Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel opens a Palestinian-only bus line in the occupied West Bank. (Reuters) PM Netanyahu gets a two-week extension to continue to try to form a new government, which is not expected to press forward on peace issues. (New York Times/CSM) However, aides to Netanyahu say Israel will have to freeze construction outside of existing settlement blocs. (Ha'aretz) DM Barak again says Israel should consider unilateral separation measures should peace talks continue to fail. (JTA) The PA finance minister resigns over a budget dispute. (Reuters) Pres. Abbas unexpectedly met with Sec. Kerry in Saudi Arabia this afternoon. (Ha'aretz) Kerry scolds PM Erdogan for comments describing Zionism as a "crime against humanity." (Washington Post) Hamas rulers in Gaza launch a campaign to catch "spies." (AP) Gunfire erupts along the Gaza-Israel border. (New York Times) Israel blames Hamas for keeping a Gaza border crossing closed. (AP) Israel continues to insist that injuries to the body of a Palestinian prisoner who died in Israeli custody are consistent with resuscitation efforts. (New York Times) Israeli police question a teenage settler girl in an attack on a Palestinian woman. (AP) Herbs grown in Gaza are being exported to Europe. (Xinhua) Reconstruction in Gaza is still impeded by the blockade. (NPR) Many are skeptical about an Israeli plan for an industrial park for Bedouins. (Los Angeles Times) Palestinians are continuing to work on improving their justice system. (The Media Line) Syrian rebels hang two Palestinians accused of collaborating with the Damascus government in a refugee camp. (The Daily Star) Philip Gordon has been appointed NSC Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region. (White House)

COMMENTARY: Eric Yoffie says Jewish Americans and their organizations should feel proud about the power and influence they have accumulated. (Ha'aretz) Larry Snider says the US should start working intensively with the rest of the world to create the framework for a two-state solution. (Jerusalem Post) Giora Eiland says Americans and others need to start thinking about alternatives to a two-state solution. (YNet) Amira Hass illustrates the absurdities of occupation with a tale of soldiers, a shepherd and two baby goats. (Ha'aretz) Daniella Peled says the suggested EU settlement boycott isn't really an economic measure, but intended to demonstrate European frustration with Israel's settlement activities. (Ha'aretz) Hunger striking Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi explains his actions. (The Guardian) Naela Khalil says Palestinian national reconciliation is still a long way off. (Al Monitor) Shlomi Eldar says Erdogan is a hypocrite. (Al Monitor) Anna Lekas Miller looks at 10 years of Israel's West Bank separation barrier. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) Aeyal Gross says new ethnically-segregated bus lines in the occupied territories push Israel ever closer to Jim Crow and apartheid. (Ha'aretz) Paul McGeough interviews Hamas leader Mishaal. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Israel opens Palestinians-only bus lines in W. Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jeffrey Heller - March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel launched two Palestinians-only bus lines in the occupied West Bank on Monday, a step an Israeli rights group described as racist and which the Transport Ministry called an improvement in service. The left-wing Haaretz daily reported the ministry opened the lines, to be used by Palestinian labourers travelling between the West Bank and Israel, after Jewish settlers complained that Palestinians on mixed buses were a security risk.

Israeli Premier Gets Extension to Form a Coalition but Faces Turmoil
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - March 2, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel’s president on Saturday granted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a two-week extension to form a governing coalition, a task complicated by mathematics and chemistry.

Winners in Israel's game-changing election unlikely to lead charge for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - March 1, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still without a coalition more than a month after winning parliamentary elections, but amid the political horsetrading the next government's agenda is coming into view.

New Israeli coalition will have to freeze construction outside settlement blocs, Netanyahu's aides say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - March 3, 2013 - 1:00am

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu received 14 more days to form a new government Saturday, but his efforts to form a coalition seemed likely to be complicated by the likelihood of a new settlement construction freeze to improve Israel's inter

Kerry and Abbas hold surprise meet in Riyadh to discuss Israeli-Palestinian talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury, Barak Ravid - March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met for unplanned talks on Monday afternoon, as part of their coinciding visits to Saudi Arabia. Abbas' own trip to the capital Riyadh to meet King Abdullah was unexpected, and may have been coordinated to overlap with Kerry's. The lunch meeting, which was added to Kerry's schedule at the last-minute on Monday morning, focused on efforts to resume the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians and on U.S. President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to the region.

