Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel and Hamas are considering a cease-fire, but divisions in Hamas are complicating factor. The CSM says time is no longer on the side of Israel or PM Netanyahu. FM Lieberman says Israel should topple Hamas rule in Gaza and a cease-fire is not in Israel’s interests. The PA says it will be ready for statehood in September. Israel is accused of targeting water facilities in Gaza. The Arab League may call for a no-fly zone over Gaza. Israel holds back on final approval for new settlement housing in occupied East Jerusalem. A new Israeli anti-rocket system, which the US is helping to fund, is having an impact, but Netanyahu says it cannot protect every house. Analysts predict a short-term cease-fire but long-term instability in Gaza. Israel closes a West Bank village and arrests 23 Palestinians. Israeli authorities predict a breakthrough in the investigation of the murder of a settler family. Niva Lanir predicts September will be a diplomatic disaster for Israel. Akiva Eldar says Israel must start evacuating West Bank settlements. David Horovitz says Netanyahu has no strategy and should consider recognizing Palestinian statehood. Both Israeli and Palestinian youth show signs of becoming politically apathetic. Raghida Dergham says the US must deal with the Palestinian issue to address broader Arab unrest. Uri Avnery says he feels sorry for Judge Goldstone. Hussein Ibish says most Arabs yearn for peace.

Israel and Hamas Consider Cease-Fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - April 10, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel and Hamas signaled on Sunday that they were willing to restore calm after days of intense fighting, and while militants in Gaza fired about 10 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel, most fell in open areas close to the border and Israel did not immediately respond.

Time running out for Israel and peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
(Editorial) April 8, 2011 - 12:00am

In the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, it has worked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s advantage to play for time. It has kept him in power and his conservative coalition government together. But time is no longer on Mr. Netanyahu’s side. A wave of change is coming in the Middle East and at the United Nations, where the Palestinians are building support for a September bid to win UN recognition of a Palestinian state. Far better for the Israeli prime minister to ride this wave, than to be battered by it.

Lieberman: Israel should topple Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel should not settle for a truce with Hamas in Gaza, and should instead seek to topple the Islamist rulers of the coastal strip, Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday. "The goal that we have settled on, of seeking a return to calm, is a grave error because it will allow Hamas to reinforce along the lines of Hezbollah," Lieberman told public radio, referring to the Lebanese militia with which Israel fought a 2006 war, killing 1,200, mostly civilians.

PA: State will be ready by September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority's Minister of Planning and Development announced Monday the government's "national readiness to establish an independent Palestinian state during September." Minister Ali Al-Jerbawi said the announcement came in line with the successful implementation of the 13th government's plan, "Ending the Occupation, Establishing a State," put out by the now caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in August 2009.

Gaza City officials: Weekend strikes targeted water facilities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Officials in the Gaza Strip's northernmost municipality on Monday accused Israeli forces of striking drinking water sources and infrastructure, during a weekend of violence that saw at least 18 dead in the coastal enclave. Gaza's municipality released a report cataloging damage to the water infrastructure from artillery shells over the weekend, which included damages to the Al-Mintar water tank in Al-Quba area of Gaza City, which gives water to the eastern areas of Ash-Shuja'iyeh neighborhood.

Arab League calls for no-fly zone over Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
April 10, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab League called on the United Nations on Sunday to impose a no-fly zone over Gaza and lift an Israeli siege of the territory after a flare-up of violence that is stoking fears of a wider escalation. The death toll since Israel launched retaliation for an attack on a school bus that critically wounded a teenager on Thursday has climbed to 19 Palestinian militants and civilians. Condemning what it called Israel's "brutal" aggression in Gaza, a gathering of the Arab League's permanent delegates chaired by Oman called on the U.N. to convene its Security Council.

Israel delays approval of east Jerusalem housing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - April 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked a government panel to put off final approval of 2,500 new apartments in east Jerusalem, an official said Monday — a reflection of the intense international pressure Israel is under to avoid friction with the Palestinians. The move came just as tensions were easing along Israel's border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, where a fragile quiet appeared to be taking hold after several days of escalation that raised fears of another major eruption of violence.

New Israeli system alters war against Gaza rockets
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Matti Friedman - April 10, 2011 - 12:00am

A new Israeli-made missile defense system has gotten off to an encouraging start, shooting down at least eight rockets in a test run that could potentially change the long-running war between Israel and Palestinian rocket squads in Gaza. Israeli officials say the $200 million "Iron Dome" has performed beyond all expectations, raising hopes the military has finally found a way to rob Hamas militants of their most potent weapon: the short-range rockets that have made life miserable for large swaths of the population over the past decade.

Short-term ceasefire, long-term instability foreseen in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Adam Gonn - April 10, 2011 - 12:00am

After a weekend of intense Israeli air strikes and artillery fire in response to over 120 rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, Hamas is calling Israel to halt its attacks. In an interview with the Israel Radio on Sunday, Ghazi Hamad, the deputy foreign minister of the deposed Hamas government, said that "we are interested in calm, but want the Israeli military to stop its operations." Earlier on Sunday Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel was willing to accept a mutual ceasefire with Hamas.

