Middle East News: World Press Roundup

PM Fayyad says a Palestinian state is in Israel’s interests. Defense Secretary Gates denounces attacks on Israel from Gaza. J Street stirs controversy. Israeli tank shells kill four Palestinians, including three children. The new film Miral narrates the Palestinian experience under occupation. Israel seems wary about another war in Gaza. Aaron David Miller says the Israel-Palestine issue is likely remain on the back burner. Pres. Abbas says Israel and Palestine should have peace, not war. The PA releases detained Islamic Jihad leaders. A new poll shows strong Palestinian support for Mideast changes. The US urges restraint. Analysts say the surge of violence is a result of internal conflict within Hamas. Rockets land deep into Israel. Dan Rather’s news crew is harassed by Israeli security. Israel again destroys a Palestinian-built road in “Area C.” PM Netanyahu says Israel’s response will be measured. Oudeh Basharat says that by Israel banning commemorations of the nakba, the Palestinian narrative has won. Ha’aretz says Israel has little to gain from an escalation with Hamas, but that it may be inevitable. Some Israeli leaders threaten a large-scale operation in Gaza. Egypt reiterates its commitment to the treaty with Israel. Israelis fear Palestinian moves for UN recognition. Gazans continue to live in fear of Israeli attacks. Seth Freedman says the Jerusalem bomb attack will only harm Palestinian interests.

Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad: 'An Independent Palestine Is in Israel's Interest'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Elisabeth Braw - (Interview) March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

"On August 26 there will be a Palestinian state, and it will be open to all," says Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in exclusive Metro interview. He's the Prime Minister of the Palestine National Authority. But traveling between his office in Ramallah and his Jerusalem home, Salam Fayyad must nonetheless pass Israeli military checkpoints.

In Israel, Gates Condemns Recent Attacks From Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner, Tom Shanker - March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

A rocket fired by militants from Gaza overshot the Israeli port city of Ashdod on Thursday afternoon, landing in an open area to the north, as Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was meeting with Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, less than 20 miles up the coast in Tel Aviv.

U.S. Group Stirs Debate on Being ‘Pro-Israel’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

On one side were members of the Israeli Parliament and advocates who argued that there was only one legitimate way to support Israel from abroad — unconditionally. On the other were those who insisted that love and devotion did not mean withholding criticism.

Hopes and Struggles in a Difficult Land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by A.O. Scott - (Film Review) March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

“Miral,” Julian Schnabel’s fourth feature film, based on an autobiographical novel by Rula Jebreal (who wrote the screenplay), recounts the linked and partial life stories of four Palestinian women, beginning in the last days of the British mandate and ending in the 1990s, when it looked as if peace between Israelis and Palestinians might finally be on the horizon. That the film, an international co-production involving France, India, Israel and Italy, has been greeted with a flurry of controversy may show just how far that horizon has receded.

GAZA STRIP: Israel tank shells kill three Gaza children, one man
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Ahmed al-Dabba - March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Several Israeli tank shells landed Tuesday at a playground in Gaza City, killing three children and their grandfather and injuring 12 other children and women, hospital sources and witnesses said. Eyewitnesses said that seven tank shells slammed a playground where children were playing soccer, adding two other shells crashed through the ceiling of a nearby house, injuring six women.

Why Israel is wary of getting into another Gaza war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Fighting along the Israeli-Gaza border that has killed at least 11 people continued Thursday for the sixth-straight day, despite parallel pledges by Israel and Hamas to restore calm amid the worst violence since the 2009 Gaza war. Israeli aircraft on Thursday fired on low-profile targets such as border smuggling tunnels, while Gaza militants launched mortars and homemade rockets into southern Israel. One rocket even struck within 16 miles of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

No Spring in Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Just when you thought the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was in the deep freezer, things are getting hot again. Hamas and Israel are back at each others' throats; and for the first time in four years, there's been a terror attack in Jerusalem, killing one Israeli. The bombing capped a week of Israeli-Palestinian confrontation, which resulted in a number of civilian deaths in Gaza. If I didn't know any better, I'd think that Israelis and Palestinians watching the historic changes in the Arab World just can't stand not to be the center of attention.

