Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The UNESCO executive committee votes overwhelmingly to include Palestine as a new member, but Sec. Clinton expresses strong US opposition. Hamas' popularity is at an all-time low following its opposition to the UN statehood initiative, and Palestinian anger is rising against American opposition as well. Former Israeli security officials warn that settler “price tag” violence could spark another intifada. The PA insists it is still working with Quartet envoy Tony Blair. A strike by UNRWA teachers in Gaza continues. Israeli officials say they are considering expanding Palestinian security jurisdiction in the West Bank. European states are pushing for a renewed settlement freeze. French Pres. Sarkozy reportedly describesrl as “silly” demands for Palestinians to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” COMMENTARY: Nicholas Kristof says Israel is its own worst enemy. Scott MacLeod recalls Pres. Sadat's accomplishment of peace with Israel. John Hughes says Turkey's bid for Middle East leadership is being hampered by its quarrel with Israel. Gideon Levy says Israel didn't learn anything from the 1973 war. Alon Ben-Meir says PM Netanyahu's policies are threatening Israel. David Greene looks at two new books on Palestinian citizens of Israel. Zoltan Grossman asks why Kosovo should be a state but Palestine not. Dick Staub says Christians, Muslims and Jews should be careful about allowing their religious beliefs to shape attitudes hostile to Israelis or Palestinians. Haim Malka says the US cannot solve Israel's problems for it.

Palestinians Win a Vote on Bid to Join Unesco
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Steven Erlanger - October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Despite strong opposition from the United States, Germany and several other European states, the Palestinians gained initial approval on Wednesday of a bid for full membership in Unesco — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — as part of their broader campaign for recognition as a state by the United Nations Security Council. But full membership in Unesco could mean a legally mandated cutoff of all contributions from the United States, both dues and voluntary.

Clinton: UNESCO should rethink vote to admit Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that the UN cultural agency UNESCO should "think again" on plans to vote on Palestinian membership, noting that such a move could cause the United States to cut funds for the organization. Clinton, speaking to reporters in the Dominican Republic where she was on an official visit, said she found it "inexplicable" that UNESCO would consider moving ahead on a Palestinian vote while the issue was still before the United Nations Security Council.

Hamas popularity hits a new low after opposing UN statehood bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Kristen Chick - October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Of the many complaints in Gaza, one has become a popular refrain: the increasing taxes levied by Hamas. Fathi Abu Gamar, a gas station owner in Jabaliya refugee camp, readily joins the chorus: The Islamist movement that rules this tiny coastal territory takes more than half his revenue from gas sales, he says, leaving him with a tiny profit.

Palestinian anger at US rising over UN veto threat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinians have long been skeptical of America's ability to help them win independence. But low expectations have turned into frustration and in some cases outright anger after the U.S. threatened to derail a bid for U.N. recognition of an independent state and Congress put a hold on $200 million in badly needed aid.

Ex-Israeli officials: 'Price tag' attacks could start intifada
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Following a recent increase in 'Price tag' attacks on Palestinian holy sites, former high-ranking Israeli security officials warned of the risk of a surge in violence across the region. The attack this week on a mosque in the village of Tuba-Zangariya in northern Israel, where the interior prayer hall and religious emblems were set on fire, was the most recent in a series of attacks that Jewish settlers label "Price Tag" attacks, signifying payback for any Israeli curbs on settlements in the West Bank.

Palestinians say will work with Blair
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

A senior Palestinian official on Wednesday added his voice to calls for the replacement of international Middle East envoy Tony Blair, but the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it would carry on cooperating with the former British leader. "The Palestinian presidency will continue to work with the envoy of the international Quartet Committee Tony Blair in his capacity as the choice of the Quartet," presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said in a brief statement.

General strike continues in UNRWA schools in Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

A general strike in all schools run by United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip continued on Wednesday. The strike was prompted by the UNRWA's Arab staff union to protest a decision which suspended the union head's work for three unpaid months. Teachers demonstrated in front of the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza city, chanting slogans against the humanitarian organization. They halted work in all UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip, which host 220,000 students.

Israel may increase PA control in goodwill gesture
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

The government is considering a Palestinian request to transfer security control of additional territory in the West Bank to PA security forces as a goodwill gesture to President Mahmoud Abbas. The initiative may be linked to efforts to get Abbas to agree to renew negotiations. The territory under consideration to be transferred is in Area B (assigned under the Oslo Accords to PA civil and Israeli security control) and Area C (assigned under the Oslo Accords to full Israeli control).

