Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinians express optimism about the new national unity agreement. The signing ceremony in Cairo is delayed over a dispute whether Hamas leader Misha’al would give an address as well as Pres. Abbas. Palestinians say the US has not objected to the agreement. Four candidates are frontrunners to be the next Palestinian Prime Minister, not including incumbent Salam Fayyad. Jimmy Carter urges support for the deal. Huge gaps remain between Fatah and Hamas. Hamas leaders vow to never recognize Israel. An Abbas aide says Hamas doesn’t have to recognize Israel. Amr Moussa says Palestinian reconciliation will pressure Israel. PM Netanyahu tours Europe lobbying against the Palestinian unity deal. The National looks at the compromise behind the deal. Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim performs in Gaza. Hamas executes a man convicted of collaboration. Jordan’s FM says the US role is vital to resuming negotiations. Ha’aretz says Netanyahu must present a new peace initiative in his upcoming Washington trip. Sefi Rachlevsky says Israel and Netanyahu faces simple choice between peace and becoming a racist state. The US expresses outrage at Hamas’ condemnation of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Ali Ibrahim finds Hamas’ praise of bin Laden to be “strange.” Netanyahu suspends a major East Jerusalem settlement project. The UK ambassador to Israel says security can only come through peace. Israel says it will recognize many unauthorized settler outposts. The new head of the Union for Reform Judaism is a member of J Street’s rabbinic cabinet.

Gaza: Barenboim Performs in Palestinian Territory
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram - May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli musician Daniel Barenboim and 25 members of his orchestra performed in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Mr. Barenboim, who has honorary Palestinian citizenship, is a harsh critic of Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and he co-founded a music education project in the Palestinian territories.

Support the Palestinian unity government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Jimmy Carter - (Opinion) May 3, 2011 - 12:00am

This is a decisive moment. Under the auspices of the Egyptian government, Palestine’s two major political movements — Fatah and Hamas — are signing a reconciliation agreement on Wednesday that will permit both to contest elections for the presidency and legislature within a year. If the United States and the international community support this effort, they can help Palestinian democracy and establish the basis for a unified Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza that can make a secure peace with Israel.

The Arab Spring is driving the Hamas-Fatah unity deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Robert Malley - (Opinion) May 3, 2011 - 12:00am

The impact on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is the most debated aspect of the “unity” deal between the two principal Palestinian movements, Fatah and Hamas, but it is almost certainly the least significant. So far, U.S. reactions to the unexpected agreement have been predictably negative, with Washington warning against forming a reconciled government with an unreformed Hamas. In so doing, it appears to view this deal through the obsolete prism of a moribund peace process and a frozen conflict between a moderate and militant axis.

Palestinians optimistic on Hamas-Fatah unity deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

On the eve of a pact to reconcile the two leading Palestinian factions, Palestinians are optimistic that the Arab Spring may help mend a four-year split and strengthen their push for statehood. "The opinion of all Palestinians is to get united. It brings them a sense of power, and a sense of strength, and a sense of unity to be able to deal with Israel," says Bassem Ezbedi, a political science professor at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank. He acknowledged that there are "all sorts of obstacles," some of which could be "explosive."

Candidates for the next Palestinian PM
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

With the Palestinian unity agreement signed and set to be sealed on Wednesday noon in Cairo, four candidates have emerged as the top contenders for the post of prime minister. The candidates have been identified as follows: Munib Al-Masri Billionaire philanthropist and unity activist from Nablus, who spearheaded a unity push with business owners and independent leaders in the West Bank, traveling more than once to Gaza to meet with figures there. He heads PEDECO, a Palestinian investment firm.

Factional tensions cause unity ink delay
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas leader in exile Khalid Mash'al's insistence on delivering a speech at the signing ceremony of unity documents in Cairo on Wednesday delayed the start of the historic event by more than an hour, sources told Ma'an. Sources said President, PLO leader and Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas would be the only Palestinian figure to speak at the event, but tensions rose when Mash'al said that he - as the representative of Hamas - would also like to address the audience.

