Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Sec. Clinton leaves the door open to continued contacts with Palestinians after the signing of the unity deal. Major obstacles remain in implementing the deal, though the parties agree to the quick creation of a new government. PM Fayyad agrees the deal must be implemented swiftly. Palestinians express optimism. Lebanon and Jordan welcome the deal, while Israelis are divided. The US says the agreement must advance the peace process. Ha’aretz says it’s an opportunity, not a threat. Aaron David Miller says its filed with dangers. D. Bloomfield asks if this “marriage of convenience” can survive. Yaakov Katz says the deal is a survival tactic for Hamas. David Ignatius looks at past mistakes on peace. PM Netanyahu prepares to come to Washington. Hamas complains its operatives are still being held in the West Bank. Netanyahu’s military attaché avoids a UK trip because of possible prosecution. Israel’s mayor in Jerusalem declares the city “indivisible.” The UK and France say they made back recognizing Palestinian statehood. Many East Jerusalem residents say they prefer Israeli citizenship. Larry Derfner says if Hamas is what Palestinians are offering Israel, there will never be peace. International aid to the Palestinians may continue. CUNY withdraws an honorary degree from playwright Tony Kushner due to comments critical of Israeli policy. Jewish Democrats say the quest for peace should continue despite the Palestinian agreement. A survey of campus boycott activities finds much action but little accomplishment. Palestinians in Syria are trying to stay neutral during unrest. Michael Young says regional events pushed the Palestinians together. Bilal Hassen says Palestinians still face a diplomatic deadlock. The Arab News says Netanyahu must now choose between settlements and peace.

Clinton Leaves Door Open After Palestinian Deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Alan Cowell - May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

A day after the main Palestinian factions signed a unity agreement in Cairo, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton strikingly refused on Thursday to rule out further negotiations with a Palestinian side that includes Hamas, the militant Islamic group that runs Gaza and is defined by many in the West as a terrorist organization. But she reiterated the Obama administration’s call for Hamas to accept basic conditions that included renouncing violence and recognizing Israel’s right to exist.

A Sliver of Hope Unites West Bank and Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram, Isabel Kershner - May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Thousands of Palestinians, led by youth activists, have poured onto the streets of the West Bank and Gaza in recent months to demand national reconciliation. But when the leaders of the rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, signed a historic, if preliminary, agreement in Cairo on Wednesday to end a four-year schism and unify the two Palestinian territories, wariness and skepticism precluded any mass outpouring of joy.

A cautionary tale for Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by David Ignatius - (Opinion) May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

As Washington buzzes about yet another restart for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, I have been reading a book that summarizes the past 44 years of botched peacemaking, blown opportunities and, sometimes, sheer folly. The book is a posthumous memoir by Jack O’Connell, a former CIA operative who was for many years King Hussein’s “case officer” in Jordan. Yes, you read that right: When O’Connell was station chief in Amman from 1963 to 1971, he dropped off monthly envelopes of cash at the palace as part of a long-running CIA covert action code-named “NOBEEF.”

Palestinian unity pact still faces big hurdles
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Paul Richter, Edmund Sanders - May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Rival Palestinian factions celebrated the signing of a reconciliation pact they hope will end their four-year split and accelerate efforts to form an independent state. But the agreement faces fierce opposition from Israel, places new hurdles on American-led efforts to forge a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, and still must overcome lingering distrust between the two factions: the moderate secular Fatah party in the West Bank and the militant Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Circus of the Dancing Bears
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Watching the current Hamas-Fatah unity circus, I can't help but think of Rabin's comment. For the former Israeli prime minister, Yasir Arafat was the bear and the Oslo process was their choreographed dance. Rabin was no sentimentalist and he recognized Arafat's many weaknesses as a partner, but he continued to engage with him because he believed his counterpart had taken tough positions. Oslo was a good faith effort to achieve a goal.

Abbas, Mash'al meet, agree to swift govt creation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas and Fatah leaders agreed to accelerate efforts to form a transitional government, in their first private meeting since the signing of a unity deal in Cairo on Wednesday, which formally ended the split between the factions. Member of Hamas Politburo Izzat Ar-Risheq told Ma'an on Wednesday night details of the meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader in exile Khalid Mash’al. Following the formation of a transitional government, the leaders said an agreement on a leadership framework would be reached, setting out the agenda for the new cabinet.

