Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Senior Obama administration official Dennis Ross resigns. Israeli occupation forces accidentally kill a settler near Hebron. The family of the late Pres. Arafat say they have discovered the cause of his death. UNESCO suspends projects after US funding is cut. Ireland urges Israel to release activists from the latest flotilla. Fatah officials say there will be no surprises in the next meeting with Hamas. Planned demolitions of “unauthorized” settlement outposts could endanger PM Netanyahu's coalition. Palestinian officials say they're worried about an outbreak of violence in the occupied territories. Raw sewage is a huge problem in Jerusalem streets. Bedouins oppose Israeli plans to relocate them. COMMENTARY: Tom Perry says Pres. Abbas needs at least a symbolic victory at the UN. Yoel Marcus says Israelis need to be protesting about their country's foreign policy as well as the economy. Analysts look at Palestinian options following UNESCO membership. Uri Savir says Israel must freeze settlements immediately in its security interests and to deal with Iran. Hassan Haidar says Israel is using the Iranian nuclear threat to “blackmail” its allies. Stuart Reigeluth says Israel's destruction of a Palestinian solar plant demonstrates the worst aspects of the occupation. Lina Attalah describes being involved in the latest Gaza flotilla. Edwin Brown says Israel should face consequences for its violations of international law. Harriet Sherwood says Palestinians might force a Security Council vote even though they know it will fail. Joshua Hersh says the US will not make any new diplomatic initiatives during the election season. Elliott Abrams says no one can blame Ross for resigning under the present circumstances, but Michael Hirsh says he's the symbol of a failed policy.

Obama’s Influential Mideast Envoy to Resign
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON — Dennis B. Ross, a seasoned diplomat who has been one of President Obama’s most influential advisers on Iran and the Middle East, announced Thursday that he would leave the White House, at a time when Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are frozen and tensions over Iran are flaring up anew. Mr. Ross, who disclosed his departure at a lunch with Jewish leaders, said he promised his wife that he would leave the government after two years. He joined the State Department in February 2009 as a senior adviser on Iran before moving to the National Security Council that June.

Israeli army: Soldiers accidentally kill settler near Hebron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
November 11, 2011 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli soldiers shot dead a settler and wounded two others when they opened fire on a car at a roadblock south of Hebron on Friday, the army and settler leaders said. "Soldiers who had been warned of a suspicious vehicle opened fire, killing one Israeli and wounding two others," a military spokesman told AFP. The car, driving from the Haggay settlement towards Hebron, had failed to stop at a barrier specially erected to intercept it following an alert, the spokesman said.

Family: Platelet disorder killed Arafat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 11, 2011 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- A nephew of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat says the family will soon release a French medical report revealing Arafat's cause of death. Naser al-Qudwa says the document is being translated from French before it is released. Al-Qudwa says the report will answer "many questions," as it is the Palestinian people's right to get a clear answer about how Arafat died. The document has not previously been seen in Arabic.

UNESCO suspends projects after US funding cut
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
November 11, 2011 - 1:00am

PARIS (AFP) -- United Nations cultural agency UNESCO has been forced to suspend all its spending programs until the end of the year after the United States withdrew its funding, its director general said Thursday. In an address to UNESCO diplomats, Irina Bokova said the agency faces a $65 million funding shortfall and would have to halt all of its activities, following a row with Washington over Palestinian membership.

Ireland calls on Israel to free activists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Ireland is urging Israel to quickly release international activists who were captured while attempting to breach Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli navy intercepted two boats bound for Gaza on Friday. Israel has maintained its naval blockade since Hamas militants took control of the territory in 2007. Of the 27 people on board, 19 remained in Israeli custody Thursday. Among them are an Irish member of the European Parliament and several other Irish citizens.

Hamas-Fatah meeting to bring no surprises: Fatah official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- Upcoming meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the leader of rival Hamas movement, Khaled Mashaal, will bring "no surprises," a Palestinian official said Thursday. At the meeting initially set to be held in Egypt's capital of Cairo at the end of this month, the two rivals will discuss the future of the Palestinian National Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization in light of the setback in the peace process, said Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior member of Abbas' Fatah party.

Planned West Bank demolitions send ripples through Netanyahu's coalition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - November 11, 2011 - 1:00am

The 18th Knesset is back to work.

PA warns violence could follow stymied UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh, Tovah Lazaroff - November 11, 2011 - 1:00am

A Palestinian Authority official warned Thursday that the region could be headed toward “violence and anarchy” because of the failure of the Palestinian statehood bid. PA officials in Ramallah refused to say what they were planning to do now that the bid at the UN Security Council seems to have failed. A UN Security Council subcommittee is expected to report Friday that the PA does not have the nine votes it needs to assure the council’s approval of its request for full UN membership.

Where Pilgrims Once Trod, Sewage Flows
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Arieh O'Sullivan - November 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Mohammed Nakhal is normally a calm man, but he’s seething now. The stench of raw sewage is overpowering. It is rushing by, down the biblical Kidron Valley through the Judean Desert toward the Dead Sea where even you know what floats.

