Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: A Palestinian protester shot two weeks ago by Israeli troops at a protest in the occupied West Bank has died of his wounds. (AP) An East Jerusalem woman is injured by rubber bullets fired by Israeli border police. (Ha'aretz) The prisoner issue continues to inflame Palestinian public opinion. (Reuters) Palestinian officials say they have no intention of reviving peace talks with Israel before Pres. Obama's visit later this month. (Xinhua) The closure of smuggling tunnels by Egypt hits Gaza construction projects and businesses. (Reuters) Israeli occupation forces arrest two Palestinians in West Bank raids. (Ma'an) Pres. Abbas and senior Fatah leaders express condolences on the death of Pres. Chavez. (PNN/Ma'an) Palestinians accuse Israeli occupation forces of harassing women at a Jerusalem holy site. (PNN) Israel's police commissioner describes the wave of attacks against ordinary Palestinians as "despicable." (YNet) A Jewish American pro-Palestinian activist is denied entry to Israel. (Ha'aretz) The Israeli government agrees to dismantle four "unauthorized" settlement outposts. (Ha'aretz) Israel is continuing to maintain separate roads for settlers and Palestinians in occupied Hebron. (YNet) Pres. Obama will not speak at the Knesset during his upcoming visit to Israel. (Jerusalem Post) Sweden becomes the ninth European country to upgrade the Palestinian mission to the status of embassy. (AFP)

COMMENTARY: Nabila Ramdani says Hamas squandered a great opportunity by banning women from running in a Gaza marathon, resulting in its cancellation. (The Guardian) Gideon Levy says the atmosphere in Israel created by PM Netanyahu's tenure in office is responsible for the wave of attack against ordinary Palestinians. (Ha'aretz) J. J. Goldberg looks at the decline in Netanyahu's political fortunes. (Daily Beast/Open Zion) Liam Hoare says Obama should address the Israeli public from Rabin Square. (The Forward) Efraim Halevy says Israel and Hamas are increasingly realizing they can provide each other with mutually-beneficial short-term arrangements. (The New Republic) Former Secretary of State Baker says informal representatives from Gaza could help Western and Israeli communications with Hamas. (Al Arabiya) Chemi Shalev says AIPAC is an impressive organization, but has a natural right-wing tendency. (Ha'aretz) Samuel Lebens says if diaspora Jews can't be critical of Israeli policies, they can't be successful in the battle of ideas. (Ha'aretz) Adnan Abu Amer says PM Erdogan is becoming increasingly popular among Palestinians. (Al Monitor) Douglas Bloomfield says Obama will promote, but not push hard for, peace. (Jerusalem Post),/p>

Palestinians: Protester dies of wounds
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

The family of a Palestinian man who was shot in the head two weeks ago by Israeli troops says he has died of his wounds. Palestinians say the 22-year-old Mohammed Asfour was struck in the head by a rubber-coated bullet during an anti-Israel demonstration in the West Bank on Feb. 22. The crowd had been demonstrating in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held by Israel when clashes erupted. Asfour's cousin, Thaer Shalatwa, says his skull was fractured and he had been suffering from bleeding in the brain.

East Jerusalem woman wounded by Israeli Border Police fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - March 6, 2013 - 1:00am

An East Jerusalem woman sustained a serious injury to her jaw last week from a foam-tipped plastic bullet fired by a Border Police officer in an incident whose particulars are in dispute. According to a police spokesman the incident, in the East Jerusalem village of Silwan, began when one young woman was arrested by the Border Police. He said residents began throwing rocks at the arresting officers from nearby rooftops, in response to which “the forces fired three foam-tipped bullets.” But residents insist that no rocks were thrown at the officers.

INSIGHT-Palestinian street boils at plight of prisoners
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Noah Browning - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

In a sprawling Israeli prison, Palestinian activist Hassan Karajeh sat through a hurried court hearing in a language he didn't understand under the authority of a military occupation he and his people reject. The translator in the cramped portacabin-turned-courtroom seldom bothered to relay the military judge's words, and the tall, bearded detainee spent most of the time whispering to his family and blowing kisses to his young fianc?e.

