NEWS: The underperformance of PM Netanyahu's factions in the Israeli elections is seen as a rebuke by voters. Political novice Lapid is widely viewed as the big winner in the vote, with 19 seats, and as the new kingmaker. Palestinians say they are planning new outreach to the Israeli public, and say any new Israeli government should be evaluated according to its policies. A 21-year-old Palestinian woman is shot and killed by occupation forces near Hebron, and a teenage girl dies of her wounds in Bethlehem. Hamas officials say they agree Pres. Abbas can head a new unity government. Abbas says he is willing to talk to any Israeli government that recognizes Palestinian statehood. COMMENTARY: Tom Friedman suggests a series of steps, including on Israeli-Palestinian issues, for the incoming Secretary of State. Crispian Balmer thinks the close vote in Israel may constrain Netanyahu's foreign policy options, assuming he remains PM. Jack Khoury says Israel's Arab citizens can't help but feel they've lost an opportunity in this election. Amos Harel says Israel's new government will probably have two priorities: the role of the ultra-Orthodox in society and Iran. Aluf Benn explains why, as he predicted, political newcomer Lapid outperformed expectations while Netanyahu underperformed them. Jeffrey Goldberg asks if the results can help the peace process. Raja Shehadeh says the election means little for most Palestinians. Ron Kampeas says Pres. Obama is likely to see more Israeli support for a two-state solution in the results. The National says the vote shows an ambivalent Israeli public, which offers opportunities for the Palestinians. Faisal Al Yafai worries that Israelis and Palestinians are too divided internally to make agreements with each other. Zvika Krieger says Israel's next election will be more important than this one.

The Three Men Who Could Save Israel's Center-Left
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Zvika Krieger - (Opinion) January 23, 2013 - 1:00am


The peace process wanders leaderless among delusions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Opinion) January 23, 2013 - 1:00am

  The Palestinians and Israelis have had enough of each other. Over the decades, the two populations have tired of the inability of their leaders to find solutions to what ought to be relatively straightforward questions: how to right the wrongs of the past and live together in the future. The problem is that each population is telling itself stories that have little basis in reality.

Israeli vote reveals political weakness
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) January 23, 2013 - 1:00am

  Jobs, rent and food: these are the issues that sent Israelis to the polls this week. The occupation of Palestinian lands on their doorstep and the uprisings that are reshaping the entire region were largely ignored. But the ostrich with its head stuck in the sand is hardly in a position of strength.

Obama’s likely takeaway from Israeli election: More two-state advocates
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - (Opinion) January 23, 2013 - 1:00am

  With the Israeli election results split evenly between the right-wing bloc and everyone else, no one in Washington is ready to stake their reputation on what the outcome means for the U.S.-Israel relationship and the Middle East.

Israel's elections mean little to most Palestinians – with good reason
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Raja Shehadeh - (Opinion) January 23, 2013 - 1:00am


Will Israel’s Election Help the Peace Process?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Jeffrey Goldberg - (Opinion) January 23, 2013 - 1:00am


Why Netanyahu failed and Lapid surprised
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Opinion) January 23, 2013 - 1:00am

  Benjamin Netanyahu’s election campaign failed because he had nothing much to say. The world-champion orator, king of political survivors, lost his connection to the public mid-term and has been coasting ever since, in the absence of a serious challenger. He did not offer any hope to Israelis, he conducted a pathetic campaign and, instead of issuing a platform, made do with promising to be a "strong prime minister."

Israel's new, post-election agenda: first the ultra-Orthodox, then Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - (Opinion) January 23, 2013 - 1:00am

  In the past decades, the general understanding on the political scene was that Israeli elections are determined, above all, by voters’ sense of personal security.

For Arabs, success of Israeli elections is mingled with regret
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury - (Opinion) January 22, 2013 - 1:00am

  Arab parties summed up the elections with a mixed feeling of success and a missed opportunity. A final appraisal will be possible only after the soldiers' votes are counted and we know whether the United Arab List-Ta'al will hang on to their fifth seat, and if Hadash and Balad will keep their current tallies of four and three MKs respectively.

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