Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Prominent Israelis say they will propose a new peace plan. Israel charges a Palestinian engineer on multiple counts. Aaron David Miller suggests a way for the US to reinvigorate Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. A noted Palestinian-Israeli actor is murdered in Jenin and the PA has arrested a suspect. Richard Cohen says the Goldstone Report was always a rush to judgment, the CSM looks at its findings, the UN Human Rights council says it stands by it, and Kenneth Roth says Israel’s conduct in the war was still inexcusable. The LA Times says Goldstone’s explanations are unconvincing, but J Street welcomes them. Israeli troops kill a Palestinian man near the Gaza border. Fatah is investigating possible arms shipments to Libya. Fatah and Hamas members may have met secretly in Gaza last week. Merav Michaeli says Israel is confusing victimhood with foreign policy. Moshe Arens says more Mideast democracy will benefit Israel. DM Barak approves more West Bank settlement plans, but settlers are angry that Itamar is not included. The PLO says Israel is using international unrest to abandon the two-state solution. Israeli officials warn of more violence with Palestinians. Gershon Baskin says Israelis can and will support peace. Dennis Ross says unrest means Israel needs more security guarantees. Ghassan Khatib says the parties must go back to the international legal basics of peace. Yossi Alpher urges the Palestinians not to seek UN recognition of statehood before a deal with Israel.

Prominent Israelis Will Propose a Peace Plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

A group of prominent Israelis, including former heads of Mossad, Shin Bet and the military, are this week putting forth an initiative for peace with the Arab world that they hope will generate popular support and influence their government as it faces international pressure to move peace talks forward.

Israel Indicts Gaza Man on Terror-Linked Counts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel on Monday handed down an indictment against Dirar Abu Sisi, the Gaza engineer who vanished from a train in Ukraine in mid-February, then surfaced in an Israeli prison. He stands accused of developing rockets and missiles on behalf of Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, for use against Israeli civilians and soldiers. In a rare public appearance in court last week, Mr. Sisi, 42, told reporters that he had been kidnapped “for no reason.” His relatives, who said they believed that he had been snatched by Mossad agents, insisted that his arrest was a mistake.

How to Break the Mideast Deadlock
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab-Israeli peace process is frozen solid. A breakthrough would require something far bolder and more imaginative than the president articulating another set of sterile American policy positions. But a bolder proposal — outlined below — has a high risk of failure and may be well beyond the will or capacity of the United States to achieve. Given the current turbulence in the Arab world, the smart money on such a risky venture — or on any peace initiative — would be to wait at least until after U.S. elections in November 2012.

Israeli actor slain in Jenin refu­gee camp
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

A prominent Israeli actor and director who mentored young Palestinians at a youth theater that he founded in the West Bank town of Jenin was fatally shot Monday in the community’s refugee camp. Juliano Mer Khamis, 52, born to a Jewish mother and a Christian Arab father, personified the complexities of the conflict dividing his country. He served in Israel’s army as a paratrooper and portrayed Israeli Jews in film and on stage, but he cast his lot with the Palestinians.

The Goldstone Report and Israel’s moral standing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Richard Goldstone - (Opinion) April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

It came as (almost) no surprise to me that Japanese utility workers remained at their crippled and highly toxic nuclear plant even at the risk of death. It came as (almost) no surprise either that in the chaos of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, there were no reported incidents of widespread looting. Japan is one vast community, mostly a single ethnic group, and societal pressures are intense. A nation, like an individual, has a culture.

What's behind Goldstone's flip-flop?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
(Editorial) April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Few recent events in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been as wildly controversial and polarizing as the release of the Goldstone report, a United Nations-sponsored study prepared in the aftermath of Israel's devastating, 3-week-long assault on the Gaza Strip in the winter of 2008-09.

Goldstone Report: Reexamining 5 key findings
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ariel Zirulnick - April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel targeted Gazan civilians The Goldstone Report claimed that Israel intentionally targeted Palestinian civilians as a matter of policy, which is a violation of international law. Judge Goldstone's column last week retracted that charge, which may have been the most controversial allegation leveled against Israel in the report. Paragraph 1,886 from the original report:

Hamas suspect held in WBank actor killing-Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Mohammed Assadi - April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

A top Palestinian security official said police had arrested a member of the Islamist Hamas group over the assassination of award-winning Arab-Israeli actor and director, Juliano Mer Khamis. "One of those arrested is a prime suspect in the killing, he belongs to Hamas and is being interrogated," the official, who declined to be named, said on Tuesday,

Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian On Gaza Border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-mughrabi - July 10, 2008 - 3:04pm

GAZA (Reuters) - Hamas arrested three Palestinians who fired rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Thursday, a militant faction said, in the first such detentions since the Islamist group and Israel agreed a truce last month. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group linked to President Mahmoud Abbas\'s Fatah group, said Hamas men pursued its members after the attack and "abducted them" in Jabalya refugee camp. No one was hurt in the strike with two rockets on southern Israel. "We demand their immediate release," said Abu Qusai, a brigades spokesman.

Fatah investigates allegations on member sending arms to Libya
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Fatah party said in a statement on Tuesday that it is investigating allegations that one of its senior members has sent weapons to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. "These allegations are under investigation and the central committee will take suitable measures," Fatah's central committee said in its statement.

