Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Two hunger striking Palestinian prisoners have agreed to end their fast as Israel says it will release them in May. (Reuters) Pres. Abbas says Israeli settlement construction in the "E1" area is a Palestinian "red line." (Jerusalem Post) PM Netanyahu demands "military sanctions" against Iran. (Reuters) Hamas addresses the Yasser Arafat Foundation in Cairo for the first time on the subject of reconciliation. (Ma'an) The PA economy minister welcomes an EU report recommending sanctions against Israeli settlement activity. (Ma'an) The Israeli press reports a breakthrough in Netanyahu's coalition negotiations to form a new government. (Xinhua) Israeli police insist that Palestinians fabricated a reported "price tag" arson attack on cars last week. (Xinhua) The PA says it has secured the release of four Palestinian teenagers detained by Israel on Wednesday. (Ma'an) Evidence continues to mount that Israeli-Turkish relations are improving, despite the fact that PM Erdogan has described Zionism as "a crime against humanity" at a UN meeting. (Xinhua/Ha'aretz) Israel is using the Bible to reach out to evangelical Christians as far away as Brazil. (CSM) The Oxford University Student Union votes down a measure endorsing a boycott against Israel. (Ha'aretz) Palestinian fishermen are mystified as hundreds of ray fish wash up on the shores of Gaza. (The Independent) Some Palestinians are trying to encourage food self-sufficiency. (IPS) Some Israeli experts see no real sign of change in Egypt's foreign policy towards Israel and the Palestinians under Pres. Morsi, despite some changes in rhetoric. (Jerusalem Post)

COMMENTARY: Allen Weiner says Israel and the Palestinians need American mediation. (New York Times) Jonathan Schanzer says Palestinians need a succession plan and Abbas needs an heir apparent. (LA Times) Gideon Levy says it's ironic that Israelis, who were so upset by the captivity of a single soldier, seem incapable of understanding Palestinian outrage about thousands of detainees in Israeli jails. (Ha'aretz) Shlomi Eldar says Israel needs to reconsider its policy of administrative detention of Palestinians. (Al Monitor) Matthew Duss looks at the prospects for a third intifada. (The American Prospect) Roger Cohen says although a single state is not going to emerge, the prospects for two states for Israel and the Palestinians are dwindling fast. (New York Times) Eitan Haber says, whether he admits it or not, Pres. Obama is coming to the region with an agenda. (YNet) Sara Hirschhorn says Israelis have to rid themselves of the notion that settlements are irreversible or face a one-state future. (Ha'aretz) Shlomo Cohen says Israel is unfairly taking advantage of Diaspora Jewry. (Ha'aretz) Andy Bachman says BDS rhetoric should be challenged, but not censored, but Martin Raffel says it amounts to hate speech. (JTA) Nathan Guttman looks at different advice offered to Obama in new books by Daniel Kurtzer and Elliott Abrams. (The Forward) George Hishmeh says Obama has a duty to tell Israel it cannot continue with business as usual towards the Palestinians. (Gulf News)

Two Palestinians end hunger strike that fuelled protests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Noah Browning - February 27, 2013 - 1:00am

Two Palestinian prisoners whose hunger strike stoked clashes in the West Bank have ended their protest after Israel agreed to release them in May, a Palestinian official said on Wednesday. The men were among four prisoners held without formal charge in an Israeli jail who have refused to eat for between three and six months.

Abbas: E1 building is 'red line' for Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - February 27, 2013 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his opposition on Wednesday to Israel’s plan to build in the area known as E1 between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim. Abbas said that the Palestinians considered the plan a “red line” that should not be crossed. Abbas’s remarks came during a meeting he held in his office in Ramallah with Nigel Kim Darroch, the National Security Adviser for the British government.

Netanyahu urges "military sanctions" threat against Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the international community on Wednesday to threaten Iran with "military sanctions", saying economic measures are failing to curb Tehran's nuclear drive. "I believe it is incumbent upon the international community to intensify the sanctions and clarify that if Iran continues its programme, there will be military sanctions," Netanyahu said. He did not, in a statement released by the prime minister's office, specify what military measures he envisages.

