Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The Hamas-Israel prisoner swap begins. The deal shows Hamas under heavy pressure to seek political gains. Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails end a hunger strike. Quartet envoys will meet separately with Israeli and Palestinian officials. The Israeli military tells its soldiers to prevent capture at all costs. Mossad is now a part of an unfolding British political scandal. The first deadline for resumed talks has already passed. The Palestinian envoy in Ottawa is embroiled in a controversy over a Twitter message. APN interviews Yossi Alpher on the prisoner swap. COMMENTARY: Tom Perry says the prisoner exchange may press Pres. Abbas to go further with UN efforts. Ha'aretz says the swap bolsters Hamas at Fatah's expense. Akiva Eldar says Hamas has shown it knows what makes Israel tick. Bassam Nasser says more than a prisoner exchange, Palestinians need an end to the blockade of Gaza. David Newman says the swap shows informal talks work well. Ian Black says it shows Egypt's central role in Mideast affairs. Linda Heard says it's a win-win for Israel and Hamas. Uri Avnery says Israelis need to be shocked, either positively or negatively, out of their national complacency.

Hamas Frees Israeli Soldier as Prisoner Swap Begins
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner, Stephen Farrell - (Analysis) October 18, 2011 - 12:00am

An Israeli soldier held for more than five years by the militant Palestinian group Hamas was traded on Tuesday for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in an elaborate exchange that could shake up regional politics. Buses containing the Palestinian prisoners — the first group of what will eventually be more than 1,000 — made their way into Egypt and from there to the West Bank and Gaza Strip where jubilant relatives awaited and celebrations were planned.

Hamas feeling pressure amid changes in Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Analysis) October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

This seaside territory was abuzz with preparations for an elaborate homecoming ceremony, including a 21-gun salute, tearful family reunions and the largest stage ever built in the Gaza Strip in order to hold scores of Palestinian prisoners after their expected release Tuesday in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. But for Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza and negotiated the swap with Israel, the hard part will be sustaining those high public spirits after the stage is dismantled and the decorative banners torn down.

Minister: Detainees suspend strike after deal on isolation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 18, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinians jailed in Israel suspended a three-week hunger strike on Monday, the minister of detainee affairs in Ramallah said. Issa Qaraqe told the official Wafa news agency that prisoners ended the strike after Israeli prison authorities agreed to end the practice of solitary confinement. Israel will stop holding detainees in isolation on Tuesday, immediately after releasing 477 prisoners in a swap deal to free captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Qaraqe said.

Quartet to meet Israelis, Palestinians separately
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 18, 2011 - 12:00am

Envoys of the Middle East Quartet will meet separately with Israeli and Palestinian representatives in Jerusalem on Oct. 26 as they seek a way forward on peace talks, the State Department said Monday. "Quartet envoys will be meeting with the parties in Jerusalem on October 26 with the aim to begin preparations and develop an agenda for proceeding with the negotiations," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, adding afterwards that "separate" meetings would be held.

IDF warns soldiers of kidnappings ahead of Gilad Shalit's release
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - (Analysis) October 18, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israel Defense Forces is telling its combat units that soldiers should make sure not to become "another Gilad Shalit" and be abducted. "I deliver this message in any discussion in which the topic of Gilad Shalit or other POWs comes up," an infantry battalion commander said. "Under no circumstances should a soldier be taken hostage. Our soldiers do their utmost to prevent this from happening - they [are ordered] to fire at a group of abductors even if that means their IDF comrade would be killed. And the soldiers understand this fully: They cannot become another Gilad Shalit."

Israel’s Mossad gets dragged into latest British political scandal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Arieh O'Sullivan - (Analysis) October 18, 2011 - 12:00am

British media have speculated that the man behind the fall of their minister of defense was in cahoots with Israel’s famed intelligence agency, Mossad, perhaps unwittingly, as the perfect spy. Adam Werritty, an unofficial “chief of staff” to Defense Minister Liam Fox - a much respected, staunch conservative who quit in disgrace this weekend - boasted extraordinary access, had no security vetting and plotted to overthrow the Iranian regime.

Israel-Palestinian mediators to miss 1st deadline
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Google News
by Bradley S. Klapper - (Analysis) October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

The U.S. and other Mideast mediators won't be able to revive direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks by the end of this weekend, missing the first deadline in a plan to reach a two-state agreement by the end of next year and sidestep a contentious U.N. vote over Palestinian statehood without defined borders, U.S. officials said Monday. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the "quartet" of Mideast mediators will meet separately with Israeli and Palestinian officials next week, but Israel and the Palestinians weren't returning to the same negotiating table.

