid rising Israeli-Palestinian violence and speculation that another war with the Islamist militant group Hamas is inevitable. One Jerusalem resident who heard the explosion said it had been so long since the last attack that the bombing sounded like a crash from a nearby construction site.

Second wave of strikes injures 1 in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

A second Israeli airstrike Thursday morning hit a group of men beside a gas station in the northern Gaza Strip around 8:30 a.m., hours after a wave of strikes targeted sites across the coastal enclave. Spokesman of the higher committee of ambulance and emergency services Adham Abu Salmiya said the latest bombing targeted a site near the Jabaliya refugee camp, and injured one. A statement from Israel's military said the air force "identified a group of terrorists preparing to launch rockets at Israeli territory, and thwarted the attempt by firing at them."

Islamic Jihad: PA detains leaders, tracking members
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Officials from the Islamic Jihad movement said Thursday that Palestinian Authority security forces detained two of the movement's leaders from their homes in the city of Jenin overnight. In a statement, officials said PA forces raided the homes of Khalid Jaradat and Tareq Qa’dan, taking the former to an unknown location and the latter to a detention facility in the northern West Bank. Jihad officials said PA forces were tracking members in the wake of a blast in West Jerusalem that went off near the central bus station, killing one woman and injuring 30 others.

Abbas, Fayyad condemn Jerusalem bombing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday condemned a bombing attack in central Jerusalem that killed one woman and injured dozens, the official Palestinian Authority news agency reported. Salam Fayyad, the resigned caretaker prime minister, said in a statement, "I condemn in the strongest terms possible the terrorist attack in Jerusalem today regardless of who is behind it." He also wished a speedy recovery to those who were injured.

Israel violence complicates Gates' call for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Lolita Baldor - March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived Thursday in Israel, one day after an eruption in violence that has complicated his plans to urge progress in the peace process. The latest spike in attacks began Wednesday with a bus-stop bombing in Jerusalem, followed by Israeli strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza. The events have heightened tensions and added to Israel's anxiety over the wave of rebellion in the region.

Israeli leader: 'We will react aggressively, responsibly and wisely' to attacks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli leader: 'We will react aggressively, responsibly and wisely' to attacks.

ANALYSIS-Bloodshed fills Mideast peace talk vacuum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Douglas Hamilton - March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Lethal strikes in Gaza and a deadly suitcase bomb in Jerusalem on Wednesday confirmed fears that violence between Israelis and Palestinians is on the rise again after nearly two years of relative calm. Virtually ignored for the past three months as the neighbouring Arab world plunged into turmoil, the 62-year-old Middle East conflict has slid quickly back into its familiar cycle of bloody attack, retaliation and counter-attack. Nine Palestinians and one Israeli have died since Tuesday.

Hamas seeks calm, stability in Gaza: spokesman
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

The deposed Hamas government that rules the Gaza Strip announced Wednesday that it is seeking to calm the growing violence in the enclave. Taher al-Nouno, spokesman of the Hamas government, said in a press statement sent to Xinhua that "we reiterate that our position is to firmly restore stability and work on calming down the situation in the field."

Abbas to visit Egypt soon: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is soon to pay his first visit to Egypt since the resignation of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a senior Palestinian official said Wednesday. Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah party's central committee, told Palestinian radio Voice of Palestine that he was informed by Egyptian officials that Egypt welcomes the visit of Abbas to the country, which is due in days.

Thousands of Palestinians bury eight Gazans killed in Israeli air raids
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly - March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Thousands of mourners on Wednesday buried eight Palestinians, including three children and an old man, who were killed in two Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday in eastern Gaza city, calling for taking revenge on Israel. The mourners carried the bodies on their shoulders from Shiffa Hospital in the city and marched along Gaza city's main street. They prayed on the bodies at al-Omari Mosque, then headed to Gaza cemetery to bury the victims. Militants fired into the air vowing for revenge.

