Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel is maintaining a block on transferring Palestinian tax revenues. The Israeli government is trying to limit foreign funding to liberal NGOs. An American activist badly injured by Israeli occupation forces during a protest files suit. As ultra-Orthodox religious groups gain power in Israeli society, women fear for their rights. Palestinians ponder their next step at the UN. A Hamas police officer is killed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza. PM Fayyad again says he is not, and will not agree to be, an obstacle to Palestinian reunification. Western officials suggest Israel may have been behind a huge explosion in Iran. Quartet efforts are unlikely to restart negotiations. The CSM looks at RIWAQ which preserves Palestinians' cultural heritage buildings. COMMENTARY: Akiva Eldar asks why anyone would ever believe PM Netanyahu, and Uri Avnery says lying is the essence of his political career, but Deborah Danino Harkham says he has been subject to unfair character assassination for many years. Amira Hass says Israel is always coming up with new ways to expel Palestinians, but nobody cares. Susan Hattis Rolef says the NGO Bill is a threat to Israeli democracy. Mourid Barghouti says he is a poet from a country with no name. Shlomo Ben-Ami says Israel inexplicably bolstered Hamas with the prisoner swap when it should be moving quickly towards a deal with Pres. Abbas. Alon Ben-Meir says the status quo is incredibly dangerous for Israel. Natasha Mozgovaya says Pres. Obama is going to have to work harder now on Jewish outreach. Ha'aretz says Israel's leaders are putting their political interests ahead of the law.

Israel maintains block on tax transfers to PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
(Analysis) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel's cabinet decided on Monday to continue to withhold the transfer of tax revenues owed to the Palestinian Authority, a measure it imposed two weeks ago after the Palestinians won full membership of the UN cultural agency. A government official said cabinet ministers voted narrowly in favor of continuing the freeze on the handover of revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. The money, which includes duties on goods being imported to the Palestinian territories, amounts to about $100 million each month.

Israeli Government Backs Limits on Financing for Nonprofit Groups
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - (Analysis) November 13, 2011 - 1:00am

A committee of Israeli cabinet ministers voted Sunday to back two bills aimed at curtailing the support of left-wing nonprofit groups from foreign governments. The 11-to-5 vote threw the support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government behind the bills, which human rights groups have denounced as violations of free expression and an effort by the government to silence its critics. Officials and legal experts said that the bills would probably be altered before reaching Parliament and could ultimately be struck down by the Supreme Court.

American activist takes Israel to court for injuries sustained in pro-Palestinian protest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
(Analysis) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

An American badly injured by the Israeli military during a pro-Palestinian demonstration will have his first day in an Israeli court. Tristan Anderson, of Oakland, Calif., was hit in the head with a tear gas canister fired during a demonstration against Israel’s West Bank separation barrier in March 2009. He lost an eye and suffered brain damage that paralyzed part of his body. Anderson’s Israeli lawyer Ghada Hlehi says the hearing will be held on Nov. 24 in Jerusalem. She says he is suing the Israeli government for unspecified damages.

As ultra-Orthodox flex muscle, Israel feminists see a backsliding
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Analysis) November 12, 2011 - 1:00am

When public buses rumble to a stop in some of Jerusalem's religious neighborhoods, women often dutifully enter by the rear door and sit in the back, leaving the front for men. There's no law requiring the women to do so, but those who don't risk verbal taunts and intimidation. It's a curious sight given Israel's history as an international trailblazer for women's rights.

Palestinians ponder next step in their statehood bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Analysis) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

After gaining momentum with their successful bid to join UNESCO, Palestinians now seem uncertain about their next move to win full membership in the United Nations and frustrated with their progress. The Palestinians' U.N. application was discussed Friday at the world body's Security Council, but no vote was taken. Divisions among council members — including a veto threat from the U.S. — make the application almost certain to fail.

Israeli air strike kills Hamas policeman in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
(Analysis) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

An Israeli air strike on a Hamas compound in the Gaza Strip killed one policeman and wounded four others on Monday after Palestinian militants from the coastal territory fired a rocket into southern Israel. The Israeli military said the air strike "hit a terror activity centre in the northern Gaza Strip" after a rocket was fired into Israel hours earlier, causing no injuries. Palestinian medical officials said the strike targeted a naval base used by Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip. Israel has said it holds Hamas responsible for any cross-border rockets fired.

Palestinian PM urges agreement for new leader of future government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Yang Lina - (Analysis) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called on Palestinian groups to agree on a new premier to replace him in a future unity government. In an interview with the Jerusalem-based Al-Quds newspaper, Fayyad rejected to be considered an obstacle on the way of reconciliation between President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party and the Islamic Hamas movement.

Intel Source: Israel Behind Deadly Explosion at Iran Missile Base
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Karl Vick - (Analysis) November 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli newspapers on Sunday were thick with innuendo, the front pages of the three largest dailies dominated by variations on the headline "Mysterious Explosion in Iranian Missile Base." Turn the page, and the mystery is answered with a wink. "Who Is Responsible for Attacks on the Iranian Army?" asks Maariv, and the paper lists without further comment a half-dozen other violent setbacks to Iran's nuclear and military nexus. For Israeli readers, the coy implication is that their own government was behind Saturday's massive blast just outside Tehran.

