Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Fatah and Hamas provide different accounts and interpretations of a national unity deal. Pres. Abbas tries to reassure Israel and the West. PM Netanyahu is taking full rhetorical advantage of the development, as Israelis express concern, but Ha'aretz says he may have jumped the gun. Regional unrest may have motivated the agreement. Egypt invites the parties to a signing ceremony next week. Jordan and the Arab League welcome the deal. The US says aid to the PA will continue for the meanwhile, but the deal may pose several long-term risks. The White House Chief of Staff may have left the door open for the US to continue to work with a Palestinian unity government. Herb Keinon suggests ways Israel can use the development. The National and the Arab News both say Palestinian unity calls Israel's bluff. Hamas is reportedly insisting on the removal of PM Fayyad. Egyptian policy opens to Hamas and Iran. Aaron David Miller says fear of failure, not of the Israel lobby, is holding Pres. Obama back on diplomatic initiatives. Abbas meets leaders of the Israeli Peace initiative. Israeli artillery injures four Palestinians in Gaza. Israeli and Palestinian security forces are continuing coordination in the West Bank. Ha'aretz says Israel should recognize a Palestinian state. Abbas says the quest for a peace agreement will continue. The Jerusalem Post says Abbas is no peace partner. Bereaved Palestinian physician Izzeldin Abuelaish tours the US with a message of forgiveness. The Forward says the US must take the lead on peace.

Palestinian Factions Give Differing Views of Unity Pact
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

A day after the two main Palestinian factions announced surprise plans for a unity government, the challenge of bringing together two rival parties with distinct ideologies burst into view, with each side presenting a different picture of what the accord means and what produced it. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, said Thursday that because he was also chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization he remained in charge of peace efforts with Israel. The future unity government, he said, will have only two functions, to rebuild Gaza and set up elections within a year.

In Shift, Egypt Warms to Iran and Hamas, Israel’s Foes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by David Kirkpatrick - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Egypt is charting a new course in its foreign policy that has already begun shaking up the established order in the Middle East, planning to open the blockaded border with Gaza and normalizing relations with two of Israel and the West’s Islamist foes, Hamas and Iran.

Abbas seeks to allay fears on accord with Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

A day after his Fatah movement initialed a reconciliation agreement with militant Islamist group Hamas, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sought Thursday to counter warnings from Israel and suggestions in Washington that the accord would undermine peace efforts. Meeting at his headquarters with a group of Israeli businessmen and former security chiefs advocating an Israeli peace initiative, Abbas gave assurances that the Palestine Liberation Organization, which he heads, would still be responsible for handling negotiations.

Obama and 'the Jewish lobby of one'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) April 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Among the most durable pieces of conventional wisdom circulating in Washington these days is that President Obama would never risk a confrontation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (when he comes to town in May) out of fear of angering Israel's supporters in America a year before the U.S. presidential election. The notion that domestic politics and the pro-Israel community hold the president's Middle East policy hostage seems to bind Washington like a hard-and-fast political law of gravity. The only problem is it's dead wrong and dangerous.

Palestinian unity deal gives Netanyahu new line of attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

After months of playing defense against a Palestinian campaign for international recognition of statehood, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may now have a new line of attack. The Palestinian reconciliation deal announced in Cairo yesterday would pave the way for a unity government between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party and Hamas, considered a terrorist group by Israel, the US, and the European Union.

Arab spring pushes Palestinian rivals Hamas and Fatah to reconcile
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Kristen Chick - April 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah say they've agreed to end a four-year rift. If the agreement holds, it could pave the way for the first Palestinian elections since 2006 and end a period of simmering hostilities that have weakened both the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government in Gaza. In a deal brokered by Egypt, the two sides agreed in principle to form an interim government made up of “independents” and to hold elections in a year, officials said at a press conference. Officials said they would formally ink the deal within weeks.

Egypt sends invites for signing ceremony
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

The Egyptian government sent invitations on Thursday to Palestinian political parties for the signing of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement, in a ceremony to be held next Tuesday in Cairo. The event will be used to set an implementation mechanism for the unity deal, to be approved by all political groups. Factions welcomed the invitations, and prepared to send delegations to Egypt.

