Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Palestinians say, lacking a majority in the Security Council, they will probably now take their case to the General Assembly. Comments about PM Netanyahu by Pres. Obama and Pres. Sarkozy underscore tensions between Israel and the West, though the White House is seeking to limit damage. Saboteurs blow up the Egyptian-Israeli gas pipeline for the seventh time this year. Palestinian activists are planning “freedom rides” on Israeli buses. Israelis and Palestinians dispute land uncovered by the receding Dead Sea shoreline. Support for Hamas in Gaza is dwindling. Pro-Israel students in the US are ramping up campus activities. Recent events at the UN show the continuing extent of Israeli influence in the US. COMMENTARY: Moshe Negbi says those really responsible for the assassination of PM Rabin remain unpunished. Bradley Burston says in some ways Israel is turning into Iran. Uri Misgav says the proposed Israeli law banning foreign funding for left-wing NGOs is hypocritical. Douglas Bloomfield says brinksmanship could spark another Middle East war. Yossi Alpher says Israel is unlikely to attack Iran, at least for now. The National says Palestinians should continue to push for statehood but avoid all forms of violence. George Hishmeh thinks Israel is running out of American friends. Ziad Khalil Abu Zayyad says the Palestinian UNESCO membership was intended to keep the possibility of a two-state solution alive. Udi Aloni says Judge Goldstone is wrong and Israel does indeed practice apartheid. Richard Woolcott says Australia should rethink its opposition to Palestinian UN membership. Aaron David Miller says Obama should neither pander to nor punish Netanyahu.

PA unlikely to ask for full UN membership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority failed in its bid for full UN membership, its officials admitted on Wednesday. They said they were now unlikely to call for a vote on the matter in the Security Council. The PA is expected instead to turn to the General Assembly, where it has an automatic majority, and ask that its status be upgraded to that of an observer nation. This would give the Palestinians de facto international recognition as a state, even if it does not bestow upon them full-state rights in the international arena.

'Liar': Will Sarkozy's Netanyahu jab mar cooperation on Iran?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - November 9, 2011 - 1:00am

On a day when the United Nations offered evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, the news that French President Nicolas Sarkozy was caught calling Israel's prime minister a "liar" to President Obama highlighted tensions between Israel and its Western allies – and whether they can effectively team up to face a common enemy.

White House tries to limit Netanyahu 'liar' damage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The White House sought on Wednesday to limit damage to US-Israel relations following revelations that French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel "a liar" in a private conversation with President Barack Obama. "Our record speaks very clearly about the president's commitment to Israel and he has maintained a very close working relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu," White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters, referring to Obama.

Blasts hit Egypt-Israel gas pipeline
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Saboteurs blew up the gas pipeline between Egypt, Israel and Jordan on Thursday in Northern Sinai using remote controlled bombs, forcing it to shut down, Egyptian security sources said. The first blast, the sixth since the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak and the seventh this year, was near Mazar area, 30 kilometers west of the town of Al-Arish, security sources and witnesses said.

Palestinian 'freedom riders' to board Israeli buses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian activists will attempt to board Israeli buses in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday in an action inspired by the American civil rights movement. "Palestinian activists will reenact the US Civil Rights Movement's Freedom Rides to the American South by boarding segregated Israeli public transportation in the West Bank to travel to occupied East Jerusalem," organizers said in a statement.

New Israeli-Palestinian land dispute rises as Dead Sea water levels drop
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The retreat of the Dead Sea is a problem not only for environmentalists, but for the Civil Administration's legal experts who must establish who owns the land uncovered by the receding coastline. In some parts, the coast has retreated by as much as half a kilometer, necessitating the relocation of parking lots, stores and other tourist facilities that are now too far from the water. Since the sea's northern section lies in the West Bank, the Israel Defense Forces Civil Administration is responsible for approving plans to relocate the facilities.

Hamas support on the wane amid crackdowns on political dissent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Chris McGreal - November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Samah Ahmed is once again a prisoner of Gaza, but this time it is at the hands of Hamas not Israel. Years of travelling relatively freely after Israel lost control of the enclave's border with Egypt came to an abrupt halt a few months ago when Ahmed's strident criticisms of Hamas caught the attention of Gaza's increasingly unpopular Islamist rulers. Ahmed was beaten and stabbed at a political demonstration. Her brother was warned to keep her in line. Then Hamas stopped Ahmed leaving the Gaza Strip. Four times.

UN aftermath creates ripple effect across campus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The recent events at the United Nations offered pro-Israel students an opportunity to watch history unfold in real time: they saw the Palestinian Authority (PA) bring its unilateral bid for independence to New York, and they saw President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu deliver speeches decrying the effort.

