Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel is speeding up settlement activity in the occupied territories. The PLO accuses Israel of “blackmail.” Israel says it has successfully tested a new long-range missile. Hackers attack all cable-based services, including Internet, in the West Bank. Israel closes an extremist seminary in a settlement. US law enforcement chiefs are visiting Israel. The Guardian provides a full breakdown of the UNESCO vote. UN teachers in Gaza go on strike for a third time this year.Yasser Arafat's widow denies Tunisian corruption allegations. Former Sec. Rice says prospects for peace have worsened under Pres. Obama. COMMENTARY: The LA Times says the UNESCO vote shows how isolated the US and Israel have become, and that anti-Palestinian laws should be repealed by Congress. Amira Hass says Palestinians should pursue “popular resistance” and not negotiations with Israel. Zvi Bar'el says the Israeli government prefers trading rocket fire with Islamic Jihad to negotiating with the PLO. The Jerusalem Post denounces UNESCO's admission of Palestine. Ian Williams says Obama has shown a lack of principle on the UNESCO issue. The National says Palestinians have scored a symbolic but important victory. The Gulf News agrees. Robert Danin says the UNESCO vote has done harm. The Chicago Tribune agrees UNESCO made the wrong decision. Carrie Budoff Brown says if Obama was planning a trip to Israel, the time for it is slipping away.

Israel Plans to Speed Up Settlement Growth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - November 1, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel said on Tuesday that it would accelerate the construction of 2,000 housing units in contested areas of East Jerusalem and in two West Bank settlements. The announcement came a day after the Palestinians won full membership in Unesco in the face of staunch Israeli and American opposition.

Erekat: PLO rejects Israeli 'blackmail'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israel's approval of 2,000 new settlement housing units on occupied Palestinian land and its withholding of Palestinian tax revenue are illegal and amount to blackmail, PLO official Saeb Erekat said Tuesday. "Our condemnation is unequivocal. These steps are illegal and amount to blackmail that we categorically reject," Erekat said in a statement. Israel decided on Tuesday to accelerate Jewish-only settlement building and withhold Palestinian Authority funds, a day after UNESCO awarded Palestine full membership of the UN cultural agency.

Israel successfully tests advanced missile said capable of reaching Iran with nuclear warhead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel on Wednesday successfully test-fired a missile said capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and striking Iran, fanning the public debate over reports the country’s top leaders are agitating for a military attack on Tehran’s atomic facilities. While Israeli leaders have long warned that a military strike was an option, an intense round of public discourse on the subject erupted over the weekend by a report in the Yediot Ahronot newspaper that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak favor an attack.

PA: Hackers attack Internet in Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – The Palestinian Authority minister of telecommunications said Tuesday that hackers from more than 20 countries attacked the telecommunications network, interrupting all cable-based services. Mashhour Abu Daqqa said the Palestinian telecommunications company PalTel recorded some 1 million attacks per second on the Palestinian grid, a coordinated effort disrupting services across the occupied territories. Specialists are dealing with the problem and trying to prevent the full collapse of Internet services in Palestine, Abu Daqqa said.

Israeli PM defends east Jerusalem construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel's prime minister is defending his decision to expand construction in east Jerusalem. Benjamin Netanyahu says it is Israel's "right" and "duty" to build in all parts of its capital. Israel captured east Jerusalem along with the West Bank in the 1967 war. Palestinians claim that section of the city as their future capital.

U.S. Law Enforcement Chiefs to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Arieh O'Sullivan - October 31, 2011 - 12:00am

After 9/11, American law enforcement had to move quickly to get their expertise up to deal with terrorism. Countering terrorism was nothing new to the Israelis, who have accumulated decades of experience trying to provide security for its citizens, who have suffered suicide bombings and armed attacks by the militant Palestinians and others. During the so-called Second Intifada, over 1,000 Israelis were killed by suicide bombings, but in the last half dozen years the violence has dropped dramatically, largely due to actions by Israel’s security forces.

How Unesco countries voted on Palestinian membership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

Breakdown of how Unesco countries voted on Palestinian membership 194 member states 173 votes cast 81 required majority 52 abstentions 14 "no" votes 107 "yes" votes No: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, US, Vanuatu. Abstentions:

Thousands of UN schools staff strike for third time in Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM // Employees at about 240 United Nations schools in the Gaza Strip have gone on strike for the third time in little more than a month to protest against the punishment of a teacher with alleged unauthorised links to Hamas. Suheil Al Hindi was suspended from his teaching duties by the UN's Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in September for reportedly organising an event attended by Hamas officials. That was in breach of the UN agency's policy of barring participation in political activity without first obtaining permission.

