Middle East News: World Press Roundup

An Israeli settler is killed by Palestinian police near a holy site, sparking new tensions. His aunt, an Israeli cabinet minister, says he was killed by a terrorist disguised as a police officer, but an investigation shows the group tried to break through a Palestinian roadblock. Settlers say they go there every night without Palestinian permission. PM Netanyahu calls the incident, which is in the context of an uptick in violence, “heinous.” The New York Times says Pres. Obama must present a peace plan. Israel’s West Bank separation barrier creates psychological divisions as well as physical ones. An Israeli IT company hires Palestinian programmers. Egypt closes the crossing with Gaza for the holidays. PM Fayyad says national unity is crucial for statehood and that Palestinians will soon celebrate Easter in East Jerusalem. Efforts to resume negotiations are underway, and a PLO official says they may not approach the UN if serious talks resume. Israeli officials say Hamas may want to capture more Israeli soldiers. Alon Ben-Meir says Israel must make the next diplomatic move. David Rosenberg says Palestinian leaders are creating their state and this is good for Israel. Gary Younge says the status quo is neither sustainable nor desirable for Israelis or Palestinians. Elliot Jager looks at the history of the Likud party. Tony Karon says the UN is the right place for Middle East diplomacy. Fawaz Turki says there is an intolerant streak in Palestinian society that must be challenged. Musa Keilani says unless something significant happens before September, the UNGA will recognize Palestine. Dan Ephron profiles Pres. Abbas in Newsweek.

Palestinian Police Kill Israeli Visiting West Bank Holy Site
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - April 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian police shot and killed one Israeli and wounded four others early Sunday after the Israelis surreptitiously visited a Jewish holy site inside a Palestinian-controlled area, officials on both sides said. The shooting occurred outside Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus after three carloads of religious Israeli Jews visited the site to pray, without coordinating their plans through the Israeli Army. Twice-monthly trips to the tomb have been organized with army escorts for the past four years without incident.

President Obama and the Peace Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - (Editorial) April 24, 2011 - 12:00am

President Obama began his presidency vowing to negotiate an Israeli-Palestinian peace. He backed off in the face of both sides’ obstinacy and after a series of diplomatic missteps. Since then, the stalemate, and the mistrust, have only deepened, and it is clear that nothing good will happen until the United States fully engages.

Israel's wall cements psychological divide between Arab, Jew
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - April 22, 2011 - 12:00am

shad Zeid, a Palestinian farmer who lives not far from the bustle of Tel Aviv, once sold his crops to Israeli acquaintances – chatting with them in Hebrew as they paid for cabbage or cauliflower. But now Mr. Zeid's world ends abruptly at a high wall of gray concrete erected by Israel to protect its citizens against Palestinian suicide bombers. Just beyond the wall bordering his fields lies Kfar Saba, a Tel Aviv suburb of 85,000 that was once part of his customer base.

Tech diplomacy: Israeli CEO hires Palestinian programmers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - April 22, 2011 - 12:00am

The last time chief executive officer Eyal Waldman had been to the Israeli-occupied West Bank was as a soldier. But when he needed to outsource some work for his fast-growing Israeli technology company, he chose an unconventional solution: hiring Palestinian programmers from Ramallah.

Egypt closes Rafah crossing for holiday
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing on Monday as the country marked Sinai Liberation Day and Sham Al-Nessim, officials announced. Crossing director Ayyoub Abu Sha’ar told Ma'an that the terminal would be closed for one day as citizens marked the national holiday denoting the beginning of spring. The holiday always falls the day after the Eastern Orthodox Christian Easter. On Tuesday, the crossing will resume its five-day-a-week schedule, Abu Sha'ar said.

Fayyad: National unity urgent for statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Saturday that a national unity government must be formed urgently as the last stages of the national project are completed. Fayyad's comments were made during a tour of villages near Ramallah, where the premier helped farmers to plant tree saplings. The prime minister's two-year state-building initiative is scheduled to be completed in September, when the PA is expected to seek international recognition of its statehood at the UN.

