Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israelis are concerned the UN may move to recognize Palestine this year. Hamas says it will seek revenge for the killing of three of its cadres in an Israeli airstrike. Judge Goldstone reconsiders his report on the Gaza war. Israel welcomes his statement, but Palestinians say he caved under pressure. An Israeli commander calls the death of Rachel Corrie “an accident.” The UN says the Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes continues to increase. The first woman leader of a Palestinian political party is elected. Israel tells its citizens to leave the Sinai. Israel launches a counter-cyber terrorism unit. Ha’aretz says another Gaza war is getting closer, and looks at PM Fayyad’s Land Day state-building activities. The Israeli government approves more West Bank settlement expansion. The Israeli military says it will have to do more real-time documenting of its activities. An Israeli university report says there is a danger of it turning into a religious state. Gaza militants declare their “truce” with Israel over. Aluf Benn says whatever his re-considerations, the Goldstone Report has changed Israel’s behavior. The National says Goldstone has not cleared Israel of civilian deaths. Tony Karon says Pres. Obama’s multilateral Libya policy has serious implications for Israel. Hussein Ibish says all parties stand to gain from normalization between the Arab states and Israel in the context of a two-state solution.

In Israel, Time for Peace Offer May Run Out
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - April 2, 2011 - 12:00am

With revolutionary fervor sweeping the Middle East, Israel is under mounting pressure to make a far-reaching offer to the Palestinians or face a United Nations vote welcoming the State of Palestine as a member whose territory includes all of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Strike Kills Gaza Fighters, Spurring Hamas Warning
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram, Isabel Kershner - April 2, 2011 - 12:00am

Thousands of Palestinians attended the funerals on Saturday of three senior Hamas militants killed by Israel in an overnight airstrike in southern Gaza, and Hamas leaders warned that Israel would bear the consequences. But the area remained calm on Saturday, and Hamas, the Islamic group that controls Gaza, seemed wary of fueling a new round of hostilities.

Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Richard Goldstone - (Opinion) April 1, 2011 - 12:00am

We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

Israel lauds Gaza war crimes investigator’s reversal, mulls dealing with ‘human shields’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
April 3, 2011 - 12:00am

Many modern armies have struggled with how to battle an enemy who uses human shields, perhaps none more so than Israel. So Israeli leaders were especially pleased Sunday after an admission by Richard Goldstone — a Jewish U.N. investigator who became persona non grata in the Jewish state — that war crimes accusations contained in his report on Israel’s offensive in Gaza two years ago should be reconsidered.

Israeli commander testifies in lawsuit over death of US activist in Gaza, says it was accident
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
April 3, 2011 - 12:00am

An Israeli military commander testifying Sunday in a civil lawsuit over the death of American activist in the Gaza Strip eight years ago said the young woman and other activists ignored army warnings to move before she was crushed by an armored bulldozer. Rachel Corrie, 23, of Olympia, Washington, was killed in March 2003 as she tried to block the Israeli military vehicle in a dangerous area along the Gaza-Egypt border. The activists believed the Israelis were about to demolish nearby Palestinian houses.

UN: Israel's demolitions of Palestinian homes hit record high
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's demolitions of Palestinian homes and buildings reached a record high in March for the third consecutive month, according to figures from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. The UN Relief and Works Agency recorded 76 demolitions of Palestinian buildings in March, forcibly displacing 158 Palestinians including 64 children. So far this year, Israel has demolished the homes of 333 Palestinians, including 175 children, UNRWA reported. Meanwhile, Israel has built a record number of Jewish-only homes on occupied Palestinian land, in contravention of international law.

First female leader of Palestinian party elected
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The Central Committee of the Palestinian Democratic Union convened Saturday in Ramallah and Gaza City and elected the first ever female secretary-general of a Palestinian faction, Zahira Kamal. Kamal was born in Jerusalem in 1945 and has held several official political positions. She was the first Palestinian Minister of Women's Affairs. The Palestinian Democratic Union also raised women's representation to 40 percent in the general conference, and to 50 percent for the youth conference.

Israeli tells citizens to leave Sinai immediately
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ian Deitch - April 2, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel warned its citizens in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to evacuate immediately Saturday, hours after launching an airstrike that killed three Hamas militants accused of planning to abduct Israelis over the upcoming Jewish festival of Passover. The government warned its citizens to "leave Sinai immediately and return to Israel," and quoted intelligence sources about "terrorist plans to kidnap Israelis and use them as bargaining chips."

Israel government unveils counter-cyberterrorism unit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 3, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli officials have said they are set to implement a new strategy aimed at foiling the growing wave of cyberterrorism and cybertheft attacks perpetrated against its government ministries, military agencies, and major banking and commercial entities.