Hamas to address Arafat foundation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Hamas is attending the board meeting of the Yasser Arafat Foundation for the first time at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on Thursday. Hamas deputy politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouq will address the foundation's board of trustees for its sixth meeting, attended by league secretary-general Nabil al-Arabi, the head of the foundation Nasser al-Qidra told Ma'an. Abu Marzouq will brief the foundation about reconciliation, al-Qidra said.

Economy minister welcomes EU settlements report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

The PA economy minister on Thursday welcomed an EU report calling for economic sanctions on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The leaked non-binding document by European Union consul generals in East Jerusalem and the West Bank said the 27-nation bloc should be diligent in ensuring settlements are excluded from trade benefits enjoyed by Israel.

Breakthrough in talks to build new Israeli government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli news outlets reported on Thursday that a breakthrough has been made in talks to build a new government, following the January 22 election results. The reports cited senior members of incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party who expressed certainty that a coalition agreement would be reached next week with two parties, Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayeudi, the second and fourth largest parties, respectively.

Israeli police deems Palestinians' report on price tag attack " fabrication"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

In an unusual step, the Israeli police said Thursday that despite claims Jewish settlers set fire to six Palestinian cars last week, the case was fabricated by the Palestinians themselves. Last Thursday, the villagers of Qusra in the West Bank told media and the police that Jewish settlers came in and set fire to six residents' car.

PA liaison says secured release of teens from Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority liaison officials secured the release of four teenagers detained Wednesday by Israeli forces, Palestinian officer Osama Mansour said Thursday. Israeli forces detained Ibrahim Dawod 16, Ahmad Dawod 15, and Sabi Abed al-Raman, 16, from Ein Yabrud village north of Ramallah, and 15-year-old Tahrir from Jericho. The three teenagers from Ramallah were accused of throwing stones and Tahrir was suspected of trying to enter an Israeli settlement, said Mansour, who heads the liaison office in Ramallah.

News Analysis: Positive signs show Israel-Turkey ties warming up
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Ties between Israel and Turkey have been strained ever since the Israel intercepted the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara in May 2010, however lately there have been signs that an improvement might be in sight. Last week an Israeli defense contractor Elta exported equipment for four Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircrafts to Turkey, however the equipment was part of the deal Turkey signed with the American company Boeing and Elta is a sub-contractor for Boeing.

At UN conference, Erdogan calls Zionism 'crime against humanity'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Zionism a "crime against humanity" at a United Nations conference in Vienna Wednesday, even as efforts at reconciliation continue between Jerusalem and Ankara. In his speech about Islamophobia in Europe, delivered at the opening session of the fifth United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, he argued the UN and European Union are not doing enough to fight hatred of Muslims and intolerance of other cultures. But Zionism was mentioned in passing.

Israel wields Bible's soft power as far afield as Brazil
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Christa Case Bryant - February 27, 2013 - 1:00am

On a crisp winter morning in Jerusalem, a group of American Christian leaders with Bibles under their arms walk the hilltop where many believe King David first established the Jewish capital some 3,000 years ago.

Oxford student union votes down Israel boycott
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Alona Ferber - February 27, 2013 - 1:00am

The Oxford University Student Union voted down a motion on Wednesday calling for a boycott of Israel, its institutions, goods and produce. According to the record of the vote at the prestigious university, 69 voted against the motion, 10 voted in favor, and 15 abstained.

Palestinian fishermen mystified after bloodied Mobula ray fish wash up on Gaza beach
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Palestinian fisherman have been left mystified after hundreds of bloodied Mobula Ray fish were found washed up on a Gaza beach. Around 220 of the fish appeared on the Gaza City beach yesterday, the Times of Israel has reported. It is thought to be the first time in five years that fishermen are catching the ray fish in waters off Gaza.

Aid Hurting Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jillian Kestler-D'Amours - February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Local food for local people. That’s the idea behind Sharaka (‘partnership’, in Arabic), an entirely volunteer-run, Palestinian organisation that aims to bring locally grown products directly to Palestinian dinner tables.

