Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel displays military assets to journalists. Hamas is showing signs of moderating its policies. Egyptian activists are urged to cancel a march to Gaza. Palestinians launch a $15 million equity fund. Palestinians and Israelis make progress on sports talks. PM Fayyad says a sudden salary crisis will be solved soon. The number of Palestinians has increased eightfold since 1948. American Christian fanatics warn Palestinians about an upcoming “apocalypse.” Palestinians demonstrate for the right of return. Likud sources say PM Netanyahu’s upcoming US speech will offer no concessions. Yossi Verter says there is no reason for this, but Netanyahu will find one. Hamas and Fatah agree to hold simultaneous municipal elections sometime in the future. Fayyad reiterates Palestinians are ready for statehood. Saeb Erekat says Israel has to choose between peace and apartheid. Palestinians speak about a potential third intifada. Israeli security officials say Egypt isn’t doing much to stop arms smuggling into Gaza. Israeli forces are on alert for Nakba Day. Some refugees from a Palestinian village destroyed by Israel in 1948 have managed to quietly return. A CUNY trustee is asked to resign over remarks suggesting Palestinians are “not human.” JJ Goldberg says Israel's security elite is turning against Netanyahu. The National condemns Israel’s wholesale cancellation of Palestinian residency rights in the occupied territories. Israel is accused of trying to push Palestinians out of the Jordan Valley. Hassan Haidar asks when Israelis will begin protesting their government. Palestinian officials in the Gulf say an independent state may try to join the GCC. The US Supreme Court is set to rule on the legal status of Jerusalem.

Israel Allows a Glimpse of Its Array of Defenses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli military allowed foreign reporters rare access to this heavily guarded Mediterranean base south of Tel Aviv on Thursday in what military officials described as an effort to showcase Israel’s technological advancements in the field of air defense and to underscore the array of threats from rockets and missiles.

Hamas sends signals of moderation to West
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Josef Federman - May 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas, the Islamic militant group known for suicide bombings, rocket attacks and hatred of Israel, is sending subtle signals of moderation as it prepares to join a Palestinian unity government. Hamas officials speak of reconciliation with the West and a halt in armed hostilities with Israel, and even hint at some sort of political accommodation with the Jewish state. While Israel is not convinced, there are hopes in some Palestinian circles that the Iran-backed group could become a more accepted part of the Mideast diplomatic equation.

Egypt urges cancellation of pro-Palestinian march
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Egypt is urging activists to cancel a rally aimed at crossing from Egypt into the Gaza Strip to show support for the Palestinians. In a statement Thursday, authorities called on activists to give priority to internal issues and "to prevent any repercussions that might result from this march." The 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty and Egyptian sales of natural gas to Israel have come under criticism since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak's regime in February, but Egypt's military rulers are concentrating on local issues.

Rasmala, Palestine Investment Start $15 Million Fund
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Fadwa Hodali - May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Rasmala Investment Bank Ltd. started an equity fund to increase investor interest in the Palestinian territories with a $15 million investment from the Palestine Investment Fund. The overall size of the fund may reach $100 million in the next three years, Dubai-based Rasmala said yesterday in an e- mailed statement. The fund is seeking more money from local and foreign investors, the statement said. The “Palestinian market is very attractive in terms of its growth and return potential,” Eric Swats, head of asset management at Rasmala, told reporters in Ramallah yesterday.

Israeli-Palestinian sports talks progress at IOC
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli and Palestinian Olympic officials stepped up efforts to improve cooperation during a second round of talks with the IOC on Thursday. With free movement for athletes and coaches high on the agenda, Israeli officials promised to present their government a Palestinian proposal to help overcome travel restrictions imposed on their territories. International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge described the follow-up talks to a January summit as "frank and friendly."

Salary crisis to be resolved soon, Fayyad says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister in Ramallah Salam Fayyad said Thursday that Israel was trying to break the will of the Palestinian people by seizing their tax revenues through an "act of piracy." The Palestinian Authority is trying to regain the revenues frozen by Israel in response to the Palestinian unity agreement, Fayyad said during a visit to a refugee camp in Bethlehem. "The will of people will not be broken; they are determined to gain their freedom and independence by September," he said. "Suspending their tax revenues is simply an act of desperation.”

