Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel and Hamas agreed to a prisoner swap. The CSM looks at the reasons for the deal. Analysts say Hamas will now claim “resistance” succeeds where negotiations fail. A senior Israeli commander says a cut off of aid to the Palestinians would be disastrous and that Jewish extremism is also a serious threat. Pres. Abbas has not won Colombian support for Palestinian UN membership. The Quartet calls for talks to resume on October 23. Israel formally apologizes to Egypt over the death of soldiers. Israeli occupation forces destroy a mosque in a Bedouin village for the 3rd time. UNRWA is trying to promote understanding between Lebanese citizens and Palestinian refugees. COMMENTARY: Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel say Hamas was forced to compromise on the prisoner swap. Yaakov Lappin says the agreement boosts Hamas at the expense of Fatah. Yaakov Katz says the "Arab Spring” played a role in Israel's calculations. Donald Macintyre says both Hamas and Israel's right-wing government are bolstered by the agreement. Tony Karon asks who gains and loses. Dan Ephron says it exposes Abbas' “weakness.” Robert Danin looks at the implications. Shlomo Avineri responds to Sari Nusseibeh.

Israel and Hamas Agree to Swap Prisoners for Soldier
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - (Analysis) October 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel and Hamas announced an agreement on Tuesday to exchange more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held captive in Gaza for five years, a deal brokered by Egypt that seemed likely to shake up Middle East politics at a time when the region is immersed in turmoil. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel told his nation in a live address on television that the soldier, Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit, who was captured in June 2006 at the age of 19, could be home “within days,” ending what has been widely seen in Israel as a national trauma.

Details emerge of prisoner swap
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi, Ori Lewis - October 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Prospects of a long-elusive deal with Hamas to secure the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners began to take off in July, Israel's negotiator said on Tuesday. David Meidan, who did the talking for Israel, said Israeli intelligence identified three months ago that the Islamist movement which rules the Gaza Strip and holds Shalit had become more pragmatic and was ready to do a deal with Egypt as mediator.

Hamas steals Abbas thunder with prisoner deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - (Analysis) October 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas has jumped back into the Middle East spotlight with a prisoner swap deal with Israel that will score points over President Mahmoud Abbas and steal some of the thunder he generated by pushing for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations. But the deal hailed by the Islamist group which governs Gaza as a national victory was dimmed by Israel's refusal to free some prominent prisoners from rival factions, chief among them Marwan Barghouti -- a leading figure in Abbas' Fatah movement.

Gilad Shalit release: Why Israel and Hamas agreed to a prisoner swap
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - (Analysis) October 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced tonight that Israel and Hamas have agreed to an historic prisoner swap deal that will release Sgt. Gilad Shalit, who has been held for five years in the Gaza Strip, in return for some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. After thanking the Egyptian government for mediating the deal, Mr. Netanyahu said that if everything goes according to plan, Mr. Shalit would return home in the coming days. "Today I am bringing the cabinet a proposal that will bring Gilad home healthy and in one piece," he said.

Israel’s West Bank General Warns Against Radicals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - October 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli general in charge of most of the West Bank has a message for members of Congress who want to end American aid to the Palestinian Authority because of its bid to join the United Nations: Don’t do it. Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon, commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, said that such a step would lead to instability and insecurity for both Palestinians and Israelis.

Abbas falls short of Colombian support for UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 12, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas left Colombia empty-handed Tuesday after failing to secure support from President Juan Manuel Santos for his bid to gain state recognition at the United Nations. "We want the Palestinian state to exist. But this can only come as the result of a (UN) vote or resolution. It must be the product of negotiations (between Israelis and Palestinians) because this is the only way to achieve peace," Santos said after meeting Abbas in Bogota.

US: Mideast Quartet seeks October 23 talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The Mideast Quartet seeking a peace settlement in the Middle East has called for Israel and the PLO to resume their talks on October 23 in Jordan, a US official said Tuesday. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said envoys for the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union met on Sunday and called for "a first preliminary meeting of the parties" on that date.

Barak apologizes for deaths of Egyptian officers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yoav Zitun - October 11, 2011 - 12:00am

On the backdrop of reports on a possible breakthrough in a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas that would see the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday issued an apology to Cairo for the deaths of Egyptian border guard patrol officers from IDF fire during the terror attack in southern Israel in August.