Fayyad: We’ll soon celebrate Easter in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 25, 2011 - 12:00am

The prime minister in Ramallah gave holiday greetings at an event with Christian clergymen and other officials Saturday, the day before Easter. "This holiday brings with it joy and the promise of a better future," Salam Fayyad said. "It is a religious and national holiday for Muslim and Christian Palestinians," he said. "We will celebrate this holiday at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in East Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Palestinian state, at a time when our aspirations for freedom and independence are realized."

Arab changes to hopefully push forward stalled Mideast peace before September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Talks on new American and Israeli plans and initiatives to push forward the peace process have increased in the past few weeks, while the Palestinians are working in full swing for the establishment of an independent state in September. The Middle East peace process has been stalled, since the Palestinians had suspended the direct peace talks with Israel in October, one month after it was launched in Washington. The talks with Israel were suspended after Israel refused to freeze settlement building in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Tensions mount in West Bank after Nablus shooting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Tensions in the West Bank mounted Sunday after a shooting incident in the city of Nablus killed one Israeli and wounded four others. A Palestinian policeman opened fire when a group of Israelis entered Joseph's Tomb, a Jewish holy site in the West Bank city of Nablus, early Sunday without "proper permits," according to an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) statement.

Report: Hamas seeks to kidnap more IDF soldiers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
April 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas is planning to take advantage of the relative calm in Gaza to arrange additional kidnappings of Israeli soldiers, according to a report by Israel Radio quoting an article published Sunday in Hamas' Al-Resalah newspaper. The report said that Hamas would potentially perpetrate the abductions to attain additional bargaining chips in the event that Gilad Shalit is killed during Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip. The Hamas newspaper report added that the past five years in which they have held Shalit hostage will prove helpful in the organization fulfilling its goal.

Minister Livnat: My nephew was killed by a terrorist disguised as a Palestinian policeman
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - April 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Hundreds attended the funeral of Ben-Joseph Livnat Sunday, who was killed and three others were wounded earlier in the day when a Palestinian security officer opened fire on their car as they were leaving the holy site of Joseph's Tomb near the West Bank city of Nablus. The funeral procession left Alon More near Nablus, heading toward the Mount of Olives Graveyard. Livnat, 25, is the nephew of Science and Culture Minister Limor Livnat, and is survived by his wife and four children.

Israelis shot in West Bank tried to break through Palestinian roadblock, probe shows
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson, Anshel Pfeffer - April 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian security forces opened fire early Sunday on three cars full of Israelis who entered the West Bank compound of Joseph's Tomb without permission and then tried to break through a local checkpoint, according to an initial investigation by the Israel Defense Forces and the Palestinian Authority. Ben-Joseph Livnat, a 25-year-old father of four and nephew of Culture and Science Minister Limor Livnat, was killed in the shooting. Three other people were wounded, and are in light to serious conditions.

'Heinous act against Jewish worshipers'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Attila Somfalvi - April 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Shooting attack or unintentional mishap? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned on Sunday evening the shooting incident at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus that killed 24-year-old Ben-Yosef Livnat and injured two other Hasidim, calling it a "terrorist attack." In his statement, Netanyahu urged the Palestinian Authority "to take harsh steps against the perpetrators who committed this heinous act against Jewish worshipers who were on their way to prayer."

'Worshippers visit Joseph's Tomb every night'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Raanan Ben-Zur - April 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Almost every night, Jewish worshippers sneak into Palestinian territory, where Joseph's Tomb is located, without obtaining a permit. On Sunday morning such a "routine" visit ended with a fatal shooting that killed Ben-Yosef Livnat, a 24-year-old father-of-four and the nephew of Sports and Culture Minister Limor Livnat. The entrance into the Tomb vicinity is usually coordinated by Chairman of the Yesod Olam association Haim Reicher, who also arranges entries to other holy sites in the West Bank.

