Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: At an ATFP/Carnegie event in Washington, a panel of experts warns the international community must act quickly to avert a "crisis" in Palestine. PM Netanyahu and DM Barak unite on the issue of Iran. Mofaz defeats Livni in the Kadima leadership contest. Israel may allow absentee ballots for citizens living abroad. Two 'infiltrators" are killed near Egypt's border with Israel. The Palestinian Constitutional Court refuses to rule on whether the president may also serve as the PM. The PA and Egypt sign a gas deal to end the Gaza energy crisis. Pro-Palestinian activists prepare for Land Day events, but organizers fear violence. Palestinians in Jerusalem describe being attacked by masses of Israeli football hooligans. A Brooklyn food co-op has decided not to boycott Israeli products. The PA extends the detention of a Palestinian journalist. Palestinian entrepreneurs are trying to move into the high-tech field. COMMENTARY: The New York Times says the Israeli government must obey a court ruling on evacuating the largest “unauthorized” settlement outpost. Salman Masalha says Israel's occupation is playing into the hands of regional demagogues like Iran. Bradley Burston says Israelis will have to consider the possibility of a bi-ethnic, but not unitary single, state. The Jerusalem Post says Land Day this year could be violent. Jane Eisner says Peter Beinart's idea for a pro-Israel settlement goods boycott is unworkable. Philologos says Israel's national anthem should be rewritten to include Arab aspirations. Bilal Hassan says Israel is comfortable with the status quo. Gershon Baskin says Netanyahu is the man who can make peace with the Palestinians. Samir Abdullah outlines the consequences of a collapse of the PA. Hussein Ibish says Bret Stephens has shown a total inability and unwillingness to empathize with Palestinians.

World Must Act Urgently to Avert “Crisis” in Palestine, Experts Warn
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from American Task Force on Palestine
March 27, 2012 - 12:00am

Washington, DC, March 27 -- The international community must act urgently support the Palestinian Authority and its institutions or face a looming “crisis” a panel of experts today warned at a Washington event today co-hosted by American Task Force for Palestine and The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

2 Israeli Leaders Make Iran Issue of Their Own
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - March 27, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have turned into the odd couple of Israeli politics in whose hands sits the prospect of an attack on Iran. From opposite political traditions with distinct experiences and worldviews, the two have forged a tight bond, often excluding the rest of the Israeli leadership.

Kadima Party in Israel Replaces Livni as Leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - March 27, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Tzipi Livni, who not long ago was a popular and leading force in Israeli politics, lost the leadership of her centrist Kadima Party on Tuesday by a large margin to an archrival, according to results of the primary election. Mr. Mofaz will replace Tzipi Livni, center. The vote left Ms. Livni’s political future in doubt.

Absentee Ballots Considered For Israelis Living Abroad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - March 27, 2012 - 12:00am

REPORTING FROM JERUSALEM--It's easy to vote in Israel. No prior registration. No other paperwork. If you're a citizen, just show up at the polls and be at least 18 years old. At the same time, it's almost impossible for Israelis abroad to cast election ballots. Unlike many nations including the U.S., Israel does not allow expatriates to cast absentee ballots. Only those abroad on official business such as diplomatic service are allowed to participate in elections for parliament and prime minister without returning home to vote. In the last election, this amounted to 5,600 voters.

Officials: 2 Killed on Israeli-Egypt Border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 27, 2012 - 12:00am

EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Two people died in a clash late Tuesday in Egyptian territory near Israel's border, a Ma'an correspondent reported and an Israeli security official confirmed. Egyptian and Israeli security officials said a group of infiltrators was spotted entering Israeli territory and fled back into Egypt, where two people were killed either by smugglers or Egyptian forces. An Israeli army spokesman said soldiers identified two infiltrators inside Israeli territory and initiated arrest procedures, but they crossed into Egypt and exchanged fire with Egyptian forces.

