Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinians say if there is no peace agreement by fall they will approach the UN Security Council for recognition, and that this should not result in a decrease in US aid. Israel is under pressure to present peace proposals, or, diplomats say, the Quartet may recognize Palestinian statehood. Palestinian officials say they expect support for statehood from two thirds of UN members, but experts say such a move could backfire. Jewish-American groups debate ways to thwart U.N. recognition of Palestine. Palestinians say they prefer an agreement with Israel. Pres. Abbas, who is visiting Tunis, says the PA will have a new cabinet within a week. Hamas holds a state funeral for a murdered Italian activist, and Charles Glass laments his killing. Palestinian contractors say the PA owes them millions in unpaid bills. A Fatah member dies in Hamas custody. Ha’aretz says Israeli leaders need to think before they speak. The Jerusalem Post interviews the new head of the Israeli Government Press Office. David Newman says the Israeli right has created a crisis of academic freedom. The Forward profiles a new extremely right-wing GOP House member passionately opposed to a two-state solution, and from the left Ahmad Samih Khalidi also dismisses the idea. Yossi Alpher says the peace process is stuck because the parties aren’t interested, and Ghassan Khatib says it has become more process than peace. More prominent international authors join the fight to prevent Israel from deporting a Palestinian bookseller from his own city of Jerusalem.

Palestinians will seek Security Council approval for UN membership if no peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinians say that if a peace treaty with Israel isn’t reached by September their first choice is to go to the U.N. Security Council with such strong support and arguments that it would recommend admission of Palestine as a new member of the United Nations. That would require convincing the U.S., Israel’s ally, not to veto a resolution supporting membership for an independent Palestinian state, which won’t be easy.

Israel under pressure to offer peace plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under mounting pressure to unveil a new plan for solving the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict or risk having the U.S. and international community move ahead with a strategy of their own.

Abbas: New PA cabinet within a week
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

A new Palestinian Authority cabinet will be announced within the week, President Mahmoud Abbas told interviewers on the Al-Arabiya satellite channel Monday, as he headed for Tunis to meet with its new transitional government. "Since Hamas did not respond positively, we cannot wait anymore," Abbas said over his earlier decision to postpone the reappointment of a cabinet, which he said was an attempt to buy time for a reconciliation effort between Fatah and Hamas.

State funeral for Italian activist slain in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian civilians joined members of the Hamas police and security forces on Monday for a funeral to mourn the death of an Italian activist killed by a Salafist group last week. Hundreds of people gathered in Gaza City and at the Rafah border crossing to pay to their respects to Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, who was found hanged in an empty house in northern Gaza on Friday, hours after he was kidnapped. His body was carried from Gaza City's Shifa Hospital in a wooden coffin draped in a Palestinian flag and strewn with rose petals.

West Bank contractors protest unpaid fees
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Contractors and their union representatives protested Monday outside the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Finance in Ramallah over millions of dollars owed to them by the government. Union officials said the PA owed the contractors around 200 million shekels (around $58 million) for their work on government projects. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's advisor Jamal Zaqout talked to the contractors and suggested they met with the premier Tuesday to discuss the debt but protesters refused the proposal, a Ma'an correspondent said.

Fatah man dies days after Hamas arrested him
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian from Fatah party has died Tuesday in a prison run by rival Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, local sources said. The detainee, Adel Rezeq, has been held at one of Hamas' internal security detention facilities since Thursday, sources from local rights groups added. The sources noted that a call for an investigation would be issued soon, as the circumstances behind the death are still unknown. The 50-year-old man was not suffering from any illness "and was in a very good condition when he was arrested," his brother, Muin, told Xinhua.

Abbas arrives in Tunis for three-day visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 18, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived on Monday in Tunis for a three-day work visit, the official press agency TAP reported. Abbas was met at the airport by senior Tunisian officials including Interim Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi and Foreign Minister Mouldi Kefi. It is Abbas' first visit to Tunisia since former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country on January 14.

Palestinians reject possible U.S. aid deduction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 18, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian official on Monday rejected any possible U.S. reduction of aid if the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) sought an international recognition of independence. The U.S. threats against the Palestinians "reflect a complete U. S. bias to the Israeli policies and arrogance in dealing with the Palestinians and their legitimate rights," said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee.

Report: Quartet may formally recognize Palestinian state if peace talks not renewed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

American and European diplomats warned that if peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are not renewed, the Quartet of Mideast peace makers may formally recognize a Palestinian state, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday. The Quartet, which is comprised of the United States, United Nations, European Union, and Russia, was supposed to meet last week to discuss an initiative by Britain, France and Germany to restart stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks by proposing the outlines of a final settlement to their long conflict.

Palestinian UN diplomat: Palestinians prefer peace treaty with Israel by September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Riyad Mansour, the top Palestinian diplomat at the United Nations, said the Palestinians prefer to have a peace treaty with Israel by September, the month when the Palestinians plan on taking their case for an independent state to the floor of the UN. The Palestinians say that if a peace treaty with Israel isn't reached by September their first choice is to go to the UN Security Council with such strong support and arguments that it would recommend admission of Palestine as a new member of the United Nations.