'PA will defer UN statehood bid if 'serious' talks begin'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) April 25, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian leadership will defer its plan to seek a declaration of statehood in the United Nations this September if "real and serious" negotiations begin before that point, PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo told London-based Al-Hayyat on Monday. Abed Rabbo added that the Palestinians only have two options in their playbook and that if it is not satisfied by renewed talks, it will go ahead with the United Nations plan.

Above the Fray: The great Mideast chess game
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Alon Ben-meir - (Opinion) April 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Amid the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate, a storm of diplomatic activity is brewing. The Palestinians, Israel and the United States are carefully calculating what moves to make next. Only the Palestinians appear to have a clear-cut strategy: internationalizing the conflict through a United Nations General Assembly Resolution recognizing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, within the 1967 borders.

Good morning, Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Rosenberg - (Opinion) April 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Sometime in September the United Nations General Assembly will vote (in all probability) in favor of Palestinian statehood. How the vote will be taken and what its significance for the relationship between infant Palestine and the rest of the world and for the day-to-day management of Israel’s occupation is anyone’s guess.

West Bank Shooting Comes Amid Upsurge in Violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Rosenberg - April 24, 2011 - 12:00am

One Israeli was killed and three others were injured by gunfire early on Sunday as they were leaving a Jewish holy site in the city of Nablus, amid signs of an upsurge of Palestinian attacks on Israelis originating in the generally quiet West Bank.

For Israelis and Palestinians, the status quo is neither sustainable nor desirable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Gary Younge - (Opinion) April 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Back in 2008 a Florida couple running a small business that throws children's parties bought two costumes that looked like Tigger and Eeyore on eBay from a firm in Peru for $500. When Walt Disney saw the characters advertised online, it threatened legal action for an infringement of copyright laws and presented the couple with a seven-point demand to cease and desist.

How the Likud Came to Be
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Ideas Daily
by Elliot Jager - April 22, 2011 - 12:00am

The party faithful who gathered in Tel Aviv on April 14 for a pre-Passover toast heard Benjamin Netanyahu announce that he would amplify Israel's security-and-peace principles at a joint session of the U.S. Congress next month. Surveying the crowd from the podium, the prime minister no doubt took comfort from a recent survey showing that 76 percent of Likud members opposed annexing all of Judea and Samaria. Yet he would also have known that 10,000 party recruits had been newly signed up by uncompromising settler leaders.

Bibi and Obama: hand over peace process to the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Tony Karon - April 25, 2011 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, we are told, are in a "bizarre diplomatic race" to be the first to outline a new initiative for Middle East peace. That's according to the New York Times, which last week reported that Mr Netanyahu is planning to preempt Mr Obama when he addresses US Congress next month, at the invitation of the president's Republican adversaries.

Intolerant streak continues to afflict Palestinian society
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Fawaz Turki - (Opinion) April 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Let's not allow the brazen murder of Juliano Mer Khamis, 52, and Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, two engaged idealists who were gunned down respectively in the West Bank and Gaza within two weeks of each other earlier this month, to pass largely unnoticed, relegated to a mere footnote in the narrative of the Palestinian struggle.

Palestinian membership in the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Musa Keilani - (Opinion) April 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The debate over the Palestinians’ quest for international recognition of their statehood got into high gear last week. The administration of US President Barack Obama offered the golden advice, saying it did not think that it was a “good idea” for the Palestinians to unilaterally seek recognition for independent statehood from the United Nations before reaching a peace agreement with Israel.

The Wrath of Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Newsweek
by Dan Ephron - (Blog) April 25, 2011 - 12:00am

We're somewhere over the Mediterranean, and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, is trying to get inside the head of Barack Obama. "We knew him before he became president," he's saying, struggling to understand what happened to the man who had seemed more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than any of his predecessors. "We knew him and he was very receptive." Around us, Abbas's closest aides are shuffling papers or typing on laptops, while his bodyguards lounge on long corduroy couches.

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