Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Hamas leaders are unable to reconcile their differences over the recent agreement with Fatah, and PLO officials say this is frustrating Palestinian reunification. West Bank Hamas officials say the agreement is valid. Israel and Iran exchange accusations over bomb attacks on diplomats in India and Georgia. Israeli building demolitions displace 120 Palestinian villages near Hebron. Egypt says it will monitor the work of Palestinian “public freedom committees.” Israel rejects an appeal by a Palestinian militant on hunger strike. Palestinians may again be considering efforts to upgrade their status at the UN. Palestinians in Hebron say they are faced with a barrage of harassment. Right-wing Israeli MKs complain about lack of funding for Jewish “heritage sites” in the occupied territories. The Daily Beast has an in-depth story on US policy toward the Iranian nuclear program, with Israel as the "wild card." Lebanon's Interior Ministry is setting up a database of Palestinian refugees. COMMENTARY: Roger Cohen says Peter Beinart's new book about the dilemma of Jewish power in Israel and the United States is extremely important. Moshe Arens says it's no wonder that Hezbollah leader Nasrallah feels the need to respond to a Ha'aretz commentary. Oded Haklai says some issues involving Palestinian citizens of Israel are more easily solve than others, but all need addressing. Faisal Al Yafai says Egyptians are renegotiating with themselves, the United States and Israel. Osama Al Sharif says the Palestinian reconciliation agreement can succeed. Yossi Alpher says the Hamas-Fatah agreement represents a failure of Israeli strategic thinking. Ghassan Khatib says internal Palestinian dialogue is the only way forward.

Hamas chiefs wrestle with split over Abbas premiership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Reuters) -- The two top leaders of Hamas failed to resolve an internal crisis over a reconciliation pact with the rival Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas at secret talks in Qatar on Sunday, a diplomat in the region said. "(Hamas chief) Khalid Mashaal and (Gaza Premier) Ismail Haniyeh met last night in Qatar to discuss the dispute in Hamas over the Doha agreement," the diplomat told Reuters on Monday.

'Split in Hamas is frustrating Palestinian unity'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

Disagreement within the Hamas leadership over a reconciliation deal signed by leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in Qatar is stalling the formation of a unity government, senior Fatah member Nabil Sha'ath said Monday. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is waiting to hear confirmation from Hamas that they will stand behind an interim government under his premiership, Sha'ath told Palestinian news agency Ma'an.

Doha Agreement valid despite Al-Zahar’s statements – Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali El-saleh - February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

London, Asharq al-Awsat- An official from the Change and Reform bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council has stated the remarks by Hamas’s Mahmud al-Zahar concerning the Doha declaration and designation of President Mahmud Abbas, to form a transitional national accord government reflects the Hamas Movement Political Bureau member’s personal opinion.

Iran, Israel trade blame over embassy attacks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Los Angeles Times
by Mark Magnier, Edmund Sanders - February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

Reporting from Jerusalem and New Delhi—The technique had a familiar ring. A motorcyclist speeds toward a government vehicle, attaches a magnetic bomb and buzzes away moments before a fiery explosion. Last month, that's how an Iranian nuclear scientist was killed in Tehran. And on Monday, Indian officials said such an attack injured an Israeli diplomat's wife and three others in a well-guarded neighborhood of New Delhi near the Israeli Embassy.

Israeli demolition 'displaces 120' in Hebron village
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces demolished 22 buildings in a Palestinian village south of Hebron on Monday, displacing 120 villagers, residents told Ma'an. Twenty Israeli military vehicles accompanied bulldozers to raze the 16 domestic tents and six animal shelters in Khirbet al-Rahwa, they said. Villager Salim Salem al-Tal told Ma'an forces also demolished a well that was the village's only water source. Soldiers did not give the villagers any time to remove their possessions from their homes, he said.

Egypt to monitor work of reconciliation committee
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 14, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Egypt is to start monitoring the performance of the public freedoms committee, a member told Ma'an on Monday. Khalil Assaf, a committee member from the West Bank, said that a meeting was held Sunday in Cairo with Egyptian officials, who recommended that Egypt monitors the committee's work in order to overcome obstacles it has been facing in the West Bank and Gaza. Another meeting is scheduled to be held on Feb. 21 to follow up with what has been achieved on the ground.

Israel rejects Palestinian hunger striker's appeal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Diaa Hadid - February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — An Israeli military court on Monday rejected an appeal from a Palestinian man on hunger strike for 58 days to have his jail term reduced, officials said. Lawyer Mahmoud Hassan said a military court judge refused the appeal and that his client, Khader Adnan, will be detained until May 8. A military spokeswoman confirmed the ruling and said Adnan will be expected to carry out the full four-month sentence. The spokeswoman spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.