Abbas meets Israeli Peace Initiative delegates
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 29, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas met Thursday with the leadership of the Israel Peace Initiative at his government headquarters in Ramallah, where he heard their presentation of a regional peace initiative. The group met a day after officials in Cairo announced a unity "understanding" between rival parties Fatah and Hamas, which will see the creation of a technocratic government to oversee the transition to the first government elections since 2006.

Israeli artillery fire injures 4 in central Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli forces fired on an area east of Al-Bureij camp in central Gaza Thursday evening, injuring four, including a woman and two children, local sources said. Three artillery shells were fired into farm lands east of the refugee camp, eyewitnesses told Ma'an. The injured were taken to Al-Aqsa hospital in the central Gaza region of Al-Wusta, but their injuries were not critical, the sources said.

U.S. affirms aid to Palestians -- for now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Andrew Quinn - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

The United States will keep aid flowing to the Palestinian Authority, but future help depends on the new Palestinian government, the State Department said on Thursday. One day after a unity deal between rival Palestinian factions, the State Department said roughly $400 million in annual U.S. funding would be reassessed as the policies of the new leadership emerge. "The current Palestinian government remains in place and our assistance programs continue," State Department spokeswoman Heide Bronke-Fulton said in an email.

Palestinian unity deal brings with it risks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Driven by regional upheaval, a deal to end conflict between Hamas and Fatah is being celebrated by Palestinians but could put at risk Western aid and set off a new phase of confrontation with Israel. Palestinians believe the surprise unity deal unveiled on Wednesday will strengthen their hand as they seek international backing for independence, presenting a united front and ending a divide that has set back their quest for statehood.

Palestinian reconciliation leaves Israel worried
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

News that the two main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, have agreed to form a national unity government and hold national elections was received with great concern in Israel. "The Palestinian National Authority needs to choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. "Peace with both is impossible because Hamas aspires to destroy the State of Israel and says so openly," he said.

Jordan welcomes Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Jordan said Thursday that it welcomed a reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian movements of Fatah and Hamas, the state-run Petra news agency reported. "Jordan welcomes and supports all efforts to unify the Palestinians. Jordan has been always stressing the need to realize Palestinian reconciliation, which unifies Palestinians and helps them realize their legitimate aspirations in creating their statehood," Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said Thursday.

AL praises Palestinian national reconciliation agreement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab League (AL) hailed on Thursday the initial reconciliation agreement signed by Palestinian rival groups Hamas and Fatah on the controversial points in Cairo. The AL called to mobilize all Arab and Palestinian efforts in order to transform this agreement into real ground and to start implementation immediately. It also called on the unity of all Palestinian factions and civil societies to provide the required support to end the inter- Palestinian split and root the national reconciliation in a democratic frame.

IDF, PA forces still coordinating despite Fatah-Hamas pact
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - April 29, 2011 - 12:00am

No decisions have been made by the Israel Defense Forces regarding any changes in security cooperation with Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank following the announcement of a reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. Contacts between IDF officers on the ground and their West Bank Palestinian counterparts are projecting business as usual.

Israel can redeem itself by recognizing a Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) April 29, 2011 - 12:00am

A ghastly specter has Israel terrified ? the specter of the Palestinian state. More accurately, this specter has been terrifying Israel’s leaders for the past four decades. It has now been replaced by a feeling of perplexity, which grows as we approach the day the Palestinian state is declared in the United Nations, with a sweeping international majority. Despite Israel’s desperate efforts to stall the process, the die appears to be cast ? a Palestinian state will be founded, and soon. Now the question is what Israel should do ? beyond lobbyism, spreading horror and expressing fears.

Jumping the gun
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Opinion) April 29, 2011 - 12:00am

The surprise reconciliation agreement initialed on Wednesday in Cairo by representatives of Fatah and Hamas is largely the outcome of pressure from the Palestinian public. In the Middle East of spring 2011, no Arab leader - and that includes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas' Khaled Meshal - can completely disregard public opinion.

