Middle East News: World Press Roundup

News: The Israel-Hamas prisoner swap may have profound regional implications. Jubilation over the agreement dampens. Hamas' military wing threatens to capture more Israeli soldiers for additional prisoner exchange. Hezbollah says the deal is proof that “resistance” is effective. Fatah officials say meetings with Hamas leaders were “positive.” Tensions continue to grow between Israeli authorities and Bedouin citizens. Israeli settlers attack a Palestinian school. The US calls Israel's move to recognize “unauthorized outpost” settlements “unhelpful to peace efforts.” Palestinians say they're going to try to join as many UN and international agencies as possible. Commentary: Tom Perry says neither Israel nor Fatah would give Hamas credit for the release of Marwan Barghouti. John Quigley and Gabi Fahel say Abbas was right to go to the UN and try to internationalize the peace process. Avraham Burg says the PA should organize Palestinians to vote en masse in Jerusalem elections as a pilot program in democratizing the entire area. The Guardian says the prisoner swap was a “rare outbreak of common sense.” Taufiq Rahim says the agreement gives Hamas a new lease on political life. The National says Hamas should build on this momentum by forging a reasonable unity deal with the PA. The Arab News says the world must not forget Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Ilan Baruch says Palestinian success at the UN also serves US and Israeli interests.

Israeli-Hamas Agreement to Trade Prisoners May Reshape Politics in Region
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - October 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel that is expected to begin next week could reshape regional relationships, strengthening Egypt, Hamas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel while posing an acute challenge to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. One result might be a more confrontational — and Hamas-imbued — Palestinian movement that could, in the long run, increase Israel’s difficulties, drawing inspiration from and invigorating popular protests across the Middle East. It could also tighten the relationship between Hamas, Egypt and Turkey.

Jubilation over planned Israeli-Palestinian prisoner swap dampens
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Initial jubilation over the impending prisoner swap between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas began to dampen Wednesday as people on both sides expressed concerns that their leaders may have given away too much at the negotiating table.

Hamas' military wing threatens to capture more Israeli soldiers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas' military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, threatened Thursday to abduct more Israeli soldiers in order to force a prisoner exchange with Israel. At a press conference in Gaza City, the Brigades' spokesperson, Abu Obeideh, said, "An Israeli incursion in Gaza announces good news to Gilad Shalit, that he may have new friends." Abu Obeideh announced a plan to defend Gaza saying, "It will stun the Israelis and confuse them." He gave no further details.

Hezbollah praises prisoner deal as victory for 'resistance'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Hezbollah on Wednesday said that the deal to release over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit was a victory for the resistance, Lebanon's Daily Star reported. According to the report, Hezbollah released a statement praising the agreement and saying that it showed that Palestinian resistance is "effective in regaining land, freeing prisoners, and preserving its freedom, dignity, and independence." The Hezbollah comments echoed Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who spoke on Tuesday when news of the deal broke, calling it a "great achievement."

Fatah official says meeting with Hamas chief 'positive'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad said Wednesday that his meeting in Cairo with Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal was "positive" and that reconciliation talks would restart "soon." Al-Ahmad, who heads the Fatah delegation in talks with Hamas, told reporters after the meeting that the talks had not been planned, but were arranged at the last minute as the officials happened to be in the Egyptian capital. During the meeting, Mashaal phoned President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and expressed his full supported the president's recent bid for full UN membership, al-Ahmad said.

Inside Israeli desert, standoff over land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Amy Teibel - October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Decades of fraught relations between the Israeli government and Bedouin Arabs living in the hardscrabble Negev desert are coming to a head over a state plan that would expel 30,000 of the nomads from unauthorized tent encampments and shantytowns and move them into some of the country's most destitute towns. The Israeli Cabinet recently approved the plan, reflecting growing anxiety that Bedouin are taking over more of the Negev, an inverted triangle in the country's south crisscrossed with rocky mountains and dry riverbeds and covering more than half of Israel's land mass.