Kerry scolds Turkish leader for comment about Zionism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Anne Gearan - March 1, 2013 - 1:00am

Secretary of State John F. Kerry scolded Turkey’s leader Friday for likening Zionism to a “crime against humanity,” saying such remarks complicate efforts to forge Mideast peace.

Gaza Hamas rulers to start campaign to catch spies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Gaza's Hamas rulers say they will begin a new campaign to find Palestinian collaborators with Israel. Col. Mohammed Lafi of Gaza's Interior Ministry said Monday that the campaign aims to protect Palestinian militant groups battling Israel. Lafi says they will also warn other Palestinians of the dangers of spying. Israel security officials have long relied on a network of informants in the Palestinian territories to keep tabs on militants.

Gaza: Gunfire Erupts Along Border With Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - March 1, 2013 - 1:00am

Palestinians fired at an Israeli military jeep along the Gaza border on Friday, hitting the vehicle but causing no injuries, and three Palestinian protesters were wounded by Israeli fire during disturbances alon

Israel blames Hamas for keeping shut Gaza crossing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

An Israeli military spokesman says the militant Islamic group Hamas has pressured a Palestinian contractor into keeping closed the Gaza side of the only cargo crossing with Israel. Maj. Guy Inbar says the crossing was set to open on Monday but the Palestinian operator of the crossing said he wouldn't come to work. Inbar says Hamas wants control of the crossing, operated by its rival, the secular Palestinian Authority that governs the West Bank. There was no comment from Hamas.

Israel: Autopsy of Detainee Shows Signs of ‘Resuscitation Attempts’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - February 28, 2013 - 1:00am

The Health Ministry said Thursday that tests showed that the hemorrhages and fractured ribs found during the autopsy of a Palestinian prisoner who died in Israeli detention last weekend were “characteristic of the resuscitation attempts that were performed on the deceased,” efforts that lasted for 50 minutes.

Gaza grown herbs exported to Europe
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan - March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

The farm where Jamal Abu Najja grows spices and medicinal herbs, had been part of an Israeli settlement west of the southern Gaza town of Rafah until late August 2005 when Israel pulled out from the coastal enclave and evacuated 21 settlements. Since then, the Palestinians are planting around one third of the 360-square kilometer Gaza Strip lands with various kinds of agricultural products, including fruits, vegetables and recently herbs and spices.

Palestinians Still Feel The Squeeze Of The Restrictions On Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from National Public Radio (NPR)
by Larry Abramson - March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

The streets of Gaza are busy, but they are also crumbling. Since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel has maintained tight limits on shipments of anything that could be used for military purposes. That includes basic building materials that could be used for bunkers and rocket launching sites. Ask businessman Ali Abdel Aal what's the toughest thing for him to find, and he'll tell you "cement and gravel."

Israel industrial park, meant to pull in Bedouins, draws skeptics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - March 1, 2013 - 1:00am

On a patch of agricultural land outside Israel's only officially recognized Bedouin city, workers are laying concrete for what the government says will be a cornerstone of its policy to lure impoverished Arabs from barren Negev desert terrain to approved Israeli towns.

Palestinian Justice System Still a Work in Progress
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Diana Atallah - March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Ramallah -- When a Palestinian court ordered a government center in 2011 to remove garbage they disposed of on lands belonging to Majid Zaher (not his real name) near Ramallah, he thought his case was over.

AIPAC and American Jews: Be proud of Jewish power
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Eric H. Yoffie - (Opinion) March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

American Jews have a complex about power, and they need to get over it. The simple fact is that power – or more precisely, influence - is a good thing. To the extent that Jewish Americans have influence, they should nurture it and use it responsibly. But they should never minimize it, apologize for it, or be squeamish about it. And they should avoid the trap of thinking that the exercise of influence in our political system is contrary to some abstract notion of American interests; it is not.

