Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Palestinian officials urge Pres. Obama personally to kickstart the resumption of peace negotiations. (Ha'aretz) Palestinian protesters rally in solidarity of hunger striking prisoners. (Ma'an) Israel orders an emergency court hearing for hunger striking Palestinian prisoner Samer Al-Issawi. (Ahram Online) Palestinian officials say Israel is continuing to withhold their tax revenues. (Ma'an) Palestinians extend voter registration for two more days. (Xinhua) PM Netanyahu comes under criticism for his annual ice cream budget. (New York Times) Obama will become the first sitting US president to receive Israel's Presidential Medal of Distinction. (New York Times) An outcry erupts over a photo of a Palestinian child in the crosshairs of an Israeli soldier's rifle. (Reuters) A teenage girl in Nazareth is hospitalized after a middle-aged man threw acid in her face when she rejected his marriage proposal. (Jerusalem Post) An influx of cash from Qatar is helping to stabilize the situation in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post) Israelis are seeing a strong continuity between the policies of Pres. Morsi and his predecessor Mubarak. (Al Monitor) Many international NGOs won't work in Gaza because of Hamas' designation as a terrorist organization. (Al Monitor)

COMMENTARY: Head PLO mission in Washington Maen Areikat says the US must move to resolve the conflict, not manage it. (LA Times) Bradley Burston outlines the best and worst-case scenarios for peace from new Israeli governing coalitions. (Ha'aretz) Eric Yoffie says pro-settlement propaganda by the David Project only reinforces how dangerous the settlements really are. (Ha'aretz) Moshe Arens says Israel hopes for peace, but Pres. Abbas can't deliver it. (Ha'aretz) Amnon Shamosh says the release of Marwan Barghouti is crucial to saving the two-state solution. (YNet) David Newman says the push to recognize a university in the Israeli settlement of Ariel is a blow to Israeli higher education and efforts to prevent international boycotts. (Jerusalem Post) Aluf Benn says censorship in the Israeli media is widespread. (Gulf News) Akiva Eldar says the "temporary" Oslo agreements are the biggest obstacle to real permanent status agreements. (Al Monitor) Tom Dan says Israel is quickly losing support among young American Democrats. (Ha'aretz)

Palestinians to ask that Obama personally kickstart peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury - February 19, 2013 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority representatives are expected to request the personal involvement of United States President Barack Obama in the Mideast peace process when they arrive in Washington on Wednesday. The PA representatives are even expected to even ask that Obama present his own initiative that will contain a formula that will allow both Israel and the PA to return to the negotiating table.

Protesters rally in solidarity with hunger strikers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 19, 2013 - 1:00am

Protesters rallied in Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah on Monday in support of hunger striking prisoners in Israeli jails, as the PA minister of prisoner affairs warned of a popular uprising in the West Bank. In Al-Khader near Bethlehem, dozens of people, including the families of prisoners and representatives from human right groups, rallied by route 60. Israeli soldiers arrived in the area and dispersed protestors using tear gas canisters and stun grenades, witnesses said, injuring several people.

Israel to hold urgent hearing for Palestinian hunger-striker Issawi
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ahram Online
February 19, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel's Magistrate Court calls for an urgent court hearing on Tuesday for Palestinian prisoner Samer Al-Issawi, who has been on a hunger strike for 210 days. Al-Issawi was released from Israeli detention in October 2011 as part of the prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israeli authorities. However, the Israeli authorities rearrested Al-Issawi on 7 July, 2012 for allegedly breaking the terms of conditions of his release.

Official: Israel continues to withhold PA tax revenues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 19, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel continues to withhold tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority, an official said Monday, as unions in the West Bank organize strike action this week over unpaid salaries. Ahmad al-Hilou, director of customs taxes and VAT, told Ma'an that Israel was supposed to transfer December tax revenues to the PA last Thursday, "but the money is still withheld due to a political decision." A PA delegation will meet with Israeli officials on Feb. 28 to discuss transferring January tax revenues, al-Hilou said.

Palestinian voter registration extended for two days
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 18, 2013 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Elections Commission (CEC) on Monday extended the registration of new voters in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for two more days. The updating of voter registration records was supposed to end Monday, but as more people are going to the registration centers, Palestinian groups recommended the CEC to extend the period of registration, said Hisham Kuhail, the CEC executive director.

Uproar Over Netanyahu’s Ice Cream Is Welcome in One Parlor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - February 18, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel over the weekend: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands accused of dipping into state coffers for an ice cream budget of $2,700 a year.

Israel: Obama to Receive Award
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Jodi Rudoren - February 18, 2013 - 1:00am

President Shimon Peres plans to give President Obama a special award at a state dinner next month when Mr.

Outcry over Israel soldier's photo of boy in crosshairs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
February 19, 2013 - 1:00am

An Israeli soldier has provoked an outcry by publishing a photograph that appeared to show the back of a Palestinian boy's head seen through the crosshairs of a rifle. Israel's army said on Tuesday it would hold an investigation into the conduct of the soldier, who posted the picture on the online photo-sharing website Instagram. Israeli media identified the soldier as a 20-year-old conscript serving in the occupied West Bank.