War won't stop rocket fire from Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The relative quiet on the security front that Israel has enjoyed over the past two years has come to an end. The exchanges of fire between Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces along the Gaza border have escalated over the past 10 days, while in Jerusalem, a bomb exploded near a bus yesterday. And the investigation of the murders in Itamar earlier this month is still underway.

Hamas not likely behind Jerusalem bombing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Is there a direct connection among the recent string of security incidents - the murder in Itamar, the escalation around the Gaza Strip, the Grad rockets on Be'er Sheva and the terror attack in Jerusalem? That was one of the questions occupying defense and government officials on Wednesday. At this point, the answer is still unclear. In any case, the bombing in Jerusalem cut short a period of almost three years of calm in the capital. It is a significant turn for the worse for the city, which managed only with great difficulty to extricate itself from the second intifada.

Israel can say farewell to peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Opinion) March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Say farewell to peace with Syria. Those who believe, like the writer of these lines, in the necessity of the Golan-for-peace formula cannot close their eyes to what is happening. With the great Arab revolt threatening his regime, there is no chance that President Bashar Assad will choose the path of peace. With the Syrian masses rebelling against him, there is no chance that Assad will gamble on peace.

'PA police arrest 2 Islamic Jihad members for J'lem attack'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Two members of Islamic Jihad were arrested by Palestinian police in Jenin on Thursday in connection to Wednesday's bombing in Jerusalem. According to a statement released by Islamic Jihad, "Palestinian security forces broke into the home of Jihad official Khaled Jaradat and arrested him. Other forces arrested organization official Tarek Kaadan near his home." On Wednesday, the Palestinian Authority condemned the Jerusalem explosion that killed a woman and wounded dozens of people, while Hamas and Islamic Jihad welcomed it as a “natural response to Israeli crimes.”

Hamas Risks Unwinnable War as It Raises Tensions with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Rosenberg - March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas is ratcheting up tensions with Israel as a means of deflecting growing calls in the Palestinian street to end its feuding with the Fatah movement and form a national unity government, analysts say. But they warned that the shower of mortar shells and rockets its militants have rained on Israel risks dragging the organization into an unwinnable war.

Is J Street a Threat? Not to Most Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - (Opinion) March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

In the three years since its founding, the dovish lobby J Street has become a household name across Jewish America. But ask Israelis about it, and they are more likely to think you are asking for directions to some thoroughfare they haven’t heard of. In polling commissioned by the Forward, only 14% of Jewish Israelis said they had heard of J Street. The remaining 86% had not.

The ‘A-Word’ in Hebron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Letty Cottin Pogrebin - (Opinion) March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

You’ve probably read about the situation in the West Bank city of Hebron, where some 800 Jewish settlers live in the midst of 170,000 Palestinians. But being there is something else. Being there can make you sick to your stomach; being there you can’t help thinking of the “A-word.”

Peace Can’t Be Provisional
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Ephraim Sneh - (Opinion) March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel needs to achieve an end to its conflict with the Palestinians. Recent developments in the region make this goal all the more urgent. Yet instead of working to achieve a permanent-status agreement, ending all claims by the two parties, we are increasingly hearing talk about pushing for an interim agreement based on provisional borders. This would be a profound mistake.

For Palestinians, action must follow talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Frustrated by a stagnant political process, the Palestinian people have spoken - they want reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. But can their leaders deliver? It seemed so at first glance last week. After street protests in Ramallah and Gaza saw thousands calling for a new unity government, Hamas's prime minister Ismail Haniyeh hastily invited Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, to Gaza. Mr Abbas, all too aware of the Palestinian Authority's crumbling support, had little choice but to respond.

'Both Israel, Hamas responsible for escalation'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Who is responsible for the sudden escalation of the situation in the Gaza Strip? All of a sudden rockets are coming out from Gaza after a period of calm and Israel tanks are shelling residential areas, which killed four members of the Helu family in the Shejaiya refugee camp in the Strip.

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