Palestinian population grew 8-fold since 1948
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

As Palestinians prepare to mark Nakba Day, statisticians released figures Thursday showing the world-wide Palestinian population is eight times that of 1948, the period commemorated Sunday. The Nakba, or catastrophe, refers to fighting which saw an estimated 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from or fled their homes in fighting that would lead to the establishment of the state of Israel.

US Christian group warns Palestinians of apocalypse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

At least half a dozen billboards recently went up across the West Bank warning Palestinians of an impending judgment day, slated according to the signs, for May 21. At the entrance to Birzeit, and several roads leading into the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Jericho, the signs -- some in English, some in Arabic -- advise travelers to "cry unto God" and are directed to the website of the US-based religious group.

Palestinians demonstrate for refugees' right to return
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly - May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Thursday witnessed demonstrations calling for the Palestinian refugees' right of return to their home as the Palestinians are to mark their 63th Nakba day on Sunday. Nakba day, or "catastrophe day" in Arabic, is an annual Palestinian event to commemorate the creation of Israel in 1948.

Israeli PM's speech in U.S. will not offer concessions: Likud sources
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to a joint session of the United States Congress later this month will not include Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, local news website Ynet reported Thursday. The report quoted anonymous Likud Party sources "close to Netanyahu" as saying that the premier, who is scheduled to give the speech on May 24, will announce that Israel is not willing to withdraw from the West Bank territory, nor offer any other concessions.

Hamas, Fatah agree to hold simultaneous municipal polls
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas and Fatah decided to hold municipal elections in the Palestinian territories after agreeing on postponing their date, a Palestinian official said Thursday. This decision came after the two movements suddenly reached an initial agreement for reconciliation in Cairo earlier this month. Azzam Al-Ahmad, a Fatah official, said that his movement and Hamas agreed to demand the upcoming technocratic government, which they will form according to the Cairo agreement, to postpone the elections so they are held simultaneously in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Fayyad to Haaretz: Palestinians are prepared for statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - May 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said yesterday the Palestinians have created all the conditions for establishing a Palestinian state. “The mission has been accomplished,” Fayyad said in an interview to Haaretz in Ramallah yesterday.

Israel has to choose: Mideast peace or apartheid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Saeb Erakat - (Opinion) May 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Having all Palestinian political factions come together for national reconciliation was an emotional experience for all Palestinians who witnessed the events taking place in Cairo. The Arab Spring has finally reached Palestine. The left, the religious right, and the nationalist camp ? across the Palestinian political spectrum ? with the support of the new Egyptian government, reached an agreement to establish a technocratic administration in order to hold elections within one year and rebuild the Gaza Strip. This is a critical step in our path toward freedom and independence.

Flying to his country's defense
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - May 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Some 500 journalists have signed up to cover the speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the annual conference of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC in Washington, according to the Prime Minister's Bureau. Netanyahu's remarks to the American Jews, in about 10 days' time, are not expected to generate banner headlines. The real headlines will come from the address he will deliver a day or two later before a joint session of Congress.

Palestinians: Prepare for 3rd intifada
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - May 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Text messages were sent to tens of thousands of cellular subscribers in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, calling them to take part in the events marking the Palestinian day of mourning over Israel's inception and to ignite a third Intifada. Police intelligence suggests that the Palestinians intend on holding several prequel events on Friday and Saturday; and though the police believe chances of events escalating into riots are low, reinforced police and Border Guard forces will deploy in east Jerusalem, the Old City and Temple Mount plaza, to maintain order.

Shin Bet: Egypt doing little to stop Gaza arms smugglers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

A Shin Bet document paints a bleak picture of Gaza arms smuggling operations and states that the potential threat they pose to Israel has increased since the Egyptian revolution. According to Shin Bet data, hundreds of rockets capable of hitting targets within a 12-25 mile range, have been smuggled into the Gaza Strip since last year. In addition, some 1,000 mortar shells, dozens of anti-tank missiles and tons of both explosives and explosive-manufacturing materials, have found their way into the hands of Gaza militants in the past year.

