NEWS: Israel accuses foreign countries of “meddling” in its internal affairs. Hamas is showing signs of adjusting its positions and alignments in the wake of the Arab uprisings, and has agreed in principle to join the PLO. Israel and the PA are competing for tourist dollars. Hamas denies that Khalid Mashaal criticized Yousif al-Qaradawi's statements on Syria. The PA is planning a major desalinization plant for the Dead Sea. Israeli extremists say former PM Sharon's stroke was caused by the unilateral redeployment in Gaza. The State Department says statements at the UN aren't advancing the cause of peace. Israel issues a statement supporting resumed US aid to the PA. PM Netanyahu's office says it is “shocked” to find Pres. Abbas meeting in Turkey with some former Palestinian prisoners. American Charities for Palestine delivers $10,000 to support the work of the Four Homes of Mercy in Palestine. COMMENTARY: Amir Oren says Netanyahu is failing in his stated mission to “save Israel.” Natasha Mozgovaya looks at the political dynamics in the Jewish Reform movement. The Media Line says Palestinian patients are being treated by Israeli doctors, breaking down suspicions. Maura Judkis looks at the controversy over a pro-Palestinian art exhibit in Switzerland and Artinfo interviews Larissa Sansour, the artist in question. Jonathan Schanzer looks at how Hamas is responding to regional pressures. Barak Ravid says Netanyahu's links to Republican candidates and the US Christian far-right are intensifying. Roula Khalaf says everything about Egypt's foreign policy, including its relations with Israel, has been thrown into question. Ahmad Tibi says the world is beginning to understand the Palestinian need for statehood.

Tibi: World beginning to understand Palestinians' hopes for state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Richmond Times Dispatch
by Ahmad Tibi - (Opinion) December 22, 2011 - 1:00am

The arrogance of some American politicians and presidential candidates toward the Palestinians and Palestinian national aspirations is breathtaking. Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor stated, "If the Palestinians want to live in peace in a state of their own, they must demonstrate that they are worthy of a state." He appeared to hold all Palestinians responsible for the violence of a few.

Foreign relations: Everything has been thrown into question
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Roula Khalaf - (Opinion) December 22, 2011 - 1:00am

A senior Israeli official called in journalists for an unusual briefing this month. Arab societies were simply not mature enough to hold free and fair elections, declared Moshe Yaalon; they needed a long period of “education”. Mr Yaalon, a close aide to Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, did not specifically refer to Egypt. But it could not have been far from his mind, since the country had just voted for Islamist parties in the first round of its staggered parliamentary elections.

Netanyahu and the New (Old) Testament
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - (Opinion) December 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Some two months ago, the Prime Minister's Office received a request to arrange a conference call with some Jewish and Christian leaders. The proposal was to sponsor an event of a routine kind – Netanyahu gets on the line, gives a short briefing about the "situation," fires off some relevant advocacy points, and then answers questions, making a concerted effort not to supply fodder for headlines.

Hamas for Sale?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Weekly Standard
by Jonathan Schanzer - (Opinion) December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian news sources reported earlier this month that Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised $300 million to the Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas. If true, this pledge would cover nearly half of Hamas’s reported $769 million budget next year, and would make Turkey its primary benefactor. Hamas and Turkish officials deny the report, and Hamas probably won’t submit to an external audit any time soon. But let there be no doubt: Hamas is for sale, thanks to the Iranian nuclear program and the Arab Spring.

Artist Larissa Sansour Speaks Out About Her Ejection From the Lacoste Art Prize for Being "Too Pro-Palestinian"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from ARTINFO
by Arsalan Mohammed - (Analysis) December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

Politically-charged censorship or crisis-management gone horribly wrong? The tale of Palestinian multimedia artist Larissa Sansour's dramatic removal from the shortlist of the 2011 Lacoste Elysée Prize appears to have torpedoed the French luxury-goods brand's association with Lausanne institution Musée de l'Elysée, which on Wednesday evening announced that it was immediatley cancelling its partnership to host the €25,000 photography award, now only in its second year.

Lacoste Elysée Prize withdraws sponsorship of prize after Palestine controversy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Maura Judkis - (Analysis) December 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Update 2:30 p.m Lacoste has now withdrawn its sponsorship from the prize. In a press release, they announced: “In light of this situation and to avoid any misunderstanding, Lacoste has decided to cancel once and for all its participation in this event and its support to the Elysée Prize.” Read the company’s full statement at the end of the post. Original post:

The heart of the matter
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Arieh O'Sullivan - (Analysis) December 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Weakly, little Adam stares out from his crib, his dull, three-month-old eyes revealing the rough road life has been for him so far. He struggles to cough. He is a Palestinian infant from the West Bank who was born with a bad heart. But he’s been brought to a hospital in Israel for a life-saving operation – free of charge – by one of a number of humanitarian organizations that specialize in mending hearts.

U.S. Jewish reform movement is keeping faith young
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - (Opinion) December 22, 2011 - 1:00am

An Orthodox Jewish friend, who happened to visit over the weekend of the Union for Reform Judaism biennial in Maryland, observed half-jokingly that Reform Jews don't care much about tradition. "They do not want to work hard with keeping mitzvas, but they have so much Judaica stuff here that it's probably the thing their Jewish identity is based upon: nice crafts with Jewish flavor."

Netanyahu is failing in his mission to 'save Israel'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amir Oren - (Opinion) December 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu was always first. He was the first to understand the extent of the Carmel fire, only 45 minutes after the flames had consumed the bus carrying the prison service cadets. He was the first to publicize his glory with his very own announcement. And he was the first to understand that the self-aggrandizement had made him look ridiculous. Then he attacked the sycophants who had acted in his spirit.

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