In Russia, Abbas asks Israel for 'peace, not war'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that he hopes officials will take the Middle East Quartet meeting in April as an opportunity to push forward the peace process. Speaking from the Republic of Bashkortostan alongside his counterpart there, the president said "Palestinians are determined to achieve peace through negotiations," and that he hoped Israelis shared the sentiment.

PA frees Islamic Jihad leaders arrested after bombing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority released on Thursday two West Bank leaders of the Islamic Jihad movement who were detained Wednesday in connection with a bombing that killed a British citizen in Jerusalem. Khaled Jaradat and Tareq Qa'dan were detained for several hours but released due to lack of evidence, Qa'dan told Ma'an. He said that "there was no direct reason for the arrest." Walid Badad, an official from the Islamic and national factions in Jenin, said the release came after a meeting in which factions "affirmed the prohibition against politically motivated arrests."

Poll: Mideast change positive for Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The results of a public opinion poll from mid-March showed broad support for protests across the Middle East, and a decline in popularity for both the West Bank and Gaza governments, responding to documentary series run by Al-Jazeera and regional upheaval. The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research released the poll findings on Wednesday, which showed 67 percent of Gaza residents, compared to 32 percent of West Bankers, believe protests should be held to change their respective governments.

US urges Israel-Palestinian peace as rockets fall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Phil Stewart, Dan Williams - March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Thursday to advance stalled peace efforts, as rockets exploded near Israel's heavily populated coastal area south of Tel Aviv. Gates' visit to Israel came as surging violence raised fears of a new war, with Palestinian rockets striking deep inside Israel on Thursday and Israeli aircraft pounding targets in Gaza.

ANALYSIS-Surge in violence "arose from Hamas internal row"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Douglas Hamilton - March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

An ill-fated attempt to smooth over a dispute in Gaza's Palestinian Islamist movement was the real reason behind the salvo of mortars Hamas fired at Israel four-days-ago, triggering a flare-up of fighting, observers say. If it was a ploy, it went badly wrong. Ten people have been killed in the cycle of violence, and some on both sides fear a new war could erupt unless it is contained. On Thursday, Palestinian militants fired more rockets and Israel directed more air strikes at the enclave, as the spiral of armed exchanges showed no sign of abating.

Gaza militants fire rockets deep into Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Aron Heller - March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian militants in Gaza fired a new wave of rockets that landed deep inside Israel Thursday, defying Israeli retaliatory attacks and threats. As the violence threatened to escalate the day after a deadly Jerusalem bombing, Israel got a boost from the visiting U.S. defense chief, who said no country could tolerate the "repugnant" attacks on its soil.

Dan Rather aide: Crew harassed by Israeli security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

A crew for Dan Rather was harassed and humiliated by Israeli security officials, a producer for his show has said, accusing them of forcing the staffers to drop their pants for a strip search before seeing a Cabinet minister. The allegations, made in a letter to Israeli officials that was obtained by The Associated Press, add to growing complaints about how Israeli security officials treat foreign media.

Israel destroys West Bank road
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli bulldozers destroyed a Palestinian road in the West Bank Thursday and delivered orders to demolish two houses, witnesses and local sources said. It is the second time Israel destroys the two-kilometer " Freedom" street, which the Palestinian National Authority opened two months ago with a fund of 400,000 U.S. dollars, the sources said. Meanwhile, the Israeli authorities handed down demolition orders to two houses in Salfeet city, saying they were built without license. The houses are located in Careas, in which Israel have security and administrative control.

Netanyahu: Israel's reaction to rocket attacks will be measured
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jonathan Lis - March 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that if Hamas chooses to escalate cross-border tensions, Israel's reaction to the attacks will be measured. Netanyahu spoke during his visit in Moscow, and sources close to the prime minister said that he was not eager to launch a comprehensive operation in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian narrative has won
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Oudeh Basharat - (Opinion) March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

When the teacher asked us first-graders in Kfar Yafia what we do on Independence Day - it's "day" in the uninspired Jewish term, "holiday" in the imaginative Arab language - I answered excitedly: We go to Ma'alul. Ma'alul is my parents' village, whose residents were uprooted in 1948. Indeed, it was a holiday, when the military administration, in its generosity, loosened its grip a little and turned a blind eye to the crowds "celebrating" Independence Day on the ruins of the villages from which they had been uprooted.

