Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Mofaz defeats Livni for leadership of the Kadima party. Pres. Abbas says the Hamas leadership has placed national unity efforts on permanent hold. A Palestinian court extends the detention of a journalist who alleged corruption at the PLO mission in Paris, and some Palestinian journalists say they will boycott a press freedom award in protest.The Palestine Exchange (PEX) plans to become a publicly traded stock itself. J Street is targeting its message towards Jewish Democrats this year. Israel may have acquired airbases in Azerbaijan. Fears are growing about the potential for a third Palestinian intifada. A new poll shows most Israelis and Palestinians support a two-state solution, but don't think it will happen.The State Department declines to include Jerusalem as a part of Israel in a new travel itinerary. COMMENTARY: Shmuel Rosner says Israelis should appreciate the support of right-wing American evangelicals. Palestinian Christians issue an open letter to Israeli Amb. Oren challenging his account of how Israel treats Christians. Israel Harel says the Israeli Supreme Court is impeding the settler movement. Amir Oren says any Israeli plans to attack Iran have been put on hold until next year at the earliest. Carlo Strenger says boycotting settlements won't save the two-state solution. Douglas Bloomfield says Arab states in the Gulf fear Iran's nuclear program but also the consequences of any Israeli attack. Arie Maliniak says Arab soccer players in Israel should go on strike against racism. Gal Beckerman reviews Peter Barnard's new book. George Hishmeh says that between procrastinating on peace and expanding settlements, Netanyahu is making a two-state solution impossible. Amnon Lord says the dismantling of the PA might produce new political opportunities. Gilad Halpern says Israel's political conversation is obsessed with the past and blind to the future.

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.

Abbas: 'Unity is frozen'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 29, 2012 - 12:00am

BAGHDAD (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that the reconciliation deal between his Fatah party and Hamas has broken down. "Unity is frozen," said Abbas, who is in Baghdad to attend the Arab League summit. The president said he had agreed "on many points" with Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal during their meeting in Qatar in February. "We agreed on the vision and objectives and conditions in full," Abbas said. "I confirm that Mashaal was honest and we were ready (to proceed)." But some Hamas leaders rejected the agreements reached in Doha, the president said.

Ramallah court extends arrest of Palestinian reporter
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 29, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian court has extended the remand of a journalist arrested Monday over allegations of slander and defamation, officials in Ramallah said Wednesday. The Palestinian Authority will continue to hold Yousef al-Shayeb, who was arrested Monday, for another 15 days, the court ruled. He has not yet been charged with a crime.

Journalists urged to boycott PA press freedom award
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 29, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority has launched a prize to recognize exemplary reporting, but Palestinian journalists are calling for a boycott in protest of the government's treatment of the media. The prime minister in Ramallah, Salam Fayyad, unveiled the prize Tuesday and invited journalists to submit work on all platforms during the first half of April. The winner is to be announced in May.

Palestine Exchange to List Its Own Shares
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Rosenberg - March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

The Palestine Exchange (PEX), which makes a market for shares in 46 local companies with a combined market capitalization of $2.9 billion, is on its way to becoming a publicly traded stock itself. Shares in the PEX will begin trading on the Ramallah-based exchange April 4, the 15th anniversary of its founding, after Palestine Development & Investment Company, PEX’s biggest shareholder, has sold the first of a planned two million shares. When all the shares are sold, a process that could take up to a year, the public will hold about 20% of the exchange.

J Street Swims Upstream in Election Year
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

Washington — In this election year, even liberal Democrats are seeking to protect their flanks by touting hawkish credentials on Israel. For J Street, the dovish pro-Israel lobby whose annual Washington conference wrapped up recently, that makes 2012 a year for swimming upstream. The group is targeting its message where it believes it will have the most impact: Jewish Democrats who support President Obama.

Israel’s Secret Staging Ground
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Mark Perry - March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

In 2009, the deputy chief of mission of the U.S. embassy in Baku, Donald Lu, sent a cable to the State Department's headquarters in Foggy Bottom titled "Azerbaijan's discreet symbiosis with Israel." The memo, later released by WikiLeaks, quotes Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev as describing his country's relationship with the Jewish state as an iceberg: "nine-tenths of it is below the surface."

Fears of new Palestinian intifada mount
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
March 27, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank, March 27 (UPI) -- A call by imprisoned Palestinian icon Marwan Barghouti for his countrymen to launch a new wave of civil resistance against Israel's occupation has alarmed Israelis who see it as a battle cry for a new uprising. Barghouti, a senior leader of the mainstream Fatah movement and who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for masterminding terrorist attacks, has wide support across the Palestinian political spectrum.

Joint Israeli Palestinian Poll, March 2012
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
March 26, 2012 - 12:00am

These are the results of the most recent Joint Israeli-Palestinian Poll conducted jointly by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. This joint survey was conducted with the support of the Ford Foundation Cairo office and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Ramallah and Jerusalem. The poll was conducted in the backdrop of the recent round of violent clashes in Southern Israel and the Gaza Strip.

