Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel releases the names of Palestinian prisoners to be released this week. The prisoner swap is extremely popular in Israel. Deported prisoners will go to Qatar, Turkey and other countries. Marwan Barghouti says he was not consulted about the deal. Israel and Hamas seem to be increasingly cooperating, and both leaderships gained from the deal. Turkey's role was quiet but crucial. Israel continues to expand settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem. The UN calls the plans “unacceptable.” Asharq Al-Awsat looks at the background to Pres. Abbas' historic UN speech. COMMENTARY: Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel say the real security implications of the swap will only become clear in time. Sefi Rachlevsky says PM Netanyahu is trying to appear as a “wise and fatherly” leader. Omar Shabaik says he and the other “Irvine 11” were treated unfairly. Faisal Al Qasim says it's humiliating to exchange so many Palestinians for one lone Israeli soldier. David Pollak says both Arabs and Israelis want peace, but the problem is with their political leaderships. David Makovsky looks at the costs of the prisoner exchange for Israel. Daniel Levy and David Makovsky debate the merits of relying on bilateral negotiations to achieve Middle East peace.

Israel Releases Names of 477 Prisoners to Be Freed in Trade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner, Stephen Farrell - (Analysis) October 16, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel on Sunday released the names of the first 477 Palestinian prisoners that it will exchange for a soldier held by the militant faction Hamas, and the list revealed why the country has found the trade so wrenching: a majority of the inmates were convicted of manslaughter, attempted murder or intentionally causing death.

Poll: Israelis overwhelmingly support lopsided prisoner exchange for captured soldier
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Associated Press - (Analysis) October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Israelis overwhelmingly support a lopsided prisoner swap in which 1,027 Palestinian prisoners will be released for a single captured soldier, a poll showed Monday, one day before the exchange between Israel and Hamas was slated to take place. The poll showed that 79 percent of Israelis support the deal under which the soldier, tank crewman Sgt. Gilad Schalit, will be released by the Hamas militants who have held him in Gaza for more than five years. Only 14 percent said they opposed the deal.

Hamas official: Qatar, Turkey to host prisoners
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouq said on Monday that three countries are willing to host Palestinian detainees set to be released under a recent exchange deal between Hamas and Israel. Marzouq, deputy head of the Hamas politburo, told the London based pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat that Qatar and Turkey had agreed to host exiled prisoners. Al-Hayat mentioned that Syria could also be among the countries willing to receive released detainees. Turkish media said Friday that Turkey would accept all those exiled abroad.

Barghouti: Hamas did not consult its own prisoner leaders about Shalit deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff, Jack Khoury - (Analysis) October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Marwan Barghouti, the head of Fatah's Tanzim armed wing, said Monday that he was not presented with the details of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, nor was the general secretary of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Saadat. Barghouti added in a statement to the press that even Hamas prisoner leaders were not consulted, and heard about the deal in the media.

Hamas and Israel realize cooperation is mutually beneficial
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - (Analysis) October 14, 2011 - 12:00am

The deal between Hamas and Israel for the release of 1,027 Palestinian detainees and one captured Israeli soldier is the most dramatic but not the only sign of cooperation between the two enemies. Hamas has virtually halted rocket fire at Israel from the Gaza Strip and Israel is spending millions of dollars to expand a commercial crossing into the territory while it loosens its blockade of the coastal enclave and its 1.5 million residents.

Hamas and Netanyahu share spoils of swap deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker, Hugh Naylor - (Analysis) October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas and the Israeli government of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu are both likely to score political points from the deal to swap 1,027 Palestinian detainees for a captured Israeli soldier. Under the pact brokered by Egyptian and German mediators after five years of fruitless talks, Israel will free the detainees in exchange for Gilad Shalit, the 25-year-old soldier seized by Gaza militants during an attack on an Israeli army post on the Gaza border in 2006.

Turkey aided effort to free Israeli soldier but relations still frosty
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Thomas Seibert - October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

The Turkish government helped secure the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit despite political tensions with Israel, officials from both countries said. But analysts warned yesterday that it was too early to tell whether Turkey's involvement in freeing the soldier could lead to improved ties with Israel.