The Invisible Return
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Danny Rubenstein - May 13, 2011 - 12:00am

THE MAIN ROAD BETWEEN Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and the coastal area is especially crowded on spring days between the festivals of Passover and Shavuot, when tens of thousands – tourists and hikers, Jews, Christians and Muslims – make the traditional pilgrimage to the holy sites in Jerusalem.

IDF on Lebanon alert for Nakba Day demonstrations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - May 13, 2011 - 12:00am

IDF troops will be deployed in large numbers throughout the West Bank and along the border with Lebanon on Friday, amid expectations that massive demonstrations will break out on both fronts ahead of Nakba Day (“the day of the catastrophe”). The IDF began reinforcing troops in the West Bank earlier this week, and sources in the Northern Command said on Thursday that there were expectations that Palestinians in Lebanon will also travel to the border to participate in the protests.

CUNY trustee asked to resign over anti-Palestinian comments
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jordana Horn - May 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The trustee who opposed Jewish-American Tony Kushner’s honorary degree on the basis of the playwright’s views on Israel is being called on to resign. Kushner had originally been removed from a list of candidates for honorary degrees from the City University of New York after trustee Jeff Wiesenfeld denounced his past statements about Israel and Palestinians, including a reference to “ethnic cleansing” during the formation of the state. A special meeting of the trustees was held on Monday night, and Kushner was put back on the list to receive a degree.

Israel’s Security Elite Joins the Opposition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) May 11, 2011 - 12:00am

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that the leaders of Israel’s security establishment, the people who’ve led the fight against the state’s enemies for decades, are more frightened now than they’ve been in a long time. You might be shocked, though, to hear what’s got them in a panic. It’s not the Iranian nuclear project they’re scared of, nor Hamas, nor the unrest that’s rocking the Arab world. Israel has always faced dangers, and it’s always come out on top. What scares them most is their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Close the door on Israel's land grab
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) May 13, 2011 - 12:00am

What would you do if your citizenship were rejected once your passport expired? Impossible, you would think - a travel document isn't your only, or even your primary, tie to your land of origin. But that was the fate of 140,000 Palestinians, as the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported this week, when Israel quietly cancelled their West Bank residency status between 1967 and 1994. It was as if residents simply blinked out of existence when their travel documents expired.

Israel trying to push Palestinians out of Jordan Valley, says report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - May 13, 2011 - 12:00am

By exploiting the land, water resources and tourist sites of the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea areas, Israel is trying to annex the territory, an Israeli human rights group said yesterday. Such exploitation of the strip of land on the eastern part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank helps Israel maintain its authority over the area's borders and prevent them from falling under the control of the Palestinians, according to the group, B'Tselem, and other analysts.

When Will the Israelis Protest?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Hassan Haidar - (Opinion) May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

More than at any time before, the State of Israel on the anniversary of its founding seems similar to all other countries in the region, as its “regime” resorts to the same fear-mongering methods that were adopted by Arab regimes that have gone, as well as by others that still make use of them with their citizens to convince them of the absurdity of change and the danger of the alternatives.

Palestine willing to merge with ?GCC when liberated: Envoy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Khaleej Times
by Anwar Ahmad - May 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian government seeks support from the GCC countries to resolve their long-standing conflicts with Israel and is willing to merge with the GCC bloc when liberated, said Dr Khairi Al Oraidi, Ambassador of Palestine to the UAE. Addressing the media on the occasion of the Nakba or catastrophe day at the embassy premises on Thursday, Dr Al Oraidi, said: “I believe in the important role which the GCC countries have been playing in the region socially and politically.”

Court may rule on US stand on Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Barbara Ferguson, Tim Kennedy - May 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The case, involving a young Israeli-American, could serve as a landmark in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Eight-year-old Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky has dual American and Israeli citizenship, yet carries an American passport that designates “Jerusalem” as the country of his birth. The State Department — bowing to ongoing negotiations between Israel and Palestinians over the status of the once-divided city — has resisted all appeals by young Zivotofsky’s parents (and their persistent lawyers) to have the passport designation of “country of birth” changed to “Israel.”

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