Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: A deal is struck whereby a Palestinian prisoner will end his lengthy hunger strike and Israeli authorities say he will be released or charged by mid-April. Israeli officials say they would welcome the fall of the Syrian regime but are worried about the consequences of unrest. Most Israelis seem to believe it is inevitable their country will attack Iran. Palestinian factional leaders will meet in Cairo, as they trade accusations about the fuel crisis in Gaza. Higher education employees in the occupied territories go on strike. Hamas leaders again say they have resolved their differences over the agreement with Pres. Abbas. Jordan's King Abdullah blames Israel for the deadlock in peace negotiations. The Israeli government retroactively approves almost 200 settlement housing units constructed without authorization.Some activists have changed their of views of Norman Finkelstein following an interview in which he harshly derided the one-state agenda. COMMENTARY: Mustafa Barghouthi says Palestinians can win independence through nonviolent protests. David Rosenberg says vandalism attacks against Jerusalem churches are reflective of deep-seated antipathy towards Christians in Israel. Michael Young says Israel, at least under PM Netanyahu, doesn't make a believable victim regarding the Iranian nuclear program. Linda Heard says Egypt's relationship with Washington and peace treaty with Israel are in peril. N. Janardhan looks at India's policies towards Iran and Israel. Jillian Kestler-D’Amours says a recent Israeli Supreme Court decision allows the plundering of natural resources in the occupied territories. Leila Hilal says deputy FM Ayalon is peddling mythology about Palestinian refugees. Mairav Zonszein says Khader Adnan’s hunger strike was important not because he is a good man but because due process is indispensable. The LA Times looks at a new play based on the death of Rachel Corrie. Ali Khaled says Israel's narrative falls flat when it identifies children as “terrorists.”

Palestinian On Hunger Strike to Be Freed Without Court Ruling
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — A Palestinian who fasted for 66 days to protest his detention without charge ended his hunger strike on Tuesday after the Israeli authorities agreed to release him in mid-April, if no major new evidence is brought against him.

Israel Watches Syria, Hopefully, but Warily
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — As Israelis watch the bloody confrontation between the Syrian people and the government of President Bashar al-Assad, they are torn by two sentiments: The downfall of Mr. Assad would deal a major blow to Iran and so would be welcome. But without a central authority, Syria could descend into being a land of chaos and terrorist bases on Israel’s northeast border. Enlarge This Image Uriel Sinai/Getty Images In the Golan Heights town of Majdel Shams, Druse men took part last week in a protest against Israel's control of the region.

Israelis Seem Resigned to a Strike on Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - February 22, 2012 - 1:00am

TEL AVIV — A recent installment of the popular Israeli satirical television show “A Wonderful Country” captured the public mood here regarding a possible strike on Iran and its consequences: a mix of resignation and gallows humor. In one scene, a house-hunting couple is shown a Tel Aviv apartment facing a drab housing project as a real estate agent proclaims that the place will have a view of the sea. “In June, that whole row of buildings won’t be here anymore,” she cheerfully informs the prospective buyers, gazing out a window.

Palestinian Leaders to Meet in Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 22, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – President Mahmoud Abbas is set to chair a meeting Thursday in Cairo that will encompass chiefs of Palestinian factions, PLO leaders and the speaker of the Palestinian National Council. Selected independent figures will join the meeting, which is dedicated to discussing the latest political developments and the ongoing efforts toward Palestinian reconciliation.

Gaza, Ramallah Swap Accusations Over Fuel Crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 22, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – The chair of the Palestinian Authority energy authority Omar Kittana says the Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip is politicizing the electricity crisis in an attempt to score political points. Asked about accusations that he threatened employees at the energy authority in Gaza, Kittana said, “I refuse to comment on this as we have reached an impermissible point. I was afraid of politicization of this issue.

Employees at Public Universities, Colleges on Strike
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 20, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Employees in public universities and colleges in the West Bank and Gaza Strip went on strike on Monday, an employee's union spokesman said. Abdul-Muhsin Qawasmi said the current semester may be canceled since the education ministry has not responded to their demands. The main demand was a salary increase to match employees working in other Palestinian universities.

Hamas Irons Out Dispute Over Palestinian Unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - February 22, 2012 - 1:00am

CAIRO — A senior Hamas official says the leadership of the Islamic militant group has settled internal disagreements and approved a unity deal with its political rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Izzat al-Rishq, who is an aide to Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, says that Hamas' Syria-based political bureau met in Cairo Wednesday and okayed the agreement. Since 2007, the rivals have run separate governments in the West Bank and Gaza. The agreement signed in Qatar between Mashaal and Abbas on Feb. 6 envisions Abbas heading an interim unity government ahead of elections.

Jordan’s Blames Israel for Deadlocked Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Josef Federman - February 22, 2012 - 1:00am

AMMAN, Jordan — King Abdullah II on Tuesday blamed Israel for deadlocked Mideast peacemaking in a meeting with U.S. Jewish leaders, the official Petra News Agency said. But the king's guests offered a more optimistic version of events, saying Abdullah had also been complimentary of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's position in recent peace talks. Jordan last month played host to talks that have subsequently been broken off. Palestinian and Israeli negotiators have blamed the other for the cut-off.