Palestinians' UN blow reveals extent of Israel's influence on US
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

With no consensus in the UN's Security Council over a Palestinian statehood application, US efforts to avoid having to cast a veto on the issue appear to have paid off. A draft report written by the membership committee looking into the Palestinian application said it had been unable to make a "unanimous recommendation" to the Security Council. It is now possible that a vote may not even go ahead.

Rabin's murderers are still free and happy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Moshe Negbi - (Opinion) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Yigal Amir is in jail but his senior partners to the murder of the prime minister are still free and happy. Amir himself testified about those partners already on the night of the assassination when he said in his investigation: "Without the rabbinical ruling or the 'din rodef' [the right to pursue and kill someone who has supposedly sinned] that applied to [Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin, issued by a number of rabbis that I know about, I would have had difficulty murdering. A murder of that kind must have backing. If I did not have backing ... I would not have acted."

Iran wins
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Blog) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The same question, wherever you turn. In a hundred accents, at the green grocer's, the dentist's, the college library, the gym. From garage to synagogue, the question doesn't change: Will we attack Iran? Which is to ask: Will Iran then reduce Tel Aviv, and all of Israel, to ashes? If a decision has, in fact, been taken, the dozen or so Israeli government and military officials who would know, are not telling. At the same time, it is fair to assume that those who are prepared publicly to hazard a prediction, do not, in fact, know.

‘Leftist law’ a bad joke
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Uri Misgav - (Opinion) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Here are some projects run by Israeli non-profit organizations via foreign funding that will be gravely undermined should the despicable anti-funding law be implemented: An open clinic serving 8,000 refugees and work migrants in Tel Aviv, kindergartens in unrecognized Bedouin villages, democracy education in the Ethiopian community, legal aid to disadvantaged Israelis and community empowerment groups in development towns. No doubt, this leftist recklessness must be stopped.

Brinkmanship could spark Middle East war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

When it comes to attacking enemy nuclear installations, Israel has an excellent record for springing surprises and getting the job done. Just ask the Iraqis and Syrians. So why is everyone from the prime minister on down talking so much these days about paying a visit to Iran? Media in Israel and around the world have been filled with stories of how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak want to hit the Iranian nuclear facilities and are trying to convince the rest of the cabinet, over the objections of the military and intelligence leadership, to go along.

Attack on Iran Unlikely — For Now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The recent intimations that Israel is planning a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure are not likely to lead to any such action anytime soon. More likely, they reflect an attempt to generate stronger international sanctions, coming as they did just as Vienna’s International Atomic Energy Agency was about to release a report confirming Israel’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Right now, though, hype, pressure and deterrence appear to be the name of the game.

Stalled bid for statehood is not end of the road
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian bid for full membership in the United Nations may be drowning in a procedural swamp. As The National reports today, the US appears to have wielded the tools of big-power diplomacy so effectively that the issue will not even come to a Security Council vote, sparing the US the embarrassing need to use its veto to protect its ally Israel.

Israel running out of American friends
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

It was fortuitous that three prominent Americans spoke within days of each other to full-house audiences at three different think-tanks in Washington, blasting Israeli policies and the blatant favouritism of American administrations towards Israel and a failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, now in its 64th year. Shockingly, US media neglected the harsh criticism voiced within a mile’s radius of the White House.

What the UNESCO vote on Palestine means for the U.N.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Ziad Abu Zayyad - (Opinion) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

In a development that gave the Palestinian leadership a significant hand up, the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) became the first international organization to admit Palestine as a full member last week despite strong opposition from several member countries.

Judge Goldstone’s offensive apology for apartheid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Salon.com
by Udi Aloni - (Opinion) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

I write as an Israeli Jew who was brought up and molded at the very center of secular, Zionist Israel. My parents, Reuven and Shulamit Aloni, exemplify everything that is good and just about Israel for humanistic Jews like Judge Richard Goldstone, the noted South African jurist, who in a recent New York Times Op-Ed, denied the practice of apartheid in Israel.

Voting against Palestine may cost Australia a seat on the Security Council
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Sydney Morning Herald
by Richard Woolcott - (Opinion) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The importance of Australia's candidature for election next October as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for a two-year term (2013-14) should be better understood and supported by our politicians and the Australian public. Unfortunately, our prospects have been undermined by our recent vote against Palestine's admission to the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

What Obama really thinks of Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CNN
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The open mike I-wish-I-hadn't-said-that moment when French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "liar" and Barack Obama didn't disagree is a tale as old as the hills for American presidents and secretaries of state. For decades, American presidents and diplomats have been locked in uneasy relationships with Israeli prime ministers from the Likud Party. One example: "Who's the f---- superpower here," a frustrated Bill Clinton exploded to his aides after his first meeting with Netanyahu in 1996.

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