Palestinian envoy is asked to leave Ottawa after controversial tweet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Globe and Mail
by Campbell Clark - (Analysis) October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian envoy to Canada has been told she’s not welcome in Ottawa after she tweeted a link to a video that the federal government deemed an offensive diatribe against Jews. Now, Linda Sobeh Ali, the chargé d’affaires of the Palestinian delegation in Ottawa, is just one cut above persona non grata. The Canadian government called her in for a high-level dressing down, made a formal protest to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and has decided to “limit communication” with her until a replacement arrives.

Hard Questions and Tough Answers with Yossi Alphe
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Americans For Peace Now
(Interview) October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Q. Israel and Hamas have agreed to exchange more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit? Why now, after more than five years of negotiating?

Hamas success may push Abbas further down UN path
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Tom Perry - (Analysis) October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

The huge Palestinian prisoner release won by Hamas in exchange for a lone Israeli soldier has drawn praise from those in the Middle East who believe violence is the only way to deal with Israel, unsettling President Mahmoud Abbas' camp and chipping away at what faith is left in his strategy of negotiating peace. To shore up his domestic credibility, Abbas may now feel he has to escalate the diplomatic offensive he is waging for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, raising the prospect of more tension with the United States and Israel.

A boon to Hamas, at Fatah's expense
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) October 18, 2011 - 12:00am

At a time when the Shalit deal is raising the stock of Hamas in the eyes of Palestinians in the territories, the Netanyahu government is making an effort to depict Fatah, committed to reaching a negotiated agreement with Israel, as devoid of purpose. Not a week goes by without news of a new building project in the territories or in East Jerusalem.

With Shalit deal, Hamas schooled Fatah on what makes Israel tick
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

It is easy to guess what will go through the minds of the members of the family of a Fatah prisoner when they watch Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (and Sara? ) having the honor of the first embrace with Gilad Shalit (why not the parents? ), and hear the cries of joy of the neighbors whose son, a Hamas prisoner, has returned home: "Why, instead of traveling the world and spending time in hotels, don't the nerds from the Muqata [the Palestinian Authority headquarters] kidnap an Israeli soldier and exchange him for our son?

Gaza awaits the ships’ whistle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Bassam Nasser - (Opinion) October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

With the new deal between Israel and Hamas to release captive soldier Gilad Schalit in return for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners – the majority of whom are serving multiple life sentences for their participation in acts described as terrorist attacks against Israeli targets – there is a need for greater Israeli understanding of what these prisoners mean to Palestinian society.

Gilad Schalit and the peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Newman - (Opinion) October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

In an era when there is little real optimism about the possibility of meaningful conflict resolution between Israel and the Palestinians, the negotiations between Israel and Hamas that led to the Gilad Schalit deal can be instructive for the future of the peace process.

Gilad Shalit exchange: Egypt emerges again as lynchpin in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ian Black - (Analysis) October 18, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has completed the first stage on his journey home to Mizpe Hila, northern Israel, beginning a prisoner swap deal in which hundreds of Palestinian inmates are to be freed in return for the armoured sergeant who was captured in 2006. According to an Israeli military spokesman, Shalit is undergoing assessment at Kerem Shalom, close to the Egyptian-Israeli border, before making his way to the Tel Nof airbase in central Israel, where he will be reunited with his parents and meet the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

Shalit deal win-win situation for all
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Linda S. Heard - (Opinion) October 18, 2011 - 12:00am

Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier abducted by Palestinian fighters on the Israeli side of Israel's border with Gaza over five years ago, is scheduled to be released today as part of a prisoner-swap deal between Hamas and the Israeli government brokered by Egypt. His parents Noam and Aviva, who have been camping out in occupied Jerusalem for a year have left their protest tent to spruce up their home in the tiny northern Israeli village of Mitzpe Hila for their son's homecoming.

Israel needs a shock: Positive or negative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - (Opinion) October 16, 2011 - 12:00am

On Yom Kippur eve last week, when real Jews were praying for their lives, I sat on the seashore of Tel Aviv, thinking about the State of Israel. Will it endure? Will it be here in another 100 years? Or is it a passing episode, a historic fluke?

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