Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The French consul in the Gaza Strip is injured in an Israeli military attack. The Quartet does not appear to have made any progress between Israel and the Palestinians. The CSM asks if Israel was responsible for a massive explosion in Iran. Palestinian officials say they have made progress on national reconciliation talks, and Fatah officials say that may mean replacing PM Fayyad. Israeli generals want to fight gender segregation in their ranks, and say there is the prospect of a major military action in Gaza. The Knesset is proceeding with two controversial bills. Egypt arrests a suspect in the attacks on the gas pipeline to Israel. Israeli and Palestinian activists are launching “freedom rides” on segregated buses in the occupied territories. COMMENTARY: Richard Cohen says Pres. Peres' new book about Ben-Gurion is worth reading. Sefi Rachlevsky says Israel desperately needs a new prime minister. Ha'aretz says there are serious threats to freedom of the press in Israel. Gershon Baskin says “economic peace” may be the only thing available right now. Ron Kampeas asks what the exchange between Pres. Obama and Pres. Sarkozy about PM Netanyahu really means. The National says Israel is wrong to withhold Palestinian tax revenues. Yossi Alpher says dissolving the PA would be extremely risky, Yossi Beilin says it's actually a possibility, but Ghassan Khatib says it's simply not an option. Donald Macintyre looks at why the sincerity of Netanyahu is doubted by other leaders.

French consul injured after IAF strike on Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
(Analysis) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

France's consul to the Gaza Strip, his wife and 13-year-old daughter were injured during an Israeli air strike on Sunday night, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said on Tuesday. Valero told reporters the three were were hit by shrapnel at their Gaza residence , which is located 200 meters from the site of the IAF missile attack. "France condemns the consequences of the raid," he said. "While we are all for Israeli security, France recalls the utmost necessity to avoid civilian harm," Valero said, without specifying the nature of their injuries.

No movement on issues dividing Israel and Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
(Blog) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

As representatives of the Mideast quartet tried again Monday to break the ice between Palestinians and Israelis, Israel's cabinet decided to maintain another freeze, that of Palestinian tax money. Israel collects around $100 million of taxes and customs for the Palestinian Authority as part of the economic agreements signed in the 1990s. Every so often, Israel suspends transfer of this money; it currently is freezing funds in retaliation for the Palestinians' successful bid for membership in the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO.

Did Israel assassinate Iran's 'missile king'?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Scott Peterson - (Analysis) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

Iran today buries a senior commander of its missile force, amid claims that the huge explosion that killed him and at least 16 others at a Revolutionary Guard base on Saturday was the work of Israeli agents.

Official: Fatah, Hamas reach agreement on key issues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

Fatah and Hamas have agreed on several controversial issues as part of a reconciliation deal signed on May 4, a Fatah official said Monday. Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad told a local radio station that details of the agreements would be released after a meeting set to take place in late November between President Abbas and Hamas leader in exile Khaled Mashaal. On Friday, the official PA news agency reported that Abbas and Mashaal would meet in Cairo in the last 10 days of November.

Fatah considers dropping nomination of Fayyad as premier of unity government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Emad Drimly - (Analysis) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

A senior member of the Fatah Party said Tuesday the party could drop the nomination of Salam Fayyad as premier for the unity government during the upcoming reconciliation dialogue with Islamic Hamas movement. Hamas welcomed its rival's decision and said it would ease implementing an Egypt-brokered reconciliation pact in Cairo on May 4. The movement has been ruling Gaza after it seized the enclave by force in June 2007 and routed Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' forces.

Israeli generals fight gender segregation in ranks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jeffrey Heller - (Analysis) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel's military must not give in to Jewish religious demands to prevent the mixing of men and women in the ranks, a group of reservist generals told the country's defence minister on Monday. The 19 generals, among them former army, air force and navy commanders, listed times when they said women had been sidelined or segregated during military events because of pressure from male Orthodox soldiers.

IDF chief: Gaza violence may lead to significant military action
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Jonathan Lis - (Analysis) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

Recent bouts of violence along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip are leading toward significant and offensive military action in the coastal enclave, Israel Defense Forces chief Benny Gantz said on Tuesday, adding that there was still a chance for a flare-up of West Bank violence over the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations. Gantz's comments came just 24 hours following the latest confrontation along the Gaza border, as Israel Air Force planes carried out a strike early Monday after Palestinian militants in Hamas-run Gaza fired a rocket at southern Israel.

Israeli lawmakers push ahead contentious bills
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - (Analysis) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

At the end of a stormy debate, Israeli lawmakers pushed ahead two bills that critics say would threaten the independence of the country's Supreme Court, just days after Cabinet ministers advanced another proposal to sharply limit funding for dovish groups. Opponents say both developments reflect attempts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to stifle dissent and pluralism. Netanyahu himself was absent from the parliament vote on Monday, which dominated newspapers headlines and radio talk shows.

