Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: ATFP hosts a hosts a Washington dinner for the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land. Israeli occupation forces raid two private TV stations in the West Bank and confiscate equipment, which the PA says violates the Oslo Accords. Israel criticizes an invitation from the PLO to Security Council members to visit the occupied territories, as Palestinians begin to lobby for a resolution condemning settlement activity. The PA says it has made no decision regarding the future of security cooperation with Israel. Palestinians say the Chief Justice of their high religious court died two days after a raid on his home by occupation forces and hold Israel responsible. Israel uses its new “skunk” weapon against protesters in Hebron. A new Israeli study holds that the country's security situation is the worst in decades. Billionaire Sheldon Adelson reportedly gives another “substantial” donation to an organization associated with Newt Gingrich. Pro-Israel voices in the United States join calls for removing the Iranian MEK organization from the official list of designated foreign terrorist groups. COMMENTARY: Zvi Bar'el says the Israeli government believes in numerous mirages. Yitzhak Laor says Israelis are too insulated from the costs of occupation. Arieh O’Sullivan tracks the growing Palestinian opposition to armed resistance. Jonathan Marcus speculates about how Israel might go about attacking Iran if it decided to do so. Daniel Zemel and Jack Moline say Israelis should return to the more tolerant Zionism of the late PM Rabin. Emad El Din Adeeb says the coming phase in Palestinian politics will favor Hamas and its politburo chief. Osama Al Sharif asks if it's too late to save Arab East Jerusalem. Lara Friedman recounts her second, more encouraging, day at a conference on East Jerusalem in Qatar. Tony Karon asks if Hamas' break with Iran is good for Israel. Shibley Telhami looks at Israeli public opinion regarding a possible attack against Iran.

ATFP Hosts Washington Dinner for Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from American Task Force on Palestine
February 29, 2012 - 1:00am

Washington DC, Feb 29 -- The American Task Force on Palestine yesterday hosted a Washington dinner for the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land (CRIHL), the consultative body that comprises the most senior official Israeli and Palestinian religious leaders. CRIHL was established as the implementing body of the historic declaration signed in Alexandria, Egypt in 2002 in which Israeli and Palestinian religious leaders pledged to work together to end violence and promote peace. The event was sponsored by ATFP board member Dr. Adnan M. M. Mjalli and moderated by ATFP President Dr.

Israeli Troops Raid 2 Private Palestinian TV Stations in West Bank, Confiscate Equipment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
February 29, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Israeli troops raided two private Palestinian TV stations before dawn Wednesday, seizing transmitters and other equipment, the military said. The military said one of the outlets, al-Watan TV, is a pirate station whose frequencies interfered with legal broadcasters and aircraft communications. It said several transmitters were confiscated in the operation initiated by Israel’s Communications Ministry. The military also confirmed a second raid at Jerusalem Educational TV, a Ramallah-based station owned by the Palestinians’ Al Quds University, but did not elaborate.

PA: Israel Seizing Broadcast Frequencies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 29, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) – The Palestinian Authority is describing Wednesday's raids on TV networks in the occupied West Bank as the possible beginning of a "frequency war" over limited broadcasting space. The confiscation of equipment from Watan TV and Al-Quds Educational TV deprives Palestinians of their right to have frequencies for building modern wireless communication networks, the PA says. Suleiman Zuheiri, undersecretary of the Palestinian ministry of telecommunication in Ramallah, said Israel had breached Article 36 of the Oslo agreement, which requires consultations with the PA.

Israel Criticizes Palestinians’ Invitation to Security Council to Visit Occupied Territories
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
February 28, 2012 - 1:00am

UNITED NATIONS — The Palestinians have invited the U.N. Security Council to visit the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, a move Israel says is an attempt to try to divert attention from getting back to direct negotiations to settle the decades-old conflict. Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. observer, told reporters after a council meeting on the Mideast on Tuesday that he sent a letter inviting the 15 council members “to see with their own eyes the reality of the Palestinian people in the occupied territory” including Israel’s “illegal” settlement building.

