Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Prominent Israelis call for the establishment of a Palestinian state. The New York Times looks at why Judge Goldstone reconsidered his views on the Gaza war. Hamas arrests suspects in the murder of an Italian activist, and kills one. Pres. Abbas and other PLO officials say Palestinians will approach the UN in September, but say they still have confidence in Pres. Obama. Abbas says he will not accept another armed uprising against Israel. Fatah say they are still open to a compromise with Hamas, but Danny Rubinstein says Hamas isn’t interested. A settler shoots a Palestinian near Nablus. Israel indicts an Australian man on accusations of working with Hamas, and arrests four Palestinian lawyers accused of passing messages to Islamic Jihad. Moth infestations threaten Gaza crops. PA officials say they face a “double fiscal crisis.” Shlomo Avineri says PM Netanyahu should give a speech to Israelis, not Americans, clarifying his vision for the future. Amira Hass says the murder of settlers doesn’t justify collective punishment against Palestinians. International activists seek to protect Palestinian fishermen from the Israeli Navy. Umm el-Fahm boasts a significant art gallery. Jonathan Freedland says peace needs more international supporters. Displaced Palestinian refugees in Lebanon finally get new homes.

Israeli Luminaries Press for a Palestinian State
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Dozens of Israel’s most honored intellectuals and artists have signed a declaration endorsing a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders and asserting that an end to Israel’s occupation “will liberate the two peoples and open the way to a lasting peace.”

Past Holds Clue to Goldstone’s Shift on the Gaza War
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner, Jennifer Medina - April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Two decades ago, Richard Goldstone, a Jewish South African judge, played a vital role in reconciling his country’s white minority government and rising black majority movement by leading a fact-finding mission into black violence that offered a Solomonic conclusion. The violence, he found, was endemic, but a covert government campaign was sponsoring black killings to undermine the opposition. Heads rolled, hands were shaken and Mr. Goldstone was hailed as the most trusted man in the country, going on to a distinguished international career.

Hamas Captures Suspect in Italian’s Killing; 2 Others Dead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram - April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Two of the extremists suspected of killing an Italian activist died and a third was captured on Tuesday when Hamas security troops stormed a building in central Gaza where the men were hiding, according to the Gazan Interior Ministry. A ministry statement said that one of the hunted men, who had Jordanian citizenship, threw a grenade at the other two — both Palestinians — to prevent them from surrendering. One was fatally injured. The Jordanian then killed himself with a gunshot to the head, the statement said. The third man, who was injured, was taken into custody.

GAZA STRIP: Suspect in killing of Italian activist dies in standoff
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Ahmed al-Dabba - April 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas rulers in the Gaza Strip said Tuesday that a man suspected of killing an Italian pro-Palestinian activist in the territory committed suicide during a tense police standoff. The suspect, a Jordanian citizen, shot himself after he hurled a grenade at two of his partners, critically injuring one of them, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry said in a statement published on its website. Three policemen were injured during an exchange of fire, the statement added.

Palestinian president rejects new uprising against Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Bouazza Ben Bouazza - April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian president said Wednesday he is opposed to another armed uprising against Israel, even if faltering peace efforts fail later this year. Mahmoud Abbas told reporters in Tunisia that he remains committed to the U.S.-backed target of reaching a negotiated peace agreement with Israel by September. But with talks stalled for months, he repeated his plan to unilaterally seek United Nations endorsement of Palestinian independence in the absence of a deal.

Abbas: We will head to the UN in September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated Tuesday his intention to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state by September, saying he believed he would have the backing of the US administration. In an interview with the daily newspaper Al-Ayyam, the second in as many days, the president said he would shortly ask his American counterpart, "if he is capable of honoring his promise [for a Palestinian state in September] or not."

Fatah: Door remains open for Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The head of Fatah’s unity delegation said Tuesday that the party would "keep the door open" for Hamas to sign a unity deal, despite the expected announcement of a newly appointed Palestinian Authority cabinet next week. Speaking with Ma'an the day after President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters that a new PA cabinet would be formed, Azzam Al-Ahmad said the move would come on Abbas' return from Paris at the end of the week.

PA official: Settler shoots Palestinian near Nablus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian man was moderately injured Tuesday after settlers opened fire south of Nablus, officials said. Ghassan Doughlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlements in the West Bank, told Ma'an that a group of settlers from the illegal Brakha settlement, near Burin village in the northern West Bank, fired at civilians and tried to break into a house. Other villagers intervened but one Palestinian was shot in the hand and stomach, the official said. The victim, who was not immediately identified, was taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, Doughlas said.

Israel indicts Australian for alleged Hamas links
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Dan Williams - April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel has arrested an Australian who tried to enter the country as a tourist, charging him with working for the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas. The April 17 indictment of Eyad Abu Arga, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters on Wednesday, appeared to be part of a wide-ranging and sometimes covert campaign by Israel to curb Hamas, with which it has regularly clashed in the Gaza Strip.

