Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Palestinians are planning to create a central bank and currency. Palestinians are skeptical of the efficacy of protests. Ori Nir says Israelis should celebrate interdependence with Palestinians as well as their own independence. A Hamas leader reiterates it will not recognize Israel, and another gives Israel one year to recognize a Palestinian state. The first Palestinian corporate bonds are issued. The European Union will give the PA €85 million to help meet payroll. PM Netanyahu will address Congress on May 24. PM Fayyad may retain his position in a new government, which Hamas and Fatah leaders are meeting in Cairo to discuss. France may host an international meeting on the conflict. Palestinian leaders condemned Israel’s withholding of tax revenues, which Amira Hass calls “robbery,” and comments by the finance minister. Israel freezes construction of part of the separation barrier. Shlomo Avineri says peace requires Palestinian self-criticism. An Israeli court issues temporary orders stopping demolition of Palestinian homes. DM Barak presents new peace proposals. Israel is making a major investment in real-time satellite capacity. FM Lieberman says Israel will talk to the PA but not freeze settlements. A new study shows Israel stripped 140,000 Palestinians of Jerusalem residency from 1967-1994. Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation may be in jeopardy. Analysts consider how far Hamas will compromise with Fatah, and Osama Al Sharif says many obstacles to the agreement remain. Jameel Theyabi looks at the relationship between Hamas, Syria and Iran. Hussein Ibish says not enough information is available for a serious analysis of the Hamas-Fatah agreement.

PALESTINIAN TERRITORY: Q&A on a new currency
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
(Blog) May 10, 2011 - 12:00am

As part of a statehood bid they plan to bring before the U.N. this September, Palestinians are pushing for the creation of a new Palestine Central Bank and the introduction of new currency. But Jihad Al-Wazir, 48, governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, which hopes to soon evolve into the first central bank, says work is needed before reintroducing the Palestinian pound.

Protest a tough sell among Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - May 10, 2011 - 12:00am

Camped under a tent in what he hoped would become the Tahrir Square of the West Bank, hunger striker Iyas Sarhan reclined on a foam mattress in a pair of increasingly baggy slim-fit jeans and waited for the Palestinian revolution to begin.

Celebrating interdependence on Israel's Independence Day
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Ori Nir - (Blog) May 10, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's Independence Day is a good time to revel in what such a small country has achieved in such a short time and under such trying circumstances. But it is also a time to resolve to do more. On the former point, Israel's achievements are indeed amazing. With a population of 7 million citizens, Israel is no less than a technological, academic, medical, cultural, artistic, and scientific superpower. And this is not just on a per capita basis, but in absolute terms. It is bursting with ingenuity and creativity.

Hamas: Recognizing Israel jeopardizes rights
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas will accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, but will maintain its refusal to recognize Israel, party leader Mahmoud Az-Zahhar told Ma'an on Wednesday. Speaking with Ma'an radio, the official said that Hamas was ready to recognize a Palestinian state "on any part of Palestine," for the first time publicly steering away from prior Hamas demands that the modern Palestinian state must be established "from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea."

First Palestinian corporate bonds issued
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian investment firm PADICO announced Tuesday the first issue of corporate bonds in the Palestinian territories worth $70 million. At a press conference in Ramallah, PADICO said it was issuing 7,000 five-year bonds, which will be privately placed and neither traded nor listed on the Palestinian stock exchange. The investment company, which is publicly traded, focuses on investment in the Palestinian economy, and has interests in infrastructure, real estate and tourism projects.

European Commission to allocate €85 million for PA salaries
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 8, 2011 - 12:00am

The European Commission Friday announced the approval of a $121.85 million financial package for the Palestinian Authority, said to be for the salaries and pensions of PA civil servants. The decision comes as Israel continues to withhold tax revenues paid by Palestinians for goods imported into Palestinian areas, which are due under agreement for transfer to the PA. The EU package was in addition to the $143.35 million already approved from European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument.

Netanyahu to address US Congress May 24 - House speaker
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
May 10, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress on May 24, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner announced on Tuesday. "It will be an honor to welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu to the Capitol on May 24 as part of his official visit to the United States," Boehner said in a statement. His office last month extended the invitation to Netanyahu, but a date had not been previously announced.

Palestinians' Fayyad could keep PM job
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, facing heavy international pressure, is leaning toward retaining his prime minister in an emerging Palestinian unity government, officials close to Abbas said Wednesday. Abbas's secular Fatah movement signed a reconciliation deal with the rival Islamic Hamas government in the Gaza Strip last week that calls for a joint government to be formed ahead of elections next year. Israel refuses to deal with any government that includes Hamas, which it, the U.S. and European Union consider a terrorist group.

Hamas, Fatah delegates to meet in Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Delegations from Palestinian rivals will visit Cairo Saturday to start discussions on forming a unity government, a Hamas official said Wednesday. The delegations will represent Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, said Salah Al-Bardawil, a Hamas official in Gaza. Last week, the two movements signed a reconciliation agreement brokered by Egypt. The pact is sought to end political split between the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the West Bank, where Fatah holds sway.

France considers int'l meeting on Israeli-Palestinian peace: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 10, 2011 - 12:00am

France plans to hold an international conference on peace by the end of June, a Palestinian official said Tuesday. Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian negotiator, said that France has informed the Palestinian leadership about its intention to host the peace conference on the sidelines of a meeting for international donors to the Palestinians in Paris next month.

