Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian worshipers clash at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem. (Reuters/AP) Israel has begun construction on the extension of a freeway that would divide a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, as villagers seek a court order to prevent this. (Los Angeles Times) Pres. Obama is downplaying expectations for his trip to Israel and Palestine. (AP) Obama meets with Jewish-American leaders in advance of his trip, saying peace is essential but the prospects are bleak. (Reuters/JTA) Young Israelis are asking if Obama's visit is too little, too late. (The Media Line) The Israeli military is preparing for the next conflict with Hezbollah. (AP) Hamas denies the Egyptian government has asked it to abandon "armed struggle." (Ma'an) Israel issues hundreds of arrest warrants for ultra-Orthodox Jews dodging military service. (Xinhua) Palestinians complain about Canadian official comments about the prospect of suing Israel at the ICC. (Xinhua) Palestinians at a large refugee camp in the occupied West Bank rally in support of prisoners. (Ma'an) The Palestinian statistics bureau says women constitute 49.2% of the population. (PNN) A new Palestinian poll confirms the public demand for elections and continued greater support for Fatah and consistently low numbers for Hamas. (PNN) Violence and crime are on the rise in Gaza. (Al Monitor) Israeli politicians suggest a new government may be announced next week. (Ha'aretz) Carl Levin, a leader on Middle East issues in the Senate, says he will not seek reelection in 2014. (JTA) The Netherlands may instruct retail stores to clearly label settlement products. (YNet) The State Department says it has decided to defer presenting an award to an Egyptian activist because of alleged anti-Semitic tweets. (Jerusalem Post) An Israeli court has found the PA indirectly responsible for the murder of an Israeli in 2003. (Jerusalem Post) Attacks on Palestinians and anti-Arab bigotry are becoming more common and acceptable in Jewish Israeli society. (The National)

COMMENTARY: Ami Ayalon says Obama's trip should initiate the creation of a clear process towards a two state solution. (Los Angeles Times) Yisrael Medad asks if Obama can overcome low expectations about his visit in Israel. (Los Angeles Times) Uri Savir says Obama will have to move past rhetoric to difficult decisions in order to move the process forward. (Jerusalem Post) Noah Feldman remembers Rabbi Menachem Froman. (Bloomberg) Reza Nasri says US and Israeli threats of force against Iran are counterproductive and harm chances for an agreement. (CSM) Anshel Pfeffer says the debate on Zionism in Britain is empty of content. (Ha'aretz) Ranan Hartman says all citizens, Zionist or not, should be included in the Israeli identity. (YNet) Patrick Seale says the EU could play a major role in promoting Middle East peace if it wanted to. (Gulf News) Naela Khalil says Israeli authorities mainly ignore attacks by settlers on Palestinian villages and villagers. (Al Monitor) Raja Shehadeh interviews Mustafa Barghouti. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) Aaron David Miller interviews Uri Savir and Ahmed Qurei. (Foreign Policy) S. Daniel Abraham says soon Israel will no longer be a Jewish-majority state. (The Atlantic)

Israeli police, Palestinians clash at Jerusalem mosque
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ori Lewis - March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli police fired stun grenades to disperse Palestinian worshippers who had thrown rocks and firebombs at them after Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, police said. Dozens of officers entered the politically sensitive area, one of Islam's holiest sites to break up several hundred protesters. A number of policemen were lightly hurt, a police spokesman said, and Palestinian media said at least 15 protesters were injured.

Israeli police disperse Palestinians at key site
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli police have entered Jerusalem's holiest site to disperse hundreds of Palestinians who were throwing rocks. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Palestinian worshipers rioted after Friday Muslim prayers at the hilltop site in the Old City of Jerusalem. It's known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque stands.

Jerusalem's Begin Expressway plan angers Arab neighborhood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

Construction of a freeway extension through one of Jerusalem's most-prosperous Arab neighborhoods is igniting tension in the once-quiet community and reviving complaints about how the city treats Palestinian residents. If completed as planned in 2015, the nearly 1-mile extension of Jerusalem's Begin Expressway will slice through the neighborhood of Beit Safafa, home to about 12,000 Arabs.

Obama: No 'grand peace plan' during Israel trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Julie Pace - March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

President Barack Obama is playing down expectations for a Mideast peace breakthrough during his upcoming trip to Israel, telling American Jewish leaders that he won't be carrying a "grand peace plan" when he arrives in the region later this month.

Obama meets US Jewish leaders ahead of Israel trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

US President Barack Obama hosted leaders of major American Jewish organizations at the White House on Thursday as he sought to smooth the way for his first presidential visit to Israel later this month. The meeting was a chance for Obama to preview his agenda for the trip, including the Iran nuclear standoff, Syria's civil war and Israel-Palestinian issues, and to reiterate his "unshakable support" for Israel, an administration official said.