Moth attacks threaten Gaza crops
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The Hamas authorities warned Wednesday that swarms of moth spreading in the Gaza Strip recently, would do harm to crops growing in the enclave if out of control. It is unknown where the insects came from, an official with the Hamas Agricultural Ministry said, however, he added that he believes Israel was the source, since the moths are largely found in the fields near Gaza-Israel borders. The insect, known as "Vine Hawk-Moth," feeds on leaves of trees and herbage crops, Ziad Hamada said, noting the ministry lacks proper means to control the swarms, blaming Israeli economic sanctions.

Palestinians determined to seek independence despite U.S. objection
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian leadership on Wednesday reiterated that it will seek state's recognition from the United Nations despite U.S. opposition. Yasser Abed Rabbo, a Palestine Liberation Organization official, said the Palestinians want the world to recognize their state on the lands that Israel has occupied in 1967 because "the United States failed to resume serious peace negotiations" between Israel and the Palestinians. On Tuesday, the U.S. said it rejected the Palestinian plan for the recognition, saying that the Palestinian state must come through a negotiated agreement with Israel.

PNA faces double fiscal crisis: officials
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Emad Drimly - April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) faces a double fiscal crisis due to a lack of international funds, which affected its budget, as well as the ability of the staff unions to improve its employees' wages and pay their financial receivables, officials said on Tuesday. Ahmed Majdalani, the PNA labor minister told Xinhua that over the past few years, the PNA has been suffering from a real fiscal crisis due to the lack of international funds offered to the PNA by donor countries, adding that "this had left a large gap in the budget."

Four Arab lawyers suspected of passing messages for Islamic Jihad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Four Arab lawyers working in Jerusalem have been arrested in recent weeks for allegedly passing information from prisoners from Islamic Jihad jailed in Israel to the group's officials in Gaza, according to details that emerged Wednesday after a gag order was lifted. Among the four is Suhir Ayoub, a 42-year-old female lawyer from Acre in northern Israel.

Netanyahu owes speech to Israelis, not Americans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Uri Avnery - April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Here is a sensational news item: Next month, the prime minister will deliver a speech to the U.S. Congress. In all probability, this will be a polished, excellent address, one crafted in Benjamin Netanyahu's characteristic style and language.

Itamar murders don’t justify stripping Palestinians' rights
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli settlement enterprise does not need the murder of Jewish families in order to strip Palestinian families of their land and endanger the future of both peoples. But when such a murder "falls into its hands," the settlement enterprise knows how to make the most out of it, by building new neighborhoods and outposts, blaming Palestinian nature and education, and dropping biblical terms like "bitter enemies" and "Amalek."

Palestinians counting on Obama for state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinians are signaling they are still planning to go ahead with efforts to declare an independent state with the backing of the United Nations. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said during a visit in Tunisia that the Palestinian Authority is ready to establish a state. "We are counting on the words of US President Barack Obama who said his vision is to see a Palestinian state this coming September according to a deadline set by the Quartet."

Activist sets sail to protect Gaza fishermen from IDF
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

A small boat with foreign and Gazan passengers sailed from Gaza Wednesday purporting to be "accompanying Palestinian fishermen to ensure the navy does not attack or abuse them." The vessel, Oliva, was organized by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) organization of which Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni, who was killed in Gaza earlier this month, was a member. One ISM member on the ship told Israeli media that passengers intended to record any potential IDF "attacks" on fishermen in the Mediterranean, as well as any "human rights violations."

Hamas Bides Its Time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Danny Rubenstein - April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

FOR THE PAST FEW WEEKS, THE PALESTINIAN Authority has been engaging in a media campaign of unprecedented scope. The campaign slogan is: “End the Schism” and organized demonstrations, sit-in strikes, conferences by public institutions, dozens (if not hundreds) of newspaper articles, posters and protest marches have all been thrown into the fray.

Israel and Palestine don't need more friends – but the peace process does
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jonathan Freedland - (Opinion) April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

I spent much of last week being a Palestinian. And not just any Palestinian. I was the man charged with negotiating their future. Over the course of two full days I was Saeb Erekat, longtime (and now caretaker) negotiations chief of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, facing off against an Israeli team led by one of Binyamin Netanyahu's closest confidants.

Palestinian refugees get new homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Zoi Constantine - April 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Muneeb al Sayed perched his young grandson on the table and accepted a manila envelope, as the crowd around him broke into applause. Inside the envelope yesterday were the keys to an apartment for Mr al Sayed, 54, and his family, in the Nahr el Bared Palestinian refugee camp in the north of Lebanon. "I'm very, very happy," he said, holding the hand of his four-year-old grandson, also called Muneeb, who was dressed up for the occasion in a suit and tie. "We have families and children and we need a place to live."

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