Israel struggling to avoid head-on clash with Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's response to the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip remained limited on Thursday. One reason could be that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is abroad and the Israel Defense Forces will escalate its attacks when he returns. Another could be that Israel understands that it currently has little to gain from an escalation with Hamas. The air force's attacks on Thursday seemed symbolic. Gaza residents told Haaretz that among the targets was the old intelligence building, abandoned years ago, and a Hamas post no longer in use that had been bombed five times before.

Escalation approaching
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - March 25, 2011 - 12:00am

The first terrorist attack in Jerusalem in three years; a home invasion and murder in a settlement for the first time in six years; more Palestinians killed in one single day than since Operation Cast Lead. It's strange how quickly Israel and the Palestinians reverted to the routine of mutual aggression that destroyed the last decade.

'IDF will have to carry out large-scale operation in Gaza'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
March 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar (Likud) on Friday said that he estimates that the IDF will eventually have to carry out a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip, bigger than Operation Cast Lead. Sa'ar made the comments in an interview with Israel Radio. Sa'ar said that he understood local authorities in the South who decided to cancel school in light of increased rocket and mortar fire, but emphasized that the Home Front Command said that studies could continue as usual.

Egypt tells J'lem it is committed to the peace accord
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Egypt's foreign minister told an Israeli official on Thursday that Cairo was committed to its international treaties, Egypt's foreign ministry said, reiterating that the countries' peace accord is secure. It was the first publicly announced meeting between an Egyptian and an Israeli official since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was toppled from power on Feb. 11 and handed power to the military.

Shalev: UNGA ‘Palestine’ resolution may have real impact
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by David Horovitz - March 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel failed to realize until recently that the Palestinian bid to win United Nations General Assembly endorsement for statehood in September might not be merely declarative, but could have profound practical consequences under the provisions of a little-known UNGA resolution, Gabriela Shalev, the former Israeli ambassador to the UN, has told The Jerusalem Post. UNGA Resolution 377, also known as the “Uniting for Peace” resolution, was passed during the Korean War in 1950, at the initiative of the US, because the Soviet Union was vetoing UN Security Council action to protect South Korea.

Gazans count cost of escalating violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
by Jon Donnison - March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

"Why is Palestinian blood cheaper than Israeli blood?" asks Wael Abu Awema, a 40-year-old father of five. There have been Israeli attacks on Gaza every day this week. At least 10 Palestinians have been killed, including at least four civilians, two of them children. More than 30 Palestinians have been injured. "Of course we are worried. My kids are wetting themselves at night when they hear the Israeli air strikes," says Mr Abu Awema. His eyes are bloodshot and red, as if he also might be losing sleep.

Jerusalem bus bomb will harm the Palestinian cause
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Seth Freedman - (Opinion) March 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The deadly attack in Jerusalem on Wednesday has, inevitably, further ratcheted up the tension that has been brewing in the region for weeks. The strike at the heart of the city's teeming transport hub demands a strong response from the Israeli government, both for the sake of its own people and to warn Palestinian militants that a return to the bloodstained days of a decade ago is in neither side's best interests.

Escalation in revenge attacks pushes Israel closer to war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Catrina Stewart - March 25, 2011 - 12:00am

A rocket fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza struck an area close to Tel Aviv yesterday in a bold attack that could provoke Israel into a decisive strike and bring it one step closer to a new Middle East war. The latest attack, which injured nobody and landed in an unpopulated area 15 miles south of the city, will unsettle Israelis, who are used to seeing low-grade rockets and mortars drop mostly harmlessly in areas close to Gaza, but rarely feel threatened in cities such as Tel Aviv.

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