Newspaper Review: Abbas’ Meeting with Merkel in Berlin Focus of Dailies

RAMALLAH, April 20, 2016 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas’ meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin hit the front page headlines in Palestinian dailies.

Abbas was reported in al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida as calling for a broad participation of all international players in the French-proposed international Middle East peace conference in order to reach a political solution.

Merkel was reported in al-Quds and al-Ayyam as expressing her support for the French initiative to hold an international Middle East peace conference.

She was also reported in al-Ayyam as stressing the need for a halt of Israeli settlement construction.

The theme of the conviction of the ringleader of beating and burning alive a Palestinian teenager in July 2014 also hit the front page headlines in the dailies.

The three dailies reported that Israeli settler Yosef Ben-David was convicted for kidnapping, murdering and burning alive Mohammad Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem.

Al-Ayyam added that an Israeli court finally ruled that Ben-David was fully sane at the time he perpetrated the murder two years after putting his conviction on hold while deciding his sanity plea.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported Mohammad’s father as demanding that Israel demolish Ben-David’s house in line with the official Israeli policy of punitive demolitions of houses of Palestinians accused of killing Israelis.

The theme of Palestinian demonstrations in protest of the Palestinian cabinet’s approval of the Social Security Law also hit the front page headlines in the dailies.

Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida reported that thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in front of the Council of Ministers’ headquarters in Ramallah demanding that the law be suspended ]for failing to provide adequate protection for workers[.

The three dailies added that following demonstrations, the Council of Ministers has formed and tasked a ministerial committee with reviewing some of the items of the proposed law.

Furthermore, al-Quds reported that Qatari Ambassador Mohammed Al-Emadi signed a US$20 million package of new projects in the Gaza Strip.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was reported in al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida as pleading that the current US Administration would seek to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while it remains in office.

Responding to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks vowing to keep forever occupied Golan Heights under Israeli sovereignty, High Representative of the European Union Federica Mogherini was reported as reminding that “the EU recognizes Israel within its pre-1967 borders.”