NEWS: At least 8 Palestinian children are killed in a bus crash in the occupied West Bank. Israel again accuses Iran of being responsible for attacks, and attempted attacks, against its diplomats. Thai officials agree that Iran was trying to target Israeli diplomats. In a reversal, PM Netanyahu says sanctions against Iran are proving ineffective. Netanyahu visits Cyprus. Gaza's only power plant is shut down due to a shortage of smuggled fuel from Egypt. A Palestinian citizen of Israel journalist says she won't fly El Al again after the way she was searched on her last flight. The Obama administration is seeking a waiver on the prohibition of US funding of UNESCO following Palestine's admittance as a member. Significant rifts are developing between American and European umbrella Jewish organizations. A leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad held prisoner by Israel is reportedly near death due to a hunger strike. COMMENTARY: Fareed Zakaria says the idea that Israel and the United States have to act against a potentially nuclear Iran is wrong because deterrence works, but Benny Morris says they face a stark choice. George Hishmeh says troubling though the Syrian crisis is, the Israeli-Iranian imbroglio is potentially more dangerous to Middle Eastern stability. Osama Al Sharif says if Israel attacks Iran, it will be intentionally triggering a regional war, and may wish to do so. Ari Shavit says that recent developments mean that peace will be the result of a slow and grinding end to the occupation rather than diplomatic breakthroughs. Gideon Levy says both Israel and Iran are using terrorism, including against each other. The National says no one should jump to conclusions in the exchange of Iranian-Israeli accusations. Carlo Strenger says there are interesting parallels in the radicalization of both the Israeli and the American political right. Tamar Hermann says Israeli society is fragmented but not tribalist. Houriya Ahmed says the Hamas-Fatah deal might sideline PM Fayyad.

Moving backward in Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Houriya Ahmed - (Opinion) February 16, 2012 - 1:00am

After a year in which Arabs have fought and died for democracy, the Palestinian Territories seem to be the one place in the region where autocracy is on the ascendancy.

Israeli tribalism?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Tamar Hermann - (Opinion) February 16, 2012 - 1:00am

No doubt, Israeli society is highly fragmented. Here we have a new society composed of a Jewish majority, mostly first, second or--at best--third generation immigrants from numerous countries. Alongside it is a native Arab-Palestinian minority belonging to the national collective dispossessed by Israel's independence and perceived by the Jewish majority as its arch enemy. Together, they can hardly be expected to become a harmonious human fabric.

Israel's severe right wing syndrome
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) February 16, 2012 - 1:00am

Nobel laureate economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has recently published a column entitled Severely Conservative Syndrome, based on Mitt Romney’s recent pronouncement that he had been a "severely conservative governor." As Krugman points out, the term "severely" is generally used within the context of illnesses; and while Romney certainly did not consciously want to imply that conservatism was an illness, he certainly makes it sound that way.

Do not jump to conclusions in Iran-Israel row
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) February 16, 2012 - 1:00am

Israeli diplomats and Iranian nuclear scientists now have something in common: the danger of being killed by a magnetic car bomb. The technique has now been used against members of both groups. Israel denies involvement in such murders, the most recent one last month, of Iranian scientists. Iran denies responsibility for car-bombings this week against Israeli envoys in Tbilisi and Delhi. Men reportedly carrying Iranian identity papers were arrested after a botched magnet-bomb attack in Bangkok on Tuesday; Thai officials say Israeli diplomats were the intended targets.

Iran uses terror to target civilians, and so does Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) February 16, 2012 - 1:00am

A great miracle happened in Tbilisi, New Delhi and Bangkok, and alongside that miracle there was ineptitude that flies in the face of Iranian pretentions and ambitions. But the intentions were clear and grave: to take Israeli lives, especially diplomats and other official representatives of the state. That is terror.

Milestones along the road to a new Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Opinion) February 16, 2012 - 1:00am

The first basic assumption of the new peace is that, in the coming years, no Israeli-Palestinian peace deal will be signed. Of course, we must keep trying. Some secret diplomatic team must always be maintained to conduct hushed-up negotiations to check whether it is possible. But the working assumption is that, in the current strategic environment, there's no chance of resolving the problems of Jerusalem, the refugees or Hamas. Someday there will be peace, perhaps, but not in this decade.

Israel’s other reasons to bomb Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Osama Al-Sharif - (Opinion) February 15, 2012 - 1:00am

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta predicts that Israel will direct a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities “in April, May or June”, according to David Ignatius, the widely-circulated Washington Post columnist. In the view of many Western analysts, Israel has taken the decision to bomb Iran and is only waiting for an opportune time to direct its blow.

Israel a bigger concern
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) February 16, 2012 - 1:00am

The carnage under way in Syria, particularly in Homs, is reprehensible. The bloody conflict, which has so far cost the lives of some 7,000 people, threatens to precipitate a civil war in this key Arab state adjoining several other prominent countries in the Middle East. What it will take to bring about a cessation of hostilities in Syria is the 64,000-dollar question, as Americans would say. Despite the pleas of besieged Syrians, all attempts to end the crackdown on protesters have failed.

On Iran, a stark choice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Benny Morris - (Opinion) February 14, 2012 - 1:00am

Most people in the Arab world, according to opinion polls, believe that the Holocaust never happened, that it's a Jewish invention and trick to win the world's sympathy and support. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran is similarly minded; he has said so countless times.

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