Court Rejects Appeal Against Abbas Premiership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Constitutional Court in Ramallah on Tuesday rejected a legal challenge to President Mahmoud Abbas' appointment as prime minister of a national unity government. Fatah leader Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal agreed in Qatar last month that the president will lead an interim cabinet to prepare for fresh elections and end divided governments in Gaza and the West Bank. PLO central council member Abdul-Jawwad Salih submitted a legal challenge to the appointment on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.

PA, Egypt Sign Gas Deal to End Gaza Crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

CAIRO (Ma'an) -- The Palestine Electricity Company on Tuesday announced a deal with Egypt to provide gas to the Gaza Strip. Palestine Electricity Company director in Gaza Walid Saad Sayil signed the agreement with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation in Cairo on behalf of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority. Sayil told reporters that Egyptian technicians have been instructed to conduct geographical surveys to find the best route for a network of pipelines to transport gas from Sheikh Zweid to the Rafah crossing on Gaza's border.

International Pro-Palestinian Activists Descend on Lebanon Ahead of Land Day Protest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury - March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

Dozens of international delegations comprising hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists began arriving in Lebanon on Wednesday, ahead of massive demonstrations planned for Land Day, which commemorates the 1976 deaths of six Israeli Arabs protesting Israeli government land policies.

Organizers Fear Palestinian Land Day Protests Could Turn Violent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury - March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

Organizers of international protest marches scheduled for Friday to mark Land Day have expressed concern that the demonstrations could get out of control due to the involvement of outside activists, some from as far away as East Asia. Land Day marks the anniversary of protests in the Israeli Arab community in 1976 over government land policy in which security forces killed six demonstrators.

Arab Attacked by Israel Soccer Fans: There Were Hundreds, We Had No Chance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Oz Rosenberg - March 27, 2012 - 12:00am

Over a week after the violent incident in which fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team ran amok in the Malha mall, accused of physically assaulting Arab workers in the mall, one of the workers provides a firsthand account of what occurred that night. “I’ve been working here for a year and a half, and my brother for two years,” said N., 20 years old, an East Jerusalem resident. “We’re used to the Beitar fans coming to the mall after the games, singing and getting wild, but we’ve never seen anything like what happened last week. That was the worst.”

Brooklyn Food Co-op Voted Against Boycott of Israeli Products
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Associated Press - March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

A New York food co-op, servicing thousands of Brooklyn residents of varying ethnicities and backgrounds, voted against a proposed boycott of Israeli goods and produce on Tuesday night. With upwards of 15,000 members, of various ethnic and religious backgrounds, including many Jews, the Park Slope Food Co-op, established in 1973, has become a meeting point of sorts for Jews of different backgrounds and religious denominations. The idea of an ideological boycott was not new to the co-op, as a general boycott of South African goods and products was held during the 1970's.

PA extends remand of detained journalist
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

A Palestinian Authority court on Wednesday extended the remand of Palestinian journalist Yousef al-Shayeb, who was detained after writing an article about corruption in the Palestinian diplomatic mission in France, official PA news agency WAFA reported. Shayeb, who works as a correspondent for the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad, was originally detained following a complaint by the head of the diplomatic mission, Hayel Fahoum and his wife and deputy. The PA Foreign Ministry had also filed a complaint against Shayeb.

Joining Start-Up Nation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Rosenberg - March 27, 2012 - 12:00am

Living and working on the edges of Israel’s Start-Up Nation, Palestinian and Israeli Arab high tech entrepreneurs are trying their hand getting companies aloft by leveraging their closeness to Israel’s technology juggernaut and the low cost of Palestinian engineers. “There’s a great opportunity in Palestine to create a start-up with a great cost structure,” Tareq Maayah, chief executive officer of Shopzooky, a maker of social shopping apps, which was set up in Ramallah last year. “You couldn’t beat it without going to India,” said his partner Sam Taha, chief technology officer.

Israel’s Top Court vs. Outposts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) March 27, 2012 - 12:00am

Israel’s Supreme Court made an important contribution to justice and kept alive hope for a two-state solution with the Palestinians, when it ruled this week that Migron, an illegal outpost built by Israeli settlers, must be dismantled by Aug. 1. Now it is up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to comply promptly, while making clear to the settlers that violent resistance will not be tolerated.