What’s the capital of Israel? Don’t ask the U.S. State Department
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

The status of Jerusalem has long been a controversial issue – even in the U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland echoed that fact this week while answering a question about Israel's capital. Earlier this week, the Department of State issued a routine statement announcing the visit of the Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Kathleen Stephens to the Middle East. The statement said that Stephens was "to meet with a broad cross-section of government officials, students, NGOs, and exchange program alumni".

Jesus for Jews
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Shmuel Rosner - (Opinion) March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Last week on Monday morning, in the busy dining room of the Inbal hotel, Tim Burt, an associate pastor at Living Word Christian Center in Minneapolis, told me a story of mistrust. Several years ago, his church held its first “Night to Honor Israel” — an opportunity, said Burt, for Christians “to demonstrate their love and support for Israel and the Jewish people.”

Open letter to Michael Oren ahead of Easter
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Opinion) March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

As Christian leaders in Palestine, we were appalled by the baseless allegations you published in the Wall Street Journal on March 9. Your attempt to blame the difficult reality that Palestinian Christians face on Palestinian Muslims is a shameful manipulation of the facts intended to mask the damage that Israel has done to our community. As has been stated in our Kairos document, we Palestinian Christians declare that “the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against God and humanity because it deprives Palestinians of their basic human rights, bestowed by God.”

Israel's High Court is halting the momentum of the Zionist enterprise
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Israel Harel - (Opinion) March 29, 2012 - 12:00am

Beyond the pale. That was how Justice Miriam Naor described the government's request to postpone the verdict in the case of the Migron outpost, in order to prevent suffering and quarreling between brethren in Israel. But that is not so. [The High Court this week ordered the evacuation of the settlement by August 1.] A court that falls into the trap laid for it by anti-Zionist elements among the Jews, and hostile elements among the Arabs, is the one beyond the pale.

Israel's plan to attack Iran put on hold until next year at the earliest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amir Oren - (Opinion) March 29, 2012 - 12:00am

At 8:58 P.M. on Tuesday, Israel's 2012 war against Iran came to a quiet end. The capricious plans for a huge aerial attack were returned to the deep recesses of safes and hearts. The war may not have been canceled but it has certainly been postponed. For a while, at least, we can sound the all clear: It won't happen this year. Until further notice, Israel Air Force Flight 007 will not be taking off.

Open Letter to Peter Beinart: Boycotting the settlements will not save the two-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

Dear Peter Beinart, I read your book The Crisis of Zionism with as much interest as I read your New York Review of Books Essay two years ago. Both struck a deep chord in me, because you and I share a set of basic values: ethical universalism and a firm belief that the lesson of Jewish history and Jewish suffering is that only an uncompromising defense of human rights for everybody, anywhere, can prevent the type of horrors that the Jewish people went through.

Arabs to Netanyahu: Hold your fire!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) March 29, 2012 - 12:00am

Allies in the Persian Gulf are telling American officials in Congress and the administration that the sanctions and other pressure on Iran are working and this is a time to ratchet up the pressure and keep the bombers on the ground. But if all else fails and the military option is the only way to prevent Tehran from getting nuclear weapons, it should be the Americans, not the Israelis, who do the job.

Arab soccer strike, now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Arie Maliniak - (Opinion) March 28, 2012 - 12:00am

The recent bout of rioting by Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans at a local mall started as a violent victory celebration, yet within a short while turned into a flurry of “death to Arab” chants and assaults. The Israel Police did not deal with the riot because “no official complaint was filed.” Meanwhile, the Israeli soccer association did not deal with the “death to Arabs” singing by fans of another team, SC Ashdod, during a game, because the referees did not see or hear anything. We’ve had enough of this.

Peter Beinart's Big Zionist Experiment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Gal Beckerman - (Book Review) March 29, 2012 - 12:00am

The Crisis of Zionism By Peter Beinart Times Books, 304 pages, $26

Netanyahu walking a thin line
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) March 29, 2012 - 12:00am

When Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington earlier this month, he startled his huge audience — over 10,000 American Jews, Congressmen and US officials led by President Barack Obama — at the three-day American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference with his unbalanced and sometimes exaggerated pronouncements.

New political opportunities?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Amnon Lord - (Opinion) March 29, 2012 - 12:00am

The disintegration of the Palestinian Authority--ultimately, an act by the Palestinian leadership to dismantle the PA--is certainly not in the interest of Israel, for quite a few reasons. It is also not in the interest of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian leadership, whether Fateh or Hamas. Here are some thoughts as to the diverse directions such a development might take.

The Quest for a 'Land for Peace'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Gilad Halpern - (Opinion) March 26, 2012 - 12:00am

It was 1969. Israel had just come jaw-droppingly victorious out of the Six Day War, where it had dealt a swift and fatal blow to three Arab armies and occupied territories that were three times its size. The United Nations Security Council had subsequently passed Resolution 242, which would pave the way to a settlement of the Israeli-Arab conflict, coining the famous phrase "land for peace." Israel was about to see one of the underlying principles of Zionism realized: a Jewish state living in peace with its neighbors.

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