Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The UN says a baby killed in Gaza during fighting last November was probably killed by a Palestinian rocket, not an Israeli attack. (New York Times) Pres. Obama meets with Arab-American groups before his trip to the Middle East. (JTA) Israel releases a tentative schedule for Obama's visit. (JTA) Israelis and Palestinians wonder what, exactly, Obama will propose during his trip. (The Media Line) Palestinian say Pres. Abbas will raise the issue of prisoners with Obama during their meeting. (Jerusalem Post) Israeli settlers are reportedly worried that Obama's visit will mean a slowdown or halt to settlement construction. (YNet) The UN says the next few months are crucial for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. (Xinhua) The PA calls for international intervention to save the Palestinian economy. (Xinhua) A new World Bank report says Israeli restrictions and closures are badly damaging the Palestinian economy. (Ma'an) An Israeli military helicopter crash kills two pilots. (AP) Palestinians are contesting the route of a new Israeli settlement highway in the occupied territories. (AP) 11 people are wounded during fighting in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. (Xinhua) The UN says Palestinian refugees in Syria face suffering and undue obstacles. (Xinhua) Palestinian women's rights activists say Palestinian men need more workshops to better understand the issues. (Ma'an) An Israeli settler attacks a Palestinian shepherd. (YNet)

COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says Hamas is profoundly disillusioned with the new Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) John Collins looks at controversies surrounding the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Los Angeles Times) Bradley Burston says Obama's visit sends the message to Israel that peace is a matter of now or never. (Ha'aretz) Dmitry Shumsky says PM Erdogan has confused oppressive Israeli policies with Zionism. (Ha'aretz) Noah Klieger says violent Jewish Israeli racists are a handful of hooligans. (YNet) Dalia Hatuqa says Palestinian national reconciliation seems farther off than ever. (The National) Shlomi Eldar says Hamas may be considering recognizing Israel and other measures but will have a hard time attaining respectability. (Al Monitor) Octavia Nasr talks about what she learned in Haifa. (Al Arabiya)

U.N. Ties Gaza Baby’s Death to Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - March 11, 2013 - 12:00am

A United Nations report has suggested that a Palestinian infant who died in the fighting in

Obama tells Arab-American leaders trip will show commitment to statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - March 11, 2013 - 12:00am

President Obama told Arab-American leaders that his trip to Israel and the Palestinian areas would demonstrate U.S. commitment to partnering with the Palestinian Authority to bring about a state. "The President noted that the trip is not dedicated to resolving a specific policy issue, but is rather a chance to consult with Jordanian, Israeli, and Palestinian Authority officials about a broad range of issues," a White House official said after Monday's meeting with an array of Arab-American organizational leaders.  

Israel releases tentative Obama schedule
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
March 11, 2013 - 12:00am

Israel released a tentative itinerary for President Obama's visit to Israel and the West Bank. The March 20-22 visit, according to the schedule released Monday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, will include visits to Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, as well as visits to the graves in Jerusalem of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, and Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister assassinated in 1995 by a Jewish extremist.

Is Obama Bringing a Peace Plan?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Linda Gradstein - March 11, 2013 - 12:00am

Over and over, American officials insist that President Obama has no new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan hidden in his pocket, ready to be whipped out during next week’s meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. But Palestinians hope and Israelis fear that he will try to restart a peace process that has been moribund for the past four years.

Abbas to push PA prisoner issue during Obama visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - March 12, 2013 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to place the issue of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel at the top of his agenda during the planned meeting with US President Barack Obama, a PA official in Ramallah said Monday. The official’s announcement came as families of Palestinian prisoners stepped up their protests in the West Bank, staging demonstrations and rallies calling on Abbas not to resume the peace talks unless Israel released their sons.

Settlers fear Obama visit spells construction freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Itamar Fleishman - March 12, 2013 - 12:00am

United States President Barack Obama's visit to Israel next week has sent Israeli entrepreneurs and future homeowners in the West Bank to a building frenzy, fearing the

Next few months crucial for Israeli-Palestinian peace process: UN envoy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 12, 2013 - 12:00am

The next few months will be " make-or-break" time for the fate of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, UN Middle East peace envoy said here Monday. "We feel that the two-state solution for the Israeli- Palestinian conflict is on life support and see 2013 as a critical year to get things moving in the stalled peace talks," Robert Serry, who has served as a special regional coordinator for the past five years, said during an event hosted by the One Voice non- governmental organization in the Tel Aviv University.

World Bank: Israel restrictions impede Palestinian economy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 12, 2013 - 12:00am

Israeli closures and restrictions are causing lasting damage to the competitiveness of the Palestinian economy, the World Bank said Tuesday. Israeli-imposed economic restrictions continue to constrain sustainable economic growth, a situation that is unlikely to change without political progress, according to the World Bank's latest report. The economic monitoring report warns that the Palestinian economy is in danger of losing its capacity in the global market.

