Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel's Supreme Court has rejected a government-brokered deal and ordered the removal of settlers from the largest “unauthorized” outpost. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is reportedly pressuring Hamas to moderate, promoting Palestinian unity and willing to recognize Israel in its 1967 borders. Pres. Abbas approves the integration of security and civil authorities in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. PM Fayyad says Hamas officials failed to attend a Cairo meeting about resolving the ongoing fuel crisis. US lawmakers release about $90 million in aid to the Palestinians, and Fayyad says this may help ease the financial crisis. Palestinians ask for support at the Baghdad Arab League conference. Reports in Arab newspapers suggest that Hamas ordered gas station owners not to sell petrol in order to inflame passions against Egypt. Palestinians continue to build a theatrical tradition in the occupied territories. American pro-Israel advocates are training those in other countries. American evangelical Christians are traveling to the occupied territories to volunteer in Israeli settlements. COMMENTARY: Akiva Eldar says Israel missed a historic opportunity by ignoring the Arab Peace Initiative. Amira Hass says Israel's complaints to the donor-liaison group for Palestinian aid ring hollow. Aeyal Gross says the Migron case is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to settlement colonization. Yigal Sarna says PM Netanyahu's desire to attack Iran reveals an unconscious wish to smash Tel Aviv. Lara Friedman says it's important for Jewish Americans to boycott Israeli settlements. Pinhas Inbari and Charlotte Silver offer contrasting evaluations of the Palestinian financial crisis. Charles Glass says the Toulouse attacks unfairly tarnished the reputation of the Palestinian cause. Fateh Abdelsalam looks at Israeli policy towards the Syrian uprising. Barbara Slavin interviews Jeffrey Goldberg on Iran and boycotts. Alan Wolfe looks at liberal Zionists vs. leftist anti-Zionists with a critical eye on both, but ultimately sides with the former. Hussein Ibish says pro-Palestinian activists should detail the realities of life under occupation rather than just calling it apartheid.

Israel’s Top Court Orders Settlers to Leave Outpost
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - March 25, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Supreme Court on Sunday ordered a West Bank settlers’ outpost built on private Palestinian land to be dismantled by Aug. 1, rejecting a government compromise with the settlers that would have allowed them to stay put for another three years. The decision was much anticipated, because the panel of three judges who decided the case included the court’s conservative new chief justice, Asher Grunis, and because the case involved the politically explosive issue of moving settlers in the face of potentially violent resistance.

Islamist Victors in Egypt Seeking Shift by Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by David Kirkpatrick - March 24, 2012 - 12:00am

CAIRO — As it prepares to take power in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is overhauling its relations with the two main Palestinian factions in an effort to put new pressure on Israel for an independent Palestinian state. Officials of the Brotherhood, Egypt’s dominant Islamist movement, are pressing its militant Palestinian offshoot, Hamas, which controls Gaza, to make new compromises with Fatah, the Western-backed Palestinian leadership that has committed to peace with Israel and runs the West Bank.

Abbas approves changes in Lebanon refugee camps
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 25, 2012 - 12:00am

BEIRUT (Ma’an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday gave his approval to several resolutions affecting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, a statement from the embassy in Beirut said. The resolutions were initially discussed during a visit by Fatah central committee member Azzam Ahmad on March 16. Ahmad had met with Palestinian faction representatives in Lebanon to discuss ways to improve the situation of refugees.

Fayyad says Hamas officials no show at Cairo fuel talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 26, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Sunday an expected Hamas delegation had not arrived in Cairo to join talks on ending the Gaza Strip's fuel crisis. Palestinian officials headed to Egypt on Saturday to discuss the mechanism for ongoing fuel pumping into Gaza after Egypt cut off supplies through an underground tunnel network. While an Egyptian security official said Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar crossed from Gaza to Egypt on Egypt, Fayyad said a Hamas delegation did not join talks.

U.S. lawmakers release $88.6 mln in aid to Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Susan Cornwell - March 23, 2012 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON, March 23 (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers on Friday released $88.6 million in development aid for the Palestinians that they had held up since last summer, a move that should help ease a fiscal crisis in the aid-dependent Palestinian economy. Representative Kay Granger announced she was ready for the entire $147 million in U.S. assistance that had been frozen since August to go to the Palestinians.