Israel plan for new Jerusalem-area housing development is revived
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Analysis) October 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel is moving forward with another large housing project on territory it seized during the 1967 Mideast war, unveiling plans to build 2,610 units in what critics say would be the first entirely new development on disputed Jerusalem land in 14 years.

UN: Israel's plan for new settler district 'unacceptable'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) October 15, 2011 - 12:00am

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized Israel on Friday over reports that it plans to build 2,600 more housing units in East Jerusalem, saying further settlement activity was "unacceptable." "The Secretary-General is deeply concerned at continued efforts to advance planning for new Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem," Ban's press office said in a statement.

The story behind Abbas’s historic speech to the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali El-saleh - (Analysis) October 15, 2011 - 12:00am

This is the story of a speech that shook up the world; a speech that had been eagerly awaited by millions, at home and abroad; a speech that returned long-lost confidence to an entire people. I am, of course, talking about the historic speech delivered by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the United Nations [UN] General Assembly on 23 September, 2011, after he formally submitted an application for recognition to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Future will reveal true price of Shalit swap deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

In the debate on the prisoner exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit, many Israelis identify with the suffering of the Shalit family and feel a duty to return a captive soldier, while others feel anger over the release of murderers who slaughtered hundreds of Israelis. Symbolism has also received a lot of attention, but the issue that has been shoved aside in the debate - and it will surely be raised in Monday's petitions to the High Court of Justice - is the risk posed by the prisoners being set free.

The link between Shalit's release and Iran's bomb
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Sefi Rachlevsky - October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

For a determined leadership, a deal to free a kidnapped Israeli is like a candy bar waiting on the shelf. In contrast to peace and most other issues, the timing of such a deal depends entirely on Israel's leadership, and public enthusiasm is guaranteed. One word - yes - and the deal is done. It's no accident that the deal for the return of abducted businessman Elhanan Tennenbaum was orchestrated to take place on the day David Appel was indicted for bribery - a development that was supposed to have been followed by charges against then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Unprecedented silencing of dissent at UC Irvine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Osama Shabaik - October 16, 2011 - 12:00am

I was the first student to protest Ambassador Michael Oren’s appearance at the University of California, Irvine in February, 2010. Minutes into the speech, I stood up and yelled, “Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech!”

Israel's Shalit eclipses Arab 'Shalloots'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Faisal Al Qasim - October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

At long last the famous Israeli captive Gilad Shalit has secured his freedom from his Palestinian captors. Hamas and Israel have come to a prisoner swap agreement at a very dubious time to release Shalit in exchange for over a thousand Palestinian detainees. I bet millions, the world over, have heard of the Israeli soldier, who was captured by Hamas a couple of years ago to the extent that he has become, by all accounts, an international figure. He has been in the news for months and months on end. All American and European media have written extensively about his case.

Arabs and Israelis both want peace; the problem is leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by David Pollock - October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Around half of Israelis, Palestinians, and some other key Arab publics, according to opinion polls taken in the past decade, support something like the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. Its basic concept is peace and Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel’s full withdrawal from the territories captured in the 1967 war. Similarly, around half of each one of these publics would also support other analogous proposals focused more narrowly on “land for peace,” such as the unofficial Palestinian-Israeli Geneva initiative of 2003.

Freeing Gilad Shalit: The Cost to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
by David Makovsky - October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

On Tuesday, Israel and Hamas announced a two-phase prisoner exchange that would secure the release of Sgt. Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier kidnapped in 2006 and held for more than five years in Gaza. In return, Israel would release 1,027 prisoners, including 280 who are serving life sentences for their involvement in terrorist acts. The deal was initially mediated by Gerhard Conrad, a senior German official with expertise in the Middle East who has overseen prisoner swaps between Israel and Hizballah since the 1990s. But it was Egyptian intelligence chief Maj. Gen.

Middle East peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
by Gideon Lichfield - October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

"Insanity", goes a motto* much quoted by jaded Jerusalem-based diplomats on their second gin-and-tonic, "is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results." Next month marks the 20th anniversary of the first public Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Madrid. At each step since then—in Oslo, Wye River, Camp David, Taba, Sharm el-Sheikh and Washington, DC—the negotiators, like Achilles approaching the tortoise in Zeno's famous paradox, have seemed to close one more fraction of the gap between them. Yet a gap always remains.

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