Gaza government executes spy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Gaza's Ministry of the Interior announced the death Wednesday of a man convicted of collaboration, identified only as A.S., and said to have been found guilty of spying. It is the sixth execution that has been carried out by the Gaza government, in contradiction to a Palestinian law that necessitates the approval of the president before death sentences are carried out. The ministry said in a statement that the death sentence was carried out after all means of appeal had been completed, and after obtaining the approval of the Gaza government.

Amr Moussa: Palestinian reconciliation will pressure Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian reconciliation leaves Israel with no excuse for not engaging more seriously in peace negotiations, outgoing Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said Wednesday. In an interview published in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, a London-based newspaper, Moussa said the Arab League will support the implementation of the Palestinian reconciliation on the ground. Palestinian factions yesterday signed a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah that Hamas had signed last week. Egypt helped broker the agreement, which was signed in Cairo.

Fatah, Hamas proclaim landmark reconciliation pact
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Maggie Michael - May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have proclaimed a landmark, Egyptian-mediated reconciliation pact aimed at ending their bitter four-year rift. The ceremony took place Wednesday at the Egyptian intelligence headquarters in Cairo. Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the accord ends "four black years" that hurt national Palestinian interests. He also said at the ceremony that he would soon visit Hamas-held Gaza Strip. The pact provides for the creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government ahead of national elections next year.

Blair: Palestinians must recognize Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak, Amy Teibel - May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Mideast envoy Tony Blair says the international community supports Palestinian reconciliation but will demand that the new unity government recognize Israel's right to exist and renounce violence. Wednesday's announcement could signal trouble for the new alliance between the Islamic militant group Hamas and the Western-backed Fatah movement. Hamas says it will never recognize Israel.

Palestinian official: U.S. not oppose reconciliation deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The United States has not notified the Palestinian leadership of any objection to a national agreement that rival Palestinian groups will sign Wednesday in Cairo, a Palestinian official said. On Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked over the phone and there were no U.S. signs that the agreement between Hamas and Fatah is rejected, said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a member of Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee.

Jordan says U.S. role fundamental to revive peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Jordanian foreign minister said Tuesday the United States plays a major role in pushing the peacemaking efforts forward and pressuring Israel to stop unilateral measures to resume the peace talks with the Palestinians, the state-run Petra news agency reported. At a meeting with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Judeh said the regional developments should not divert the attention away from the Israeli-Palestinian issue, which is the core issue in the region.

Netanyahu must present new peace initiative in Washington
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

During his visit to Washington in less than three weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet an American administration which is credited by the free world with the killing of the arch terrorist Osama bin Laden. On Barack Obama's watch, the U.S. armed forces managed to kill the murderer of thousands of American citizens who had managed to evade punishment for more than nine years. The successful operation made the president popular among Americans and dampened his image as a soft leader, an image of him encouraged by his rivals on the right.

Gaps between Hamas, Fatah loom large despite unity deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The reconciliation agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is to be signed Wednesday morning in Cairo, creating an interim unity government and paving the way to elections in a year. The accord restores relations between the two, which were severed when Hamas forcibly took over the Gaza Strip in June 2007.

Israel must choose between peace and a racist state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Sefi Rachlevsky - (Opinion) May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The slogan that brought Benjamin Netanyahu to power was "making a secure peace." That is no accident. "Peace" has maintained the right-wing government to a much greater extent than the right-wing government has maintained peace.

US furious with Hamas over condemnation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
May 3, 2011 - 12:00am

The US State Department on Tuesday described Hamas' condemnation of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as "outrageous." After the Al-Qaeda chief was killed by US forces, the head of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, said: "We condemn any killing of a holy warrior or of a Muslim and Arab person and we ask God to bestow his mercy upon him." Haniyeh said Hamas regards bin Laden's death as "as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood."