Netanyahu due for May 20 White House talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama will host Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for Oval Office talks on May 20, with the stalled Middle East peace process expected to top the agenda. "The leaders look forward to discussing the full range of issues of mutual interest to the United States and Israel," the White House said in a statement.

Fayyad says unity deal must be implemented swiftly
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Caretaker West Bank Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Wednesday welcomed a surprise unity accord between Fatah and Hamas but stressed the deal must be implemented on the ground immediately. His words were echoed by fellow Third Way party member and PLO leader Hanan Ashrawi, who said the move "reinforces today’s pursuit of democracy in the Middle East, and marks an important step towards Palestinian statehood and lasting peace."

After deal, Hamas says activists held in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Six Hamas sympathisers have been detained by Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank since rival groups concluded a deal aimed at reconciliation, a Hamas source said on Thursday. The detentions in the Hebron and Nablus area underline the challenges facing implementation of the reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah, which is headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli PM's military attache stays away from UK
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli army says the prime minister's military attache did not accompany him to Britain this week, fearing pro-Palestinian activists might try to have him arrested on war crimes charges. Maj. Gen. Yohanan Locker was deputy chief of the Israel Air Force during Israel's war in Gaza two years ago. Activists critical of Israel's conduct in Gaza have sought to arrest other Israeli officials under a British law that allows foreigners to be prosecuted for alleged war crimes committed anywhere in the world.

Jerusalem mayor says holy city indivisible
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Dan Perry - May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli mayor of Jerusalem said Wednesday that Arabs and Jews are now so intertwined that the city cannot possibly be divided, even though both Israel and the Palestinians claim it as their capital. "You cannot divide the city," said Nir Barkat in a meeting in his office with The Associated Press and several other foreign media organizations. "I know it will never work."

Lebanon welcomes Palestinian reconciliation, calls for Int'l support
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Wednesday welcomed the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, calling for international support to the deal. The reconciliation between the two parties was a blessed step to protect the Palestinian people and establish an independent state, Hariri said in a statement.

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.

Israelis differ on Fatah-Hamas accord
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

An Israeli Foreign Ministry report leaked to Ha'aretz daily on Wednesday said the country could benefit from a Fatah-Hamas unity government, while Israeli officials continued to express their opposition to the internal Palestinian reconciliation deal. According to the document that was leaked to the Ha'aretz daily, "the Palestinian move is not only a security threat but also a strategic opportunity to create genuine change in the Palestinian context."

Hamas and Fatah may have reunited, but their work is just beginning
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Opinion) May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

After an almost four-year split between Fatah and Hamas, the leaders of the two rival organizations, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khaled Meshal, signed an accord in Cairo on Wednesday.

U.S. to Palestinians: Unity deal must advance prospect of peace with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The White House on Wednesday urged Palestinians to ensure that a reconciliation deal between rival factions is implemented in a way that advances the prospect for peace with Israel rather than undermining it. "It's important now that Palestinians ensure implementation of that agreement in a way that advances the prospects of peace rather than undermines them," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, after the secular Fatah and Islamist Hamas groups signed an agreement to formally end a 4-year rift.

Palestinian unity is an opportunity, not a threat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The word “reconciliation” is so distant from the Middle Eastern reality that its use is taken as either a joke or threat. The signing ceremony in Cairo yesterday between Fatah and Hamas is likely to mark a turning point, not only for the concept, but also for the Palestinian and regional situation.

UK, France may back PA's bid for state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

In a sign of Britain's impatience with Israel British Premier David Cameron told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday that Britain may endorse a unilateral declaration of state by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas if Israel declines to take part in substantive peace negotiations with the Palestinians to create a two state solution. "Britain's clear and absolute preference is for a negotiation to take place between Israel and the Palestinians which leads to a two state solution which everyone endorses," a senior diplomatic source was quoted by the Guardian as saying.

Poll: East J'lem residents prefer Israeli citizenship
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

A recent survey conducted by Pechter Middle East Polls, in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations, ahead of the possible Palestinian bid for statehood in September, revealed that given a choice, the majority of east Jerusalem residents would prefer to remain Israelis. The survey sampled 1,039 Palestinians living in all 19 neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, and was supervised by Dr. David Pollock.

