Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: After a deadly anti-Semitic attack in France, PM Fayyad says extremists should stop exploiting the Palestinian cause to justify terrorism. The PLO, PA and Palestinian missions denounce the attack. Israel indicts a Hamas member for allegedly plotting attacks on Israelis. Iran's supreme leader says it will retaliate if attacked by Israel or the US. An Israeli human rights groups says the number of Palestinians killed by Israel rose last year to 115, including 18 children. Fatah claims Iran is paying Hamas to thwart national unity talks, while Hamas says Fatah prefers US aid to national unity. Hamas denies that Iranian experts are helping militants in Gaza. Pres. Abbas meets with the family of a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner. An Israeli anti-discrimination organization says racist incidents against Arabs in Israel dropped following last year's social protests. COMMENTARY: Zvi Bar'el says Israel should warn its population before attacking Iran. Bradley Burston asks whether the Zionist Organization of America can really claim to be pro-Israel. Ron Kampeas says Peter Beinart's call for a Jewish American boycott of settlements and settlement goods is not resonating yet, as he defends his position against critics. Nathan Guttman previews J Street's upcoming conference. Robert Zaretsky says French officials have promoted suspicion and distrust between Jews and Muslims in that country. Husam Itani looks at the question of the Golan Heights, Israel's occupation and the Syrian uprising. Nachman Shai says Hamas may become a viable negotiating partner for Israel. Roni Shaked says Israel's policy of assassinations is backfiring. Tal Becker urges a more nuanced debate on Iran

Fayyad: Stop Using Palestinian Cause to Justify Terror
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by Elior Levy - March 21, 2012 - 12:00am

Extremists must stop using the Palestinian cause to justify their acts of violence, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Wednesday after a deadly attack on a French Jewish school. "It is time for these criminals to stop marketing their terrorist acts in the name of Palestine and to stop pretending to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children who only ask for a decent life," the Palestinian premier said in a statement.

‘Extremists Mustn’t Use Palestine to Market Terror’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
March 21, 2012 - 12:00am

Extremists must stop marketing their terrorist acts in the name of Palestine, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Wednesday, condemning the murder of four French Jews at a school in Toulouse. French Interior Minister Gueant earlier Wednesday said the gunman wanted revenge "for the Palestinian children and he also wanted to attack the French army because of its foreign intervention." "Extremists must stop pretending to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children who only ask for a decent life," AFP quoted Fayyad as saying.

Israel Indicts Hamas Militant Suspected in Kidnap and Suicide Bombing Plot
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
March 21, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel’s internal security service says a Palestinian militant has been indicted in an alleged plot to capture an Israeli soldier and carry out a suicide bombing. The Shin Bet service said Wednesday that Mohammed Abu Adra of the militant Hamas group was arrested in February while trying to infiltrate Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. It accused him of being involved in planning the capture of an Israeli soldier and a suicide bombing in the southern city of Eilat. He was indicted Wednesday on charges including conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to kidnap.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Warns of Retaliation if Israel or U.S. Strikes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Emily Alpert, Ramin Mostaghim - March 20, 2012 - 12:00am

REPORTING FROM TEHRAN -- Iran will strike back with equal force if the United States or Israel attacks it over its nuclear program, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned in an address from the eastern city of Mashhad in observance of Nowruz, the Persian new year. "The holy Koran states that if an enemy attacks you first, the enemy will certainly be defeated," he said. “This is divine law. We are not thinking of attacks and aggression, but we are attached to the existence and identity of the Islamic republic."

Israeli Group Shows Rise in Palestinian Civilian Deaths
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 21, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces killed 115 Palestinians last year, including 18 minors, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem. The death toll of 2011 shows a marked increase on 2010, when Israeli forces killed 68 Palestinians in Gaza and 12 in the West Bank. Further, 47 of the casualties in 2011 were killed while not taking part in hostilities, an increase from 30 in 2010.

Fatah: Iran Paid Hamas to Block Unity Deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Ali Sawafta - March 21, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Reuters) -- Iran paid Hamas to block a deal with the rival Fatah movement that would have ended a five-year rift between the two main Palestinian factions, a Fatah spokesman said Tuesday. He said Tehran recently resumed financial aid to Hamas which it had suspended six months ago over the movement's failure to back their mutual ally Bashar Assad of Syria in his military campaign to crush dissent.

Hamas: Fatah Prefers US Dollars to National Agreements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 21, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Fatah has not implemented any of its reconciliation commitments because it prefers American money to national agreements, a spokesman for the Hamas-led government in Gaza said Monday. Taher al-Nunu said in a statement that Fatah is trying to destroy the reconciliation agreement it signed with Hamas last May. Al-Nunu's remarks were made in response to comments by senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad, who said Hamas was responsible for the ongoing delay in forming a unity government.

Hamas Denies Reports of Iranian Experts Aiding Militants
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 20, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA, March 20 (Xinhua) -- A senior Hamas official on Tuesday denied media reports saying that Iranian military experts were helping Gaza militant groups to develop weapons and upgrade their capabilities for a future confrontation with Israel. "These reports are fabricated and aim to justify (Israeli) military aggression against Gaza," Mahmoud Zahar, a member of Hamas' politburo, told Xinhua. On Monday, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported that some Iranian experts were in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to help the militant groups based in the coastal enclave.