Israel's occupation fills an ancient Mideast need for evil
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Salman Masalha - (Opinion) March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

First of all, when it comes to Iran, it should be acknowledged that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is right. Since the ayatollahs took power Iranian leaders haven't stopped talking about Israel, referring to it as "the Little Satan" at every opportunity. And when these leaders, whose spiritual world is constrained by such messianic shackles, use such a loaded expression it's clear they must take active steps to deal with such a Satan, even a little one. But in saying that Netanyahu is correct, that's as far as it goes.

One state – one vote: Rethinking an Israeli Spring
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

A beleaguered Democratic president, beset by an unpopular war overseas and raging polarization at home, clamps heavy pressure on Israel to make a dramatic gesture over the future of the West Bank. Israel's cabinet convenes to discuss the White House initiative. A minister-without-portfolio, less than three months in his first cabinet post, asks for the floor. He has a proposal regarding the Palestinians of the West Bank: Offer them citizenship and the right to vote.

Beware Land Day
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) March 27, 2012 - 12:00am

An international array of terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas, rogue states such as Iran and radical left-wing organizations such as Code Pink have joined forces to make the 36th Land Day potentially the biggest – and most violent – ever.

Peter Beinart's problematic 'Zionist BDS' proposal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jane Eisner - (Opinion) March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

Peter Beinart deserves credit for continually testing how big the Jewish tent really is. His new and controversial proposal for a targeted boycott of products from Israeli settlements in the contested West Bank is only the latest case in point. The tent is a euphemism for acceptable discourse in the often fractious conversation about Israel among American Jews. We don't merely argue about the fraught issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We argue about who has the right to argue about it.

Rewriting 'Hatikvah' as Anthem for All
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Philologos - (Opinion) March 27, 2012 - 12:00am

Back in 1998, I wrote a column about “Hatikvah.” It was occasioned by a European Cup soccer game between Israel and Austria, before which, as usual on such occasions, the national anthems of both countries were played. When the band struck up the Israeli anthem, the whole Israeli team joined in singing it except for a talented young Arab player named Walid Badir, who stood in silence.

Israel is comfortable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Bilal Hassan - (Opinion) March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

The Arab region is experiencing a state of inertia with regards to the Arab-Israeli conflict, a struggle supposed to exist and continue for as long as Palestine remains occupied, and as long as other Arab territories in the West Bank and the Golan Heights remain occupied. This stalemate has existed for quite a long time in terms of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan - the countries surrounding Israel; however matters used to be heated and highly active in the Palestinian-Israeli sphere until such mobility lost momentum on the Palestinian side, as a result of the "negotiations" endeavor.

Netanyahu is our man
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) March 27, 2012 - 12:00am

We need Netanyahu. Not because a Netanyahu government will more effectively rebuild the Israeli left. Not because I believe that for it to get better it has to get a lot worse, though both may be true. But because there is no one, absolutely no one in the Israeli political arena who has the capability of delivering a peace deal that the Israeli mainstream (meaning both the peace skeptics like Kadima voters and the religious and right of center people who together compose the vast majority of Israeli society) would support.

Total change
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
(Interview) March 26, 2012 - 12:00am

An interview with Samir Abdullah bitterlemons: What would trigger the collapse of the Palestinian Authority? Abdullah: The Palestinian Authority takes its legitimacy from two sources. The first is how far it can advance the political project and the search for independence. The second is to what extent it can provide good-quality services, manage a good economy, provide jobs for the unemployed, provide social security to the elderly and the handicapped, and provide a good climate for investment and so on.

Bret Stephens' Crisis of Empathy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) March 27, 2012 - 12:00am

Sometimes crude binaries can be instructive, and it's possible to distinguish two different types of people: those who seek out generous and universalist empathy with others, and those who prefer the warm cocoon of tribal solidarity.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017