Washington Watch: Can this marriage of convenience survive?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by D. Bloomfield - (Opinion) May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

If past Fatah-Hamas reconciliations are any indicator, this one will have the life expectancy of a fruit fly. No sooner did the secular Fatah try to sell the agreement as a move toward peace than the Islamist Hamas declared just the opposite.

Rattling the Cage: Abbas yes, Hamas no
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

As someone who wants the world to pressure Israel into ending the occupation, who hopes the UN recognizes Palestine in September, and who roots for Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad, I say their agreement Wednesday to form a unity government with Hamas was a blunder. It was a blunder even before Hamas leaders in Gaza denounced America’s killing of the “holy warrior” Osama bin Laden.

Analysis: For Hamas, unity is just a tactic to survive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - (Opinion) May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

At the beginning of the year, Hamas and Fatah were close to signing a reconciliation agreement brokered by Egypt. At the last minute, however, Khaled Mashaal, leader of Hamas’s political wing, which is based in Damascus, nixed the deal. But then the ground shook in Syria and he suddenly changed his mind. As the fate of his patron, Syrian President Bashar Assad, hung in the balance, Mashaal made a calculated tactical decision to try and ensure his political survival by approving the reconciliation deal, which just months earlier he had conspicuously rejected.

Palestinian Gambit May Keep International Funding Flowing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Felice Friedson, Arieh O'Sullivan - May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian leadership is maneuvering to appoint technocrats to the planned national unity government to ensure that international funding continues, despite a ban on funneling money to Hamas as a recognized terrorist organization.

CUNY nixes Tony Kushner honorary degree over Israel statements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The City University of New York has voted not to honor playwright Tony Kushner with an honorary degree at its commencement after a board member objected, citing the Pulitzer Prize winner's statements on Israel. The New York Jewish Week reported that the request by CUNY's John Jay College to recognize Kushner was turned down at a board of trustees meeting Monday after board member Jeffrey Wiesenfeld objected. Kushner would have been eligible to speak at the graduation ceremony.

Jewish Dems: Don’t let Hamas-Fatah prevent peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The National Jewish Democratic Council counseled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to use the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation to back down from peacemaking.

Survey of Campus BDS Finds Few Serious Cases
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Josh Nathan-Kazis - May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

An Israeli diplomat issued a stark warning to a roomful of Jewish communal professionals at a major Jewish convention last fall. The campaign to impose boycotts, divestment and sanctions on Israel, he said, amounts to putting “a practical warhead on the tip of an ideological rocket.”

Syria's Palestinians try to stay neutral amid turmoil
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Phil Sands - May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Syria's Palestinians, wary of being sucked into an internecine fight, are struggling to remain neutral as the authorities and anti-government protesters pressure them to choose a side in the Syrian uprising. Half a million Palestinian refugees live in Syria, a majority of them in Damascus. They have become largely assimilated: marrying into Syrian families, employed with Syrian co-workers in government bureaucracies and housed alongside Syrian neighbours.

Palestinian factions pushed together by regional events
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Michael Young - (Opinion) May 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Much uncertainty still surrounds the outcome of yesterday's signing in Cairo of a reconciliation accord between Palestinian factions. However, there is no question that the arrangement was facilitated by the dramatic recent developments in the Arab world. The regional constraints faced by the main Palestinian organisations, Fatah and Hamas, are likely to reframe the debate over Hamas's participation in a Palestinian government, regardless of the movement's position on a settlement with Israel.

Palestinian reconciliation and the missing questions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Bilal Hassen - (Opinion) May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The news of the Palestinian reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas was welcomed by the Palestinian and Arab public. However this welcome was tinged with a sense of surprise. What happened to cause these two parties to reconcile this quickly, and indeed sign the Egyptian reconciliation document this quickly, particularly as Hamas previously rejected this agreement, demanding its amendment? What happened to cause Egypt to agree to make the amendments demanded by Hamas, although it long rejected this?

Fatah-Hamas deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) May 4, 2011 - 12:00am

It is Netanyahu who must now choose between illegal settlements and peace ISRAELI Premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to the Fatah-Hamas peace deal was to threaten Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas, saying he needed to choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas.

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