Palestinian leadership not to revive peace talks before Obama's visit: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 6, 2013 - 1:00am

The Palestinian leadership has no intentions to revive peace talks with Israel ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's Middle East trip this month, a Palestinian official said Wednesday. "The Palestinian-U.S. contacts to prepare for Obama's visit were limited to explaining the Palestinian position and the requirements of resuming peace process," said Mohammed Ishteya, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team.

Egypt's tunnel closures hit Gaza builders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal al-Mughrabi - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

Business was booming for Gaza brick-maker Yasser Qreqea, until neighboring Egypt shut down smuggling tunnels across its border that were funneling arms to militants in the territory and cement and other basic goods to everyone else. Overnight the price of building materials soared in the Gaza Strip, hitting Qreqea's key customers and, industry sources said, slowing the construction of apartments, roads and houses across the enclave run by Hamas.

Israel arrests 2 Palestinians in West Bank raids
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

The Israeli army detained at least six Palestinians from cities and towns across the occupied West Bank early Wednesday, relatives and security officials said. Soldiers raided the house of 20-year-old Walid Mohammed Ajouli in the village of Qaffin north of Tulkarem, detaining him on the scene. The detainee’s family said Walid had heart problems. An army spokeswoman said six Palestinians were detained overnight.

Abbas Offers Condolences to Venezuela over Chavez's Death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Palestine News Network
March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

On Wednesday 7th March, President Mahmoud Abbas mourned the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and offered his condolences to the Venezuelan people and government on behalf of the Palestinians, Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported. Abbas said, in a statement, that the Palestinians had lost a friend who passionately defended their right to freedom.

Fatah mourns death of Venezuela's Chavez
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 6, 2013 - 1:00am

A top Fatah leader expressed Palestine's condolences early Wednesday after learning of the death of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. “Palestine says good bye to a loyal friend who passionately defended our right to freedom and self determination. His contribution to the cause of dignity had no borders and reached the hearts and minds of the Arab World,” Nabil Shaath said in an emailed statement.

Israeli Soldiers Assault Palestinians, Remove Woman's Veil at Al-Aqsa Mosque
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Palestine News Network
March 6, 2013 - 1:00am

On Wednesday 6th March, Al-Aqsa Association for Waqf and Heritage said in a press statement that Israeli settlers and soldiers stormed al-Aqsa mosque and assaulted several Palestinian worshipers in clashes erupted at the mosque's courtyards. Eyewitnesses said that a group of settlers raided the mosque, and the Palestinian women worshipers started following them and chanting "Allah Akbar, "God is the Greatest" as a way to protest the raid. The soldiers suppressed the protest and tried to arrest one of the women.

Police chief: Wave of attacks on Arabs 'despicable'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Omri Efraim - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino called the wave of nationalistically-motivated assaults across Israel a "despicable and criminal" phenomenon.

Israel denies entry to pro-Palestinian American Jew
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

A Jewish-American pro-Palestinian activist who is married to an Israeli woman was not allowed to enter the country with his pregnant wife. An Israeli court rejected his petition to cancel the order against his entry Tuesday, and he is expected to be put on a plane back to the United States Wednesday night. Adam Shapiro, 41, and his wife Huwaida Arraf, 37, are among the founders of the International Solidarity Movement and have worked on behalf of the Palestinian cause for over a decade. Arraf has both American and Israeli citizenship.

Israel agrees to demolish four West Bank outpost structures immediately
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

The state is planning to demolish four structures erected at the Sde Boaz outpost "as soon as possible," including a paved access road, built on Palestinian-owned land.

Hebron: Separate roads for Jews, Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - March 6, 2013 - 1:00am

The segregated Jewish-Palestinian bus lines offered by the Afikim bus company in the West Bank have caused quite the stir recently, but this division has already been effective in Hebron for years.

Obama will not address Knesset during upcoming visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Lahav Harkov - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

US President Barack Obama will not speak in the Knesset on his visit to Israel later this month, a senior Knesset source said on Wednesday. According to the source, requests for Obama to address the Israeli people in its representative body were rejected, and the Knesset is not preparing for him to give a speech in the plenum. Obama plans to visit Israel on March 20.