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian school amid fears for more violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Jewish settlers attacked on Thursday a Palestinian school, raising fears that conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians may increase when the U.N. Security Council was debating on a Palestinian bid for statehood, witnesses and security sources said. The witnesses said that several Jewish settlers threw stones and empty bottles at Kortoba females school in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

U.S.: Israel move to legalize West Bank outposts 'unhelpful to peace efforts'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The U.S. State Department criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's newly launched attempt to legalize West Bank outposts on Wednesday, saying the move was "unhelpful" to Mideast peace efforts. On Tuesday, Netanyahu's office announced instructed Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to set up a task force to explore ways to legalize houses in the settlements that were built on private Palestinian land.

Palestinians aim to join U.N. bodies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The plan is likely to generate more criticism from the United States, which has pledged to veto a Palestinian request last month for full membership of the United Nations, if it comes to a vote in the Security Council. The Palestinians have been preparing their drive for membership of the U.N. agencies over the past two years as part of a plan to get ready for statehood, said Omar Awadallah, who heads the U.N. department at the foreign ministry.

Barghouti's fate now firmly in Israel's hands
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
(Opinion) October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Left out of a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel, the Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti must now wait for a different type of deal to get him out of the Israeli jail where he is serving multiple life sentences. It may never happen. Hamas's indirect negotiations with Israel to exchange the soldier Gilad Shalit for 1,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails were seen over the last few years as Barghouti's best hope of release.

Why the president was right
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Gabi Fahel, John Quigley - (Analysis) October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to request UN membership for Palestine at the Security Council is the right decision. It is the right decision if you believe in two states. It is the right decision if you believe in one state. It is the wrong decision if you believe in the status quo. The status quo is the continuing occupation of Palestine and its people, daily human rights violations, denial of access to Jerusalem and Palestinian holy sites, as well as settlement construction without end. The status quo also means no tangible remedy for Palestinian refugees.

Palestinians should vote in Jerusalem elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avraham Burg - (Opinion) October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

It was depressing to see American President Barack Obama's weak appearance at the United Nations. It was depressing to see this talented man, who brought such great hope to the world, presenting the pitiable position of a feeble empire. It was embarrassing to see him defending positions and people whom only a few months earlier he had attacked with fury. His obsequiousness is shameful, and this weakness is a real danger to the world. Therefore anyone who wants peace cannot make do merely with accusing Obama. One cannot allow his desperation to have veto power over our hope.

Palestinian prisoner swap: Rare outbreak of common sense
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
(Editorial) October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

It is hard to read the prisoner swap agreement to free Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held in Gaza for five years, as anything less than a victory for his captors, Hamas. But it is a qualified one. Of the 1,027 prisoners Israel has agreed to release, 479 of the names have been nominated by Hamas (the rest will be chosen by Israel). Of the 479, 315 were serving life sentences for involvement in some of the bloodiest attacks on Israel, and most served over 20 years.

Hamas trades Shalit for a new lease on its political standing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Taufiq Rahim - (Opinion) October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York last month, he demanded the release of about 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. At the time he was riding a wave of momentum due to the bid for recognition of a Palestinian state at the world body.

Reconciliation after prisoner exchange
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel - announced but not yet concluded - could not have come at a more urgent moment. The fate of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has caused friction between Hamas and Fatah since he was kidnapped on Israeli soil in 2006. Removing such a stumbling block to unity can only be a good thing.

Sweet freedom
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Freedom is in the air. And no words can sum up the sentiments and emotions of thousands of Palestinian families as they anxiously await the release of their brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, fathers and mothers who have spent years and decades in Israeli prisons. Especially when so many times in the past they had come tantalizingly close to reuniting with their loved ones only to see their hopes crashed. This is a déjà vu moment they have experienced rather too often in the past, forever hanging between hope and despair.

Palestinian success at UN serves Israeli and US interests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ilan Baruch - (Opinion) October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestine knows, Israel knows, the US knows, and the entire world knows what the end result of any attempt to end the conflict in the Middle East must be. Like so many others in Israel and Palestine, I, too, sat transfixed in front of the television screen as I listened to the speeches at the UN by US President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. All three of them addressed the representatives of the countries around the world but spoke to their peoples at home. And I was amazed.

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