Arafat's widow denies Tunisia's corruption charges
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Kifah Zaboun - November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

TUNIS/RAMALLAH, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Tunisian government has issued an arrest warrant for the widow of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in connection with a corruption investigation into the “International School of Carthage”, the Tunisian state-run news agency reported on Monday. The International School of Cartage was founded by Suha Arafat – wife of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat – and former Tunisian First Lady Leila Ben Ali Trabelsi, wife of ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Condoleezza Rice says prospects for Mideast peace have worsened under Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
November 1, 2011 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON — Prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace are far worse today than when she left office, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday, and she partly blames the Obama administration’s tough line against Israeli settlement-building for spoiling chances for new talks. “When you look at where we are now, we’re a long, long way back from where we were,” Rice said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Using the United Nations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
(Editorial) November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

In past decades, Palestinian nationalists thought they had to hijack planes or blow up Israeli civilians in order to attract international attention. Some still do, but moderate leaders are lately discovering that the path to recognition might lie instead through the United Nations. On Monday, they won a key victory when Palestine — a state that doesn't technically exist — was granted membership in the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. That's giving the Obama administration fits and angering pro-Israel members of Congress from both U.S.

Palestinians must say no to negotiations with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

Now that Palestine has been recognized by the United Nations' cultural organization, UNESCO, it will be no more of a non-state and no less occupied than it was before. Its citizens will be no less unfree than they are today, no less under the yoke of Israeli foreign rule. But their civil disobedience versus Israel, the United States and the Quartet raises the hope that the Palestinians will not return to the negotiating table - because negotiations have become an obstacle to the decolonization process, the essential condition for peace.

Israel's ideal partners are in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - (Opinion) November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

It's a pleasure to do business with Islamic Jihad. It fires Grad rockets, Israel responds with bombs, Egypt mediates indirect talks, there's a cease-fire and everyone is satisfied. Israel once again displays its "deterrent power" (which did not deter Islamic Jihad from launching rockets in the first place ).

UNESCO’s vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

A huge cheer of joy erupted Monday in the General Assembly room of the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after "Palestine" was voted in as the organization's 195th member. However, the event was, in reality, not a cause for celebration but another lamentable example of the moral bankruptcy of the UN and its organizations. While the US, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Israel voted against it, such bastions of human rights and freedom as China, Russia and Brazil voted in favor.

Obama will rue his lack of principle on Palestine's Unesco membership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ian Williams - (Opinion) November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

The cheers that rang across the hall of the Unesco meeting when Palestine became a member on Monday are being echoed in surprising quarters.

UN victory for Palestine needs no extra fallout
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinians won a symbolic but highly important victory on Monday when Unesco, the UN's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, awarded them full membership status, the first UN body to do so since a September request for greater recognition.

A significant victory for Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
(Editorial) November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

Winning their bid for full membership at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is a great victory for the Palestinians. The importance of this is not confined to the membership per se. Rather, it should be seen within its wider context of its importance and immediacy in giving Palestinians their basic rights.

UNESCO and After: Multiple Wrongs Won't Secure Rights
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Council On Foreign Relations
by Robert Danin - (Blog) November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

The vote by UNESCO to admit Palestine as a full member distracts international attention from the only efforts that will make Palestine a genuine reality: negotiations and state-building efforts on the ground. No good has emerged from the past twenty-four hours’ developments, but already we are seeing considerable harm.

UNESCO fiasco
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Chicago Tribune
(Editorial) November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, aka UNESCO, is a leading force in promoting literacy, science and education — in other words, vital international values. It does a lot of good work around the world, from promoting literacy in Afghanistan to training teachers in Africa. That's why the U.S. contributes about $80 million annually to UNESCO, or 22 percent of its budget. Or did, until Monday.

Time slipping for Obama Israel trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Carrie Budoff Brown - (Opinion) November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

Former President George W. Bush waited until his eighth year in office to touch down in Israel. His father, George H.W. Bush, didn’t go at all. Neither did Ronald Reagan. But for President Barack Obama, the call of Israel has always been more urgent.

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