Newspaper Review: PLO Council’s Meeting, Netanyahu’s Speech Focus of Dailies

RAMALLAH, March 4, 2015 (WAFA) – The Palestine Liberation Organization Central Council’s meeting scheduled to take place Tuesday and the speech delivered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the US Congress hit the front page headlines in the Palestinian Arabic dailies.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported on the PLO’s Central Council is expected to take important decisions during its meeting.

It highlighted in this regard that 17 Palestinian officials were prevented by Israeli occupation authorities from entering the West Bank via the Erez crossing in order to attend the meeting.

Al-Ayyam reported in this respect that 11 items are placed on the PLO Central Council’s meeting agenda and that some Western political circles expressed hopes that the council would ‘delay’ ]taking any major decisions pertaining to redefining PA’s relation with Israel[ until upcoming Israeli elections.

It reported on jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi who called on the council to agree on a new national strategy to be later adopted.

While al-Hayat al-Jadida and al-Ayyam highlighted the PLO Central Council’s meeting in their main news item, al-Quds opted to highlight Netanyahu’s US Congress speech.

It reported that Netanyahu demanded the US Congress to reject the emerging nuclear deal with Iran, describing the deal as ‘so bad’.

It further quoted US President Barack Obama stating in response: “There was nothing new” [in Netanyahu’s speech[, and that Netanyahu “didn’t offer any viable alternatives.”

It also quoted Democratic House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi slamming the speech as “an insult to the intelligence of the US.”

The three dailies reported that President Mahmoud Abbas presided over the PLO Executive Committee’s meeting and received an invitation to attend the Arab summit.

Al-Quds quoted senior Hamas leader Isma‘il Haniyeh as saying that his group was holding contacts with the Egyptian authorities in hopes of rectifying the recent Egyptian court ruling designating Hamas as a ‘terrorist organization’.

It further reported that the so-called Coordinator of Israeli Government Activities in the Palestinian Territories has doubled the water supply allocated to Gaza, increasing it from 5 to 10 million cubic meters.

Covering daily Israeli forces’ practices in the West Bank, it further reported that several Palestinians were shot and injured during clashes with Israeli military and as a result of settlers’ attacks.

It was also reported in this regard that 12 Palestinians, including four schoolboys, were detained.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida noted that one of the four schoolboys was detained for possessing a compass and slammed their detention as a ‘moral decline’.

Covering the debt the Palestinian Power Company owes to the Israeli Electric Company, al-Quds reported that the Palestinian cabinet doubts the amount of the debt.

Al-Ayyam further reported that Hamas has called Abbas to issue a decree setting a date for the upcoming elections.