Middle East News: World Press Roundup

A Palestinian human rights group says anyone who fires rockets at Israel is deliberately putting civilians in danger. Bernard Avishai says it’s time for an American plan for Mideast peace. Joe Klein looks at Palestinian nonviolence. Harold Meyerson says the Knesset investigation into left-wing NGOs is undemocratic. Israel fears the alternative to Pres. Assad in Syria. Fatah wins in Birzeit University elections. A kidnapped Gaza engineer appears in Israeli court, professes innocence. PM Netanyahu appears on YouTube. Israel arrests four Palestinians in Hebron. Pres. Abbas again threatens to resign. Ari Shavit says Israel must launch a diplomatic preemptive strike at the UN or face recognition of Palestine. Eldad Yaniv says FM Lieberman is a racist who must be stopped. A new poll shows Israeli youth moving further to the right and that 46% want to revoke the rights of Arab citizens. DM Barak says Israel’s new missile defense is “not perfect.” Palestinians arrested by Israel on false charges of rape say they were abused in custody. Colombia promises not to recognize Palestine. PM Fayyad says peaceful resistance is vital. UC Irvine students meet with Hamas leaders. Only 26 senators sign a letter to Sec. Clinton complaining about Palestinian “incitement.” Palestinian leaders lost hope in the US. George Hishmeh says the occupation condemns Israel to international isolation.

Militants Put Gazans in Danger, Group Says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram - March 30, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian human rights group in Gaza took the unusual step this week of condemning the building and storage of anti-Israel rockets in densely populated areas, a practice that has led to injuries and deaths of civilians. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said that it had investigated recent rocket explosions and found that locally produced projectiles had fallen on homes in Gaza or exploded in factories where they were made or stored. Shrapnel severely wounded several people, including a 22-year-old woman and her 7-month-old baby.

Next, an Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Bernard Avishai - (Opinion) March 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Last night, rejecting criticism of his actions in Libya, President Obama outlined a standard for civilized multilateralism: “Sometimes, the course of history poses challenges that threaten our common humanity and common security,” he said. “Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well; to work with allies and partners ... to see that the principles of justice and human dignity are upheld by all.” If you should act, act where you can, and act together.

A New Palestinian Movement: Young, Networked, Nonviolent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Joe Klein - March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

Fadi Quran is the face of the new Middle East. He is 23, a graduate of Stanford University, with a double major in physics and international relations. He is a Palestinian who has returned home to start an alternative-energy company and see what he can do to help create a Palestinian state. He identifies with neither of the two preeminent Palestinian political factions, Hamas and Fatah. His allegiance is to the Facebook multitudes who orchestrated the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and who are organizing nonviolent protests throughout the region.

In the Israeli Knesset, some undemocratic activities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Harold Meyerson - (Opinion) March 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Democracy is on the march in the Middle East — forward in Egypt and Tunisia; backward, alas, in Israel. The Israeli parliament’s Immigration, Absorption and Public Diplomacy Committee held a hearing last week to determine whether an American Jewish organization that favors a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conundrum could call itself “pro-Israel.”

Israel fears the alternative if Syria's Assad falls
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - March 30, 2011 - 12:00am

As popular unrest threatens to topple another Arab neighbor, Israel finds itself again quietly rooting for the survival of an autocratic yet predictable regime, rather than face an untested new government in its place. Syrian President Bashar Assad's race to tamp down public unrest is stirring anxiety in Israel that is even higher than its hand-wringing over Egypt's recent regime change. Unlike Israel and Egypt, Israel and Syria have no peace agreement, and Syria, with a large arsenal of sophisticated weapons, is one of Israel's strongest enemies.

Rights group calls for inquiry into internal projectile fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights released a statement of concern Tuesday, in the wake of the fall of several projectiles on a house and soft-drinks factory in the northern Strip, in which six civilians were injured. A report from the organization said it was the third home-made projectile to land on civilian property in Gaza in the past week, and called on government officials to investigate.