Palestinian PM says freed US aid to help ease crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 24, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank, March 24 (Reuters) - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Saturday the release of $88.6 million in development funds by U.S. lawmakers would help ease a fiscal crisis in the aid-dependant Palestinian economy. "This is very important in order to help us deal with the economic crisis," Fayyad told reporters in Ramallah.

Palestinians seek political, financial support from Baghdad Arab summit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 25, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, March 25 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian leadership is looking forward to gain decisions of full Arab political and financial support for their cause in the Arab League annual summit due to be held in Baghdad, Iraq on March 29, a senior Palestinian official said on Sunday. Despite the concerns that the Arab summit this year will be more involved in discussing the outcomes of the Arab revolutions, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Xinhua that President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to chair the senior Palestinian delegation that will attend the summit.

Report: Hamas wants fuel, commodities only via Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - March 24, 2012 - 12:00am

Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip have instructed gas station owners to stop selling petrol and diesel fuel in order to enrage the local Palestinians and encourage them to riot against the Egyptian government. The terror organization wishes to pressure Egypt to supply Gaza with fuel without preconditions, reported Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper on Saturday.

Young Palestinians act out their struggle on another stage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Killian Fox - March 24, 2012 - 12:00am

On 4 April 2011, Juliano Mer-Khamis turned up unexpectedly at the Freedom theatre in Jenin and went inside to talk with his students and staff. Usually he'd call ahead whenever he planned a return to Jenin, but this time, driving up from Ramallah where he had just premiered a new production of a play by Eugène Ionesco, he gave no advance warning.

Translating U.S. pro-Israel advocacy for Jewish communities abroad—and taking care about context
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - March 25, 2012 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- It takes more than a translator to translate American-style pro-Israel activism for foreign audiences. Nearly a decade after an effort by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to replicate its model overseas collapsed in acrimony, a range of Jewish organizations are helping smaller Diaspora Jewish communities enhance their advocacy. They have found receptive audiences. In recent years, pro-Israel initiatives in a number of countries have taken on a higher profile.

Christians Called To Serve Jewish Settlers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - March 25, 2012 - 12:00am

Psagot, West Bank — It is a typical, even stereotypical, West Bank settlement scene: bearded young men pruning vines while enthusing about the Chosen People’s God-given right to this region. But in this case it is Jesus, and not Jewish identity, that animates these tillers. For years, Westerners have flocked to the Israeli-occupied West Bank to help Palestinians with their olive harvest, as part of left-wing activist groups like the International Solidarity Movement. Among other things, the activists seek to resist efforts by settlers to disrupt the Palestinians’ reaping.

The State of Israel's worst missed opportunity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) March 26, 2012 - 12:00am

Tuesday, according to the civil calendar, is the 10th anniversary of the terror attack on Netanya's Park Hotel, which killed 30 people as they were sitting down to their Passover seder. Wednesday will mark 10 years since the Arab Peace Initiative, which began as a joint Saudi-Jordanian effort. Thursday will be the 10th anniversary of Operation Defensive Shield, which was launched in retaliation for the Park Hotel bombing.

Ignoring Israel's complete domination
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) March 26, 2012 - 12:00am

Israel's position in its periodic report to the donor-coordination group for the Palestinian Authority reminds one of the boy who kills his parents and then demands an orphan's pension. Israel describes the failings of the Palestinian economy as if the colonialist occupation is not their primary cause.

Migron case only reveals tip of Israel's occupation iceberg
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Eyal Gross - (Opinion) March 26, 2012 - 12:00am

In theory, Migron should have been an open-and-shut case. The state did not deny that Migron had been erected illegally, on private Palestinian land. Nor did it deny that the settlers' claims that they had purchased the land were found to be baseless. In the words of the High Court of Justice, the building of the outpost and its ongoing expansion were a blatant violation of the law that undermined the property rights of the Palestinian owners. It had to be demolished. Thus the court had ruled.

