Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Limited transfers of fuel to Gaza are barely alleviating the power crisis. Israel is trying to deport refugees back to South Sudan. No arrests are made following an anti-Arab riot by Israeli hooligans. PM Fayyad welcomes a call to increase aid to the PA. A UN agency is launching an investigation into Israeli settlement activities. Israel calls the investigation “hypocritical.” Hamas claims to be optimistic about the financial situation in Gaza. Palestinian refugee schoolgirls study hard in Jordan but face an uncertain future. Most observers agree there will probably be another flareup of violence between Israel and militants in Gaza sooner rather than later. Palestinian dishes are the trendy new fad in high-end Tel Aviv restaurants. COMMENTARY: Amiel Ungar says PM Netanyahu was too restrained in the recent flareup of violence with Gaza-based militants. Jamie Levin says Israel's Iron Dome antimissile system is prohibitively expensive. Amal Shehadeh says Israel's recent attacks on Gaza were a marketing exercise for Iron Dome. Chemi Shalev interviews Peter Beinart. Steven Bayme says Beinart's call for a Zionist boycott of settlement goods will be counterproductive and Nathan Guttman says there's not much to boycott anyway. The Forward calls the idea “dangerously misguided,” but Beinart says his plan can work. Hirsch Goodman says American leaks are part of a campaign to deter an Israeli attack against Iran. Uri Savir says in spite of its military might, Israel faces profound security problems. Jeffrey Goldberg interviews Jeremy Ben-Ami.

Small Amounts of Israeli Fuel Entering Gaza, Only Barely Easing Power Crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Small amounts of Israeli fuel were trucked into the Gaza Strip on Friday, slightly easing an energy crisis provoked by a cut-off of Egyptian fuel, Palestinian and Israeli officials said. The shipment however did not meet Gaza’s total energy needs for even one day, one official said, and the territory still lacks a reliable fuel supply. Gaza’s fuel pinch highlights the difficulties its cash-strapped, internationally isolated Hamas rulers face in administering the territory.

Israel Seeks to Return Refugees to South Sudan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - March 22, 2012 - 12:00am

REPORTING FROM JERUSALEM--Israel doesn't need celebrity activists to call its attention to troubles in Africa. After years of being on the receiving end of a steady stream of work migrants and asylum seekers, the country knows this first-hand. Civil war, tribal troubles and economic hardship in African countries have sent tens of thousands on the dangerous journey across the desert to try their luck in Israel, which they have entered through the country's sprawling, largely open border with Egypt.

No Arrests in Racist Mall Riot
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israeli police have made no arrests after hundreds of football supporters attacked Palestinian workers at a shopping mall in Jerusalem, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported Friday. The assault in Malha mall on Monday was "a mass lynching attempt," cleaner Mohammed Yusuf told Haaretz. An Israeli police spokesman did not respond to inquiries from Ma'an, but witnesses told Haaretz that hundreds of football fans flooded the mall after a match and chanted anti-Arab slogans, screaming "Death to the Arabs."

Fayyad Welcomes Call to Boost PA Funding
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The premier in Ramallah Salam Fayyad on Thursday welcomed the call to donors to give the Palestinian Authority $1 billion, but said the funds must be received swiftly to ease the deepening financial crisis. At a donors' conference in Brussels on Wednesday, the chair of the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee on Palestine, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, urged donors to pledge $1 billion to fill the PA's budget deficit. Fayyad told Voice of Palestine radio that it was crucial that at least half of the money was transferred quickly to reduce the fiscal crisis.

UN Rights Body Launches Probe into Israeli Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Stephanie Nebehay - March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

GENEVA (Reuters) -- The United Nations launched an international investigation on Thursday into Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, with the United States isolated in voting against the initiative brought by the Palestinian Authority. The UN Human Rights Council condemned Israel's planned construction of new housing units for settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, saying they undermined the peace process and posed a threat to the two-state solution and the creation of a contiguous and independent Palestinian state.

Israeli PM Terms UNHRC Settlement Fact-Finding Mission as “Hypocritical”
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed at United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday after it approved a fact-finding mission to Israel to probe into the effects of settlements on Palestinians. UNHRC on Thursday voted in favor of sending a dispatch to the West Bank and East Jerusalem in order to evaluate Jewish settlements repercussions on Palestinian human rights.

Hamas Optimistic On Fiscal Condition in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA, March 22 (Xinhua) -- A senior Hamas official told Xinhua on Thursday that the 2012 budget for the Palestinian territory of Gaza is 769 million U.S. dollars and expressed his optimism over the enclave's fiscal condition. Hamas Economic Minister Alla al-Deen al-Rafati told Xinhua in an interview that the budget would soon be submitted to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), where it will likely get passed.

Palestinian Refugee Schoolgirls Study Hard for an Uncertain Future
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Liz Ford - March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

There has been a girls' school at Irbid refugee camp in northern Jordan since 1952. No one could tell me how many girls attended the school at that time, but now it operates a shift system to cope with demand. About 850 girls attend the imaginatively-titled Irbid camp girls' school number 1 five days a week, meeting for classes between 7am and 11.30am. The same number attend Irbid camp girls' school number 2, which runs on the same days from 11.30am to 4pm. Although in the same building, each school has its own teaching staff.

