Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: An internal Palestinian document outlines the risks of a UN initiative, but the Arab League pledges to support one. Fatah says Hamas requested the postponement of municipal elections. Rights groups urge Hamas to allow students to leave Gaza. Israel attacks targets in Gaza. Israel prepares for more possible attacks in its south. Israel believes some involved in the recent attacks were Egyptian citizens. Support for Israel has become a major factor in the election to fill Anthony Weiner's seat in Congress. An Egyptian woman is injured by a missile fired from Gaza. COMMENTARY: Mira Sucharov says she is both a Zionist and a Palestinian nationalist. Ray Hanania says common sense is important for peace. Jonathan Glennie says aid is not enough and Palestinians need an end to the occupation. Donald Macintyre says Glenn Beck's rhetoric has horrified many Israelis. Yossi Alpher says September could still produce a win-win scenario rather than a confrontation. Ghassan Khatib says Israel is hyping the prospects of a confrontation to distract from the need to end the occupation.

UN bid 'endangers Palestinian rights'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian team responsible for preparing the United Nations initiative in September has been given an independent legal opinion that reveals a high risk involved with its plan to join the UN. An initiative to transfer the Palestinians' representation from the PLO to a state will terminate the legal status held by the PLO in the UN since 1975 that it is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, according to the document.

Arab League supports Palestinian bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab League's Peace Initiative Committee pledged to support the Palestinian bid for unilateral statehood at the United Nations next month. At a meeting in Doha Tuesday, members of the committee approved a work plan to build up international support for the move, paving the way for the Palestinians to secure full membership status with East Jerusalem as its capital, Gulf Times reported Wednesday. In an interview on al-Jazeera, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of initiating the recent tensions in Gaza to distract attention from the wave of social justice protests.

Fatah official: Hamas requested elections delay
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Fatah central committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul on Tuesday said Hamas requested the postponement of local elections. In a statement, Al-Aloul said a delegation representing Hamas requested that the vote be postponed until reconciliation with Fatah was finalized. President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree on Monday postponing local West Bank elections, scheduled for Oct. 22, "until appropriate circumstances" exist. The October vote was planned to take place in the West Bank and the elections commission said Hamas had blocked efforts to organize elections in the Gaza Strip.

Haniyeh urged to allow students out of Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian human rights official is urging the leadership in Gaza to reverse a decision blocking eight students from traveling to the United States for university. Rawyeh Ash-Shawwa, member of the legislative council and head of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, called on Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh to personally reverse the decision. She called the decision an explicit violation of human rights.

Israeli military: Aircraft strike Gaza gunmen
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Violence along the Gaza-Israel border heated up on Wednesday, with Israeli airstrikes on militant targets and militant rocket fire at Israel. Israeli media reported that security forces sent down reinforcements to the area. A music festival that was to be held in the southern city of Ashkelon was canceled, conforming with military recommendations against large gatherings in tense security times, the military said.

Israel bolsters Egypt border defenses over new terror warnings
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff, Anshel Pfeffer - August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Chief of Staff Benny Gantz ordered on Wednesday that the Israel Defense Forces increase defensive measures along Israel's border with Egypt due to intelligence that terrorist groups are planning attacks similar to the ones last Thursday in which eight Israelis were killed. The new measures include putting in place additional means of electronic and visual intelligence gathering as well bolstering the Navy Command Center in the southern city of Eilat.

IDF investigation: Egyptians took part in attack near Eilat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ron Ben-Yishai - August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

The IDF did everything in its power to prevent Egyptian troops from getting hurt in last Thursday's multiple terror attacks near Eilat, inquiries conducted by both the IDF and the Egyptian army showed. The IDF also found that at least three of the terrorists were Egyptian citizens. Head of the General Staff's Planning Branch Amir Eshel, who traveled to Cairo early this week to present to Egyptian officials the findings of the IDF's initial investigation, even brought photographic evidence to the fact.

In Battle for Weiner's Seat, Support for Israel Looms Large
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Naomi Zeveloff - August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

David Weprin is an Orthodox Jew and a state assemblyman from Queens with a background in finance, a deep family history in state and local politics, outspoken support for Israel and an unobtrusive demeanor. So when Democratic leaders were looking for a candidate who could slide easily into the heavily Jewish district left behind by sexting Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, Weprin seemed like a winning candidate — and an inoffensive one — to clinch the September 13 special election.

Woman injured as missile hits Rafah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

A missile from Gaza that hit Rafah in North Sinai Wednesday has left one woman injured, a source told the state-run news agency MENA. The woman was transferred to a hospital for treatment after the missile landed in Rafah's Nafoura Square. MENA did not give further details about the incident. The missile may have been fired by Hamas in Gaza at southern Israel. Palestinian factions on Monday announced a ceasefire following bloody clashes at the border between Gaza and Israel. But some factions rejected the truce.

I am a Zionist. And I am a Palestinian nationalist
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Mira Sucharov - (Opinion) August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

One of the first times I taught my Israeli-Palestinian relations course, a puzzled student approached me at the end of the first class. “I always thought Zionist was a derogatory word,” he whispered. I smiled sympathetically and explained that Zionism simply means the desire for Jews to have a state of their own, as a response to centuries of exile and anti-Semitism persecution. It was a word we’d be using frequently, I added.

Yalla Peace: The rarity of ‘common’ sense
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ray Hanania - (Opinion) August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

If you are a Palestinian or Israeli driven by common sense, you are an anomaly in the Middle East. That could explain why there is no end in sight to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is not much common sense in the Middle East. People are consumed with fear, suspicion and traditions of vengeance. There is a lot of passion. A lot of anger. And a lot of meaningless, distorted rehashing of the past. I consider myself a reasonable person. You have to be when you are both a journalist and a stand-up comedian. That also means I have a lot of common sense.

Aid alone won't help the desperate Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jonathan Glennie - (Opinion) August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

There are many good news stories in the world of international development at the moment, with some of the world's poorest countries experiencing the growth that has eluded them for decades. But a report released by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) on Tuesday makes it quite clear that Palestine is not one of them.

The strange crusade: Glenn Beck's Holy Land mission
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - (Opinion) August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

He was too right-wing for Fox TV, or at least for the 400 advertisers who told the network earlier this year they no longer wanted their commercials on his now-cancelled talk show. He provoked international outrage by saying the Norwegian youth camp where 68 people were massacred in July bore "disturbing similarities" to the Hitler Youth. He has horrified the staunchly pro-Israel and anti-racist Anti-Defamation League with his "bigoted ignorance" in comparing reform Judaism to "radicalised Islam".

September can still produce something useful
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

September 20 is the day the PLO has targeted for submitting to the United Nations its request for state recognition. It is still not clear how that request will be worded and whether it will be submitted first to the Security Council or directly to the General Assembly. But despite this lack of clarity, or perhaps because of it, both Palestinians and Israelis are actively preparing on three fronts for some sort of confrontation.

Don't believe the hype
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli politicians and its media and PR machine have filled the news in the last two weeks with exaggerated and sometimes fabricated news and analysis about practical preparations on the ground for the upcoming Palestinian bid to the United Nations. Israel, which has two major difficulties with the Palestinian plan to ask the UN to discuss the stalled peace process, is having trouble fighting this move politically and diplomatically. Instead, it is resorting to its comparative advantage in public relations to try to reduce growing international support for this move.

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