Bedouin oppose Israeli plans to relocate communities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Yolande Knell - November 11, 2011 - 1:00am

Bedouin in the occupied West Bank and in Israel's Negev desert say they fear for their future as new reports circulate that the Israeli authorities plan to relocate them. International aid and Bedouin groups say tens of thousands of people could ultimately be affected. Bedouin to the east of Jerusalem expect attempts will soon be made to move them against their will. They live in an area that is controlled by Israel's Civil Administration, part of the Defence Ministry that governs the West Bank.

Palestinians' Abbas needs token UN win to save face
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - (Analysis) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Facing failure in his bid to win full United Nations membership for Palestine, President Mahmoud Abbas may be forced to seek a lesser upgrade of his nation's status in the world body to protect his credibility from attack by Hamas. Even going for "observer state" rank at the U.N. will likely expose the Palestinian Authority to more pressure from the United States and Israel, which have imposed financial sanctions in a bid to curb the Abbas administration's diplomatic campaign.

Economy isn't the only thing Israelis should protest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yoel Marcus - (Opinion) November 11, 2011 - 1:00am

After a long period of silence, apart from when he whispered into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ear while covering his mouth with his hand, Defense Minister Ehud Barak has revealed the real danger threatening Israel's security: the media, of course. The media are conducting a demagogic scare campaign regarding our approach to the Iranian nuclear threat.

Freeze settlements now!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Uri Savir - (Opinion) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel is at a dramatic crossroads for its national security. The threat of Iran going nuclear, the shifting sands of the Arab Spring, the total stalemate in the peace process and the ongoing delegitimization of Israel in the world – all these are not plagues from the heavens, but characterize the region in which we live, technological developments and a world not accepting the occupation of another people.

Failure to secure UNSC majority a temporary setback for the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Adam Gonn - (Analysis) November 11, 2011 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian National Authority ( PNA) Foreign Minister Riad al Malki has announced that after recognizing the difficult in gaining a majority in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for their statehood bid, an alternative route would now be pursued instead. PNA President Mahmoud Abbas in September formally submitted an application to the UN, asking the world body to upgrade their current status from an observer entity to full member.

Israeli Disruption
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Hassan Haidar - (Opinion) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s activities could have had a greater impact, despite its highly dangerous nature, had not Israel anticipated its being issued with media and political uproar over its resolve to wage a military attack against Iran.

Destroying Palestinian solar plant
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Stuart Reigeluth - (Opinion) November 11, 2011 - 1:00am

With international attention focusing on the Palestinian UN bid, the prisoner swap and the absurd US response to Unesco accepting Palestine, a much smaller event but no less revealing has been largely overlooked: Israel wants to destroy a Spanish-sponsored solar power plant in the West Bank. The solar plant is not particularly big — as far as solar plants go. This is nothing compared to China's massive solar farms, but it does provide electricity for 40 Palestinian families, a school and a medical centre in a town called Emnaizel, south of Hebron in the West Bank.

Captured in international waters en route to Gaza: An eyewitness account
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
by Lina Attallah - (Opinion) November 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Lina Attalah, Al-Masry Al-Youm English's managing editor, recently took part in the "Freedom Waves" flotilla carrying aid to Gaza. She was captured at sea by Israeli security forces on Friday along with the rest of the passengers, 27 activists and journalists from around the world. She returned to Egypt safely on Saturday. The two boats, one Irish and one Canadian, were an attempt to draw the world's attention to the Israeli blockade imposed on Gaza since 2007. This is her account.

Getting it wrong in the Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asheville Citizen Times
by Edwin L. Brown - (Opinion) November 8, 2011 - 1:00am

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has it exactly backward when he criticizes the Palestinians for seeking membership in UNESCO and perhaps other U.N. agencies. Rather than blame the Palestinians for having the temerity to seek their rights and freedom, Ban ought to criticize the U.S. Congress for antiquated 20th-century legislation requiring our country to defund any U.N.

Palestinians may push for UN vote they expect to lose
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - (Opinion) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinians are resigned to losing their battle for majority backing within the United Nations security council for their application for full UN membership but may still press for a vote next week in an attempt to discomfort countries who abstain or vote against. The security council is to meet in New York on Friday to consider a report on the Palestinian bid. However, the Palestinians have failed to muster the required two-thirds majority among its 15 members, thus sparing the US the need to use its veto to prevent the application being approved.

Israel-Palestinian Negotiations: Peace Process Faltered Over Domestic Politics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Joshua Hersh - (Blog) November 10, 2011 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON -- Last August, Dennis Ross, President Obama's top Middle East peace negotiator, paid a visit to a pro-Israel think tank in Washington. Speaking privately before a small gathering of experts and analysts at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, he offered a dire prognosis for the state of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis, according to multiple people in the room.

The Departure of Dennis Ross
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Council On Foreign Relations
by Elliott Abrams - (Analysis) November 11, 2011 - 1:00am

The announcement that Dennis Ross is leaving his post creates a serious problem for the Obama administration.

Middle East Envoy Dennis Ross: Symbol of a Failed Policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Michael Hirsch - (Opinion) November 11, 2011 - 1:00am

Dennis Ross, during his tenure as a highly respected Mideast envoy back in the then-hopeful 1990s, was a visible if soft-spoken presence in Washington and around the world. He looked in control and held fairly regular news conferences, as public officials are wont to do when they have some progress to report. He talked regularly to reporters. This time around, serving first in Hillary Rodham Clinton's State Department and then as President Obama's adviser in the White House, Ross was the invisible man.

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