Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: An American-Israeli is released by Egypt, but the agreement shows brittle ties between the countries. Bosnia says it cannot come to a consensus on Palestine's UN membership application. The Palestinian envoy to the UN files an official complaint against FM Lieberman's comments about Pres. Abbas. Abbas may discuss the future of the PA with Hamas. AP looks at the changing face of Christianity in the “holy land." Fatah has officially fired Mohammed Dahlan from his final remaining party post. Ha'aretz reports that Kadima leader Livni may have undermined negotiations under PM Olmert. Two recently released Palestinian prisoners get married. A company has lost a major contract in Saudi Arabia because of its involvement in Israel's light rail project in occupied East Jerusalem. COMMENTARY: Yoel Marcus says Abbas must choose to pursue peace with Israel. Don Futterman says Israel's abuse of Bedouins shows it still cannot treat its citizens equally. Uri Savir says peace is the only way to avoid more prisoner swaps. Hirsh Goodman says Israel would be wise to avoid being an issue in the US presidential campaign. Dawoud Abu Lebdeh says the international community must support those who believe in negotiations and nonviolence as a path to peace. Zvika Krieger asks what former Sec. Rice gets right and wrong in her account of the 2007 negotiations. Alan Elsner says Palestinians will be responsible if the US withdraws from UNESCO. May Marei outlines the challenges facing Palestinian travelers. Ron Kampeas says that in spite of media reports, he can find no evidence the United States asked Israel for another settlement freeze. Tom Perry says the Quartet finds itself hopelessly deadlocked.

American-Israeli Held in Egypt Is Released
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - (Analysis) October 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Ilan Grapel, an American-Israeli citizen who had been held in Egypt since June, charged with spying for Israel, was released on Thursday in exchange for 25 Egyptians held in Israeli jails. Mr. Grapel, 27, a law student from Queens, was flown from Cairo to Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv in the early evening, accompanied by Israeli officials. The released prisoners were transferred to Egypt through the Taba border crossing around the same time.

Israeli-Egyptian swap highlights brittle ties
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Tia Goldenberg - (Analysis) October 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel said Thursday that it agreed to trade Egyptian prisoners for a U.S.-Israeli citizen imprisoned in Cairo on unsubstantiated suspicions of spying to defuse a potential crisis between the two neighboring countries. Israel's agreement to such a swap highlights how brittle relations have become between the two since the fall of Egypt's longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, and that many on both sides want to preserve them.

Bosnia presidents 'cannot agree' on UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Bosnia's trio of presidents said on Thursday they could not agree on whether to support a Palestinian bid for full UN membership, with Sarajevo potentially holding a key vote in the UN Security Council. Bosnia's presidency has been shared by leaders of its Muslim, Croat and Serb communities since its 1992-95 war. In a statement after meeting Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Sarajevo, the triumvirate said it had so far been unable to reach a joint position on the Palestinian application, reflecting the country's own ethnic divisions.

Envoy complains to UN over Lieberman 'incitement'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian envoy to the United Nations has complained to the Security Council that the Israeli foreign minister's call for President Mahmoud Abbas's removal constitutes "incitement" and undermines the peace process. Avigdor Lieberman called the president "the greatest obstacle to peace" and his resignation a "blessing", in remarks to reporters on Monday. After outcry from Palestinian ministers and a UN spokesman warning the comments were "deeply troubling" and an attempt to delegitimize the president, Lieberman repeated his comments to Israel's army radio on Wednesday.

Abbas says to discuss PA fate with Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alternet
by Tom Perry - (Analysis) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas plans to discuss the fate of the Palestinian Authority with his rivals Hamas next month, raising questions over its future with the peace process at a dead end. The remarks make clear Abbas is seriously mulling the future of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which was set up as a state-in-waiting 17 years ago but is now seen by critics as compromised body that eases the burden of occupation for Israel.

In the Holy Land, a changed Christian world
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Matti Friedman - (Analysis) October 27, 2011 - 12:00am

The schedules for Mass at the two Roman Catholic churches in Jaffa, on Israel's Mediterranean coast, reveal a change that has dramatically, if quietly, altered the face of Christianity in the Holy Land.

Fatah fires senior member for criminal, financial charges
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Xiong Tong - (Analysis) October 27, 2011 - 12:00am

The Fatah party has officially fired a senior member for criminal and financial charges, a source from the party said Thursday. The decision to fire Mohammed Dahlan, the former head of the Palestinian National Authority's forces in the Gaza Strip, was supported by 76 members of Fatah's revolutionary council, a member of the council told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Thirteen members voted against the decision while seven refused to vote.

Kadima source: Livni undermined peace talks with Palestinians during Olmert's term
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - (Analysis) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's autobiography indicates that former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni undermined a potential peace agreement with the Palestinians during Ehud Olmert's term as prime minister, according to a senior Kadima source. Two and a half years after ending their troubled relationship as prime minister and foreign minister, tensions have again flared between Olmert and Livni.