Can Obama make a substantive contribution to peace?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Snider - (Opinion) March 3, 2013 - 1:00am

There are countless traps laid out like a mine field awaiting the return of Barack Obama to substantive engagement in the peace process that will commence with his upcoming visit to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman. Peace and the search for peace have failed presidents, prime ministers, diplomats, pundits and activists of every conceivable stripe. What can change in 2013 to make peace achievable?

Things you can't see from DC
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Giora Eiland - (Opinion) March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

US President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are expected to visit the region together in late March to try and promote an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. It is amazing to see how American policy has not changed in 20 years. Each administration creates expectations regarding a solution to the conflict without reassessing it and asking the basic question: Why have the peace efforts failed so far?  

On the IDF's most wanted list: A Palestinian shepherd and two baby goats
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - March 3, 2013 - 1:00am

If it weren’t for the nudniks of Ta'ayush – a group of Israelis active in the southern West Bank – this story would be yet another unwritten chapter in the chronicles of the hostile rule, another grain of dust from the daily fallout of toxins we're addicted to.

Europe: Settlement products are tainted goods
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Daniella Peled - (Opinion) March 3, 2013 - 1:00am

Food labeling is a hot topic in Europe right now. Following the horsemeat scandal, with traces of equine flesh found in beef products across the continent, there have never been such strident calls for responsible sourcing of food products clearly tracing their origin.

We are fighting for all Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Sameer Abu Eisheh - (Opinion) March 3, 2013 - 1:00am

My story is no different from that of many other Palestinian young people who were born and have lived their whole lives under Israeli occupation. At 17, I was arrested for the first time, and jailed for two years. I was arrested again in my early 20s, at the height of the second intifada in Ramallah, during an Israeli invasion of numerous cities in the West Bank – what Israel called Operation Defensive Shield. I was sentenced to 30 years in prison on charges relating to my resistance to the occupation.

Palestinian Reconciliation Not Close
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Naela Khalil - (Editorial) March 3, 2013 - 1:00am

Despite the "warm peace" witnessed between Azzam al-Ahmad, the Fatah official responsible for the reconciliation file, and Moussa Abu Marzouk, the deputy chief of Hamas' political bureau, on Feb. 28 in Cairo, the meeting's good feelings did not transfer to the West Bank or the Gaza Strip in any way. Moreover, the relationship between the two movements continues to deteriorate.

Erdogan’s Double Standards
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Shlomi Eldar - March 3, 2013 - 1:00am

“Turkey and Israel are both vital allies of the United States. We want to see them work together in order to be able to go beyond the rhetoric and begin to take concrete steps to change this relationship,” said new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at a news  conference in Ankara on Friday [March 1].

Anger At The Wall: 10 Years Later
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Anna Miller - (Opinion) March 1, 2013 - 1:00am

the first slab of the separation barrier—or Apartheid Wall, as it is called in Palestine—was erected in Bethlehem. Ten years later, the 14-foot concrete slabs now weave through the outskirts of the city, surrounding homes and casting shadows over entire neighborhoods and economically choking the Palestinian residents of Bethlehem.

On the bus to Israeli apartheid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aeyal Gross - (Opinion) March 4, 2013 - 1:00am

In 1896 the United States Supreme Court handed down one of its most shameful decisions in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, rejecting the argument that the segregation between whites and blacks on trains in the state of Louisiana violated the principle of equality.

Leader waits in shifting sands of Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Sydney Morning Herald
by Kate Geraghty - (Opinion) March 2, 2013 - 1:00am

First comes one projectile, then another. Both are in full flight, moving quickly. Launched by Khalid Mishal in the early hours of the morning, they could be rockets over Gaza. But he is in Doha, deftly quartering apples and guavas, then hurling pieces the length of the room, to a colleague at the other end of a long, leather-inlaid conference table.

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