Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Washington Post notes that even if he left the Palestinian presidency, Mahmoud Abbas holds several other powerful posts. A new poll suggests that a large majority of Palestinians want him to change his mind, as large crowds in the occupied West Bank were urging over the weekend. The election commission says it has no plans to delay the scheduled January elections. On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, nonviolent protesters from the village of Ni'lin tear down a section of Israel's separation barrier. An influential rabbi publishes a new book saying Jews may kill any Gentile who "threatens" Israel. Rep. Eric Cantor says attitudes are changing towards Israel in Congress. A number of commentaries from the Arab press analyze Abbas' move. In the Guardian, Hussein Ibish argues his speech was a complex set of messages and a warning, not a resignation.

Abbas may give up office, but not control
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas may follow through on his vow this week not to run for reelection. But that hardly means he'll fade from the limelight. Even if his term expires in January -- and there is little certainty that a vote for his successor will be held as scheduled -- Abbas holds three other titles that would continue to make him the most influential figure in Palestinian political life and the most important leader in any peace initiative with Israel.

Poll: Majority want Abbas to run in election
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

A majority of Palestinians oppose President Mahmoud Abbas’ stated decision not to seek another term in elections he recently called, according to an opinion poll released on Sunday. The poll, conducted by the Ramallah-based firm Near East Consulting, 62% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza said they are opposed to Abbas’ decision, which he made public on Thursday.

Elections commission: No plans to delay vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

The Central Elections Commission denied news reports on Sunday regarding its intentions to delay the election date for Palestinian Legislative Council and the presidential elections set for January 2010. The commission confirmed in a statement that it remains committed to the date appointed by President Mahmoud Abbas for 24 January 2010, adding that it lacks the authority to change the presidential decree that was issued by the President, proclaiming the forthcoming elections.

Twenty years after Berlin, Palestinians crack Israel's wall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Marking the 20th anniversary since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Palestinians tore down a section of Israel's wall in the West Bank village of Ni'lin on Friday. During a weekly protest against the barrier, which cuts through the Ramallah-area village's center and isolates residents from 60 percent of their farmland, some 300 demonstrators methodically dismantled a concrete section before Israeli forces opened fire.

Palestinian sources: Abbas plans to quit before elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in private meetings in recent days that he intends to resign from his post in the near future, Palestinian sources told Haaretz. The remarks come after Thursday's announcement that he would not seek reelection as Palestinian president.

Abbas wants Obama guarantee for East Jerusalem freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

If Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas makes good on his declaration that he won't run in the upcoming Palestinian presidential election, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and his entire cabinet would resign, top Palestinian officials predicted yesterday.

West Bank rabbi: Jews can kill Gentiles who threaten Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Just weeks after the arrest of alleged Jewish terrorist, Yaakov Teitel, a West Bank rabbi on Monday released a book giving Jews permission to kill Gentiles who threaten Israel. Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro, who heads the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the Yitzhar settlement, wrote in his book "The King's Torah" that even babies and children can be killed if they pose a threat to the nation. Shapiro based the majority of his teachings on passages quoted from the Bible, to which he adds his opinions and beliefs.

Abbas: I don't know what Israel wants
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that Israel had done nothing to promote peace. "It appears they do not want peace, and they don't want to stop settlement, and they don't want the vision of two-states, so I don't know what they want," he said, addressing a small crowd outside the presidential palace in Bethlehem. "We must remain believers in peace," he added, speaking in a car park which still bears the track marks of Israel tanks stationed there during the Intifada, or uprising, which swept the Palestinian territories in 2000.

Abbas claims Israel doesn't want peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh, Tovah Lazaroff - November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel does not want peace, does not want to stop settlement construction and does not want the two-state solution, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday. Addressing supporters during a rare visit to Bethlehem and Hebron, Abbas said that the Palestinians would not make any additional concessions and would continue to demand their rights. "I don't know what the Israelis want," he said. "They must start thinking about what needs to be done if they really want peace."

'US attitude to Israel may be changing'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

A leading Republican congressman warned that the climate toward Israel on Capitol Hill could be changing, ahead of his address to a major Jewish conference Sunday. "The possibility is there," US House of Representatives Minority Whip Eric Cantor told The Jerusalem Post, speaking about the prospect that Congress's support for Israel could be ebbing.

Abbas's mixed messages
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

The recent announcement by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas that he would not seek a second term in office or run in elections has prompted considerable speculation, even confusion, around the world. His decisions contains much ambiguity while conveying different messages to different parties at the same time.

Arab echoes of grassroots protest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Craig Nelson - November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

If Gamal Abdel Nasser, the late president of Egypt and legendary champion of Arab nationalism, had risen from his grave during the heady days of November 1989, he would have rubbed his eyes in disbelief. The stirring on the streets of Prague, Berlin and Bucharest not only spelled the end to the “enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend” politics that Nasser had mastered in playing off the rival superpowers against each other, it was a sharp break with the sweeping pan-Arab nationalism that Nasser espoused and the top-down political style he practised.

Abbas move seen as gamble with US
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

If nothing else, Mahmoud Abbas spurred a flurry of reaction and speculation about the future of the struggle for Palestinian statehood after he stated his desire in a speech on Thursday not to run again for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority. Fatah supporters rallied across the West Bank on Friday to urge him to reconsider, while Palestinian leaders from both within and outside his own party closed ranks around him. Further afield, Arab, European and Turkish officials have expressed their hope that Mr Abbas might yet be persuaded otherwise.

Thousands in West Bank Urge Abbas Not to Quit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Thousands of Palestinians turned out in the West Bank Sunday to urge Mahmoud Abbas to run again for the presidency following his announcement that he did not want a second term in the job. Waving flags, Abbas supporters greeted the president as he conducted a rare tour of towns in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, part of the territories where the Palestinians aim to establish a state. "Mahmoud Abbas, don't step down! You are the foundation," chanted the crowd. The Fatah movement, which Abbas heads, had called for participation in the show of support.

Netanyahu Has Succeeded at Subjugating the US Yet Again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - (Opinion) November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

There is an increasing need for unusual ideas and strategies during this delicate phase of dwindling hope for progress in the Middle East peace process, in light of increasing Israeli arrogance, rising Iranian sarcasm, worsening Palestinian and Arab divisions as well as regressing US policies. The basic question facing these issue and all those concerned is: what is required?

Stepping Down in Overtime
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Abdullah Iskandar - (Opinion) November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced he would not run for a new term in elections early next year, he justified his decision by focusing on his frustration with the stance by the US and the Arabs on the Israeli settlement issue. Irrespective of the ultimate consequences of this declaration and the chance that Abbas will go back on it, his justification reveals the depth of the predicament that the peace process is now in, along with the plan to establish a Palestinian state. It also reveals the depth of the predicament of Palestinian political action.

Abbas feels enough is enough
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - (Opinion) November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

MAHMOUD ABBAS is fed up. The day before yesterday he withdrew his candidacy for the coming presidential election in the Palestinian Authority. I understand him. He feels betrayed. And the traitor is Barack Obama. A year ago, when Obama was elected US president, he aroused high hopes in the Muslim world, among the Palestinian people as well as in the Israeli peace camp.

Clear signal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) November 9, 2009 - 1:00am

With Mahmoud Abbas, the PA president and head of the PLO, announcing that he will not seek another term in power, the clearest possible signal has been sent that the possibility for any peace process between Palestinians and Israelis is moribund. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has now reached a critical impasse, and only something dramatic can break the stalemate. Without anything suitably dramatic, the current artificial state of affairs can limp on for a few years until Palestinians yet again reach a breaking point and there is another serious round of violence.

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