Fatah wins Birzeit University elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

Fatah won Birzeit University's student senate election, which was boycotted by Hamas, officials said Wednesday. Mohammed Al-Ahmad, the dean of students, said Fatah won 29 of 51 seats. The Popular Struggle Front and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's joint bloc won 14 seats, and eight others went to three smaller blocs, Al-Ahmad said. Seven blocs participated in the elections that were held "in a very positive atmosphere" under the auspices of Ramallah governor Laila Ghannam, he said. Voter turnout reached 50 percent despite the boycott calls, he said.

Gaza engineer held in Israel appears in court
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jeffrey Heller - March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian engineer under arrest in Israel was allowed on Thursday to speak publicly for the first time since his alleged abduction from Ukraine, saying he knew nothing about an Israeli soldier held by Hamas in Gaza. Lawyers for Dirar Abu Sisi had accused Israel of trying to concoct charges against the Gaza resident, linking his arrest to efforts to gather intelligence on the enclave's Hamas rulers and Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, seized by militants in 2006.

Jailed Palestinian engineer professes innocence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian engineer who vanished on a Ukrainian train and mysteriously turned up in an Israeli prison made his first public comments Thursday, accusing the Jewish state of kidnapping him "for no reason" and saying he had no information about an Israeli soldier held captive in the Gaza Strip. Dirar Abu Sisi spoke as he entered an Israeli court in the central city of Petach Tikva for a brief hearing that extended his arrest until next Tuesday. His lawyer said authorities informed her that he will be indicted on unspecified charges next week.

Netanyahu's YouTube gig showcases new media policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Aron Heller - March 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's prime minister, who has long had rocky relations with the news media, took his message straight to the public Wednesday on YouTube, fielding questions in a live interview from users in 90 countries, including Arab nations that have no relations with the Jewish state. Benjamin Netanyahu's appearance on YouTube's World View Project highlighted the Israeli leader's recent embrace of new media, but also illustrated his tricky relations with the traditional outlets he often considers hostile.

Israeli army arrests three Palestinians, Hamas lawmaker
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli army arrested four Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron Thursday, including a Hamas lawmaker, a statement said. The Israeli army broke into the house of the legislator, Mohammed Bader, and arrested him, said a statement by Hamas' Change and Reform parliamentary bloc. In 2006, Israel rounded up all West-Bank based Hamas' lawmakers when the Islamic movement captured an Israeli soldier near the Gaza Strip. Mohammed Bader was released about six months ago. Israel also arrested three civilians, all of them teenagers, in the city.

Abbas says he may resign
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hinted if negotiations with Israel fail to resume by September he may resign. At a meeting in Ramallah with members of the Council for Peace and Security, Abbas hinted he would leave his post if the situation remains unchanged, Haaretz reported Thursday.

Israel needs to launch a preemptive diplomatic strike
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Opinion) March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

The writing is on the wall: 2011 is going to be a diplomatic 1973. In September and October the UN General Assembly will decide whether to establish a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders. The international community will recognize a Palestinian state. At that moment, every Israeli apartment in Jerusalem's French Hill neighborhood will become illegal. Every military base in the West Bank will be contravening the sovereignty of an independent UN member state. The Palestinians will not be obligated to accept demilitarization and peace and to recognize the occupation.

We must stop the nationalist and racist Lieberman
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Eldad Yaniv - (Opinion) March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

Every one who fell for the "either Tzipi or Bibi" canard during the last elections had best not forget where those two, Benjamin (Bibi ) Netanyahu who is now Prime Minister and Tzipi Livni, who is now opposition leader, spent the night between Tuesday and Wednesday last week when the Israeli Knesset passed two controversial laws.

Poll: Young Israelis moving much farther to the right politically
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Or Kashti - March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

Young Israelis are moving much further to the right politically, according to a survey to be released Thursday. The study found that 60 percent of Jewish teenagers in Israel, between 15 and 18 years old, prefer "strong" leaders to the rule of law, while 70 percent say that in cases where state security and democratic values conflict, security should come first. A similar picture emerges in the 21 to 24 age group. The comprehensive survey was conducted on behalf of Germany's Friedrich Ebert Foundation, in cooperation with the Macro Center for Political Economics, by the Dahaf Institute.

