Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israeli generals again say they may need to attack Gaza. Israel announces more settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinian "freedom riders" are boarding segregated Israeli buses, and are being arrested. The CSM looks at the idea of dismantling the PA. France summons the Israeli ambassador after its consul in Gaza is injured in an Israeli attack. Pres. Abbas vows to accelerate reconciliation with Hamas, and Palestinians say they have agreed on elections in May. Fatah says PM Fayyad remains their preferred candidate for prime minister. A Republican foreign aid proposal startles supporters of Israel. COMMENTARY: Amira Hass says PM Netanyahu is less of a liar than other Israeli prime ministers. Amos Harel says the Israeli military is split between rabbis and generals. Nir Hasson looks at who funds right-wing Israeli groups. Sameer Abu Eisheh looks at the idea of dissolving the PA, and Danny Rubinstein says it is a real option and would redefine everything. Shai Bazak says Palestinians must return to negotiations. Tony Karon thinks Fayyad, and possibly Pres. Abbas, will soon be out of office. Elliott Abrams thinks Palestinian diplomacy is in deep trouble. Arieh O’Sullivan says Bedouins in the Sinai are joining Al Qaeda not out of ideology but bitterness. Trudy Rubin says Israeli settler violence is a huge threat to peace. Nour Joudah explains why she supports the Palestinian “freedom riders.”

Israeli Army May Need to Hit Gaza, General Says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel’s military chief of staff warned Tuesday that the repeated rounds of escalated violence in the south would eventually require Israel to carry out another large-scale military operation in Hamas-controlled Gaza. “We cannot continue with one round after another,” the official, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, told a closed meeting of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. He said the point at which a military operation would become necessary was “drawing closer.”

Israel announces more housing in West Bank and the Jerusalem area
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel announced Tuesday it would soon issue tenders for 5,000 new units of housing nationwide, including about 570 apartments on land it seized during the 1967 Mideast war. The government said the new housing was needed to address Israel's rising real estate prices, which triggered massive popular demonstrations this summer. But critics objected to the inclusion of 348 units in Har Homa and 18 in Pisgat Zeev, two Jewish developments in the Jerusalem area. An additional 213 units are planned for the West Bank settlement of Efrat.

Palestinian activists arrested on Israeli bus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Diaa Hadid - November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Six Palestinian activists, clutching national flags and surrounded by dozens of reporters, were dragged off an Israeli bus they planned to ride into Jerusalem after a standoff with police Tuesday. They were detained and then released a few hours later in the West Bank, said pro-Palestinian activist Jonathan Pollack. The Palestinians boarded the Israeli bus in a widely advertised action hoping to draw attention to what they call discriminatory measures in the West Bank, particularly travel restrictions.

Palestinian 'freedom riders' board Israeli buses in protest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Rebecca Collard - November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Decked-out in T-shirts bearing slogans such as “dignity,” “freedom,” and “justice,” and wearing the symbolic black and white Palestinian kaffiyeh scarves, six Palestinian activists waited at a bus stop this afternoon with a group of Israeli settlers.

Israeli-Palestinian jolt? Why some want to dismantle PA.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority is seeking to regroup after the United Nations Security Council officially declared its bid for full UN membership to be dead. After the Council's announcement Friday, Israeli-Palestinian relations returned to a familiar stasis this week. In talks with the Quartet (the US, UN, European Union, and Russia) yesterday, Israel sought a return to the table with no preconditions and Palestinians insisted on a settlement freeze before resuming talks.

France summons Israeli ambassador over Gaza raid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

France's Foreign Ministry summoned Israel's ambassador on Wednesday over an airstrike in Gaza that injured the French consul and his family on Sunday. Majdi Jameel Yaseen Shaqqoura and his daughter were injured by shrapnel and his wife suffered a miscarriage when Israeli warplanes bombed a police building in Beit Lahiya early Monday morning, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said in a statement.

Abbas vows to speed up reconciliation with Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas pledged Wednesday to speed up reconciliation with Hamas in a speech to honor late President Yasser Arafat. Abbas said he would meet Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal in Cairo on Nov. 23, addressing his leadership in Ramallah to commemorate the seventh anniversary of Arafat's death. The party leaders will address the reconciliation deal signed in May to end years of rivalry that split Palestinians into separate administrations in the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinian official: Rivals agree on election
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have agreed to hold elections next May, a senior official said Tuesday, in what would be a major step toward ending a four-year rift. Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior Fatah negotiator, said the sides agreed on the election plan in secret talks and are expected to formally approve it later this month. The plan calls for the establishment of a caretaker government to prepare for the vote — most likely without current Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Fatah: Fayyad remains candidate for PM of Palestinian unity government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has been and remains PA President Mahmoud Abbas' candidate for prime minister in a unity government with Hamas, Fatah parliament member Faisal Abu Shahla said on Wednesday. Abu Shahla added, however, that the matter will only be decided when Abbas meets with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Cairo next Friday. On Tuesday, Palestinian sources said that Fatah and Hamas agreed to hold elections next May and are due to establish a caretaker government in the coming weeks which will exclude Fayyad.