Hamas's ban on women running Gaza marathon is a missed opportunity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Nabila Ramdani - March 6, 2013 - 1:00am

Anyone who takes part in a long-distance run knows there will be plenty of problems to overcome, but the Gaza marathon was always going to be in an endurance class of its own. When I registered for this year's race, my concerns were certainly less about my personal training schedule than about global conflict. The length of the blighted Palestinian territory is slightly shorter than the 26 miles and 385 yards required for an official marathon course, making its densely packed population particularly vulnerable to military action by its neighbour Israel.

Netanyahu’s violent fingerprint
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu’s children attacked an Arab cleaning man on the seaside promenade in Tel Aviv and caused him serious injuries. They attacked an Arab waiter in a Tel Aviv restaurant with chairs and their fists. They attacked an Arab from Upper Nazareth at the shore of Lake Kinneret because they heard him speaking Arabic. Netanyahu’s children waved hate-filled signs against Muslim players of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team and set fire to its clubhouse.

How Bibi Stopped Being King
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) March 6, 2013 - 1:00am

In her seminal 1969 treatise On Death and Dying, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five stages of grief typically experienced by individuals facing tragedy: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. Benjamin Netanyahu lately appears to have reached Stage 3 as he struggles to digest the electoral battering his Likud-Beiteinu bloc suffered January 22 and tries to assemble a new governing coalition from the wreckage. He went through denial and anger. Now he’s bargaining.

Why Barack Obama Must Go to Rabin Square
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Liam Hoare - (Opinion) March 7, 2013 - 1:00am

When President Obama’s itinerary for his upcoming Israel trip was leaked to the press, it appeared to be noticeably safe. It is true that Obama will make a number of important gestures during the visit, chief among them laying wreathes in the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem, as well as on the graves of Theodor Herzl and Yitzhak Rabin. But over the course of his 48-hour stay, Obama will remain mostly in Jerusalem, leaving only to have coffee with Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and to visit an Iron Dome battery.

The (Very) Quiet Peace Talks Between Israel and Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New Republic
by Efraim Halevy - (Opinion) March 6, 2013 - 1:00am

The recent news out of the Middle East has been grim. But, if there's an atmosphere of pessimism in the international press, that's because the real story hasn't been earning any attention—intentionally so. We can all read about Hamas's daily maligning of Israel, and its promises to put an end to Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land, just as we can read about Israeli officials continuing to demand that Hamas recognize the right of Israel (including Jerusalem) to exist, knowing full well that no devout Muslim has ever done so, or can ever do so.

Hamas as ‘terrorist’ organization hampers peace process: James Baker
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Arabiya
March 5, 2013 - 1:00am

One solution to promote peace between Palestinians and Israelis is to have non-Hamas members from the Gaza Strip negotiating peace, a former U.S. official told Al Arabiya. “Israel and the United States will not work with Hamas because it is seen to be a terrorist organization,” James Baker, who served as the Chief of Staff in the final year of the administration of President George H.W. Bush said.

AIPAC is an awe-inspiring organization, but the right-wing tilt is in its DNA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chemi Shalev - (Opinion) March 6, 2013 - 1:00am

Regardless of one’s political convictions - whether you believe Israel is warmonger or peace seeker, aggressor or defender, victim or victimizer, hero or villain, sinner or saint – the Annual AIPAC Policy Conference is a sight to be seen, a pageant to behold, a formidable spectacle that cannot be ignored.

To win the war of opinions, Zionists must be critical friends of Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Samuel Lebens - (Opinion) March 5, 2013 - 1:00am

The well-known columnist Melanie Philips once argued that there is a basic inconsistency between claiming to be a friend of Israel while engaging in public criticism of its government. She calls it “self-destructive stupidity”. I assume that Philips will agree that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a friend of Israel even when he was a very vocal leader of the opposition, vocally criticizing Israeli government policy. So what did she actually mean?

Erdogan Wins Palestinian Hearts and Minds
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Adnan Abu Amer - (Opinion) March 6, 2013 - 1:00am

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn't need to declare a connection between Zionism and racism to gain popularity among Palestinians.

Obama is promoting, not proposing, peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) March 6, 2013 - 1:00am

resident Barack Obama plans to go to the Middle East in two weeks, and the Israeli Left and the Palestinians are praying he’ll be bringing an American peace initiative. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Israeli Right are praying he won’t. Even if he wanted to, President Obama knows another US peace push wouldn’t work. All the rhetoric aside – and it really is little more than rhetoric – neither side is interested in, much less ready for, serious peace talks.

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