Israeli politicians should think before they speak
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) April 18, 2011 - 12:00am

Isaac Herzog has rich intelligence experience. He was an officer in the intelligence-gathering department of Military Intelligence, and his father, Chaim Herzog, was in British intelligence and twice headed the Intelligence Corps in the Israel Defense Forces. Who more than Isaac Herzog could be expected to have internalized the hoary axiom of field security that once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be called back?

'PA will get majority UN-recognition for Palestinian state'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Senior Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Shaath on Tuesday estimated that the Palestinian Authority will be able to gain recognition for a Palestinian state from two-thirds of United Nations member states before September 2011. PA President Mahmoud Abbas was expected to travel to France on Wednesday to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss recognition of an independent Palestinian state. According to the A-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Abbas will attempt to convince France to endorse a Palestinian state before the PA approaches the UN in September.

The voice of Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - April 18, 2011 - 12:00am

On January 11, at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s annual new year press conference with the foreign media in Jerusalem, Oren Helman was introduced to the foreign press corps as the Government Press Office’s new head, taking over from Danny Seaman, who had a rather torrid 10-year relationship with the foreign press. In what seemed an effort to turn over a whole new leaf with the reporters, Helman told the journalists gathered that the GPO was there to serve them. The journalists, he said, were the GPO’s clients.

Thoughts on academic freedom at Pessah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Newman - (Opinion) April 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Our festivals can be treated in many ways. Some ignore them altogether. Others are content with the rituals, the food and the family gatherings. And for others, it is a time for contemplation, trying to insert contemporary significance into events that happened thousands of years ago. Pessah is when we contemplate the meaning of freedom. All too often it is physical freedom we think about. We read the story of the Jewish people’s liberation from Egyptian slavery and the transformation into an independent and free nation.

Statehood May Be Pyrrhic Victory for Palestinians, Experts Warn
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Miller - (Opinion) April 18, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian quest for statehood received seals of approval from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations in the past week, marking another advance towards the goal of winning United Nations’ endorsement this September. But legal and political analysts warn that the independence campaign may backfire, causing Israeli to dig in its heels on future peace talks, creating problems with the U.S. and perhaps even losing Palestinians the right to make claims on Israel in future negotiations.

A West Bank anachronism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ahmad Samih Khalidi - April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Barring unforeseen developments, it appears as if the PLO and its Ramallah-based arm, the Palestinian Authority, it appears, will head to the UN general assembly in September seeking international recognition of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Via a mechanism known as "uniting for peace", the idea is to bypass the stalemated and futile bilateral negotiations with Israel and circumvent an inevitable US veto at the security council by securing general assembly sanction for a Palestinian state.

House Newcomer Defies GOP Leaders on Israel, From the Right Read more
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Nathan Guttman, Josh Nathan-Kazis - April 18, 2011 - 12:00am

For those who know him, it was no surprise when freshman Rep. Michael Grimm broke ranks with his party and became the first House Republican to call for the release of Jonathan Pollard. The freshman member from New York has made Israel a key element of his political work. And while the Republican House leadership has thus far refrained from speaking out in favor of a commutation of Pollard’s life sentence for spying for Israel, Grimm pays small heed to political consensus.

A needless death in Gaza, and one less witness to its plight
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Charles Glass - April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

The spectacle of a European or North American hostage - shackled and blindfolded - has been a recurring sight in the Middle East since kidnapping became a political weapon in Lebanon in 1982. More often than not, the culprits claimed their captives were spies, soldiers or agents of foreign powers. That was usually, though not always, a lie. The reason most foreigners within the grasp of, say, Hizbollah in Lebanon or extremists in Gaza, remained in the danger zone was to help the victims of occupation. Their own humanity was their undoing.

Jewish groups debate ways to thwart U.N. recognition of ‘Palestine’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - April 15, 2011 - 12:00am

The path to international recognition of Palestinian statehood by September -- when the Palestinians plan to bring the matter before the U.N. General Assembly -- seems clear. The question before Israel and its supporters who oppose such recognition is how to create a detour. Some say the way to go is through diplomatic suasion. Others say there needs to be a push forward with peace initiatives. Still others believe that threatening counteractions is the best way to derail the Palestinian plan.

No one is really interested
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) April 18, 2011 - 12:00am

The question why there is no peace progress offers a good opportunity to review the obstacles to peace that have emerged in the course of the past two and a half years. During that time, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama took office, and the Olmert-Abbas peace talks ended in failure.

More process than peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) April 18, 2011 - 12:00am

After eight months of no negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, it is useful to clarify that recent experience has demonstrated that the existence of a peace process does not necessarily mean moving towards peace. The peace process that was launched in Madrid in 1991 included declared objectives of reaching a peace settlement between Israel on the one hand and Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese and Jordanians on the other hand.

Authors Pamuk, McEwan Back Bookseller Facing Israel Deportation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Calev Ben-Dor - April 18, 2011 - 12:00am

At Munther Fahmi’s small bookshop in East Jerusalem, Martina Quick, political counselor at the Swedish embassy to Israel, peruses a copy of Palestinian academic Sari Nusseibeh’s autobiography “Once Upon A Country.” “This is the best bookshop in the country,” says the blond, bespectacled Quick, 39. “It has the most varied selection in English about the region, including fiction, non- fiction, memoirs and travel writing. My boss, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, feels the same way and he really knows bookstores.”

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