Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Sudan accuses Israel of bombing it, killing two. Jenin mourns a lost theatrical hero. The IMF says Palestine is ready for statehood. The World Bank praises Palestinian state-building efforts but says the occupation is the main obstacle. Israelis and Palestinians bicker over the future of a pre-1948 village. Occupation forces detain 100 Palestinian women in the West Bank. Pres. Abbas visits Cairo. Israel destroys Palestinian homes and roads in the Jordan Valley. Israel charges five Palestinians in a Jerusalem bomb plot. Hamas members are arrested for allegedly plotting to abduct Israeli soldiers. Jordan's FM says settlement building is a threat to peace. Leaked cables suggest Peace Now urged the US to press for evacuations of unauthorized settler outputs. A new poll suggests most Egyptians support maintaining the treaty with Israel. The authors of a new Israeli peace plan say PM Netanyahu must take the lead. Larry Derfner says the Goldstone Report was not the problem, the Gaza war was. Palestinian human rights groups issue an open letter to Goldstone. The Ford Foundation will no longer fund Israeli NGOs. Osman Mirghani says Israel is trying to thwart Arab democracy. Daoud Kuttab says Goldstone’s reconsideration’s are not good for anybody.

Sudan Says Israel Launched a Missile Strike on a Car, Killing 2
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Josh Kron - April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

The government of Sudan accused Israel on Wednesday of carrying out a fatal airstrike on a car traveling from the Red Sea city of Port Sudan. Sudan is considered a transit point in the weapons route to Hamas, the Palestinian faction that runs Gaza. Israel has not yet responded to the accusation. Sudanese officials said a missile struck the car around 10 p.m. on Tuesday, obliterating the vehicle and killing two people who were inside.

Building a Stage for Mideast Peace Before the Final Curtain
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Juliano Mer Khamis lived a paradox. The internationally renowned actor, director and political activist, who was killed here this week, was both an Israeli and a Palestinian, born to a Jewish mother and an Arab Christian father in the Israeli Arab town of Nazareth. Mr. Mer Khamis embodied the Israeli-Arab conflict and embraced its complexities in a way that few could. He was regarded as an Arab by many Israelis, and by some in this West Bank city, his adopted home, first and foremost as a Jew.

Bid for State of Palestine Gets Support From I.M.F.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority, which is working toward global recognition of its statehood in September, got an endorsement on Wednesday from the International Monetary Fund, which said that the authority was fully capable of running the economy of an independent state.

Israel and Palestinians have conflicting visions for village's future
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - April 7, 2011 - 12:00am

It's easy to conjure the village that once was, hidden deep in a picturesque valley at the western gateway to Jerusalem, almost buried by blooming almond trees, tangled grapevines and a carpet of yellow wildflowers. The roofs and window shutters are long gone from the old stone houses, but decorative brickwork around the doorways and broken staircases bears witness to a bygone prosperity. The freshwater spring was paved over years ago, but the water still gurgles down the main road, just as it did more than 60 years ago.

100 women detained in Awarta
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli troops stormed the village of Awarta on Thursday morning, arresting more than 100 women in what local officials said was part of the ongoing investigation into the murder of five settlers in March. Hundreds of troops entered Awarta - the village adjacent to Itamar, and illegal settlement where the murders took place - shortly after midnight and imposed a curfew after which they began rounding up the women, local council head Tayis Awwad said.

Abbas in Cairo, unity efforts begin
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Active contacts between Palestine and the new Egyptian were resumed in Cairo Thursday, following the arrival of President Mahmoud Abas to the Egyptian capital. Abbas will meet with Egyptian General Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, and head of the interim military council ruling the nation following the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak. Palestinian Ambassador in Cairo Barakat Al-Farra said Abbas will meet with General Tantawi to discuss Palestinian reconciliation, as well as other developments in the Palestinian arena.

Homes, roads taken down near Tubas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Witnesses said six bulldozers and hundreds of soldiers were deployed throughout the Jordan Valley village of Aqrava on Thursday morning, when two homes and road entrances were taken down by Israeli forces. Sami Sadeq, head of the village council, said two streets leading out of the village were torn up, effectively rendering them useless for travel, forcing residents to take long detours and exit via the main entrance of the village.

Palestinians charged in Jerusalem pipe bomb attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Maayan Lubell - April 7, 2011 - 12:00am

An Israeli court on Thursday charged five Palestinians with planting a pipe bomb next to a Jerusalem monastery and planning other attacks around the city, a police spokesman said. The bomb, put last month in a rubbish bag outside the monastery, severed the hand of a municipal worker who picked up the bag. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the five men, residents of Jerusalem, were tied to the Islamist group Hamas and had admitted after their arrest that they planned to carry out more attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem.