Next Gaza war is getting closer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

After a week-long lull in violence along the Gaza border, the southern front is heating up once again following an Israeli assassination on Saturday of three Hamas men in Khan Yunis, one of them a senior member of the organization's military wing. According to the IDF, the three men were planning to abduct Israeli tourists in Sinai over the Passover holiday. Hamas denies the allegation.

Fayyad's road to freedom runs over Israeli law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? A bulldozer destroys a cistern, with only a shepherd nearby. Is the grinding sound of cement being crushed that is heard by the driver considered a sound? A bulldozer destroys another cistern, with only Palestinian residents of the South Hebron Hills nearby and few lefties from Ta'ayush, an Arab-Jewish anti-occupation group. cooperative Israeli-Palestinian association. Has there even been a demolition, if the sound hasn't reached The New York Times?

PM green lights West Bank settlement expansion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yair Altman - April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, it what seems to be a move inspired by right-wing pressures, agreed Sunday on a new zoning plan for the West Bank settlement of Nofim. The rare move effectively enables further developments of the settlement. Meanwhile, President Shimon Peres is expected to meet with US president Barack Obama later this week in Washington. So far the defense minister and other senior officials have abstained from altering the sensitive status-quo surrounding the settlements.

PA: Goldstone caved under pressure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - April 3, 2011 - 12:00am

While Israel is overjoyed with Richard Goldstone's change of heart vis-à-vis the report that blamed the Jewish State of committing war crimes during the Gaza war, the Palestinian Authority is furious at the South African judge. In a press release published on Sunday, Nabil Abu Rodeina, the spokesperson to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said that Goldstone's comments "do not change the fact that Israel committed a massacre and war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, leaving more than 1,500 Palestinians dead."

'Goldstone retraction reduces chance of similar probe'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Judge Richard Goldstone’s retraction and new-found faith in the Israeli legal system will likely contribute to Israeli efforts to prevent the establishment of a new probe following military action in a future conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, a senior IDF officer predicted on Sunday. On Friday, Goldstone published an op-ed in The Washington Post in which he said he that he no longer believed that Israel had intentionally targeted civilians during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in 2009.

'Israel faces threat of becoming a religious state'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ben Hartman - April 3, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel is on its way to becoming a religious state – a reality that would pose a threat to its survival, according to a report released by the University of Haifa on Sunday. The report, entitled “Israel 2010-2030, on the Path to a Religious State,” examines the demographic factors set to change Israel in the coming years, through a comparison of the religious, haredi, secular and Arab birthrates in the country.

Gaza Militants Declare Truce Over; Israel Says Deterrence Holding
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Omar Ghraieb, Arieh O'Sullivan - April 3, 2011 - 12:00am

Lashing out verbally following an Israeli air strike that killed three members of the armed wing of Hamas, Islamic militant groups in the Gaza Strip declared the de-facto two-year-old ceasefire with Israel null and void. But an Israel official said the threat was empty.

Despite its flaws, the Goldstone report has changed Israel's behaviour in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Aluf Benn - (Opinion) April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Since releasing his report in the September after the fighting, Judge Richard Goldstone has been Israel's most hated person. In the eyes of the Netanyahu government and its rightwing supporters, he personified the effort to "de-legitimise" the Jewish state and deprive it of its ability to defend itself. He was portrayed in the popular mediaas the quintessential self-hating Jew. Human rights groups that gave the commission information have been branded as collaborators and traitors.

Goldstone does not clear Israel of civilian deaths
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Two years ago, the Israeli government was infuriated by the Goldstone Report, which concluded that the country's defence forces had intentionally targeted civilians during Operation Cast Lead in 2008 - a three-week war against Hamas which cost more than 1,400 Gazan lives.

Obama's retreat leaves Israel at the mercy of multilateralism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Tony Karon - (Opinion) April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

'This is how the international community should work," said President Barack Obama a little more than a week ago. "More nations, not just the United States, bearing the responsibility and cost of upholding peace and security." He was referring to the military campaign in Libya, in which the US insisted it was simply following the lead of the Europeans and the Arab League, and quickly handed off command of the operation to Nato and a multilateral consensus.

Arabs yearn to move on
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Hussein Ibish - (Blog) April 30, 2011 - 12:00am

Probably the most important clause in the Arab Peace Initiative, first adopted by the Arab League at the Beirut summit in 2002 and reaffirmed on several occasions including in 2007, is its commitment to "establish normal relations with Israel in the context of [a] comprehensive peace." This represented the culmination of decades of evolution of Arab thinking regarding relations with Israel, and the final repudiation of the Khartoum resolution of 1967, which insisted the Arabs would have "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it".

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