Israeli PM: Iron Dome cannot protect every home
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 10, 2011 - 12:00am

While the Iron Dome anti-rocket system represents an impressive technological breakthrough, the army cannot protect "every home, facility, or site in the country, " Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday. "In the end, true defense is a combination between defensive capabilities with a deterring offensive capability," Netanyahu said late Sunday during a tour of the Iron Dome's battery deployed near the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon.

Israeli army closes West Bank village, arrests 23 Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 10, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli army announced on Sunday the Awarta village in the West Bank as a closed military area and arrested 23 Palestinians, including three women. Qais Awwad, head of the village's council, said the Israeli army was conducting an operation in the village since early morning after closing all its entrances. The army forces arrested 20 youths and three women from the village after an investigation, Awwad said, adding that the forces stormed dozens of houses in the village and destroyed the furniture in four houses.

Israel on verge of breakthrough in probe into Itamar massacre
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Chaim Levinson - April 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli security forces believe that there will soon be a breakthrough in the investigation into the Itamar murders, in which five family members were stabbed to death in their home. On Sunday, Israel Defense Forces soldiers arrested more Palestinian suspects in Samarea in the West Bank, after dozens were already taken in for questioning regarding the Itamar murders. Earlier this month, terrorists entered the West Bank settlement of Itamar and murdered Ehud and Ruth Fogel, along with three of their young children, including their three-month-old baby, before fleeing the scene.

Black September is coming to Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Niva Lanir - (Opinion) April 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The Hamas regime is a pain in the neck. If it drags Israel into another ground confrontation in the Gaza Strip, Hamas won't be the only one that is beaten for the second time. The equation was, and remains, bad news; the shooting, the escalation and the losses harm both sides with differing force and cyclicity. There is no "bang-and-it's-over" solution, as Defense Minister Ehud Barak said yesterday morning on Israel Radio. Who knows better than he?

It's time for disengagement No. 2
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) April 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Every rocket launched from the Gaza Strip toward Sderot and Ashdod serves as "further proof" that the evacuation of the Gush Katif settlement bloc was a bad bargain. And once again we are being warned that "this is what will happen to Kfar Sava and Netanya if we withdraw from Judea and Samaria." And once again the settlers are able to pull the wool over people's eyes, turning themselves from a security burden into a strategic asset.

US to help pay for Iron Dome
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - April 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The United States is slated to provide Israel with $430 million worth of security aid in the near future which will include $205 million allocated for the development of Iron Dome batteries. Democrats and republicans are slated to finalize the 2011 budget in the coming days. The delay in the approval of the funds was caused by foot-dragging in passing the budget in Congress. The budget was meant to pass five months ago but partisan conflicts delayed its approval.

Lieberman: Gaza ceasefire is not in Israel's interests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) April 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke out against a ceasefire with Hamas on Monday morning, following renewed violence emanating from the Gaza Strip in the past four days. In an interview with Israel Radio, he said, "Hamas is fighting a war of attrition against us. We won't come to terms with a situation in which they decide when there's quiet and when the area heats up." Lieberman added that a ceasefire with Hamas is against Israel's national interests. He said he is working to implement the coalition agreement, which says that the government will work towards overthrowing Hamas.

Editor's Notes: Playing poker over ‘Palestine’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Horovitz - (Opinion) April 8, 2011 - 12:00am

“The connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel has lasted for more than 3,500 years... Our right to build our sovereign state here, in the Land of Israel, arises from one simple fact: This is the homeland of the Jewish people, this is where our identity was forged... “But we must also tell the truth in its entirety: Within this homeland lives a large Palestinian community. We do not want to rule over them, we do not want to govern their lives, we do not want to impose either our flag or our culture on them.

Internal Hamas Rift Snags Efforts to End Israeli-Gaza Fighting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Miller - April 10, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas, the Islamic group that controls the Gaza Strip, is sending out contradictory messages about its willingness to enter into a ceasefire with Israel, amid signs of a yawning rift between its military and political wings. "We are interested in calm, but we want the Israeli military to stop its operations," Ghazi Hamad, Hamas’ deputy foreign minister, said in an interview on Israel Radio on Sunday. But the night before Abu-Ubaida, a spokesman for the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, showed no intention of stepping down the violence along the border.

Israelis and Palestinians, Particularly the Youth, Grow Apathetic
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Arieh O'Sullivan - April 7, 2011 - 12:00am

A generation ago one of the most popular Israeli songs was You and Me Can Change the World. Today’s youth are more likely to be anxious over who’s going to win the Big Brother reality television show. A recent poll of Israeli youth, both Jews and Arabs, has shown that they are becoming more ambivalent and alienated and, when they do express themselves, tend to be more intolerant than their elders, if not holding downright undemocratic views.

The “Arab Spring” and the Palestinian Cause
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - April 8, 2011 - 12:00am

While the U.S. President Barack Obama may want to dedicate his time to domestic affairs, in order to secure a second term in the White House, he must prepare himself for foreign policy issues intruding into his reelection campaign, especially Middle Eastern issues. This is because the “Arab Spring” may soon be followed by summer, autumn and winter, before it becomes clear whether it will blossom in the manner envisaged by Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution.

Gaza: Goldstone's recantation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - (Opinion) April 10, 2011 - 12:00am

First there was a veritable storm of fury when the original Goldstone Report was issued.

Arabs yearn to move on and enjoy genuine peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) April 11, 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 clause 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 allow “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.”

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