Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Washington Post profiles the first planned Palestinian city in the West Bank. The PLO Central Committee is scheduled to meet next month and is expected to approve the continuation of Pres. Abbas and PM Fayyad in office. Exchanges of fire between Hamas and Israel threaten the continuation of the de facto truce. An Israeli expert predicts that at least 130 countries would recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state, and Fayyad reiterates he will not accept a "fragmented" state. Right wing Israeli MKs plan to commemorate the death of extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane. Pres. Peres says Netanyahu can and must make an agreement with the Palestinians. Sever Plocker says that Israelis seem completely unaware of the crisis of international legitimacy they are suffering. The Jerusalem Post says the PA State building plan would be unstoppable. There is widespread speculation about a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas, but Tariq Alhomayed says Hamas has absolutely no ideas about how to govern. Hussein Agha and Robert Malley critique all existing proposals for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the New York Review of Books.

Palestinians looking to U.S.-style suburban housing, financing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

The hills around this city have seen plenty of construction, often the distinctive red-roofed homes favored by Israeli settlers. But the bulldozers and laborers active here recently are laying foundations and building roads for a different type of development -- planned communities targeted to middle-income Palestinians, including one billed as the first "new city" for Palestinians in modern memory.

Israeli bombs follow Palestinian rockets
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli aircraft attacked two suspected weapons-making factories and a smuggling tunnel in the Gaza Strip early Sunday in what the military said was retaliation for Palestinian rocket fire into southern Israel. The airstrikes wounded at least seven people, including one seriously, and came despite an announcement by Gaza's Hamas rulers that the territory's military factions had agreed to stop firing rockets. The Hamas announcement came late Saturday, after the rocket attack.

Palestinian panel to sidestep vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

To keep the Palestinian Authority government working after its term expires in January, Palestinians are turning to an unelected group of political insiders instead of holding new elections, according to Palestinian officials and outside analysts.

Israel air strikes in Gaza: Will Hamas rocket truce hold?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Erin Cunningham - November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli warplanes carried out air strikes against targets across the Gaza Strip Sunday morning, just one day after Hamas announced it had reached an agreement with all Gaza-based militant factions to halt rocket fire into the Jewish state.

Israeli expert: World would recognize Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

More than 130 United Nations member states would recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, Israeli international law expert Moshe Hersh told Israeli TV on Saturday evening. According to Hersh, “Mahmoud Abbas can declare a Palestinian state nowadays because 100 countries will certainly support his decision, in addition to 30 others who are likely to vote for the decision. “Furthermore, there will be European support, even though it will not be overwhelming. The US intends to oppose the Palestinian decision, yet the limited European support will be embarrassing to the US.”

Fayyad: We won't accept fragmented state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

“We will not accept a fragmented state, and we refuse all interim and transitional solutions. The eastern border of the state of Palestine is Jordan," said caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Sunday. Fayyad's comments follow former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's initiative to announce a Palestinian state on temporary borders, a proposal staunchly rejected by Palestinians officials.

Tribute to Kahane planned by Israeli legislators
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Jonathan Cook - November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

A plan by right-wing legislators in Israel to commemorate the anniversary this month of the death of Meir Kahane, whose banned anti-Arab movement is classified as a terrorist organization, risks further damaging the prospects for talks between Israel and the Palestinians, US officials have warned. A move to stage the commemoration in Israel's parliament, the Knesset, is being led by Michael Ben-Ari, who was elected this year and is the first self-declared former member of Kahane's party, Kach, to become a legislator since the movement was banned 15 years ago.

Peres: Netanyahu can and must make peace with Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

President Shimon Peres said Monday that just peace between Israel and the Palestinians was just a "step away," and urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to do everything necessary to ensure an end to the conflict during its tenure. "Today, there is just one step left between us and the end of this conflict," said Peres. "The current government can and must do it. The painful solution of dividing the land, two states for two peoples, was something the [Israel's first prime minister] David Ben-Gurion took on himself, and today it is accepted by the majority of the nation.

Jerusalem Syndrome
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Sometimes tourists show up at Jerusalem's mental health centers, convinced that a voice from the heavens told them they were the messiah. The illness, commonly known as Jerusalem Syndrome, usually passes once they have left the city. However, Israelis, mostly public figures, have been afflicted with this syndrome for the past 42 years, affecting their ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy. Jerusalem has become the Disneyland of the Jewish people.

Rabbis at secret meet: Soldiers who refuse orders are 'heroes'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Dozens of religious Zionist rabbis held a secret meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday to discuss ways of bolstering the hesder yeshivas, the halachic argument for refusing to obey military orders to evacuate settlements, and the campaign against having the army evacuate Jews from their homes. The rabbis in attendance included Zalman Baruch Melamed, rabbi of Beit El and head of the yeshiva there; Shmuel Eliyahu, rabbi of Safed; and Yaakov Yosef, son of Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef.

A thorn in the world’s side
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Sever Plocker - November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

I’ve been invited to deliver a lecture about Israel’s economy and society at Oxford University. As it is a short lecture, and a respectable forum, I gladly accepted the offer. The invitation was extended about six months ago. Yet now, as my trip approaches, I feel concern. I’m hesitating. My acquaintances are warning me: Don’t go. Hostile elements will cause disturbances, protest, shout and interfere. The atmosphere at British universities is anti-Israel to an extent unseen in the past. Israel is perceived as a thorn in the civilized world’s side.

Editor's Notes: Salam Fayyad builds Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Horovitz - November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

To one side stood Sen. Joe Lieberman, the former vice presidential candidate. To the other stood Rep. Howard Berman, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. And as these two staunch Jewish supporters of Israel nodded their encouragement, the Palestinian Authority's Prime Minister Salam Fayyad explained at a press conference in Ramallah on Sunday precisely how he was preparing the Palestinians for statehood.

For the Palestinians, all roads now lead to the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Tony Karon - (Opinion) November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

It is hard to take seriously the threat by the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to declare a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza and demand recognition by the UN Security Council. The cool response from the US and the European Union made clear that no such recognition would be forthcoming; and, as Hamas asked, what is the point of unilaterally declaring a state while those territories remain ultimately under Israeli control? Yasser Arafat already did that, in 1988.

Hamas at a Loss
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian President [Mahmoud Abbas] announced that Hamas secretly negotiated with Israel on the establishment of a provisional Palestinian State, until Mahmoud al-Zahar, a [senior] member of the Hamas Political Bureau denied this with a vehemence that we have become all too familiar with.

Apathy, as Mahmoud Abbas abandons an irrelevant presidency
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

A political leader’s decision not to seek re-election usually triggers fervent discussion about potential heirs. Yet, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ withdrawal from the presidential election scheduled for January 24, 2010, has produced nothing of the kind in Palestine – not because of a dearth of leadership or a reluctance to mention possible successors, but because the presidency of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has become irrelevant.

Israel & Palestine: Can They Start Over?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Review Of Books
by Hussein Agha, Robert Malley - (Analysis) November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

1. The idea of Israeli–Palestinian partition, of a two-state solution, has a singular pedigree. It has been proposed for at least eight decades. Jews first accepted it as Palestinians recoiled; by the time Palestinians warmed to the notion in the late 1980s, Israelis had turned their backs. Still, its proponents manage to portray it as fresh, new, and capable of leading to peace. International consensus on a two-state agreement is, today, stronger than ever. Meanwhile, interest among the two parties most directly concerned wanes and prospects for achieving it diminish.

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