Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Some Hamas leaders are saying the group is committed to the agreement with Fatah, but that it needs to be revised. Israel reiterates that it won't negotiate with any government that involves Hamas. Israeli officials give their account of recent negotiations to Ha'aretz. An Israeli court moves forward to hearing on a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner. The hunger strike calls attention to Israel's policy of “administrative detention” without charges. PM Netanyahu will meet Pres. Obama on March 5. Emergency fuel for Gaza arrives from Egypt through tunnels. High-tech companies spring up across the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli police arrest right-wing Jewish activists suspected of planning provocations at Jerusalem holy sites, and others are suspected in another vandalism attack against the Jerusalem church. Billionaire Sheldon Adelson is reportedly planning to give another $10 million to groups supporting Newt Gingrich. COMMENTARY: Sefi Rachlevsky says Netanyahu should be careful not to unravel Israel's relationship with the United States. Akiva Eldar says Israel is willing to demolish occupied Palestinian villages but not “unauthorized” settlement outposts. Chaim Levinson says Israeli negligence led to the avoidable death of a Palestinian car thief. Gershon Baskin says there are no better leaders than Netanyahu and Pres. Abbas to make real peace. Roy Greenslade says Palestinian journalists are under pressure from all sides. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Hayya. Yossi Alpher says that, if reelected, Obama is going to have to seriously reconsider his approach to Middle East peace. Ghassan Khatib says Palestinians may need to explore other strategies, including more UN initiatives. Chuck Freilich says because there are no real alternatives to a two-state solution, its potential realization must be preserved even with diplomacy deadlocked. Issa Samandar says Palestinian frustrations have laid the groundwork for another uprising.

Hamas: Committed to Doha deal, but needs amendment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Senior Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayyah said Monday that the Islamist movement is committed to the Doha agreement, but still disputes President Abbas' dual role of prime minister. "Make it lawful, as Abbas can't be president and prime minister according to the law," al-Hayyah told Ma'an. The senior Hamas figure also quashed rumors that a meeting had been convened to address internal disputes.

Israel reiterates no talks if Hamas in Palestinian gov't
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has reiterated that the Israeli government will not negotiate with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas, an official source said Monday. "Negotiations will not take place with a technocratic government that is made out of an agreement between Hamas and Fatah. The current reality is that the other side (of the negotiations) consists of an organization that does not acknowledge Israel," an official said in a PMO briefing.

Netanyahu's border proposal: Israel to annex settlement blocs, but not Jordan Valley
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 19, 2012 - 1:00am

Three weeks after the end of the talks that took place between Israel and the Palestinians in Amman which took place under the patronage of the King of Jordan, Israeli officials revealed their version of the events, laying the blame on the failure of the talks on Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. Despite the mutual “blame game,” according to positions presented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the topic of borders, it is clear that it is not much different than the positions presented by Tzipi Livni during the Annapolis Conference.

Israeli court moves forward Adnan hearing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 20, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israel's High Court has agreed to hear an appeal against the administrative detention of hunger-striking prisoner Khader Adnan two days earlier than scheduled, his lawyer said Monday. The Supreme Court will now hold the hearing on Tuesday, Jawad Bulus said, adding that the prosecutor is required to submit their responses to the appeal before noon. The court had originally scheduled to hear the case on Thursday.

Palestinian's hunger strike puts spotlight on Israeli detentions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CNN
by Kevin Flower - February 18, 2012 - 1:00am

Jerusalem (CNN) -- A 33-year-old West Bank baker who has become a symbol of Palestinian resistance to Israeli detention policies entered the 63rd day of a hunger strike Saturday despite a doctor's warning that he could die any time. "Mr. Khader Adnan is in immediate danger of death," according to a report issued this week by the Israeli branch of the nonprofit Physicians for Human Rights, which sent a doctor to examine him.

White House: Netanyahu, Obama to meet in Washington on March 5
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - February 20, 2012 - 1:00am

U.S. President Barack Obama will host a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on March 5, the White House said on Monday, a session that will likely center on the West's efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions. A White House statement rounding up the recent Israel visit by Obama's National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, which announced the date for the upcoming meeting, indicated that the top advisor discussed the "full range of security issues of mutual concern" during his meetings with Israeli leadership.

Emergency fuel arrives from Egypt via Gaza tunnels
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 20, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A limited delivery of fuel arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday, brought in through underground tunnels from Egypt, as the energy authority director said he expects a long term solution to the widespread blackouts to be agreed with Egypt this week. The fuel has allowed the power authority to reactivate one of the four generators at Gaza's sole power plant, the authority said in a statement.

The cool new Palestinians: geeks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Jackie Spinner - February 18, 2012 - 1:00am

In the hip Ramallah coffee shop ZAMN, Yousef Ghandour laments the slow Wi-Fi as he launches the beta version of one of his many start-ups, a social networking site that allows users to travel through time to find connections. Mr. Ghandour, who never wastes a moment, shares the e-books he is currently reading on his iPhone (among them, "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... and Others Don't"), shows off his blog, and lingers for a moment on his latest vision for a social networking site for Muslims called AnaBasili, or "I'm praying."