Barak: Iron Dome not perfect
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Tova Dadon - March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited the site where the first Iron Dome battery is stationed in Beersheba on Thursday. Barak admitted that the system cannot provide perfect protection from rockets but promised other batteries will be deployed in the coming years. "Today the system commences an operational test, which is an extraordinary achievement by Israeli technology and Israel's Air Force," Barak said during the tour. He noted the Iron Dome battery was the first to intercept rockets fired at civilians.

46% of Israeli teens: Revoke Arabs' rights
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Tomer Velmer - March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

A new study examining Jewish and Arab Israeli teens' opinions on a wide range of issues shows nearly half of Jewish youths support revoking Arab-Israelis' basic rights. The study focused on such issues as nationalism, democracy and attitudes towards State institutions. The results: Israeli teens in 2010 believe less in democracy, are inclined towards rebelliousness and violence, are more racist and some have given up hope for peace. They are also more right-wing and patriotic.

'Police beat and spat on us'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian man who was arrested in connection to a rape of an 11-year-old boy and was later released is saying he and the three other former suspects are considering suing the police for a violent arrest and humiliation they were subjected to during their interrogation. "We were treated like dogs, a police officer spat on us and shouted that all Arabs must be killed."

Colombia: We will not recognize Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Shefler - March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

After suffering a series of diplomatic defeats to the Palestinians in Latin America, Israel won a rare victory on Wednesday when Colombia announced that it would not unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón told a delegation of the World Jewish Congress in a meeting in the Colombian capital of Bogota that his government would not recognize Palestinian statehood as “a matter of principle.”

Fayyad: Peaceful resistance advancing Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ben Hartman - March 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said that Palestinian non-violent popular resistance of the West Bank barrier has been successful in convincing the world to reconsider the Palestinian cause and advanced the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, in a radio address commemorating "Land Day" on Wednesday. "Land remains the core of the Palestinian cause, and the reason for our existence and future," Fayyad said. "We [have been] here since the very beginning and we are certainly staying until the very end."

UC students met with Hamas leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

University of California-Irvine students met with a Hamas leader during a student trip to Israel. The Institute for Jewish and Community Research recently learned that the UC Irvine branch of the Olive Tree Initiative, an Israeli-Palestinian peace organization, arranged for a meeting between UC students and a Hamas leader in the West Bank while the students were on a trip to Israel in September 2009. The communal organization is protesting the meeting.

Palestinian incitement letter garners 27 senators
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
March 30, 2011 - 12:00am

A bipartisan slate of 27 U.S. senators signed on to a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to press the Palestinian Authority to address incitement. The letter, sent Tuesday but initiated two weeks ago by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), focuses on the March 11 massacre of five members of a Jewish family in Itamar, a settlement in the northern West Bank, and suggests that the Palestinian Authority, under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, has not done enough to stem incitement.

Fed-up Palestinians turn from US to find other providers of answers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi, Hugh Naylor - March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

With the American administration consumed by popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa, US efforts to push forward a Palestinian-Israeli peace process, already stalled, have receded further into the background. Palestinians, despondent with Washington's efforts, are in turn trying to energise their pursuit of alternatives to their overreliance on US meditation. In the process, the Palestinians risk angering not only Israel, but also the US, which remains an important donor to the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu digs his grave
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) March 31, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab tsunami that has come in the wake of the Arab spring that saw the downfall of two autocratic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt is still blowing hard in other Arab countries, especially in Libya, where the days of its hallucinating ruler Muammar Gaddafi are believed to be numbered. What has been equally agonising has been the failure, if not refusal, of western governments to help correct this tragic Arab course. But then it can be argued that most western nations have benefited from this lackadaisical situation in various Arab states.

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