Quartet talks unlikely to jump-start negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh, Tovah Lazaroff - (Analysis) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Quartet members arrive in Israel Monday with little hope of bridging the gulf that divides the Israeli and the Palestinian leadership and has prevented the resumption of negotiations. In Ramallah on Sunday, PA President Mahmoud Abbas told US envoy David Hale that the Palestinians would not hold direct talks with Israel unless it froze West Bank settlement activity and stopped construction in east Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods. In addition, Abbas said, Israel must accept the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.

Khaldun Bshara has dodged bullets to preserve Palestinians' heritage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Ruth Eglash - (Analysis) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Most visitors to the Palestinian architectural company RIWAQ would be forgiven for thinking that its building and people are similar to others in the area. With its Arabesque entryway, high ceilings, and tiled floor, the stone structure that houses the firm is a standard Ottoman design common across the region. And the people, busily working behind desks, appear to be like any other office employees.

Why should anyone believe Netanyahu?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

If the law enabled putting leaders on trial for serial defrauding of the public and obtaining support through deception, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be keeping company with Moshe Katsav in prison. The former president has been convicted of raping women who were his subordinates and misuse of his authority. Netanyahu is having his nefarious way with Israeli democracy and using his status in order to lead Israeli society astray, all the way to diplomatic and economic isolation.

‘You are fed up with him?’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - (Analysis) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

With the Internet now everywhere, it has become impossible to suppress news YOU CAN lie to all of the people some of the time, and to some of the people all of the time, but you cannot lie to all of the people all of the time.”

The anti-Bibi debacle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Deborah Danino Harkham - (Opinion) November 13, 2011 - 1:00am

“I cannot stand him anymore,” said S. “He is a liar.” “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!” added O. At first, this seems like an innocuous and banal exchange – albeit petty – between colleagues indulging in gossip for lack of better things to discuss. The problem here is that the characters of this scene are not your average men on the street, they are the heads of state of two of the world’s most powerful countries: US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

It's not that Israel is finding new ways to expel Palestinians, it's that no one cares
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

The affair of the rapist president Moshe Katsav is always associated in my mind with my limitations as a journalist. And the mention of the week in which the affair became public (after July 8, 2006 ) brings to mind the Israeli expulsion bureaucracy.

Reducing dangers to Israeli democracy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Susan Hattis Rolef - (Opinion) November 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Many observers, mostly left-wing liberals but not only, are worried about the state of Israeli democracy. The danger, they say, is coming from several directions. First on the list are legislative initiatives allegedly designed to discourage freedom of speech, human rights activities and a settlement of the conflict with the Palestinians based on territorial compromise, and to encourage a change in the make-up of the Supreme Court.

I'm Palestinian - but where am I from?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Mourid Barghouti - (Opinion) November 11, 2011 - 1:00am

For years, the Facebook team has been reminding me that I have to edit my profile and add the country I come from. As a matter of fact, I deliberately left this out because of my irresponsible fancy that writers belong everywhere and to everyone. Fed up with the dogged persistence of that dialogue box, I finally complied and clicked the "edit" button to write down "Palestine". Oh, it was not as easy as I had thought. I am not allowed to type, I must select from an alphabetically prearranged list of countries.

Ransoming Israel’s chance for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Shlomo Ben-Ami - (Opinion) November 19, 2011 - 1:00am

The exchange of prisoners between enemies is often a prelude to political reconciliation. Unfortunately, the recent exchange between Israel and Hamas, in which the Islamist organisation gained the lion’s share of more than 1,000 prisoners in exchange for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, does not augur well for the chances of an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The Irony of Netanyahu's 'Success Story'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Alon Ben-Meir - (Opinion) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

It is ironic how those loyal to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have created a narrative of a success story of Netanyahu's achievements where failure is clearly rampant. They point to the solidity of the governing coalition, the halting of the Gaza flotillas, the failure of the Palestinian UN gambit, the release of Gilad Shalit, the expansion of settlements and the standing ovation from Congress, all while defiantly opposing any of the peacemaking moves proposed by President Obama.

Obama makes his Jewish outreach work harder
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - (Blog) November 12, 2011 - 1:00am

It's not nice to publicly use overheard conversation, but during tense elections, there is no chance that a dialogue between the French and the U.S. presidents will be easily dismissed. On Friday, Republican presidential hopeful, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, addressed the Obama-Sarkozy "hot mic" remarks at the opening of his New Hampshire campaign office.

Israeli leaders choosing personal interests over law
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Late last week, another mark of disgrace was stamped on the foreheads of Israel's decision-makers and law enforcement authorities. The response that the state submitted to a High Court of Justice petition filed by Palestinian farmers demanding the return of their land, on which the settlement of Amona was built, is still more evidence of an incredibly serious phenomenon - the government and prosecution's collaboration with thieves and lawbreakers.

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