Palestinians consider upgrading UN status as peace talks stalled: sources
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinians are considering upgrading their UN status to a non-member observer state after failing to obtain state recognition through the world body's Security Council, sources close to the leadership said on Monday. However, the Palestinians' decision will depend on Israel's response to a letter sent by President Mahmoud Abbas via some Arab leaders, the sources said.

IDF brigade leaves an impression in Hebron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

Rumor has it that Golani infantry soldiers will remain in the area until May, and in Hebron residents are worried. Very worried. Since the Golani soldiers replaced the Kfir Brigade's Shimshon battalion in December 2011 (which, in turn, had replaced the Givati infantry ), city residents have sensed a manifest worsening of soldiers' behavior.

Funding issues for West Bank sites anger Mks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - February 14, 2012 - 1:00am

Funding issues for West Bank Jewish heritage sites angered parliamentarians on the Right and the Left on Tuesday morning. Right-wing parliamentarians were upset by the absence of the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem on the list of National Heritage sites slated to be approved for renovation funding at a ministerial committee meeting on Tuesday.

Obama’s Dangerous Game With Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Christopher Dickey, R.M. Schneiderman - February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

Well before he moved into the White House, Barack Obama began talking to Israel about Iran’s nuclear program, and even then there was mistrust. He met in 2008 with several leading Israelis, including Benjamin Netanyahu—before Netanyahu was elected prime minister—and impressed everyone with his determination to stop Iran from going nuclear. Netanyahu liked much of what he heard, according to a source in his inner circle. What troubled him, however, was that Obama didn’t talk specifically about Israel’s security.

Interior Ministry sets up Palestinian database
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Stephen Dockery - February 14, 2012 - 1:00am

BEIRUT: The Interior Ministry announced Monday that it is setting up the first state-held database of Palestinian refugees to try to alleviate their personal status paperwork problems. Interior Minister Marwan Charbel introduced the new registry at his office in Beirut Monday, saying it was part of the government’s obligation to the Palestinian people to improve their lives without undercutting the right of return.

The Dilemmas of Jewish Power
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - (Opinion) February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

LONDON — Peter Beinart’s “The Crisis of Zionism” is an important new book that rejects the manipulation of Jewish victimhood in the name of Israel’s domination of the Palestinians and asserts that the real issue for Jews today is not the challenge of weakness but the demands of power.

Hezbollah chief's reply to Haaretz
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Moshe Arens - (Opinion) February 14, 2012 - 1:00am

Is it possible that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah reads Haaretz? Not the Hebrew edition, of course. But does he read the English edition online, or is the print edition smuggled to him in Beirut by one of his agents in Israel? Or is it translated to him by one of his aides?

Overstating Israel’s ‘internal Arab problem’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Oded Haklai - (Opinion) February 14, 2012 - 1:00am

In recent months, analysts from diverse ideological persuasions and political stripes have been sounding the alarm bells about Israel’s “internal Palestinian problem.” On the one hand, it is claimed that if Israel does not accede to the political demands of the Arab minority and does not recognize it as a national and indigenous minority with extensive collective rights, Israel’s domestic stability and very democratic character will be undermined.

Egyptians renegotiate - with the US, Israel and themselves
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Faisal Al Yafai - (Opinion) February 14, 2012 - 1:00am

How much can a country change in a single year? On the anniversary of Hosni Mubarak's fall from power, Egypt is still convulsed daily by protests. Sit-ins in Tahrir Square continue. Relations between "the Square", which is shorthand for the Egyptian public that supports the protests, and the generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) are tense and characterised by mutual mistrust. The stability and calm sought by the outside world is a work in progress.

Reconciliation deal can succeed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Osama Al-Sharif - (Opinion) February 14, 2012 - 1:00am

Good news associated with the Palestinians is very hard to come by these days, but February 6 was an exception. A Qatari initiative succeeded in bringing together two bitter rivals in Doha; Palestinian President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and head of Hamas' political bureau Khalid Mesha'al. The Doha Declaration represented the biggest leap forward on the road to securing Palestinian reconciliation.

A failure of Israeli strategic thinking
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

The Fateh-Hamas Doha declaration of February 5 is many things, some more grounded in reality than others.

Dialogue is the way
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) February 13, 2012 - 1:00am

The agreement that was announced in Doha last week between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the head of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, generated healthy debate and discussion among Palestinians, but especially within Hamas. Once again, the Palestinian argument that engaging Hamas in dialogue is always useful has been proven true.

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