World Bank praises Palestinian state building drive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Crispian Balmer - April 7, 2011 - 12:00am

The World Bank gave a strong endorsement on Thursday to Palestinian efforts to set up an independent state, saying core Palestinian institutions compared favourably with those in established nations. The World Bank report followed a similar vote of confidence this week from the International Monetary Fund, with both Washington-based bodies praising the Palestinian Authority for creating the structures needed to maintain a sovereign state.

Hamas militants nabbed for planning to abduct Israeli soldier
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel revealed Wednesday evening that its security apparatuses had nabbed three militants of the Islamic Hamas movement who planned to kidnap a Israeli soldier. The Israeli Radio reported that the internal security apparatus, better known as the Shabak, arrested a group of three Hamas members in January in cooperation with the Israeli army. The group planned to kidnap an Israeli soldier as a hostage and then reach a deal to exchange Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails, according to the radio.

Israeli settlement activities impede peace efforts: Jordanian FM
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh on Wednesday condemned Israel's settlement activities for impeding the peace efforts, state-run Petra news agency reported. At a meeting with David Hale, deputy envoy of the United States for Middle East peace, the Jordanian official condemned Israel's unilateral, illegal and provocative measures in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially in East Jerusalem. Judeh said the Israeli settlement activities obstruct the peace efforts, calling for freezing these activities immediately.

Haaretz WikiLeaks exclusive / Israel's Peace Now updates U.S. on West Bank construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ofer Aderet - April 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli left-wing non-government organization Peace Now has urged the U.S. to pressure Israel into evacuating West Bank outposts, according to an American diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, adding that the group regularly updated both Washington and the Defense Ministry on ongoing settlement construction.

Poll: Majority of Egyptians support maintaining Israel peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
April 7, 2011 - 12:00am

A poll conducted by The International Peace Institute published by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday shows that a majority of Egyptians would like to see a continuation of the peace treaty with Israel. "Maintaining and advancing peace with Israel has far wider appeal than a rupture in relations," reads the report on the poll, citing 60 percent of those polled as supporting maintaining the peace treaty with Israel. Those polled added, however, that they are also vying for the creation of an independent Palestinian State.

World Bank: Palestinian economic growth stunted by 'closure regime'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

The World Bank on Wednesday commended the Palestinian Authority for its institution-building efforts, but voiced concern over limited economic growth in Palestinian-run areas in both Gaza and the West Bank. "Rebuilding the Palestinian economy's productive capacity is a priority,” Mariam J. Sherman, World Bank Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza told donors, in presenting her report on the matter. "While we commend the solid performance of Palestinian institutions, we are concerned about the prospect for continued economic growth," said Sherman.

Authors of peace initiative invite Bibi to take lead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Aviel Magnezi - April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

A group of businessmen, former defense establishment officials and leading professors presented before the press on Wednesday the "Israeli Peace Initiative" that aims to restart the stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to adopt their proposal. The manifest calls for a two-state solution based on the1967 borders, with a Palestinian state stretching across most of the West Bank, with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Rattling the Cage: Goldstone was never the problem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

For Israel and its blind supporters, Operation Cast Lead just got stamped glatt kosher. Richard Goldstone writes in The Washington Post that IDF investigations have changed his mind, that he now thinks Palestinian “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy,” so Israel is saying this proves the war in Gaza was a good war, a just war. The most moral war on Earth.

Justice for Gaza conflict victims: a response to Richard Goldstone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
April 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Dear Richard Goldstone As Palestinian human rights organisations, we were surprised by your op-ed, Reconsidering the Goldstone report on Israel and war crimes. Your conclusions that "civilians were not intentionally targeted [by Israel] as a matter of policy? and that Israel has "to a significant degree? sufficiently self-investigated incidents potentially amounting to war crimes in Operation Cast Lead are of particular concern.

Ford Foundation, Big Funder of Israeli NGOs, Pulling Out
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

After being a target for political attacks during the past year, progressive nongovernmental organizations in Israel are now bracing for another hit: the loss of one of their largest donors. The Ford Foundation, which has provided $40 million to civil society NGOs in Israel since 2003, will not resume its funding for programs in Israel once its current grant round ends in two years. The reason, the organization explains, has to do with changing priorities, not with politics.

Arab revolutions and the Israeli role
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Osman Mirghani - (Opinion) April 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Responding to the ongoing demonstrations that are taking place in a number of cities, Syrian officials spoke of a conspiracy against the country, hinting that Israel were behind this, due to Syria's "national role." The intimations of a conspiracy were mentioned several times by President Bashar al-Assad in his recent speech in which he said that there is significance in the city of Deraa being chosen as the starting point for anti-governmental demonstrations.

Goldstone’s about-face
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) April 7, 2011 - 12:00am

Whenever anything happens in the world, Jews and Israelis ask the question: Is this good for Jews? But when a South African Jew who also insists that he is a Zionist was appointed to a human rights commission, the Jewish answer was a strong no. It was clear that the usual character assassination and political spin aimed at delegitmising anyone asked to investigate Israel’s war crimes would be much more difficult if the person is a Jewish judge.

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