Hamas, Fatah met secretly in Gaza this week: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Officials from rivalrous Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party and the Islamic Hamas movement have met in the Gaza Strip this week in a renewed effort to reach reconciliation, a Hamas official said Tuesday. Ismail Al-Ashqar said representatives from the Hamas and the Fatah had discussed their views on the reconciliation and controversial issues obstructing the restoration of political unity between the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the West Bank, where the Fatah-led Palestinian National Authority (PNA) holds sway.

Israel is confusing victimhood with foreign policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Merav Michaeli - (Opinion) April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

In an op-ed piece published in The Washington Post, Richard Goldstone wrote that if he knew then what he knows today, the report would have looked different and that it would have been best had Israel cooperated with him.

Growing Mideast democracy could benefit Israel too
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Moshe Arens - (Opinion) April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Trying to evaluate the implication of the wave of demonstrations sweeping over the Arab World, one is reminded of Zhou Enlai, the premier of the People's Republic of China under Mao Zedong - who when asked what he thought of the French Revolution, reportedly replied that it was too early to tell. Samuel Goldwyn's well-known aphorism reminds us that we should not hasten to predict future events: "Never make forecasts, especially about the future," he said. And especially not about the future of the Middle East, one might add.

Barak to approve development plans for 4 West Bank settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak is set to sign off on four settlement development plans, Haaretz learned on Sunday, joining two plans Barak had earlier decided to approve. The plans are for the settlements of Rotem, Eshkolot-Sansana, Halamish-Neve Tzuf, Nofim, and Kiryat Netafim. All of the above settlements were founded following a government decision, and all of their lands are converted state lands. The plans set to be signed will in fact perpetuate the status quo in these settlements, disallowing any new legal construction, making the planned signing more of a symbolic achievement.

UN Human Rights Council stands by Goldstone Report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Eldad Yaniv - April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The United Nations Human Rights Council stands by the Goldstone Report despite its author's admission that he now questioned his own findings: UNHRC spokesman Cedric Sapey told Yediot Ahronot Monday that the op-ed written by Richard Goldstone, published in the Washington Post on Friday, expressed the judge's personal opinion and did not represent the other committee members.

Settlers angry expansion plans exclude Itamar
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yair Altman - April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The Jerusalem Municipality approved Monday the construction of 942 homes in the neighborhood of Gilo, ahead of a meeting between President Shimon Peres and US leaders. The announcement came after settler leaders expressed criticism of the government's new zoning plan for West Bank settlements, which doesn't include Itamar and other settlements. The plans will next have to be approved by the planning and construction committee. The neighborhood is by consensus considered within Israeli territory, but construction there has previously spurred US and international criticism.

'Israel using int'l climate to abandon two-state solution'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The PLO's Executive Committee on Tuesday accused Israel of exploiting the global climate to abandon the two-state solution, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA. A statement quoted in the report cited the Monday approval of 942 housing units in Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood as well as the approval of master plans for several West Bank settlements.

Aharonovitch: Israelis, Palestinians on a collision course
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Tuesday said that Israel is on a collision course with the Palestinians and cannot allow the threat to expand to the point that it is at Tel Aviv's doorstep, Israel Radio reported. Speaking while on a tour of Sderot, Aharonovitch added that Israel can not quietly accept rocket and mortar fire and that the Palestinians need to be hit hard. Aharonovitch advised Sderot residents to prepare for another round of violent conflict.

Encountering Peace: Israelis vote yes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Okay, so Israel has been exonerated from the allegations in the Goldstone Report. We can all breathe a sigh of relief. We now know for sure the IDF did not intentionally kill Palestinian noncombatants.

Gaza: the stain remains on Israel's war record
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Kenneth Roth - (Opinion) April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The Netanyahu government is doing everything it can to interpret a recent Washington Post op-ed article by Justice Richard Goldstone as vindication of Israel's conduct in the 2008-09 Gaza conflict. It is nothing of the sort. Israel's reluctance to confront that reality finds a parallel in its refusal to date to conduct credible investigations into the serious violations of the laws of war that it committed in Gaza. The Goldstone article does not relieve it of the obligation to pursue those investigations.

Ross: Turmoil sharpens Israeli needs for security guarantees
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Mohamed Ahbdellah - April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The recent Middle East turmoil has sharpened Israeli needs for tangible security guarantees in exchange for concessions to the Palestinians, Dennis Ross said. Ross, President Obama’s top Middle East adviser, told the Anti-Defamation League’s annual leadership conference in Washington on Monday that security guarantees sought by Israel toward a peace deal with the Palestinians were critical, “particularly during a time of change.” The Palestinians, in turn, “need to see that they can have an independent state that is viable and contiguous” as well as “signs the occupation is receding.”

J Street Lauds Goldstone for Retracting War Crimes Claims
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The dovish Jewish-American lobby J Street on Monday lauded South African Judge Richard Goldstone’s op-ed in The Washington Post I which he voiced regret about blaming Israel for the intentional targeting of civilians in the report he authored on the Gaza war.

Returning to our references
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinians look at the approaching September deadline as a very critical and decisive crossroads. It is the end of the one-year time-frame for the bilateral negotiations that started upon the initiative of the United States last September. It is also the end of the two-year plan of the Palestinian government for achieving national readiness for statehood.

The wages of Palestinian ambiguity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) April 4, 2011 - 12:00am

"I'll speak in vague sentences," stated Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week at a meeting in Ramallah when asked to discuss Palestinian plans for the period beginning September 2011. That is when the United Nations General Assembly reconvenes, with a request to recognize a Palestinian state probably high on its agenda.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017