Netanyahu: The Man Who Won't Take "Yes" For an Answer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Yedioth Ahronoth
by Yigal Sarna - (Opinion) March 14, 2012 - 12:00am

Things are bad. The prime minister is a gloomy man, a man without hope, a weak man, trapped in the hands of others, carrying childhood memories of a somber, subdued home, where the study of the Inquisition set the tone (his father was a historian who specialized in medieval Spanish Jewry). Forever feeling deprived, always suspicious and wary of others, keeping aloof, friendless, anticipating catastrophe where there is no threat, prone to improbable, pessimistic forecasts and casting his gloom over an entire nation.

Stop the excuses, boycott the settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Lara Friedman - (Opinion) March 25, 2012 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Peter Beinart’s recent New York Times article advocating a settlement boycott has sparked a spectacular public display of Jewish angst. Apparently for many who view themselves as the judges, advocates and juries of what is “kosher” progressive Jewish activism, his suggestion is beyond the pale. They agree that settlements are a problem, even a shonda, but boycott fellow Jews? Heaven forbid. And even if it weren’t Jewishly distasteful, it wouldn’t work anyway, so don’t go there.

The Palestinian financial crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from World Jewish Congress
by Pinhas Inbari - (Analysis) March 26, 2012 - 12:00am

The community of donors to the Palestinian Authority met in Brussels over the weekend. Both the government in Ramallah, sponsored by the donors, and the Hamas government in Gaza are in dire financial straits and progressively more dependent on foreign aid and susceptible to political pressure. In Ramallah, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is unable to put together a budget that would pay for Palestinian salaries. In Gaza, Hamas’ government has sunk into even deeper trouble. It is unable to provide for the steady flow of electricity, gasoline, or home cooking gas.

West Bank's economy at crossroads
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
by Charlotte Silver - (Analysis) March 26, 2012 - 12:00am

Ramallah, West Bank - The economy of the West Bank has reached a crossroads, and with it so has the Palestinian Authority (PA). As Palestinian lending banks close their doors, development contracts are shelved and everyday spending slows to a trickle, the PA and international institutions speak of an economic crisis in the West Bank. Conventional analysis blames the failure of donors to fulfill promised pledges for the paralysing PA budget deficit that has reached $.5bn. Meanwhile, Israel blames financial mismanagement by the PA.

Toulouse attacks harm Palestinians in their own name
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Charles Glass - (Opinion) March 26, 2012 - 12:00am

It started in France in 1894, when a Viennese journalist covered the Paris treason trial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus. "In Paris, as I have said, I achieved a freer attitude toward anti-Semitism," Theodor Herzl wrote in his diary. "Above all, I recognised the emptiness and futility of trying to 'combat' anti-Semitism." That futility led him to propose an escape from anti-Semitism to a nation-state in Palestine.

What Does Israel Want for Syria?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Zaman
by Fateh Abdelsalam - (Opinion) March 20, 2012 - 12:00am

The Syrian regime's defenders and opponents have been assessing where Israeli interests lie with regard to the Syrian conflict, the likes of which the country has not seen in a century. The regime’s defenders see that a weak Syrian government serves Israeli interests, and therefore the protests should stop and there should be dialogue and agreement to prevent its collapse, which seems near.

Atlantic's Goldberg Discusses Israel vs. Iran; Boycott Idea
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Barbara Slavin - (Interview) March 21, 2012 - 12:00am

Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic has become a major figure in the debate over whether and when Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Author of a provocative piece in 2010 that predicted that Israel would strike Iran the following year, Goldberg has shifted since then, even suggesting recently that Israel might have been bluffing.

Israel's Moral Peril
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Chronicle of Higher Education
by Alan Wolfe - (Opinion) March 25, 2012 - 12:00am

In the past few years, a trickle of dissent with respect to Israel has turned into a running stream. Books, articles, and Web sites critical of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, its acquiescence in the messianic designs of its settlers, its foreign-policy decisions on Gaza, Iran, and much more, and the increasing influence of the ultra-Orthodox over the character of its domestic life have begun to appear in significant numbers in America. Some, but not all, of these efforts, moreover, come from writers unused to being in the critical camp.

Show, Don't Tell: Why the Apartheid Analogy Falls Flat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) March 26, 2012 - 12:00am

A series of recent articles have pointlessly debated whether or not Israel can accurately be described as “an apartheid state.” But the problem with the apartheid analogy is less its inaccuracy, and more that, however emotionally appealing some people may find it, it’s just not useful in ending the occupation and advancing the Palestinian cause.

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