Abbas Meets Family of Hunger Striker Held by Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 20, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday received at his office the family of a hunger striking woman held in Israel, accusing Israel not respecting the lives of Palestinian detainees. The parents of Hana Shalabi came to Abbas' office in the West Bank city of Ramallah after reports said their daughter was taken to the hospital due to her deteriorated health. 30-year-old Shalabi, who has been hunger striking for 34 days, demands an end to her administrative detention, an Israeli rule under which detainees can be held for years without a trial.

Study: Israel’s Social Protests Caused Drop in Racist Incidents Against Arabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury - March 20, 2012 - 12:00am

Incidents of racism and intolerance between across Israeli ethnic groups are on the decline, a new report published on Monday concluded. According to data compiled by the Coalition against Racism in Israel, is composed of Jewish and Arab human rights groups, the number of reported incidences of racism committed by Jewish Israelis against Arab Israelis fell from 91 in 2009 and 68 in 2010 to only 20 in 2011.

Israel should notify its citizens before striking Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - (Opinion) March 21, 2012 - 12:00am

Will Israel coordinate any attack on Iran with the United States, or at least give it advance notice? What exactly did President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agree to at their recent meeting in Washington, D.C.? We can at least hope that both leaders know what they signed off on, and there will not be a repeat of the awkward situation in the first Lebanon War, in 1982, when Defense Minister Ariel Sharon claimed to have obtained the nod from U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig. Both countries agree that Iran should not be allowed to posses nuclear arms.

When 'pro-Israel' means comparing Israel to the Nazis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Blog) March 20, 2012 - 12:00am

Question: What do you call a foreign-based activist organization which compares Israeli security policies to those of Nazi extermination camps? What do you call a not-for-profit organization that denounces Israel for its policies in Jerusalem's holiest shrine, voicing outrage that the devout endure humiliation, discrimination, draconian bars to religious expression, oppressive denial of access to holy sites, physical mistreatment, enforced thirst, arrests and beatings at the hands of Israeli police?

Peter Beinart calls for a ‘Zionist BDS,’ but he’s not finding many takers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - (Opinion) March 20, 2012 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Should Jews shun other Jews? And should they shun Jews who call on Jews to shun other Jews? Peter Beinart’s call in Monday’s New York Times for a boycott of goods manufactured in West Bank settlements reignited a debate not just about what works and doesn’t when it comes to advancing a two-state solution, but also about what should and should not be said during the debate. Beinart, a journalist and essayist whose book “The Crisis of Zionism” is about to come out, tried to cast his call in pro-Israel terms.

Answering My Critics on Zionist BDS
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Peter Beinart - (Blog) March 20, 2012 - 12:00am

My New York Times op-ed proposing that American Jews boycott the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) and instead spend their money inside the green line has prompted three basic right-wing critiques. (There are plenty of left-wing ones too, but I’ll have to answer them later).

J Street Hopes To Return Focus to Peace at Annual Conference
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - (Opinion) March 20, 2012 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON — As J Street, the self-styled pro-peace, pro-Israel lobby, opens its annual conference this year, it does so at a time of unparalleled growth for the group, and serious setbacks for its cause. With talk of war with Iran dominating Israeli–American discourse, the dovish lobby is working hard to return the Palestinian issue to center stage.

Toulouse Tragedy Shows Depth of Hatred
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Robert Zaretsky - (Opinion) March 21, 2012 - 12:00am

France, and the rest of the world, is still reeling from the shock of events in Toulouse, where a lone gunman killed a teacher and three children at a local Sephardic Jewish school on March 19. In the coming days, all of us ardently hope that we will learn not about another massacre, but instead of the capture of the killer. But in the confusion and uncertainty of the moment, it is important to recall what we know, and what we don’t know, about this event.

The Golan Heights are Waiting for the Revolution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Husam Itani - (Opinion) March 20, 2012 - 12:00am

An important progress was achieved with respect to studying the Syrian society, its constituents, and the factors that affected it throughout the year that has elapsed since the revolution started. On the other hand, the issue of the conflict with Israel remains a taboo and a prejudice.

Hamas May Become Viable Negotiating Partner
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'ariv
by Nachman Shai - (Opinion) March 14, 2012 - 12:00am

In the present confrontation between Israel and the Popular Resistance Committees, Israel has been treading very carefully. As of the writing of these lines, we have been very fortunate. The cutting-edge technological systems developed by Israel have been doing their jobs in the best possible manner. Regarding the offensive-attack perspective, Israeli drones have struck targets on the ground with surgical precision based on reliable intelligence information. They have succeeded in stopping missiles from being fired with minimal harm to innocent bystanders.

Targeted-Killing Policy is Backfiring on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Yedioth Ahronoth
by Roni Shaked - (Opinion) March 11, 2012 - 1:00am

No one in Israel was surprised by the blizzard of rocket fire [on the western Negev, in the southern part of the country] that followed the killing of [Popular Resistance Committees leader] Zuhair al-Kaisi. There is no single focused foiling or targeted prevention – as such operations are known in Israel – carried out in the Gaza Strip in the past decade that has not provoked a massive rocket barrage on Israel.

The Curse of the Straw Man: Reflections on How we Argue About Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Shalom Hartman Institute
by Tal Becker - (Analysis) March 20, 2012 - 12:00am

What would we do without the straw man, without the ability to make a caricature of the position we want to argue against? How many op-eds, debates and political speeches count on the ability to present a dumbed-down version of the position we contest, and then revel in knocking it down?

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