Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: FM al-Malki says Palestine does not plan on applying for membership in more UN agencies, and UNSG Ban says such membership is “not helpful.” It appears increasingly unlikely Palestinians can muster a majority in the Security Council for UN membership, and the UK and France will reportedly abstain in any vote. Israel joins the United States and Canada in defunding UNESCO. Islamic Jihad says it's open to “an all-out war with Israel.” Israeli forces kill two militants in Gaza. A senior Fatah official says Hamas' political weakness makes national reunification a real possibility. The Washington Post profiles young Palestinian activists. A Palestinian NGO, Al Nayzak, is trying to promote a culture of technological innovation. COMMENTARY: Dawoud Abu Lebdeh says many Palestinians see the Israel-Hamas prisoner swap as a defeat for Pres. Abbas. Stephen Cohen says American Jews can be liberal but pro-Israel. Carlo Strenger says Abbas has done his best to reach out to the Israeli public in recent weeks. Desmond Tutu and Michael Mansfield defend the upcoming "Russell Tribunal” on Palestine. J.J. Goldberg says it's wrong to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a zero-sum game. The National since the UAE has joined UNESCO's executive board, it should help resolve the funding crisis. The Forward calls Palestine's UNESCO membership bid “inexplicable.” Ibrahim Shikaki says the “Arab Spring” will and does look different in Palestine, and Itamar Rabinovich says the effect on Israel has been mixed. Colum Lynch asks if the US would really defund multiple UN agencies over Palestine.

Al-Malki: Palestine will not apply to other UN bodies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 3, 2011 - 12:00am

The PLO will not apply to join any more international organizations but will focus on full membership of the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority minister of foreign affairs said Thursday. Some 107 countries voted Monday to admit Palestine as a member of UNESCO, and Riyad al-Malki told reporters in Ramallah that membership of the UN cultural agency was a step toward countering some historic injustices.

Ban Ki-moon: Palestinian membership of UN agencies is 'not beneficial'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
November 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has said Palestinian efforts to join other United Nations agencies beyond its cultural arm are "not beneficial for Palestine and not beneficial for anybody". Millions of people could be affected if UN agencies see their funding cut as a result of the Palestinian bids, he said in an interview on Thursday at the sidelines of the G20 summit in Cannes. The US and Canada have cut off funding for Unesco since the Paris-based UN cultural agency approved a Palestinian membership bid – stripping it of about one-quarter of its total funding.

Palestinians Inch Closer to Rejection at U.N. Body
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Neil MacFarquhar - November 3, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian bid for membership at the United Nations, which was doomed from the start by the threat of an American veto, moved another notch closer to rejection on Thursday at the Security Council, diplomats said. The Council’s membership committee met in private, with member states laying out their individual positions on the Palestinians’ request, said diplomats, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under diplomatic protocol. The membership committee is trying to produce a report by Tuesday, and indications are that the group will be unable to reach a consensus.

Britain, France to abstain from UN vote on Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
November 4, 2011 - 12:00am

A United Nations diplomat said that Britain, France and Colombia have decided to abstain during a vote on the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition by the UN Security Council. The vote on the matter is expected to be held next week. Neither Britain, France nor Colombia have officially announced their positions on the matter. The diplomat told the BBC that the decision was made during discussions at the UN Security Council.

Israel freezes UNESCO funding over Palestinian membership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
November 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday ordered his government to freeze the country's $2-million-a-year funding of UNESCO in protest of the organization's vote to grant the Palestinians full membership. The order came two days after the Israeli Cabinet announced that it would step up construction in West Bank settlement blocs and suspend the transfer of taxes it collects for the Palestinian Authority.

Islamist Jihad ready for all-out war with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
(Interview) November 3, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, which traded deadly fire with Israel at the weekend in Gaza, does not expect a subsequent truce to last long and has at least 8,000 fighters ready for war, a spokesman said. Islamic Jihad is the second largest armed group in Gaza, after Hamas, which rules the tiny Mediterranean enclave. The two share a commitment to the destruction of Israel and both are classified as terrorist groups by most Western governments.

Israeli troops kill two Gaza militants-medics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
November 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli forces killed two Palestinian militants in a clash along the Israel-Gaza border on Thursday, Palestinian medical officials said. An Israeli military spokesman said soldiers were on patrol on the Israeli side of the border fence when they were fired upon from inside Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas. The soldiers returned fire, the spokesman said, without giving further details.

Is Hamas Moderating?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Eli Lake - November 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Top Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath, a key member of the Fatah Party started by Yasser Arafat, says his rivals inside Hamas appear to be moderating their positions and could be moving toward a deal for a unified government. Shaath told The Daily Beast that the weakening of Syria’s government—long a source of support for Hamas—in the face of civil unrest has changed the dynamic for Palestinians still trying to create a unified government that could negotiate with Israel with one voice.