Obama to Jews: Peace is essential but prospects are bleak
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

President Obama believes prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace are “bleak,” but he still will urge both sides to avoid unilateral actions that might further damage a process he hopes will be back on track within a year. That was the message Obama delivered Thursday in a meeting with about 25 Jewish community figures at the White House to discuss his planned trip to Israel later this month. Obama was especially engaged, participants said, when it came to discussing how he might best convey to the Israeli people his enthusiasm for Israel and its Jewish history.

President Obama’s Visit to Israel: Too Little Too Late?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Linda Gradstein - March 6, 2013 - 1:00am

Young Israelis Want the President to See their Side A group of students sit around a conference table at the Hadassah Academic College in downtown Jerusalem. They are all majoring in politics and government, and started college only after finishing their mandatory army service. Overall, they are pleased that President Obama is coming to visit Israel, but say he should have come during his first term.

Israel prepares for next war with Hezbollah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Daniel Estrin - March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

On a dusty field in Israel's southern desert, the military is gearing up for the next battle against a familiar foe: Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Official: Egypt never asked Hamas to quit armed struggle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

Egypt has not asked Hamas to abandon its armed struggle against Israel, a spokesman for the party said Thursday. "Hamas will not leave the armed struggle, and will not respond to this fabricated news," Salah al-Bardawil told Ma'an. Israel's Ynet news reported Thursday that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood leadership had asked Hamas to "implement jihad in other ways" in order to gain international legitimacy.

Hundreds of arrest warrants issued in Israel against ultra-Orthodox dodging army service
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

Hundreds of arrest warrants had been issued in Israel in the past few days against ultra-Orthodox youths dodging military service, the Ma'ariv daily reported Thursday. As hundreds of ultra-Orthodox youths failed to report to the induction centers as required, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) turned to the police to issue arrest warrants.

Palestinian official condemns Canadian FM's response of suing Israel at ICC
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

A senior Palestinian official on Thursday condemned remarks by Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird to cut aid if the Palestinians take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC). "We do not know why Canada is showing all this hostility against us," said Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian peace negotiator. "Those who fear international courts must force Israel to stop its crimes," he said. On Sunday, Baird threatened that there will be consequences in the Canadian-Palestinian relations if a complaint that was filed by Palestinians goes to the ICC.

Large rally in Rafah in solidarity with prisoners
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

Protesters in Gaza organized a massive rally Thursday in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails. Participants raised Palestinian flags, and held pictures of hunger strikers. They condemned aggressive Israeli practices. Palestinian national and Islamic factions participated in the rally. Rasmi Abu al-Ainin, a member of the the Palestinian Arabic Front political office, called for implementing national unity to support the Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails.

Females Share of Palestinian Population of 2012 is 49.2%, says Statistics Bureau
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Palestine News Network
March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

The estimated population of Palestine at the end of 2012 was 4.35 million of whom 2.21 million were males and 2.14 million females. Males comprise 50.8 percent of the total population compared to 49.2 percent for females. In other words, for every 100 persons there were 49 females, a sex ratio of 103.2, said Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) Thursday on the occasion of International Woman's Day, Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported.

Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No 46
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Palestine News Network
March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

In view of the financial crisis that the Palestinian Authority (PA) suffers from due to the delay in transferring tax returns from Israel and the delay of funds from the Arab countries, strikes organized by trade unions influence everyday life in the West Bank.

Gaza Sees Rise in Violence And Crime
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Hazem Balousha - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

Violence has been rife in Gaza but reached its peak in mid-2007, when clashes erupted between political rivals Hamas and Fatah, in a battle that resembled a civil war that left many wounded and dead. The Gaza Strip has also suffered from military confrontations with Israel, not to mention the political and economic blockade, which has led to increased violence in Gazan society.

Lapid likely to be Israel's next finance minister, Bennett to take trade portfolio, sources say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jonathan Lis - March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid will likely take the finance portfolio, sources said Friday, while Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett will be Israel's next Labor, Trade and Industry minister. According to the officials, Israel's new coalition will be presented at the start of the coming week.

Carl Levin won’t run again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), a veteran Jewish lawmaker who had major influence on defense policy, will not seek reelection. Levin, 78, was quoted Thursday by The Associated Press as saying that his decision was "extremely difficult" but that he wanted to serve out the remainder of his term, which ends in 2014, without "distraction." Levin heads the Senate's Armed Services Committee, and in that capacity has been influential in defense policy, helping to maintain record levels of defense assistance for Israel.

Holland to label settlement goods?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Attila Somfalvi - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

The Foreign Ministry confirmed Thursday that it has obtained unofficial information regarding a Dutch directive instructing retail chains in Holland to state the origin of products from settlements.

US defers activist's award amid anti-Semitic tweets
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

The US State Department is holding off on presenting a prestigious award to Egyptian activist Samira Ibrahim after anti-US and anti- Semitic tweets from her Twitter account were uncovered. “After careful consideration, we’ve decided we should defer presenting this award to Ms. Ibrahim this year so that we have a chance to look further into these statements,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Thursday.