Behind Bars, Palestinians Find Love, Marriage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Omar Ghraieb - (Analysis) October 27, 2011 - 12:00am

He was from Fatah and she was from Hamas, the two rival Palestinian movements. They were both serving multiple life sentences. They had participated in killings – she for her role in a Jerusalem restaurant bombing, he in connection with the killing of an Israeli. As lovers go they could not have been more star crossed, yet Nezar and Ahlam Al Tammimi met, fell in love, got engaged and finally married while they were sitting in Israeli jails. Both were among some 450 Palestinian prisoners swapped for Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit last week.

Alstom loses $10b Saudi railway contract
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Abbas Al Lawati - (Analysis) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

French transport giant Alstom has lost a $9.4 billion rail tender in Saudi Arabia, a move thought to be punishment for the company's involvement in Israeli expansion projects in Occupied Jerusalem. The Saudi Railway Organisation (SRO) has awarded a contract for the second phase of the Haramain rail link between the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah to, Al Shoula, a consortium of 12 Spanish companies, after facing pressure for awarding its first phase, worth $1.8 billion, to Alstom in February, 2009.

Abbas must choose to seek peace deal with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yoel Marcus - (Opinion) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

In a manner reminiscent of the popular movie "Free Willy," a new script is being written, tentatively entitled "Free Mahmoud Abbas." As a result of the Hamas "victory," the IDF wants to strengthen Mahmoud Abbas via a series of gestures. Haaretz's editorial page has recommended that Netanyahu listen to the army's recommendation, as though Abbas deserves compensation for the wholesale prisoner release won by Hamas.

How not to solve the Bedouin problem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Opinion) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent order to Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to find ways to retroactively legalize illegal outposts on privately held Palestinian land should surprise no one familiar with the coalition's contempt for Palestinians and our legal system: If we can't have Greater Israel, at least we can have Lesser Palestine. But the government's legal arsenal is also being deployed against another target - Israel's Bedouin citizens in the Negev.

There must be another way
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Uri Savir - (Opinion) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Last Tuesday was one of the most emotional days in Israel’s modern history. Virtually the entire nation was moved to its core at the sight of the young, frail Gilad Schalit making his way to freedom after almost five-and-a-half years in Hamas captivity. It touched on the nation’s fundamental values of the sanctity of life, especially in this case of a young soldier, sent by his government and cared for by his family who struggled with tremendous dignity to rescue their son and found a place in almost every Israeli heart.

Post Script: No harm in thinking
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hirsh Goodman - (Opinion) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Those who argue that America should reconsider its military aid package to Israel have a point.

The Palestinian struggle at a crossroads
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Arabiya
by Dawoud Abu Lebdeh - (Opinion) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange last week was a very emotional moment for thousands of Palestinians who were reunited with family members they had not seen for years. But it came at a price. Some of the public perceive the prisoner release deal as an achievement for Hamas’ militant approach, a success story that Palestinian diplomatic efforts and negotiations with Israel have not yet been able to deliver.

What Condi Rice's Memoir Gets Wrong (and Right) on Israel-Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Zvika Krieger - (Opinion) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Newsweek's cover story this week features excerpts from former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's upcoming memoir, in which she reveals details of private interactions she had with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as she oversaw their negotiations beginning with the Annapolis process in 2008. She felt like her efforts were on the precipice of "push[ing] the peace process to a new level," and is quite breathless in reflecting on the Olmert's "remarkable" concessions in his private discussions with her, particularly on Jerusalem:

The UNESCO meltdown
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Alan Elsner - (Opinion) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

On Monday, unless the Palestinians can be persuaded to back down, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will vote to accept Palestine as a full member state, triggering an automatic cutoff of U.S. funding and wreaking havoc with many of the agency’s programs. Under legislation adopted by Congress over 15 years ago, the United States is mandated to withdraw from any U.N. agency that accepts Palestine as a full member state in the absence of a peace treaty with Israel.

Travel is a challenge in a Palestinian's life
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily News Egypt
by May Marei - (Opinion) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

No words can describe how I felt, as a Palestinian, the moment I got my permit to Jerusalem from the Israeli government. I had waited seven hours in line with other Palestinians trying to get permissions for emergency visits to what is considered as an Israeli forbidden area. It’s been 12 years since my last visit to that holy amazing – as I believe – Palestinian city. The feeling of knowing that I will be in Jerusalem the next day was remarkable.

Run silent, run cold—the silent freeze that isn’t so silent (or so real)
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - (Opinion) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

There's a lot of reporting in Israeli media about U.S. pressure on Israel to impose a silent freeze on settlement to allow the Palestinians wiggle room to come back to the talks table. Maariv was apparently the first to report it Tuesday, it was picked up by Arutz Sheva, and soon enough there were the requisite squalls of outrage from the Israeli right. Two things: I can't find any evidence -- and I've dug in the right places -- of the United States making any such request.

Quartet on mission impossible in Mideast logjam
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - (Opinion) October 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Some political analysts argue it is now time for them to scale back their ambitions. With faint hope of a deal, would-be peacemakers may inevitably find themselves seeking to manage rather than resolve the generations-old conflict. The latest effort by the Middle East Quartet -- a body comprising the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations -- was arguably a failure before it began.

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