Police prepare for possible Temple Mount clashes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Lappin, Melanie Lidman - February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

Jerusalem Police was preparing for the possibility of clashes between right-wing activists and Palestinians on and around the Temple Mount Tuesday morning. The preparations followed a call by Palestinian activists to come and "protect" the Temple mount after right-wing activists said they would ascend to the holy site. Overnight Monday, police raided an apartment in Jerusalem's Ramot neighborhood and found extremist right-wing documents related to the Temple Mount. Police arrested one activist and took him for investigation.

Second Jerusalem church vandalized
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
February 20, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- A church in Jerusalem was vandalized with an anti-Christian slogan for the second time this month. "Death to Christians" was painted Monday on the walls of the Baptist Narkis Street Congregation. The words "Price Tag" and bad language about Jesus also were written, according to reports, and the tires of several cars in the area were slashed. Two weeks ago, the 11th-century Monastery of the Cross Church was similarly vandalized.

Adelson to give $10 million more to PAC supporting Gingrich
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
February 19, 2012 - 1:00am

(JTA) -- Casino and hotel magnate Sheldon Adelson reportedly has plans to give another $10 million to a group supporting Newt Gingrich for the Republican presidential nomination. The donation to Winning Our Future, an independent committee, or Super PAC, that is run by former Gingrich associates, reportedly will be delivered in the coming days, CBS News reported, citing an unnamed source close to Adelson. CNN reported the same, also citing an unnamed source with knowledge of the donation.

Netanyahu mustn't demolish the strategic alliance with U.S.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Sefi Rachlevsky - (Opinion) February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

In an interview with The New York Times, Defense Minister Ehud Barak listed three conditions for going to war against Iran, a threefold test: Military action must significantly delay Iran's nuclear program; it must result in minimal harm to Israel's home front; and it must receive massive American and international support. As prime minister, Barak brandished the test of results as his sword, and fell on it several months later. But now, the same old song is playing again.

Israel demolishes West Bank villages as Jewish outposts remains untouched
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Analysis) February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

It is doubtful whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has expressed great concern over the fate of Migron's residents, has heard of Tha'lah. Unfortunately for the village's residents, Tha'lah is situated in Area C, which is under Israel jurisdiction. Minister Benny Begin, who worked so tirelessly on the questionable "agreement" that will leave the Migron criminals on stolen land for a few more years (if it is ever implemented ), presumably does not know what happened to the residents of this tiny village in the Southern Hebron Hills.

How Israeli negligence led to the death of a Palestinian car thief
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - (Analysis) February 20, 2012 - 1:00am

The figure at the side of the road was completely still. A pedestrian who saw him in the early morning light came close, and found the body of a young man. He was barefoot and clad in a thin hospital gown from the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.

Q&A affecting the future of the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) February 20, 2012 - 1:00am

Over the past two weeks I have been on a speaking tour in the United States (one more week to go). I am appearing on college campuses, some, such as Johns Hopkins, American University and George Washington in the main cities of the country.

Palestinian journalists under pressure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Roy Greenslade - (Blog) February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

The International Press Institute (IPI) has registered its concern over the treatment of Palestinian journalists by both Israeli forces and Palestinian security services. The press freedom watchdog says that since the beginning of 2012, at least five journalists working in the Palestinian territories have been subjected to arbitrary arrest. Two more have had their detention periods extended. Three of those who were arrested recently were allegedly interrogated for several hours about their writing before being released. The other two remain in custody.

We are committed to reconciliation agreement - Hamas official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali El-saleh - (Interview) February 17, 2012 - 1:00am

London, Asharq Al-Awsat –Senior Hamas figure Khalil al-Hayya informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the Hamas movement is committed to the Doha Declaration, although he acknowledged that there are some “legal” issues that must be dealt with before this can be implemented. Al-Hayya, who is a member of the Hamas Political Bureau for the Gaza Strip spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat about the Doha Declaration in the wake of inflammatory comments issued by another senior Hamas figure, Mahmoud al-Zahar.

Obama's options are important, too
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) February 20, 2012 - 1:00am

For Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, as for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the primary objective of 2012 with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to get through the year without a peace process failure, without major violence, and perhaps with some marginal achievement in the context of regional developments like the "Arab spring" that position each of them better for 2013. A genuine peace process is most definitely not anybody's realistic objective. It is in this context that we can address President Barack Obama's objectives as well.

Rapidly dwindling avenues to peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) February 20, 2012 - 1:00am

The regional and international environments appear increasingly less conducive to a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, especially in the short term. The United States is preparing for coming presidential and congressional elections, and the Arab world is increasingly involved in internal revolutions that are naturally emphasizing local agendas. These factors are limiting available options and eliminating opportunities to make progress in ending our conflict peacefully.

Beating a dead horse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Chuck Freilich - (Opinion) February 20, 2012 - 1:00am

How long can you beat a dead horse? The peace process died some years ago and the only humane thing to do may be to allow it to rest in peace. Indeed, it is questionable whether this is an opportune time to consider revival, when the future of peace with Egypt and Jordan hangs in doubt, Palestinian elections portend a possible Hamas takeover in the West Bank, and Hamas' radical mini-state in Gaza is the embodiment of every Israeli nightmare.

Between two hells
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Issa Samander - (Opinion) February 20, 2012 - 1:00am

One can't help but be astonished by the behavior of the United States and European governments over the vast changes occurring in Arab countries, especially their reactions towards the killing spree in Syria. They have been swift--their politicians rarely vague--in their condemnations of the Syrian regime and calls for actions by the international community.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017