Israel razes Jordan Valley mosque for third time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Agence France Press (AFP) - October 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli forces have demolished for the third time a mosque in a remote Bedouin village in the Jordan valley, Palestinian security forces said. The demolition took place in the village of Khirbet Yarza, some five kilometres east of Tubas in the northeastern corner of the West Bank. The mosque has been demolished twice before, once in February and in November 2010, when troops razed the mosque, its much larger extension, and various animal stables.

UNRWA project breaks down stereotypes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Olivia Alabaster - (Analysis) October 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Through increasing communication between young Lebanese and Palestinians, “Dignity for All,” a program organized by the U.N. Refugee and Works Agency, is hoping to combat the danger of stereotyping. En route to visit a refugee camp for the first time, Lebanese schoolchildren are asked how they view Palestinians, of which there are an estimated 400,000 in the country. Many answer that, “We know they are terrorists, and that they sell drugs.’”

Israel and Hamas are both winners and losers in Shalit swap deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - (Opinion) October 12, 2011 - 12:00am

This Sunday will mark 25 years since Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad was taken captive, never to return. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's effort to conclude a deal for the return of Gilad Shalit, was meant to ensure that the kidnapped soldier would not share Arad's fate. Barring any last-minute hitches, it seems Shalit will be home in a few days, after more than five years in captivity.

Hamas boosted, Fatah weakened by deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Lappin - (Analysis) October 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The Hamas regime in Gaza will be significantly fortified by the Schalit deal and see its standing in the Palestinian street, and the wider Arab-Muslim world, boosted. Despite Israel’s overwhelming military superiority, Hamas has been able to force Jerusalem to negotiate with it as an equal partner, and has achieved the release of a large number of terrorists – some of whom were sentenced to life terms for personally murdering Israeli civilians.

Schalit and the Arab Spring
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - (Analysis) October 11, 2011 - 12:00am

The deal to release Gilad Schalit is without a doubt controversial. The main change, though, took place on the Israeli side, which in recent months changed its position on the deal that has retained mostly the same format since Hamas kidnapped Schalit in June, 2006. The big question is what brought about this change. The main answer is the so-called Arab Spring. Israel is concerned that the Arab regimes now in power will not be here tomorrow and that the Egyptian regime currently in power - the deal's main mediator - will not be there in a few months after elections are held in Cairo.

Whatever else happens, this represents a massive shake-up in the conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - (Opinion) October 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The prisoner swap foreshadowed in the deal approved by Israel's Cabinet last night is a huge shake of the kaleidoscope through which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been viewed. For the majority of Israelis, including the parents of Gilad Shalit, the return of the young soldier after his five-year ordeal will be a cause of unalloyed celebration. So too – assuming the deal is realised as proposed – will it be for hundreds of families of Palestinian prisoners. But in terms of raw politics, its effect will be no less dramatic.

Who Gains, Who Loses in Israel-Hamas Prisoner Swap to Free Gilad Shalit?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Tony Karon - (Opinion) October 11, 2011 - 12:00am

Win-win outcomes are all too rare in the Middle East, but the agreement that will see Hamas free captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for a reported 1,000 Palestinian prisoners will allow each of its stakeholders to claim victory.

Prisoner Swap Shows Abbas Weakness
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Dan Ephron - (Opinion) October 12, 2011 - 12:00am

For most Palestinians, the prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas is a cause for celebration. For President Mahmoud Abbas, it’s shaping up as political blow and a security headache.

Implications of a Shalit Deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Council On Foreign Relations
by Robert Danin - (Opinion) October 11, 2011 - 12:00am

As of this posting, the Israeli cabinet is still meeting in an emergency session to discuss a deal aimed at securing the release of Gilad Shalit, abducted by Hamas in June of 2006 on the Israeli-Gaza border. Details remain scant. Initial reports suggest more than 1,000 Palestinians, currently held by Israel, would be exchanged in return for Corporal Shalit. While it is early to speculate too widely with so little still known, I will nonetheless venture a few initial conclusions on what such a deal would mean.

We are a people
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shlomo Avineri - (Opinion) October 12, 2011 - 12:00am

Recently the English-language website of Al Jazeera featured a long and meticulously argued article by Prof. Sari Nusseibeh under the title "Why Israel Can't Be a 'Jewish State.'" Nusseibeh is not only president of Al-Quds University, a scion of one of the most respected Palestinian patrician families and the most prominent Palestinian intellectual: He is also known for his moderate views and his principled opposition to terrorism, and more than once put himself in danger because of these views.

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