Court: PA liable for terror attack by teen in ‘03
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yonah Jeremy Bob - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

The Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday held the Palestinian Authority liable for NIS 1.3 million in damages for training and indirectly encouraging a 15-and-ahalf- year-old Palestinian to murder Amit Amos Monitin on June 26, 2003. The boy murdered Monitin while he was on the job as a technician for the Bezek telephone company in Baka al- Gharbiya, east of Hadera. The killer was caught, tried, convicted and is serving his sentence in Israel.

Attacks and anti-Arab bigotry 'more acceptable' in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

A spate of epithet-laced attacks by young Israeli Jews against Arabs indicates anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry is becoming more acceptable in many sectors of Israeli society, according to rights workers. Police have arrested four people, including two minors, over the bludgeoning on Saturday of an Arab Israeli citizen on holiday with his wife in the Israeli city of Tiberius, Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported this week.

Obama in Israel: The start of a new era?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Los Angeles Times
by Ami Ayalon - (Opinion) March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel, I fear, is on a suicidal path: It could cease to be the democratic home of the Jewish people.

Obama in Israel: Can he overcome low expectations?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Los Angeles Times
by Yisrael Medad - (Editorial) March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

Later this month, President Obama will visit Israel, a country intended by an act of international law to be the reconstituted Jewish national home. The visit will be highly charged, but at the same time, many Israelis have low expectations for what could come of it.

Savir's Corner: The day after
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Uri Savir - (Editorial) March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

With the historic visit of President Barack Obama to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan at the end of the month, it seems that leaders in our region are thinking along the lines of “life before Obama” and “life after Obama.” One can safely assume that both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas cannot wait for the day the American president returns to Washington.

Is a Jew Meshuga for Wanting to Live in Palestine?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Noah Feldman - (Opinion) March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

If Israelis and Palestinians agree on one thing, it’s that more settlements in the West Bank will eventually make a two-state solution impossible. Rabbi Menachem Froman, who died on March 4 at age 68, thought differently.

US, Israeli threats of force against Iran are illegal and harm chances for a deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Reza Nasri - (Opinion) March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

These threats were issued at a time when the latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 in

The empty debate on Zionism in Britain
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - (Opinion) March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

Who is a Zionist? Once upon a time the answer to this question was simple. A Zionist was someone who believed there were moral justifications and a need for a Jewish sovereign state in the historical Land of Israel. If you recognized this, you were Zionist and all the rest was just nuance. But the definition of a Zionist has become hopelessly murky in the more than six decades since Israel's establishment amid the never-ending debate over Israel's definition, borders and values.

Who is an Israeli?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ranan Hartman - March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

Legendary US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said that "the task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” These days, while the uproar of an equal share of the national burden is bubbling again as the main issue in the coalition negotiations for the establishment of a new government, the Israeli public is waiting for leaders to get

Europe can engineer peace in Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Patrick Seale - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

The Middle East is experiencing some of its greatest political upheavals since the creation of the Arab state system after the First World War. Right across the region, regimes have been toppled and authority challenged. In one country after another, people have gone down into the street in their tens of thousands to demand jobs, bread, respect, an end to corruption and police brutality, a greater say in how they are governed.

Israeli Authorities Mostly Ignore Settler Attacks on Palestinian Village
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
(Editorial) March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

Hilmi Hassan lies in the intensive care unit of Hadassah Hospital, while Osama Rami has been transferred to the eye hospital in Jerusalem a few days after he was in Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. The two young boys are from the village of Qusra, south of Nablus, and were wounded by settlers who attacked Qusra’s villagers at the end of February 2013.

The Rise Of Palestinian Non-Violent Resistance: A Conversation With Mustafa Barghouti
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Raja Shehadeh - (Opinion) March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

Last Friday, I spoke to Dr. Mustafa Barghouti after he returned from commemorating the eighth anniversary of the weekly protests in the Palestinian village of Bil’in against the Separation Wall, which has denied the village large tracts of its agricultural land. Dr. Barghouti is the General Secretary of the Palestine National Initiative, the Mubadara, which he, along with others, was instrumental in establishing in 2002 to introduce new political thinking.

Is Oslo Dead?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Interview) March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

Oslo -- shorthand for a series of Israeli-Palestinian interim agreements done and undone between 1993 and 1999 -- was a heroic but ultimately failed effort to deal with an interminable problem that still eludes a solution: how to reconcile the conflicting national and religious claims of Israelis and Palestinians to a relatively small piece of real estate situated between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

Israel's Dreaded Tipping Point Has Finally Arrived
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by S. Daniel Abraham - (Editorial) March 8, 2013 - 1:00am

As President Obama prepares to visit Israel later this month, reports from administration officials indicate that he does not intend to focus on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but rather to discuss regional threats such as Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and the continuing violence in Syria. But Obama should realize that Israel's continued presence in the West Bank is an existential threat to its continuity as a democratic, Jewish state -- and time is not on Israel's side.

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