Netanyahu suspends east J'lem construction plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - May 3, 2011 - 12:00am

The Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday decided to postpone plans to build housing units in Jewish neighborhoods beyond Jerusalem's Green Line for the second time in less than a month, Ynet has learned. Discussion on the two projects for the construction of more than 900 housing units in east Jerusalem was taken off the District Planning and Construction Committee's agenda for Thursday. One project is a plan to build 930 homes at the neighborhood of Har Homa, and the other is slated to see the construction of dozens of units in Pisgat Ze'ev.

Security through peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Matthew Gould - (Opinion) May 3, 2011 - 12:00am

Six months is a long time in the Middle East. Since my arrival in September as Britain’s ambassador to Israel, there have been some enormous upheavals in this region. Recent weeks have seen a return of horrendous violence, including a shower of rocket attacks in southern Israel, and horrific attacks in Itamar and Jerusalem.

Zahar: Hamas will never recognize Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar said on Wednesday that Palestine is "hallowed ground" and that his organization will never recognize Israel. Speaking to Al Jazeera, Zahar said that Palestinians will not give up on their right to Palestine, while recognizing the rule of Poles and Ethiopians in their land. Zahar added that this should not prevent Israel from negotiating with Hamas, pointing out that Israel negotiated for captive soldier Gilad Schalit's release despite the fact that Hamas never recognized "the Israeli enemy."

PM lands in London to lobby against Fatah-Hamas deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu landed in London early Wednesday in a trip where he is expected to lobby European leaders against a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement. Before departing Israel on Tuesday night, the prime minister called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to drop the unity agreement with Hamas that he is expected to sign in Cairo on Wednesday.

State to approve outposts on land not privately owned
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ron Friedman - May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The state will take steps to retroactively approve construction of those houses in the West Bank outposts of Givat HaYovel and Horsha built on state land, but will demolish, within a year, those houses that were built on privately owned Palestinian land. The state announced the plans in its response to a petition submitted to the High Court of Justice by Peace Now over the construction of settler houses.

Op-Ed: Reform’s nomination of Jacobs means a victory for J Street
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Carol Greenwald - (Opinion) May 2, 2011 - 12:00am

The nomination of Rabbi Richard Jacobs to head the Union for Reform Judaism is the latest coup for J Street. Less than three years after its founding, a member of J Street's rabbinic cabinet is being appointed to head the largest branch of American Judaism. With the nominee to head the Reform movement supporting the goals and visions of J Street, it will be impossible for mainstream American Jewry to continue to marginalize J Street and its profoundly anti-Israel positions.

Fayyad, driver of Palestinian statehood reforms, may miss party
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority prime minister, a former IMF economist and political independent, is perhaps best known for fathering the institutional reforms and economic growth necessary to sustain a Palestinian state. But when his colleagues ask the United Nations to recognise Palestinian independence in September, the bespectacled, soft-spoken technocrat may not be around to see the two-year project that he largely engineered come to fruition.

Compromise behind Fatah-Hamas deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Their unity pact signed yesterday is being called surprising, historic and controversial, but neither Fatah nor Hamas, the rival Palestinian faction with which it is making amends, have offered much in terms of details. Analysts have described the Egyptian-brokered agreement, which will be celebrated in a ceremony today in Egypt's Nasser city, as a tactically beneficial compromise for both in light of popular calls for reconciliation, regional political upheaval and attempts at earning international recognition for a Palestinian state.

The days of Bin Laden…and Ismail Haniyeh
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali Ibrahim - (Opinion) May 3, 2011 - 12:00am

The death of Bin Laden comes at a time when history is turning the page on al-Qaeda's ideology, and currents similar to it. The vibrant transformation taking place in Arab countries has highlighted the weakness of such ideas, and revealed that this trend and its supporters are merely on the sidelines of the wider movement for change. We did not see any pro-democracy demonstrations chanting the name of Bin Laden or al-Zawahiri.

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