Palestinian Leadership Lobbies for UN Resolution Against Jewish Settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 29, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian leadership has started lobbying for a United Nations resolution against the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a Palestinian official said Wednesday. "The regional and international efforts aim at mustering as much as possible support to the draft resolution," said Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian peace negotiator.

PA: No Decision on Security Coordination
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 29, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The the Palestinian Authority's minister of civil affairs, denied on Tuesday that the government had decided to end security coordination with Israel. Hussein al-Sheikh told the PA's Voice of Palestine radio that all options were under consideration, but decisions will wait until the president returns from abroad. The minister was responding to reports that the PA is planning to reconsider its security, political and economic agreements with Israel in the coming days, as a PLO official said Sunday.

Fatah: Chief Justice Dies After Raid on Home
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 29, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The chief justice of the Palestinian high religious court died Tuesday of a heart attack two days after soldiers raided his home, the Fatah movement said. Sheikh Fahmi Asaad Jaradat died after soldiers occupied his home in the northern West Bank village of Zabuba, near Jenin, and took up positions on his roof, the movement said. Fatah said it held Israel responsible for the justice's death. The funeral, according to a statement from the movement, will be on Wednesday after midday prayer.

Israel Capable of Defending Itself Against Iranian Salvos: Defense Expert
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 29, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Arrow missile defense system is capable of protecting the Israeli territory from an Iranian missile barrage, a former Defense Ministry rocket expert told Xinhua on Wednesday. "I can say it with assurance: we built those abilities into the Arrow warhead," Uzi Rubin, the Arrow's chief developer and head of Israel's Homa (Barrier) Missile Defense Agency between 1991 and 1999, when the first version of the missile was deployed.

Hebron Funeral Becomes Target of ‘Skunk’ Weapon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel News
by Elior Levy - February 29, 2012 - 1:00am

A funeral in Hebron this weekend became the target of a non-fatal weapon used by security forces to disperse crowds during violent protests. The funeral began as a protest marking the Cave of Patriarchs massacre's anniversary was ending. At a certain point during the rally, which was also in protest of the closing of a street to Palestinian traffic, clashes between protesters and IDF and Border Guard forces erupted.

Report: Israel’s Security Situation Worst in Decades
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Oren Kessler - February 29, 2012 - 1:00am

The Arab revolts and an emboldened Iran have created the most precarious security situation for Israel since the end of the Cold War, according to a study released this week. The report, “The 2011 Arab Uprisings and Israel’s National Security,” was released by Bar-Ilan University’s Begin- Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and authored by the center’s director, Prof.Efraim Inbar.

Adelson Reportedly Gives ‘Substantial’ New Donation to Gingrich PAC
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
February 28, 2012 - 1:00am

(JTA) -- Casino and hotel magnate Sheldon Adelson reportedly has given a “substantial” new donation to a group supporting Newt Gingrich for the Republican presidential nomination. Adelson gave the donation to Winning Our Future, an independent committee, or Super PAC, that is run by former Gingrich associates, Politico reported Tuesday, one week ahead of the Super Tuesday primary vote in 10 states. Adelson and his wife already have given $11 million to the PAC.

Pro-Israel Voices Joining Bid to Get Iranian Dissidents Group off U.S. Terror List
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - February 28, 2012 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz, former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel -- three prominent Jewish activists who have joined with other prominent people in a bid to remove a group with a blood-soaked history from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. The names on the growing list of influential American advocates to de-list the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK -- known in English as the National Council of Resistance of Iran -- suggest an effort to give the bid a pro-Israel imprimatur.

The hallucinations of the Israeli government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - (Opinion) February 29, 2012 - 1:00am

Now that the medical efficacy of marijuana is proven fact, the time has come to examine the potency of the hallucinogenic drug LSD as a solution to strategic problems. Preliminary tests indicate that this drug exceeds all expectations. Tests are currently being carried out in Israel - a pioneering country when it comes to medical developments. The first experiment was initiated seven years ago, and it will conclude in March. It has won the name "the Migron Experiment."