Awaiting Further Escalation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Saleh Al-Naami - March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

Fatma El-Belimi, 58, was overjoyed to see her eldest son Sami, 28, crossing the road towards his family home in the rural region east of Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza Strip. Sami had spent one week at his sister Iman's house in the town of Deir Al-Balah because of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. His parents and wife insisted he do so. Sami eventually was able to leave the house in an area known as the "contact zone" close to the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, where Israeli special units were active during escalation operations.

Gourmet Palestinian Food Takes Tel Aviv
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Naami Shefi - March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

When the bohemian Tel Aviv restaurant Joz and Loz opened eight years ago, it began serving an appetizer called Palestinian kubenia. The menu described it as a traditional dish consisting of bulgur and sirloin tartare, mixed with fresh mint leaves, preserved lemon and chilies. The dish quietly lived on the menu, not making waves.

If recent Israel-Gaza escalation isn't war, what is?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amiel Ungar - (Opinion) March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

The pundits are correct: The recently concluded round of hostilities in Gaza between Israel and Islamic Jihad will have sequels coming soon to a shelter near you, especially as both Islamic Jihad and Israel have claimed victory.

Israel's economy will pay heavy price for Iron Dome
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jamie Levin - (Opinion) March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

Since March 9, more than 300 rockets, mortars and missiles have been fired into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, a response to the killing of Zohair al-Qaisi, secretary-general of the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committee, who the army said was planning a major terrorist attack on Israel. But unlike during the decade of attacks that preceded these hostilities, in which 8,000 rockets induced terror and resulted in 31 fatalities in southern Israel, a sense of euphoria has instead prevailed among many Israelis. The reason?

Marketing the Iron Dome: Why Israel Attacked Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
(Opinion) March 13, 2012 - 12:00am

Through a quick review of the days preceding the assassination of Zuhair al-Qaisi, the secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), and his companion, liberated prisoner Mahmoud Al-Hannani, and in view of Israeli statements before the bombing, it is clear that Israel had three reasons to step up security measures on its Southern border. The first reason was that Israel had been preparing for the strike against Gaza. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak revealed the second reason, while Israeli Army Chief of Staff Benny Gantz shed light on the third.

Is archliberal Peter Beinart good for the Jews?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chemi Shalev - (Opinion) March 22, 2012 - 12:00am

NEW YORK CITY ? “If Israel does not survive as a Jewish democratic state, I want to be able to tell my children that I did what little I’m capable of. I’m a writer, so what I can do is to try to sound an alarm. I just want to be able to say that to them.”

Beinart’s boycott plan deals a blow to peace bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Steven Bayme - (Opinion) March 22, 2012 - 12:00am

NEW YORK (JTA) -- Far from charting a path toward peace for Israelis and Palestinians, Peter Beinart’s advice, “boycott the settlements to save Israel,” would make peace far less likely. Beinart’s boycott plan assumes that Jewish settlement on the West Bank is what is holding up a deal for a two-state solution. Therefore, his logic goes, branding the settlements as “nondemocratic Israel” and declaring economic war on their residents will somehow induce an Israeli pullback and the emergence of a Palestinian state at peace with its Jewish neighbor.

Settlement Boycott Call Likely To Fall Flat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - (Opinion) March 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Washington — By most standards, SodaStream is a great Israeli success story. The company’s product, a home carbonating device for soft drinks, is sold by all major retailers in the United States. The company’s stock is traded in Nasdaq. But if a call to boycott products from Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank gains traction, SodaStream, with its manufacturing center in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, could become a target of protest.

Settlement Boycotts Work
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Peter Beinart - (Opinion) March 22, 2012 - 12:00am

My call for Zionist BDS (which, by the way, is not just a settlement boycott; it’s also reinvestment in democratic Israel) has elicited several critiques.

What To Do?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

If well-meaning American Jews who love Israel believe that the occupation of Palestinian land and people is detrimental and wrong, what are those Jews to do? How can they express those beliefs and take actions that protect Israel, support their fellow Jews, and also hold Palestinians appropriately accountable for their own actions?

Pieces on the board
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hirsh Goodman - (Opinion) March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

At the AIPAC conference in Washington earlier this month, US President Barack Obama said that it was time to become more tight-lipped on the Iranian nuclear issue and the military options surrounding it.

National security or national disaster?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Uri Savir - (Opinion) March 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Security considerations have been used often by Israeli leaders throughout our existence as the ultimate justification for a policy decision or indecision. Our “security syndrome” stems for objective and subjective considerations – our history as the Jewish people, wherein we withstood every possible onslaught on our very existence and identity – from the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, to the Spanish, the tzars, the Nazis and the Arab nations. This is the backdrop to our national ethos – “never again” and “we can only trust ourselves.”

An Interview With Jeremy Ben-Ami on Settlements, Beinart, Obama, the Whole Nine Yards By Jeffrey Goldberg
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Jeffrey Goldberg - (Interview) March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

In what seems to have become an annual tradition here at Goldblog, I interviewed Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder and major domo of J Street, the left-leaning pro-Israel lobbying group, in advance of his organization's annual conference, which takes place in Washington this weekend.

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