Egypt nabs suspect believed linked to Eilat attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Oren Kessler, Reuters - (Analysis) November 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Egyptian authorities arrested a top member of an Islamist terror group suspected of involvement in pipeline bombings that have disrupted gas supplies to Israel and Jordan, Egyptian state media reported on Sunday. The Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported that the detainee, Mohammed al-Teehi, was also being investigated for an August terror attack in southern Israel that killed eight people. Teehi, of the armed Islamist group Al-Takfir Wa Al-Hijra (Excommunication and Exodus), was arrested in the northern coastal city of El-Arish, Egypt's news agency MENA reported.

Palestinian, Israeli activists launch campaign against settlement transportation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Arabiya
by Amjad Samhan - (Analysis) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

Dozens of Palestinian and Israeli activists are gearing up for the launch on Tuesday of a campaign against transportation companies that serve settlements in the West Bank in protest of the continuation of the occupation and the construction of more units in the Occupied Territories. The campaign aims at obstructing means of transportation affiliated to Egged and Veolia, two Israeli public transportation companies that transfer Jewish settlers from the West Bank to East Jerusalem and Israel.

The genius of Ben-Gurion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Richard Cohen - (Opinion) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

At the age of 88, Shimon Peres, the astonishingly productive president of Israel, has written yet another book. This one is called “Ben-Gurion: A Political Life,” and it is about the man Peres went to work for in his early 20s — David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister and a man who was both a little guy and a towering figure. Peres calls him a genius.

Israel must topple Netanyahu before it's too late
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Sefi Rachlevsky - (Opinion) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

A democratic state prepares for an existential battle by involving all its citizens and forging international alliances; a fascist state prepares by suppressing its opponents at home, while also attempting to forge alliances overseas; a messianic fascist state both suppresses opponents at home and makes itself a pariah abroad.

Netanyahu's Likud set to limit Israel's freedom of the press
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

At the request of several lawmakers, the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee is due tomorrow to hold a revote on Channel 10 television's request to defer payment of its debt to the state by one year. The debt in question comprises royalty payments and licensing fees, and the channel's management has made it clear that failure to postpone the payment will lead to the closure of the station.

Despite it all, economic peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took over the Israeli government at the end of March 2009, he spoke about his economic peace plan. In November 2009, Netanyahu said, “Economic development does not solve problems, it mitigates them and makes them more accessible for solution, and creates a stronger political base.” He further said he would not hand over the Palestinians territories before strengthening the West Bank economy, fearing that radical Islamists backed by archenemy Iran would seize power there.

Sarko said, Obama said—but what does it all mean?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - (Opinion) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Does Nicolas Sarkozy really hate Benjamin Netanyahu? Does President Obama really sympathize? And does it really matter? The fleeting, private exchange between the French and U.S. presidents at a summit in Cannes, France, made international headlines, and its meaning is still being parsed by political pundits and pro-Israel activists.

Time for Israel to stop politicising Palestinian cash
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

As Israel continues to tighten the screws on Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, it also continues to earn itself unpleasant headlines around the world. That may be one reason why the latest such move, to limit and tax certain foreign grants to civil-society groups within Israel, has now been deferred. But the measures still have strong support in Israel's conservative cabinet and are far from dead.

Gaza first
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

About half a year ago, I and several colleagues spent two hours conversing and dining with Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. One of the questions we asked him concerned his options in the event the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations failed--or for that matter, if it succeeded but Israel refused to honor it.

Simply not an option
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

The recent speculation about the future of the Palestinian Authority, including its possible dissolution, arose as a result of discussions in Fateh's Central Committee meeting two weeks ago. These discussions were not about dissolving the Palestinian Authority per se, but about the future of the governing body that has grown into numerous agencies and employs nearly 200,000 people. Fateh's leadership sought to address the fact that the difficulty of transforming this transitional Palestinian Authority into a state has produced an uncomfortable--and even untenable--status quo.

Both sides would suffer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Beilin - (Opinion) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority was supposed to cease existing on May 4, 1999, the date a final status agreement was to take effect. Of course, that never happened. In the absence of any alternative agreement, the PA could remain in existence until final status is agreed or, indeed, until the end of time (whichever comes first. . .).

Why sincerity of Israeli leader is doubted
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - (Opinion) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

Exactly what Nicolas Sarkozy meant by describing Benjamin Netanyahu as a "liar" is not immediately clear, and the French President is unlikely to prolong the episode by explaining it. But it is safe to assume that Mr Sarkozy has become increasingly unconvinced of Mr Netanyahu's sincerity in saying he is willing to negotiate a two-state solution with the Palestinians. By insisting the Palestinians recognise Israel as a "Jewish state" and by resuming a surge in Jewish settlement building, Mr Netanyahu has given no sign that he envisages the minimum deal the Palestinians could accept.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017