Israeli army helicopter crash kills 2 pilots
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Daniel Estrin - March 12, 2013 - 12:00am

An Israeli military helicopter crashed on Tuesday during training, killing two pilots, the army said. According to a military statement, the army lost contact with the Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopter in the middle of the night as the aircraft was en route from a routine training flight back to an air base in southern Israel. The military said it was investigating the crash, and has grounded all similar helicopters until it can determine the cause of the crash. The two pilots killed in the crash were reservists, the army said.

Jerusalem Arab residents contest highway route
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Diaa Hadid - March 11, 2013 - 12:00am

A new Israeli highway project is threatening to add to tensions in Jerusalem by cutting through a quiet, middleclass Arab neighborhood to link a large bloc of Jewish settlements to the city. The project comes during a flurry of Israeli building in east Jerusalem, the section of the city claimed by the Palestinians as their future capital.

11 wounded in clashes at Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 12, 2013 - 12:00am

At least 11 people were injured Tuesday in renewed gunfights at the Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp near the southern Lebanese city of Sidon. The fighting erupted between the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and supporters of Bilal Badr at al-Fawqani, an official of the Fateh al-Islam extremist group, state-run National News Agency reported. The gunmen used machine-guns and mortar shells in the fighting. The clashes came a day after a former Fatah al-Islam member was shot.

Palestinian refugees in Syria face undue obstacles as crisis worsens: UN official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 5, 2013 - 1:00am

A senior UN official on Monday said that the Syrian crisis is having dire effects on Palestinian refugees living in Syria, who face obstacles in receiving humanitarian assistance and are increasingly being drawn into the conflict. Filippo Grandi, the commissioner general of UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), told a press conference here that keeping schools open and health centers open is "an increasing challenge in a situation of growing insecurity, lack of access and other problems."

On tape: Settler attacks Palestinian shepherd
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - March 11, 2013 - 12:00am

A Palestinian who was tending to his herd a few hundred meters from the Avigail outpost in the south Mount Hebron area was attacked for no apparent reason by the outpost's security officer on Saturday. The officer claimed two Palestinian children had approached the Jewish outpost.

Hamas’s Desengaño With Morsi
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) March 11, 2013 - 12:00am

English has by far the largest vocabulary of any language, but there are still times when we have to look beyond its confines to convey a particular meaning. There is a Spanish word, desengaño, which connotes a combination of disappointment, disenchantment, disillusionment and despair, for which we have no precise English equivalent. And this, surely, best sums up the current attitude of the Hamas rulers in Gaza towards Egypt's new government.

The eternal disputes of the Dead Sea Scrolls
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Los Angeles Times
by John J. Collins - (Opinion) March 10, 2013 - 1:00am

In June 1954, a small advertisement ran in the Wall Street Journal: "Biblical manuscripts dating back to at least 200 BC are for sale." The commercial offering was the start of a long and controversial path for

Obama visit marks a choice for Israel: Grow up or grow old
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Bradley Burston - (Blog) March 12, 2013 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama's visit to Israel comes less than a month before Israel reaches retirement age. As Israel faces the 65th anniversary of its founding next month, the arrival of the American president marks something of a crossroads in the history and the direction of the country.

Erdogan, this isn't Zionism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Dmitry Shumsky - (Opinion) March 12, 2013 - 12:00am

What did Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan mean when he recently compared Zionism to fascism and termed it a crime against humanity? He probably wanted to say that the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip, the one that citizens of his country sought to break when they boarded the Mavi Marmara ship are similar to the cruel, abusive acts of fascist states toward their own citizen-subjects.

Racists a handful of hooligans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Noah Klieger - (Opinion) March 12, 2013 - 12:00am

There is no need for me to stress my strong objection to racism of all kinds and types, especially violent racism against innocent civilians. The assault of the Arab woman, who arrived to console the bereaved at the home of her Jewish friend in Jerusalem, by Jewish girls or boys (Hilltop Youth-style) is indeed a serious incident. Clearly, the rioters must be punished and judged severely as soon as possible.

Palestinian unity hopes dim as Egyptian crisis grows
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Dalia Hatuqa - (Opinion) March 12, 2013 - 12:00am

The streets of Cairo have been seeing much action of late, as Egyptians rally against the government of President Mohammed Morsi. But even as that country's political landscape teeters, Palestinians have tried - fruitlessly it turns out - to make use of Egypt's reinvigorated role as a broker to reconcile Fatah and Hamas. Meetings in Cairo last month would have been hailed as a feat were it not for the fact that Palestinians have been witnessing the sad dance carried out for years between the two feuding factions: kiss and make up before exchanging blame.

Is Hamas Considering Recognition Of Israel?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Shlomi Eldar - (Analysis) March 11, 2013 - 12:00am

Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are busy preparing for President Barack Obama’s visit, but as it turns out, Hamas is also keeping a close watch on the American president’s visit.

What the city of Haifa taught me
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Arabiya
by Octavia Nasr - (Opinion) March 12, 2013 - 12:00am

It has crossed my mind on several occasions during my lifetime that Haifa is the city I could one day live in. Diverse, lively and has a great beach.

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