Palestinian leadership condemns Israeli finance minister on revenues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian leadership on Wednesday condemned remarks by Israeli finance minister that withholding Palestinian money was an initial warning to the Palestinian National Authority. The statements by the minister, Yuval Steinitz, were "racial," said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee. "They indicate that collective punishment is the easiest policy Israel resorts to."

Report: Israel freezes West Bank fence near major settlement bloc
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel has frozen the construction of the West Bank separation fence near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc over budget concerns, Army Radio said on Wednesday, adding that Defense Ministry documents showed construction could resume in late 2012. According to a Defense Ministry document quoted in the Army Radio report, the defense establishment "realizes the importance of erecting the fence and retains all of the claims to its construction despite a lack of funding." The cost of completing the said section is estimated at around NIS 5 billion.

Israel is getting away with robbing Palestinian taxes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Once again, Israel is showing everyone who the real man is here. It is busy carrying out (yet another ) robbery in broad daylight of $105 million from the Palestinians. And as usual, it is going off without a hitch.

Mideast peace requires Palestinian self-criticism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shlomo Avineri - (Opinion) May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Efforts by members of Israel's far right to forbid the country's Arab citizens from commemorating the Nakba are mean, foolish and destined to fail. But initiatives by the extreme left to turn Nakba Day into a joint memorial day for all of Israel's citizens are also doomed. Israel is not a binational state, and with all due liberalism and humanism, it is hard to treat victory and defeat in the same way.

Court protects Palestinian homes, for now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian homes in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Bustan are not to be demolished until plans are finalized and approved for the park that is to be established in their stead, the Jerusalem District Court ruled Wednesday. Mayor Nir Barkat is promoting the plans, which require the demolition of 22 illegally-built homes. In exchange, the Arabs who reside in these homes will receive permits to build new homes legally on the other side of the neighborhood, at their expense. In addition, the 66 other homes in the neighborhood will be legalized retroactively.

Barak presents plan for Palestinian accord
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak revealed his plan for an accord with the Palestinians on Tuesday, hinting at the points Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to present in his upcoming speech before the US Congress and President Barack Obama. Speaking at a reception held traditionally for combat soldiers at IDF Headquarters in Tel Aviv, Barak said Israel was prepared to take "courageous steps" to bring about peace. "On the eve of this Independence Day, Israel is the strongest country within a radius of 1,500 km from Jerusalem," Barak said.

Israel to invest millions in real-time satellite capacity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The Defense Ministry is set to invest millions to upgrade Israel’s space communication capabilities, to enable reconnaissance and surveillance satellites used by the IDF to provide real-time intelligence. As things stand, Israeli satellites can only download their data when they fly directly over Israel – which can mean a delay of up to 90 minutes, a critical handicap in times of conflict.

FM: Israel will talk with PA, but won’t freeze settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger, Tovah Lazaroff - May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to reject the unity deal Fatah made with Hamas and to resume direct talks with Israel – even though Israel has no intention of ceding to Abbas’s demand that it freeze settlement activity.

Mashaal: Israel has 1 year to recognize Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
May 10, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said that he gives the Israeli government a one-year deadline to recognize an independent Palestinian state founded on lands occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem as its capital, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.

Israel stripped 140,000 Palestinians of residency rights, document reveals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel stripped thousands of Palestinians of their right to live in the West Bank over a 27-year period, forcing most of them into permanent exile abroad, a document obtained under freedom of information laws has disclosed. Around 140,000 Palestinians who left to study or work had their residency rights revoked between 1967 and 1994.

PA-Israel joint security may be first victim of Fatah-Hamas pact
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The security agencies of the Palestinian Authority have been praised for fostering stability and prosperity by helping dismantle the West Bank's armed militias and networks of Hamas fighters. But an element to their success - coordination with Israel's security establishment - may be in jeopardy after Fatah, the West Bank's dominant Palestinian faction, and Hamas agreed to a deal designed to lead to a unity government.

World watches to see how far Hamas will compromise in peace with Fatah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - May 10, 2011 - 12:00am

The landmark reconciliation deal reached last week by the Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas required compromises on both sides, but none more so than by the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip. Reflecting on the deal that brought their four-year rift to an end, Khaled Meshaal, the Damascus-based leader of Hamas, said afterward that his side had conceded autonomy on "how to manage the resistance". The use of violence - along with negotiations with Israel, domestic governance and foreign affairs - will now require Fatah's approval, Mr Meshaal told The Wall Street Journal.

Pragmatism Between Hamas and Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Jameel Theyabi - (Opinion) May 9, 2011 - 12:00am

The questions currently on the table are the following: Why was the Palestinian reconciliation not secured before the headache and the flu which hit Syria due to the acuteness of the “massive” demonstrations and protests that are ongoing in the Syrian cities and towns?! Did the Syrian authorities’ allusion to the presence of Palestinian “infiltrators” play a role in Hamas’s search for a hosting place other than Damascus?!

The wisdom of “conspicuous silence”
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Hussein Ibish - (Blog) May 10, 2011 - 12:00am

On numerous occasions during the ongoing turmoil in the Arab World, I’ve been accused by friend and foe alike of engaging in “conspicuous silence.” Commentators, particularly in the age of the internet and cable television, are expected by news organizations and consumers to provide instant analysis on anything and everything. But sometimes the only honest and intelligent thing to say is very little, or even nothing.

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