Abbas: We'll keep pursuing peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that the Palestinian Authority intends to pursue peace negotiations with Israel despite of its reconciliation with Hamas. Abbas, who met with top "Israel Initiative" representatives, said that "negotiations have been ongoing since 1993, when Arafat recognized the State of Israel and Rabin said he recognized the PLO as the Palestinians' representative. We will continue these talks for the PLO. The new government and the peace talks are two different things."

No partner
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

‘There will be no dialogue with these murderers,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said back in June 2007, referring to Hamas. “There will be no dialogue with the forces of darkness.” Abbas made these remarks shortly after Hamas, in a bloody coup, had seized control of the Gaza Strip. It was also a few months after an assassination attempt against him, which he said was engineered by Hamas. Now the same Hamas members whom he once correctly referred to as “murderous terrorists” are to become Abbas’s colleagues in a “national unity” government.

Analysis: How to deftly play the ‘reconciliation’ card
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - (Opinion) April 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Finally, the purple elephant in the room stood up Wednesday and started to snort. Ever since Hamas’s takeover of Gaza in 2007, all parties occupied with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have pretended that Hamas’s control of Gaza did not exist; that it was possible to talk about reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority – you could even talk about a Palestinian state – and somehow turn a blind eye to the fact Hamas was ensconced in Gaza and was not just going to sit back and quietly let it all happen.

Palestinian Unity Raises New Problems as It Solves Others
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Miller - (Opinion) April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

The memorandum signed by the Fatah and Hamas movements on Wednesday, aimed at ending a four-year-old political division, creates as many problems as it solves, experts warned.

Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad must go, Hamas insists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Conal Urquhart - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas has insisted on the departure of Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister favoured by Israel and the west, under a deal agreed with its rival faction Fatah for a unity government, according to sources in Gaza. The Islamist organisation also said it would keep control of the Gaza Strip under the accord, which is expected to be formally signed by leaders of the two factions in Cairo next week. The plan drew further criticism on Thursday from Israel, which has said it would not deal with a Palestinian government that included members of Hamas.

Daley on Hamas-Fatah—is there an opening to US recognition?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - (Blog) April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

President Obama's chief of staff, William Daley, is the top administration official addressing the American Jewish Committee's annual conference. This is what he just said about Hamas-Fatah reconciliation: "We all have seen the news of the agreement between Fatah and Hamas to form a government. Like the Israeli government, we are seeking more information." The United States always supported Palestinian unity, he then said, "providing it is on the terms which advance the cause of peace. Hamas is a terrorist government which targets civillians."

A Plea for Peace From a Palestinian Doctor Who Embodies Human Tragedy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
April 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Izzeldin Abuelaish, the Gazan doctor who lost four members of his family when an Israeli rocket destroyed his house during Operation Cast Lead, used a medical analogy to warn against hating those who cause us great harm. “Hatred is a chronic disease,” Abuelaish told a group of 60 people who had gathered at Central Connecticut State University to hear him speak about the tragedy and his new memoir, “I Shall Not Hate.”

America Must Lead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

September 1, 2010: President Obama hosts the leaders of Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority in what is optimistically billed as the opening meeting of a year-long effort to finally arrive at a two-state solution for Mideast peace. Eight months later: Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak is deposed, King Abdullah of Jordan is clutching onto power, and the three remaining leaders are veering dangerously into uncharted and conflicting diplomatic territory. Only one of them can recapture the initiative — the host of last September’s meeting.

Palestinian unity strips Israel of its false pretences
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) April 29, 2011 - 12:00am

If few expected the speed and skill of Egypt's diplomatic corps as it navigated Wednesday's deal between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, the response from Israel was all too predictable. "The Palestinian Authority has to decide on having peace with Israel or peace with Hamas," the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, declared in response to the preliminary accord inked in Cairo. "You can't have peace with both."

Palestinian unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

The news that the two main Palestinian movements, Fatah and Hamas, have agreed to work together in a government of national unity ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections in both the West Bank and Gaza is cause for celebration in these uncertain times. Ever since the two turned on each other five years ago, running competing administrations in the two territories, there has been no chance of a settlement with Israel. That may not have always been blindingly apparent. Under both George W.

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