Newspapers review: Secret Aqaba summit, funding of settlement outposts focus of dailies

RAMALLAH, February 21, 2017 (WAFA) – The regional peace plan rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the February 2016 secret summit in Aqaba and the Israeli government’s funding of settlement outposts hit the front page headlines in the three Palestinian Arabic dailies.

Al-Quds said as part of the Aqaba peace plan, the US offered to recognize construction within West Bank settlement blocs. In return, Israel had to offer facilities for Palestinians and adopt a positive attitude toward the Arab Peace Initiative.

Al-Ayyam said in this regard Netanyahu offered a regional plan that supported settlement construction and did not recognize the two-state solution.

The three dailies said Israel diverted public treasury funds worth of millions of Shekels in direct support for settlement outposts across the West Bank.

The dailies added that Israel is building and expanding settlement industrial zones to deepen control of the West Bank.

On the other hand, al-Ayyam highlighted the demolition of a water pipeline and detention raids in its main front page news item.

The dailies, including al-Ayyam, said Israeli bulldozers demolished a water pipeline running between the Palestinian Bedouin communities of Atoof and Khirbet al-Hadidiya in the northern Jordan Valley.

They added that Israeli bulldozers demolished water well in the northern West Bank district of Salfit.

Al-Quds said Israeli forces demolished a caravan during a raid into the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, northeast of Jerusalem.

Al-Quds reported on Netanyahu’s first visit to Australia, scheduled on Wednesday, is met with protests.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam said former deputy speaker of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, Moshe Feiglin and dozens of Israeli Jewish settlers stormed East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

President Mahmoud Abbas’ meeting with a delegation of Democratic National Community Party of Arabs in Israel was reported in al-Hayat al-Jadida and al-Quds. It said that Abbas emphasized the important role of the Palestinians in Israel in enriching communication and empowering the possibilities of peace.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida also reported on a statement by Azzam al-Ahmad, Fatah Central Committee Member, who said “We [Fatah members] will not become hostage to the Palestinian division and we are waiting for Hamas’ response to the Palestinian National Council.”