Republicans’ ‘Starting from zero’ aid proposal startles pro-Israel community
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

“Starting from zero,” the foreign assistance plan touted by leading Republican candidates at a debate, is getting low marks, and not just from Democrats and the foreign policy community. Pro-Israel activists and fellow Republicans also have concerns. Texas Gov. Rick Perry introduced the plan during the first foreign policy debate Saturday night, held by CBS and the National Journal at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. South Carolina is a key early primary state.

Netanyahu is less of a liar than past Israeli PMs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Does Benjamin Netanyahu lie more than other politicians? That, at least, is the impression one gets from various reports in the press. But does he lie more than other prime ministers about Israel's strong (lack of ) desire for peace with the Palestinians? To say that would be downright mendacious.

In the IDF, it's the officers vs. the rabbis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - (Blog) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

Amid renewed fighting on the Gaza border and an influx of reports on a possible Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites, Israel Defense Forces chief Benny Gantz’s term is being dominated by an entirely different issue: the cultural war brewing within the army. Specifically, the impact of rabbis and religious officers on the day-to-day life of the military, beyond the basic rights promised to them by IDF regulations.

Who funds Israel's right-wing organizations?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - (Opinion) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

The sponsors of two bills approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday accurately identified the soft underbelly of Israel's left-wing and human-rights organizations: They are the only ones who receive funding from foreign governments and international organization - and this is the exact kind of funding the bills seek to curtail. Right-wing groups get no funding whatsoever from these sources. What do you think of the proposed legislation over NGO funding? Visit Haaretz.com on Facebook and share your views.

Dissolving the Palestinian National Authority or considering a new strategic direction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Sameer Abu Eisheh - (Opinion) November 14, 2011 - 1:00am

First, we have to ask ourselves about the role of the Palestinian National Authority. Is the PNA a vehicle for independence and the establishment of a sovereign state, or is it limited to running an autonomous area and, in parallel, relieving the Israelis from the burdens of their occupation?

Disbanding the PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Danny Rubenstein - (Opinion) November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel?s relationship with the Palestinian Authority (PA ) has reached a new low, the worst it has been since the second intifada and the 2002 siege on then-PA president Yasser Arafat at his headquarters in the Mukata'ah in Ramallah. In those days of bloodshed and violence, Palestinians perpetrated devastating suicide bombings and the IDF conducted retaliatory raids into the Palestinian cities.

Palestinians must come to the table
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Boston Herald
by Shai Bazak - (Opinion) November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The situation in our part of the Middle East doesn’t appear to make much sense at first glance. Israel has declared that it supports the establishment of two states for two peoples — which includes a Palestinian state. The Palestinians say they want a state. So why do two seemingly identical positions not lead to the expected outcome? The answer is simple — both sides hold opposing views on the means to reach this goal.

Fayyad Reported Sidelined as a New Palestinian Political Era Emerges - Will Abbas Follow?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Tony Karon - (Blog) November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Once hailed by Western pundits as the technocrat-magician who would conjure a Palestinian state into being through irrepressible institutional competence, Salam Fayyad has been unceremoniously sidelined from his job as Palestinian Prime Minister according to a deal announced Tuesday -- a sign of the collapse of the illusions projected onto him, and of the peace process itself. Fayyad's ouster is expected to be a consequence of the reconciliation agreement between President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement and the Islamist Hamas organization, that is to be sealed in Cairo on Friday.

Palestinian Diplomacy, Lost at Sea
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Council On Foreign Relations
by Elliott Abrams - (Blog) November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

“Palestinians ponder next step in their statehood bid,” said the Los Angeles Times. “Palestinians will keep knocking on U.N.’s door,” said Reuters. They will go to the Security Council; or they’ll go to the Security Council only if they’ll win; even if they won’t win; now, or maybe later; then to the General Assembly, or maybe not, after all. Palestinian “diplomacy” is now a series of contradictions that display little more than confusion. In this context it is not at all surprising to see renewed negotiations between Fatah and Hamas.

Sinai Bedouin Join Al-Qa’ida Out of Bitterness, Not Ideology
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Arieh O'Sullivan - (Opinion) November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Egyptian authorities have widened their sweep against militants believed to be behind attacks in the Sinai Peninsula and southern Israel, cracking down on Bedouin tribesmen who have affiliated themselves with the notorious Al-Qa’ida organization. Angered for being marginalized and impoverished by the Egyptian rulers, the Bedouin have embraced the Islamist extremist terror network out of bitterness about their economic circumstances rather than religious ideology, experts say.

Pro-settlement attacks by Israeli militants endanger any hope of peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Sacramento Bee
by Trudy Rubin - (Opinion) November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

When Hagit Ofran woke up Tuesday — within days of the 16th anniversary of the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin — she found death threats spray-painted on her door. "You are dead. Ofran, Rabin is waiting for you," was the message scrawled in red against the white walls of her stairwell.

Two roads to justice meet in Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Tenessean
by Nour Joudah - (Opinion) November 15, 2011 - 1:00am

I grew up with two stories, two histories and, in many ways, two countries. From the age of 5 until 21, I roamed, lived in and loved Tennessee’s hills. But, in those same formative years, I lived from news piece to news piece, following with bated breath the events of my homeland, Occupied Palestine.

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