Romney Versus the World Bank
In Print by Hussein Ibish - The Daily Beast (Opinion) - July 30, 2012 - 12:00am

Republican candidate Mitt Romney's visit to Israel was marked by a series of largely boilerplate comments about the special relationship between the United States and Israel. And, like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he almost entirely avoided the question of peace and the two-state solution, preferring to focus on the threat posed by Iran's nuclear weapons. In his speech in Jerusalem, the word “Palestinian” did not once cross his lips.

NEWS: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's trip to Israel raises funds and many questions given his controversial remarks. Romney's trip provokes controversy in Washington and Ramallah. Israelis express concern that their country is becoming a partisan issue in US politics. The White House reiterates that the status of Jerusalem will be determined through negotiations. China also criticizes remarks by Romney. DM Barak downplays the risk of Syrian chemical weapons and praises Pres. Obama's support for Israel's security. Sources say Hamas leader Misha'al is likely to remain head of the Politburo. PM Fayyad holds Israel responsible for the shooting of a Palestinian man at an Israeli checkpoint. Knesset Speaker Rivlin says he doesn't want to draft Palestinian citizens of Israel into the military. An MK says PM Netanyahu must “unmask” Israeli espionage in the United States. Israeli government spending on settlements has increased 38% under Netanyahu. COMMENTARY: The New York Times is critical of Romney's performance in Israel, while the Jerusalem Post praises it. Hussein Ibish says Romney's talk of "culture" and “providence” as Palestinian economic determinants are at odds with last week's World Bank report which primarily blames the occupation. Bernard Avishai gives Romney some basic facts on the Palestinian economy. Ben Sales says Romney's Israel remarks illustrate the fading of the Palestinian issue and David Hazony says it shows Israel's rising power. The Daily Star says Romney is "selling his soul" for campaign funds. Akiva Eldar says the Israeli state's reluctance to enforce a court-ordered eviction of settlers is part of a long pattern. Yaakov Katz says Israel is hoping to achieve something tangible from Sec. Panetta's visit this week. Gershon Baskin says Israelis are living in denial about the conflict and the occupation. Shawan Jabarin says increasing authoritarianism from the PA weakens resistance to Israel.

Israeli spending on West Bank settlements up 38%
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - July 31, 2012 - 12:00am

Israeli government spending on West Bank settlements has increased by 38% under prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, according to official figures disclosed as the cabinet voted to implement an austerity package of tax increases and budget cuts. According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, obtained by the business newspaper Calcalist, spending on Jewish settlements in the West Bank was 1.1bn shekels (£160m) in 2011, up from 0.8bn the previous two years. The overall state budget increased by 2.7% in 2011, Calcalist reported.

MK: Netanyahu must 'unmask' US spying on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Hoffman - July 31, 2012 - 12:00am

If US President Barack Obama does not commute the life sentence of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard by the November 6 US election, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should expose American efforts to spy on Israel, National Union MK Arieh Eldad said Tuesday at a Knesset State Control Committee meeting monitoring progress in efforts to bring about Pollard's release.

Rivlin comes out against Arab draft
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hassan Shaalan - July 30, 2012 - 12:00am

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Monday came out against the call to enlist Arabs to the IDF during a Ramadan feast in Kafr Qara. "Any sensible person understands that one cannot draft the Arab sector," he said. "Any such call is tinted with hypocrisy and even malevolence."

Fayyad: Israel to blame for checkpoint killing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
July 31, 2012 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Monday blamed the Israeli government for the shooting of a 46-year-old Palestinian at a checkpoint near Jerusalem. Israeli border police opened fire at a Palestinian vehicle at a checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem shortly after midnight on Monday, killing Hasan Omar and wounding two other passengers, Palestinian officials and an Israeli police spokesman said.

Hamas to keep Mashaal as head of politburo: sources
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
July 31, 2012 - 12:00am

Hamas is going to assign a new office term for its political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal after the Palestinian Islamic movement completed its internal elections, sources said Tuesday. The movement finished the polls in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Israeli prisons, the sources said, adding that elections in Diaspora should end within days and then the name of the politburo chief would be announced.

Barak endorses Barack, touts US security support
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - July 31, 2012 - 12:00am

In what appears like a clear endorsement of a presidential candidate, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday night that Barack Obama has been the most supportive president on matters of Israeli security throughout the two countries' diplomatic relations. In an interview aired late Monday night on CNN, Barak told Wolf Blitzer that the Obama administration’s support of Israeli defense and intelligence establishments was far greater than under any other administration he remembered working with since and including President Jimmy Carter.

The PA's West Bank abuses weaken resistance to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Shawan Jabarin - (Opinion) July 31, 2012 - 12:00am

In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, there is little faith in the principles of human rights. Notions of justice, accountability and international law mean too little to too many.

Israel's Barak plays down Syrian chemical arms risk
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Dan Williams - July 30, 2012 - 12:00am

Israel played down on Monday the risk from Syria's chemical weapons, in what appeared to be a new tack after threats to take military action to prevent the arsenal falling into Islamist hands. Israel has been particularly worried that Hezbollah, the Iranian-inspired Shiite militia in neighbouring Lebanon, may gain access to the weapons should Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's grip slip amid a 16-month-old insurgency. Israel's warnings on this spread war fears and bumped up demand for government-issued gas masks.

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