State Approves Housing Units in Shilo Post Factum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel News
by Yair Altman - February 22, 2012 - 1:00am

The Civil Administration approved Wednesday the construction of 505 new housing units and legalized 190 units previously built in the West Bank settlement of Shilo. A Defense Ministry official said that any further construction would call for the government's approval and therefore they do not expect any other units to be built anytime soon. The ministry also stated that the existing housing units were not built on private lands but rather on State-owned land.

From Hezbollah To ‘Zionist Bully’?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Week
by Stewart Ain - February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

Norman Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors whose anti-Israel statements and actions got him barred from the country until 2018 for suspected ties to Hezbollah terrorists, has now become the darling of pro-Israel bloggers — sort of — and a traitor to Palestinian supporters. The Brooklyn political science professor stunned supporters Feb. 9 when in a taped interview at the Imperial College London he derided the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign for concealing the fact that it is out to destroy Israel.

Peaceful Protest Can Free Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mustafa Barghouthi - (Opinion) February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

OVER the past 64 years, Palestinians have tried armed struggle; we have tried negotiations; and we have tried peace conferences. Yet all we have seen is more Israeli settlements, more loss of lives and resources, and the emergence of a horrifying system of segregation.

Writing on the Wall: Israel and Its Christians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Rosenberg - (Opinion) February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

Graffiti on Jerusalem church points to negative attitudes among many Jews A day after it was discovered on the exterior walls of a Jerusalem Baptist church this week, graffiti declaring “Death to Christianity” had been cleaned up and a host of officials from the Israeli government had visited with apologies and expressions of concern. But for the Christian community in Israel, the environment remains inhospitable.

Nobody believes Israel as its nuclear monopoly weakens
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Michael Young - (Opinion) February 23, 2012 - 1:00am

A procession of American officials has been visiting Israel lately, to persuade the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to bomb Iran before international sanctions have had time to take hold. The arguments against an operation are familiar, but they also speak to an underlying malaise in how the world views Israel.

Camp David pact in jeopardy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Linda S. Heard - (Opinion) February 22, 2012 - 1:00am

Relations between Cairo and Washington are on a slippery slope now that Washington's man former president Hosni Mubarak can no longer protect them. The row is over Egypt's investigation of non-profit organisations operating in the country without licence and suspected of criminally receiving foreign funding to foment unrest against the ruling military. They include Freedom House, the International Centre for Journalists as well as the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute that work closely with individuals in the US Congress.

India’s rationale for Iran-Israel relations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Meena Janardhan - (Opinion) February 22, 2012 - 1:00am

Though Iran’s role in the recent bombing of an Israeli diplomat’s car in New Delhi remains unconfirmed, India is under pressure to join the growing international isolation of Tehran.

Palestinians Hear the Water
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jillian Kestler-D'Amours - (Opinion) February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

"On its face, the new rule allows the occupier (in a long-term occupation) to make endless use of the variety of objects found in the occupied territory," Israeli human rights group Yesh Din stated. "To pump its water sources, to transfer its archeological artifacts to elsewhere outside the territory, to use areas within it for garbage disposal, to sell public real estate, and more." In late December of last year, the Israeli Supreme Court dismissed a petition put forth by Yesh Din, challenging the legality of Israeli mining and quarrying operations taking place in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli Leader Wrongly Blames UN and Arab States for Palestinian Refugees
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Leila Hilal - (Opinion) February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

At the end of 2011, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, posted the third video in his YouTube series about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These polished presentations are produced by an Israeli public relations firm in collaboration with StandWithUs, a U.S.-based group that counters criticism of Israeli policies regarding Palestinian. The series is promoted as "explanations of the historical facts" of the core issues of the conflict -- thus far covering the peace process, the West Bank, and most recently, refugees. (A fourth video on Jerusalem is said to be forthcoming.)

‘Bad guy’ or not, Adnan hunger strike was about due process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from 972 Magazine
by Mairav Zonszein - (Opinion) February 22, 2012 - 1:00am

As Khader Adnan’s case took over the news cycle this week, I noticed comments by thoughtful readers, generally on my Facebook feed, pointing out Adnan’s association with terror. They have circulated a video in which Adnan asks who the next suicide bomber will be, pointed to his affiliation with Islamic Jihad, and asked: How can you root for a terrorist? How can supposed progressives like us rally around him?

Theater review: 'Sarah's War' at the Hudson Mainstage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Los Angeles Times
by Philip Brandes - (Theater Review) February 21, 2012 - 1:00am

Amid the endless polarized chaos and bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, is there any space between protecting human rights and supporting terrorists? Seeking that elusive territory of meaningful compassion is the goal of Valerie Dillman's thoughtful and heartfelt original drama, "Sarah's War," a Freedom Theatre West production at the Hudson Mainstage.

When children are 'terrorists', Israel's story rings hollow
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Ali Khaled - (Opinion) February 22, 2012 - 1:00am

It's one of the 20th century's most celebrated images of individual courage. Very few people are unfamiliar with the photograph of the lone Chinese protester facing down a line of army tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Despite his anonymity, "Tank Man" or the "Unknown Rebel", as he came to be known, is a lasting symbol of that student rebellion that was so brutally crushed.

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