December 21st

Only the IDF can get Israel to recognize 'Jewish terrorism'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - (Opinion) December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

The Ephraim region lieutenant commander, Lt. Col. Tzur Harpaz, is no mere senior officer. He is a lawmaker. The stone hurled at him by Jewish terrorists did no more than slightly crack the windows of the Knesset, but the babbling outcry of ministers and MKs, and the fact that they even debated the definition of Jewish terror, is yet more proof that any significant legislative changes, whether dealing with the state budget, the marginalization of women, terror, etc., must first make it through the IDF filter before it becomes a legitimate part of Israeli discourse.

Israeli officials escalate war of words with N.Y. Times
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israeli officials are stepping up their criticism of The New York Times, slamming columnist Thomas Friedman and arguing that the newspaper is an unfit venue for an Op-Ed from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a scathing letter first leaked last week to The Jerusalem Post, Ron Dermer, a top aide to Netanyahu, declined an invitation for the prime minister to write an Op-Ed for the Times. By way of explanation, Dermer cited what he alleged was the newspaper's anti-Israel tilt.

The 'Iranian Schindler' who saved Jews from the Nazis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Brian Wheeler - December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

Thousands of Iranian Jews and their descendants owe their lives to a Muslim diplomat in wartime Paris, according to a new book. In The Lion's Shadow tells how Abdol-Hossein Sardari risked everything to help fellow Iranians escape the Nazis. Eliane Senahi Cohanim was seven years old when she fled France with her family. She remembers clutching her favourite doll and lying as still as she could, pretending to be asleep, whenever their train came to a halt at a Nazi checkpoint.

Major Jewish donors stick with Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama is enjoying a 50% approval rate, according to a Washington Post-ABC poll published on Tuesday. The president should also be satisfied as top-level Jewish fundraisers from his 2008 campaign are sticking with him in 2012, Jewish newspaper Forward reported. According to the paper, despite reports that Obama faces a loss of Jewish funders due to his Middle East policy, analysis of a list of elite bundlers from his 2008 race shows no defections among the president’s top Jewish supporters in 2012.

Assad refuses to meet with Mashaal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

The majority of Hamas leaders have left Damascus and the tensions between the Palestinian movement and the Syrian regime have reached their peak, London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported Wednesday, quoting an Islamic source. According to the source, Syrian President Bashar Assad has refused to meet with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal after the latter called for reforms in Syria following the oppression of opposition protestors. The source noted that apart from Mashaal, the movement's leaders have left Syria in favor of several countries.

Official: Israel unprepared for wartime
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — The Israeli government's watchdog agency says the country is short on bomb shelters and is ill-prepared to protect its citizens in case of war. The state comptroller's annual report, published in part on Tuesday, says Israel has not learned the lessons from the 2006 Lebanon war, when dozens of Israeli civilians were killed by Hezbollah rockets.

Israel to restore clean water to Jordan River
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

ALUMOT DAM, Israel — Israel has pledged to release about 1 billion cubic feet of water to restore the biblical Jordan River. Israel, Syria and Jordan have diverted nearly all of the river's fresh water. The trickle that remains is mostly raw sewage. Last year, Israel began building a $106 million complex to remove the sewage water and treat it for agricultural use. But that would have left the river dry. In a statement, Environment Minister Gilad Erdan promised to start replacing the sewage with clean water in 2013, saying it will "allow life to return to the river."

PA sign free trade agreement with Mercosur
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority signed a free trade agreement on Tuesday with South American trading bloc Mercosur. Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki signed the deal in Montevideo as Palestinian Authority representative and thanked Mercosur, composed of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, for recognizing Palestine as an independent nation, MercoPress reported. The free trade agreement has been negotiated for the past year and represents the first such deal between Palestine and a bloc of nations outside of the Middle East.

UN Security Council members criticize Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- Most members of the UN Security Council voiced deep concerns on Tuesday about the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and criticized Israel for pressing ahead with the construction of new settlements. Council members were reacting to a briefing by UN assistant secretary-general for political affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, who told them the search for peace "remained elusive in a context of tensions on the ground, deep mistrust between the parties and volatile regional dynamics."

Hamas: Factions agree on 6 reconciliation steps in Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Wednesday that Palestinian factions have reached agreement on six steps to be taken as part of ongoing reconciliation talks. In a statement received by Ma'an, Barhoum said that a committee composed of nine members has been formed to take charge of elections. The committee will be headed by Dr. Hanna Nasser, chairman of the Palestinian Authority's Central Elections Commission, and former president of Birzeit university.

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