Girl hospitalized after acid attack in Nazareth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ben Hartman - February 19, 2013 - 1:00am

A teenage girl from Nazareth is hospitalized in serious condition after a man threw acid in her face Tuesday morning. Police arrested a 51-year-old man shortly afterwards who reportedly attacked the woman because she refused a marriage proposal either from him or a member of his family. Police said the 15-year-old girl was lying in her bed when she heard a knock at her bedroom window Tuesday morning. When the girl opened the window the man threw acid in her face and then fled the scene, Northern District Police Spokesman Yehuda Maman said Tuesday.

Is Qatari cash keeping the calm in Gaza?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Lappin - February 19, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli deterrence has so far successfully kept Hamas from violating the cease-fire reached after an eight-day round of violence in November, but a second factor might also be playing a role in upholding the unprecedented calm along the Gaza-Israel border: economics.

Israelis Begin to See Continuity In Mubarak, Morsi Policies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Jacky Hugi - February 18, 2013 - 1:00am

The clamor rising from Tahrir Square in Cairo was a common scene, familiar to all and sundry. The masses packing the square were calling out for the resignation of the president and crying for his prosecution on charges of killing demonstrators, while opposition politicians tried to outdo each other denouncing him on satellite TV channels.

Gazans Suffer As Foreign NGOs Refuse to Deal with Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Omar Shaban - February 18, 2013 - 1:00am

The relationship between international organizations operating in the Gaza Strip and the Hamas government has been marked by tension and distrust. This is especially true, since these organizations have taken the same positions as the West — including the U.S. and Israel — to sever ties with the Hamas government and with any of its affiliated institutions, while at the same time seeking to implement their work in the Gaza Strip.

Moving past stalemate in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Los Angeles Times
by Maen Areikat - (Opinion) February 19, 2013 - 1:00am

With the U.S.

Obama's best and worst-case scenarios for Israel's new government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) February 19, 2013 - 1:00am

For Benjamin Netanyahu, it wasn't supposed to break this way.  Four months ago, when he called early elections, advisers assured the prime minister that his best-case scenario was also among the most likely:

Pro-Israel group's primer on West Bank settlements shows just how disastrous they are
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Eric H. Yoffie - (Opinion) February 18, 2013 - 1:00am

Finally, a serious effort has been made to offer college students a compelling explanation of Israel’s settlement policy. To be sure, it did not succeed, but it was an effort worth making, if only to demonstrate just how vulnerable Israel is on the settlement issue.    

Vain hope springs eternal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Moshe Arens - (Opinion) February 19, 2013 - 1:00am

"Hope springs eternal," wrote Alexander Pope, in "An Essay on Man." And so it is with Israel's hope for peace with the Palestinians. After every disappointment, hope rises again. When Yasser Arafat seemingly renounced terrorism at a press conference in Geneva in December 1988, we wanted to believe him. We signed the Oslo Accords in 1993, brought him and his minions from Tunis to Gaza and Ramallah - only to find that he had by no means abandoned terrorism.

Free Marwan Barghouti
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Amnon Shamosh - (Opinion) February 18, 2013 - 1:00am

According to my understanding of the changing Middle East, the only person who can be elected enthusiastically by both segments of the Palestinian nation and be a real partner for peace is Marwan Barghhouti.

Borderline views: The Ariel own goal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Newman - (Opinion) February 18, 2013 - 1:00am

This week at its annual meeting in Jerusalem, The Jewish Agency is discussing the growing problem of anti-Israel delegitimization throughout the world, especially in those countries which are traditional friends of the State of Israel. No doubt, they will seek the simple answers and attribute much of the anti-Israel antagonism to growing anti-Semitism. While this may be true in some cases, they should also know how to differentiate between real criticism of Israel and its policies, even among friends, and that which is driven by other factors.

Censorship in Israel’s media is widespread
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Aluf Benn - (Opinion) February 18, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel’s media operate under official censorship. That has been a fact of my professional life as a journalist covering foreign policy and national security. Here’s how it works: any story involving defence, intelligence or nuclear matters must be submitted to the military censor’s office. It can run only after being stamped for approval.

Israel-Palestine Interim Agreements Block Final Deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) February 18, 2013 - 1:00am

The director of one of the top UN agencies operating in the West Bank told me about a fascinating conversation he had with a senior Israeli Defense Forces officer. “Do you know the difference between Areas A, B and C?” the officer asked. “Of course,” the UN director responded, citing published details of the 1995 Interim Agreement between Israel and the Palestinians (also known as Oslo II).

Campus today, Capitol Hill tomorrow: Israel is losing future Democratic leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Tom Dan - (Opinion) February 19, 2013 - 1:00am

Will, an American Harvard student, looked up as we were eating dinner and said in a trembling voice, as if the 200-year-old ceiling would cave in the second he opened his mouth: “I cannot see one good reason we should continue supporting you guys over there.”

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