In the West Bank, a woman's struggle for change
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - November 4, 2011 - 12:00am

When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas returned home to a hero’s welcome after applying for United Nations membership for a Palestinian state, Hurriyah Ziada was not moved to join the celebration.

A Palestinian Group Creates a Generation of Inventors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Chronicle of Higher Education
November 4, 2011 - 12:00am

In 2001, to the distress of his family, Aref F. Husseini resigned from his jobs as a senior engineer with Intel and as an adjunct professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He bought a bag and filled it with some tools and electronic components—pliers, a soldering iron, transistors, and the breadboards used as bases for electrical circuits. He began to visit schools to teach science and engineering in a most practical way.

A message Palestinians see in Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange: Hamas - 1, Abbas - 0
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Dawoud Abu Lebdeh - (Opinion) November 3, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange a couple weeks ago 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 diplomatic price. Some of the Palestinian public perceive the prisoner exchange deal (in which Israel released more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Hamas releasing Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit) as an achievement for Hamas’s militant approach. They see it as a success story that Palestinian diplomatic efforts and negotiations with Israel have not yet been able to deliver.

Liberal, but still pro-Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Steven Cohen - (Opinion) November 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Ask yourself the following: 1 ) What group of American Jews lobbied for a UN resolution calling for a Palestinian state? 2 ) Shortly after the Six-Day War, which Israeli leader advised his country to relinquish control of the territories? 3 ) Which American president called for establishing a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 boundaries? The answers: 1 ) U.S. Zionist leadership in 1947; 2 ) David Ben-Gurion; 3 ) every president since Lyndon Johnson.

Mahmoud Abbas' crucial message to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) November 2, 2011 - 12:00am

Mahmoud Abbas has gradually made the transition from a relatively pale figure to a leader of stature. He has not only done this through his very serious negotiations with Ehud Olmert in 2007 and 2008, that came very close to reaching an agreement. He has also done this with two crucial statements that signal a sea change in the Palestinian narrative.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine can promote peace, truth and reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Michael Mansfield, Desmond Tutu - (Opinion) November 3, 2011 - 12:00am

Opportunities to break seemingly intractable and deadlocked situations are rare – especially on a scale which has rapidly developed this year from the beleaguered cries of citizenry across North Africa and the Middle East. There is a palpable consensus that the provenance of this movement is lodged firmly in the fundamental prerequisite for meaningful democracy: self-determination. All conventions on human rights have this tenet as a core rationale. Where it is repeatedly denied and suppressed there will never be peace or justice, let alone stability.

Mideast Conflict as Zero-Sum Game
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) November 3, 2011 - 12:00am

Several readers have written in to protest my last column, which dissected conservative responses to the recent summons to Jewish unity issued by the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee. Reader complaints are nothing unusual, but this time some good points were raised that forced me to rethink. In the process I’ve come across some new information, which I’d like to share.

A new friend for Unesco in the UAE
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) November 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization says that it exists "to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information".

An Ill-Timed Move
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) November 4, 2011 - 12:00am

What were they thinking? The Palestinians, we mean. While there may be heart-thrumming symbolic value to achieving full membership in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as they did October 31, it comes at great cost to all concerned, including the very people the agency aims to help.

'Spring-less' Palestine?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ibrahim Shikaki - (Opinion) November 3, 2011 - 12:00am

In recent years, and for various ecological reasons, Palestinians have been witnessing a "two-seasoned" year. Each year more noticeably than the one before, two seasons prevail: a colder-than-average winter and hotter-than-average summer. This means that two lovely seasons have begun to disappear. This brings us to the questions posed in this article, i.e. is there really "no Palestinian spring", and if so, will we need to import our spring from neighboring Arab countries?

Israel: positive and negative ramifications
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Itamar Rabinovich - (Opinion) November 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The impact of the "Arab spring" on Israel has so far been mixed. Like other actors observing this series of events and being affected by it, Israel understands that this is just the beginning of a lengthy process whose repercussions for its interests will keep changing over time.

The UNESCO cuts: What’s next on the U.S. chopping block?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Colum Lynch - (Blog) November 3, 2011 - 12:00am

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has admitted the Palestinians as a full member, prompting the Obama administration to impose millions of dollars in congressionally mandated cuts. Meanwhile, the Palestinian U.N. envoy in Geneva, Ibrahim Khraishi, said the Palestinians were now studying the prospects of joining 16 other U.N. agencies, raising the possibility of further U.S. funding cuts.

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