Analysis: Egyptian foreign policy hasn't changed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ariel Ben Solomon - (Analysis) February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Despite public declarations this week condemning Israel over the death of Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat, Egypt is attempting to maintain its role as the mediator the US turns to in the region. Under ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Egypt also spoke out in support of the Palestinians, but maintained working relations with Israel behind the scenes.

Why the Middle East Needs America
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Allen Weiner - (Opinion) February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Over the years, the contention that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be solved only through “direct talks” has become almost a mantra, especially from the Israeli government and its allies. But direct talks between implacable foes, without active mediation, may be the worst possible way to try to settle the conflict. Facing one’s adversary directly across the table heightens psychological barriers even to a mutually beneficial deal.

Abbas needs an heir apparent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Jonathan Schanzer - (Opinion) February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

President Obama's visit to the Middle East next month is widely billed as an earnest attempt to double down on diplomacy and revive the moribund peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against the president.

Eight hundred thousand
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Eight hundred thousand. That is the number of Palestinian residents arrested and imprisoned in Israeli jails since the beginning of the occupation, according to The New York Times. Almost a million people. That estimate could be a bit high; some say it's “only” 600,000. After all, there is no exact number.  But the general picture is clear and chilling: When people say that Israel imprisons the Palestinian people, this is what they mean: the physical, concrete, overcrowded and torturous imprisonment of people in jail.

Israel Should Reconsider Administrative Law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Shlomi Eldar - (Opinion) February 27, 2013 - 1:00am

It was only after the death of Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradath, the violent demonstrations that erupted in its wake, and the fear that this could be the spark that ignites a Third Intifada that the Israeli media decided to expand its coverage of hunger strikes under way in Israeli prisons.

A Third Intifada?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The American Prospect
by Matthew Duss - (Opinion) February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Over the past days, growing unrest in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in response to the death of a Palestinian in Israeli custody has threatened the relative calm that has prevailed recently, a result of the considerable amount of cooperation between the Palestinian security services and the Israeli army.

Zero Dark Zero
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - (Opinion) February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

A minister in the outgoing Israeli government put it to me bluntly during a recent visit to Israel: “For the first time in these elections, the Palestinians did not come into it.” Israelis for the most part are comfortable enough to ignore their neighbors. If they are on the Titanic they prefer not to think about it.

Will Bibi and Obama make history?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Eitan Haber - February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

  During his next term as prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu will have to do what he avoided doing in his previous terms: Draw boundaries and begin establishing two states for two peoples. This painful process, certainly from Netanyahu's perspective, will commence soon.

Israel's dwindling chance to oppose an unjust one-state future
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Sara Hirschhorn - (Opinion) February 27, 2013 - 1:00am

“The two-state solution is dead! Long live the two-state solution!” has resonated as the battle-call of the decade, a nostalgic swan song of the halcyon days of hope of the Oslo era. But the past week or so has seen a hushed gathering of liberal intellectuals around the deathbed of the Israeli-Palestine dilemma and a two-state solution.

Fair-weather friend: Israel's selfish attitude toward Diaspora Jewry
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shlomo Cohen - (Opinion) February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel pretends to represent the Jewish people. Its leaders wave the Jewish banner at every opportunity. But the sad truth is that Israel has never been truly worried about the situation of the world's Jews, about their well-being and their rights. World Jewry interests Israel only to the extent that it serves this country and its interests. Israel sees the Jewish people as a pool of resources for its use: financial and political support and human resources, in the form of immigrants.

Op-Ed: Don’t censor BDS, expose it for what it is
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Andy Bachman - (Opinion) February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

During the Vietnam War protests at the University of Wisconsin, students were said to have gathered on the front lawn of noted historian George Mosse, imploring him to stop supporting the university’s policy of allowing the ROTC on campus. To some students, this alignment with the machinery of war was a “fascist policy,” and they charged their teacher with the same label. “A fascist,” he was said to have mused. “Which kind?”

Two Books Offer Dueling Peace Roadmaps as Obama Prepares for Trip to Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - (Opinion) February 27, 2013 - 1:00am

As President Obama prepares for his first presidential visit to Israel and the West Bank, he can choose from two books, both just out, to read on the plane ride over. Each is produced by veteran presidential advisors on the Middle East. But each offers a starkly different perspective.

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