Then came Cast Lead in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yitzhak Laor - (Opinion) February 29, 2012 - 1:00am

Had the Palestinians produced a film in which Israeli doctors threw a wounded Palestinian out of hospital, after which policemen dumped the injured man out of a patrol car to die in the dark, the prime minister would have denounced his subjects for inciting against their masters.

The Decade-Long Demise of Palestinian Armed Resistance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Arieh O'Sullivan - (Analysis) February 28, 2012 - 1:00am

But polls show that Palestinians can quickly change their minds Despite the eruption of bloody clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem over the weekend, support by Palestinians for armed struggle against Israel has seen an unprecedented demise over the past decade, a new poll shows.

How Israel might strike at Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jonathan Marcus - (Analysis) February 27, 2012 - 1:00am

It is this that in large part has guided the development of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) over recent years. The IAF has purchased 125 advanced F-15I and F-16I warplanes, equipped with Israeli avionics and additional fuel tanks - tailor-made for long-range strike missions. In addition, Israel has bought specialised bunker-busting munitions; developed large, long-endurance, unmanned aircraft; and much of its training has focused on long-range missions. Israel has a track-record of pre-emptive strikes against nuclear targets in the region.

Returning to Rabin's Zionism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Jack Moline, Daniel G. Zemel - (Opinion) February 27, 2012 - 1:00am

On a hopeful evening in early November 1995, a broad cross-section of Israel’s population gathered in Tel Aviv’s Kings of Israel Square to join together for the cause of peace. They came to hear from their leader, Yitzhak Rabin, recently awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the Oslo Accords. Rabin’s words that evening included the following statement: “Violence erodes the basis of Israeli democracy. It must be condemned and isolated.”

The imminent rise of Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Emad El Din Adeeb - (Opinion) February 29, 2012 - 1:00am

I recently met with Khaled Mishal, Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, at a special dinner in Cairo. The conversation was heated and extremely candid on both sides, and there was no agreement between us regarding the publication of its contents. However, I maintain the right to make some remarks that do not violate the rules of our meeting.

Is it late to save East Jerusalem?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Osama Al-Sharif - (Opinion) February 28, 2012 - 1:00am

In the frustrating pursuit of Palestinian-Israeli peace settlement, based on the concept of a two-state solution, one particular issue emerges as the most cumbersome and, in the view of most Israelis, non negotiable. It is the fate of Arab East Jerusalem, occupied along with the rest of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

The Jerusalem Conference in Doha: Day 2
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Lara Friedman - (Opinion) February 28, 2012 - 1:00am

Yesterday I posted at the Forward with some of my concerns at the end of day one of the Arab League conference on Jerusalem in Doha. Below are my comments at the end of day two. ?Given my frustrations over day one's speeches and discussion, I steeled myself today to speak up. I did so in the closing round of comments in the committee I was attending (the Civil Society Group). When the moderator called on me I introduced myself as follows (not verbatim, but close):

Hamas Signals Break with Iran, But Is That Good for Israel?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time Magazine
by Tony Karon - (Opinion) February 29, 2012 - 1:00am

A popular Washington illusion once held that the right combination of incentives and punishments might “peel off” Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad from Iran’s “Axis of Resistance,” but nobody would have predicted that the weak link in Iran’s alliance of radicals would turn out to be the Palestinian Islamists of Hamas.

Do Israelis support a strike on Iran?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Shibley Telhami - (Opinion) February 28, 2012 - 1:00am

When President Barack Obama meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington next week, Iran’s nuclear program is likely to top their agenda. With increasing signals that Israel may be contemplating a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, the United States and its European allies have made no secret of their opposition. In the face of this mounting public disapproval, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared that the issue is no one else’s business and that the allies’ opposition won’t influence Israel’s decision. But how do the Israeli people feel?

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