Europeans want another settlement freeze from PM
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Some of Israel’s best friends in Europe, such as Germany and the Netherlands, are urging Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to freeze construction across the Green Line as a way to bring the Palestinian Authority back to talks, western diplomatic officials told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday. The idea, according to the officials, is for Israel to refrain “from provocative action” in order to pave the way for the Palestinians to accept the new Quartet proposals and get them back to the negotiating table.

Sarkozy: It is silly to talk about a Jewish state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Lior Zilberstein - October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has always described himself as a true friend of Israel. However, according to unusual statements attributed to him in the French magazine Le Canard Enchaîne, he unequivocally sides with the Palestinians. The paper quotes comments made by the French leader during a cabinet meeting held upon his return from last month's UN General Assembly, Yedioth Aharonoth reported.

Is Israel Its Own Worst Enemy?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Nicholas D. Kristof - (Opinion) October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

For decades, Palestinian leaders sometimes seemed to be their own people’s worst enemies. Palestinian radicals antagonized the West, and, when militant leaders turned to hijackings and rockets, they undermined the Palestinian cause around the world. They empowered Israeli settlers and hard-liners, while eviscerating Israeli doves.

Anwar Sadat's vision for Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Scott MacLeod - (Opinion) October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Egyptians have hardly noticed as the 30th anniversary of Anwar Sadat's death approached this week. It isn't only because they're too busy with ongoing political protests and labor strikes as the country zigzags toward democratic elections. They just don't care.

Turkey’s potential as Middle East leader marred by Israel dispute
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by John Hughes - (Opinion) October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

If asked which Muslim country in the Middle East is most significant to them, many Americans might cite Saudi Arabia because of its oil. Some might suggest Egypt because it is the heart of the Arab world. But the fact is that Turkey, perhaps with memories of past Ottoman glory, seems intent on becoming the most influential leader in the greater Middle East, and might overtake Saudi Arabia and Egypt in significance regionally, and for the United States.

You and I and the next Yom Kippur War
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Here's a new law of nature: The further we get from the Yom Kippur War, the closer it gets to us. At the end of this week we will once again recall that war, the pages of the newspapers and the television programs will be full of stories of heroism - and the real lesson will once again be blurred beyond recognition, as always happens here.

Supporting Netanyahu’s policies imperils Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Alon Ben-meir - (Opinion) October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

For all the protestations by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in support of returning to peace negotiations (if only the Palestinians would agree), one simple fact cannot be masked: Mr. Netanyahu does not want a two-state solution; he wants only to delay decision-making at all costs. Thus far he has succeeded, and he is likely to continue to succeed with the unwavering support of US Congress and pro-Israel advocates in the US. But in doing so, Netanyahu and his American backers are jeopardizing Israel’s national security.

Israel's Arab citizens: The ones who stayed behind
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by David Green - (Opinion) October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

What is the most serious challenge facing Israel today? There are many contenders for the title, beginning with the price of cottage cheese and on up through Iran’s nuclear aspirations. The authors of two new books, however, would say that Israel’s 1.2 million Palestinian citizens ? their status within the state and their relationship to it, their grievances, the fact that so many Israeli Jews view them as a threat ? comprise the biggest and most pressing problem confronting the country. Both books make a good case for this, though they do it in very different ways.

Why Kosovo but not Palestine?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
by Zoltan Grossman - (Opinion) October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

In his September 21 speech to the United Nations, President Obama announced that he would veto UN recognition of a Palestinian state, because its independence was not a result of a negotiated settlement with Israel. He said that "peace depends upon compromise among people who must live together long after our ... votes have been tallied ... That's the lesson of Sudan, where a negotiated settlement led to an independent state. And that is and will be the path to a Palestinian state - negotiations between the parties."

Jesus loves the little Palestinian children, too
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Dick Staub - (Opinion) October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Inasmuch as others have attempted to clear up the muddy waters of religious dogma and the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, let me further muddy the waters with some insights from my own experience. As the child of an evangelical pastor, it was clear that my father and mother shared a special affection for Israel. They led “Holy Land Tours” for their friends and congregants called “For Love of His Land.” Like many Christians, their love of Israel grew out of their religious beliefs.

America cannot solve Israel's challenges
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CNN
by Haim Malka - (Opinion) October 6, 2011 - 12:00am

For a brief moment, the Palestinian statehood debate brought together two leaders seemingly at odds: President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. Many Israelis were genuinely surprised by the depth of President Obama’s defense of Israel at the United Nations.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017