Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel allows a shipment of construction materials into Gaza. Pres. Abbas will meet Hamas leaders next week, and Israel accuses him of preferring to deal with Hamas over peace with Israel. Israelis accuse a Palestinian journalist of being “an Iranian agent.” PLO officials dismiss reports, citing European diplomats, of a secret deal to release Palestinian tax revenues. The widow of the late Pres. Arafat says she never took any public money. The Israeli economy again faces the threat of a slowdown or recession. Concerns are growing over settler violence. Palestinians are reconsidering their diplomatic options.Israel has been building multibillion-dollar electronic weapons that could be deployed in the event of an attack against Iran. COMMENTARY: Michael Cohen says Palestinians and other Arabs have learned historical lessons but Israel and the US haven't. Gideon Levy says PM Netanyahu is Israel's last hope for democracy. Ari Shavit says without its political left, Israel would be a backward country. Musa Abu Hashhash says events in Hebron show religious extremists on both sides pose a grave danger. Douglas Bloomfield asks if Middle East peace has become a mission impossible. Dan Stein says pro-Palestinian activists have created a controversy within the occupy Wall Street movement. Trudy Rubin says the peace process is the victim of neglect. Khaled Diab profiles Palestinian “freedom riders.”

Israel Allows a Rare Shipment of Construction Materials to Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel allowed the first truckloads of a rare shipment of construction materials into Gaza on Wednesday to permit the reconstruction of 10 privately owned factories, the Israeli military and Palestinian officials said. Until now, only international projects were allowed to import such materials, which Israel restricts because of concerns they could be used by militants who launch rockets at Israeli towns. Gaza, which is ruled by the militant group Hamas, is subject to an Israeli blockade that has been eased but includes restrictions on the movement of goods and people.

Palestinian Authority president to meet Hamas leader next week
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that he plans to meet Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal next week, a move bound to upset Israel and the U.S. The meeting, which is expected to take place in Cairo, will include discussion of the reconciliation agreement that rival factions Fatah and Hamas signed in May, which was supposed to set the ground for reuniting the West Bank and Gaza Strip under one leadership.

Israel blames Abbas for choosing Hamas over peace. Is he?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is reaching out to rival Hamas in a renewed bid for unity after his campaign for United Nations membership failed in the Security Council last week. Mr. Abbas is reportedly pushing to set a May 2012 date for Palestinian elections – the first such vote in five years – and will bow to Hamas demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad so an interim unity cabinet can be appointed.

European diplomat: Palestinians willing to freeze UN bid if Israel, U.S. resume funds
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority has offered the United States a deal, saying it would freeze all moves to achieve full membership for "Palestine" in various UN agencies until the end of January, a European diplomat said, while the United States and Israel would resume transferring it funds. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's special envoy Isaac Molho met secretly in London on Tuesday with U.S. administration representatives David Hale and Dennis Ross to discuss the suggestion.

Israeli lawmaker: Palestinian journalist for Iranian TV 'enemy agent'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Is he a journalist providing Iranians with news, or an agent transmitting information to the enemy? Ibrahim Husseini is hardly a covert operator -- the entire audience of the English-language PressTV in Iran knows he's in Israel. However, the channel, which is run by the Iranian government and not readily accessible in Israel, is apparently not that popular with Israeli politicians.

Erekat: Reports of secret deal to release revenue 'nonsense'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

PLO official Saeb Erekat on Thursday dismissed reports that the Palestinian Authority offered to stop trying to join UN agencies if Israel lifted its block on tax transfers. The Israeli daily Haaretz reported Thursday that the PA offered to stop trying to join international agencies and pledged not to seek any upgrade to its UN status if Israel released money it owes the PA. Israel has refused to transfer tax revenues owed to the PA -- amounting to around $100 million each month -- since UNESCO, the UN cultural agency, voted to admit Palestine.

Suha Arafat: I never took money from Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

I didn't take money from Palestine, says Suha Arafat, the widow of former Chairman of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO Yasser Arafat. Speaking in an interview with Egyptian journalist Wael Al Abrashi she said, "I didn’t take lands from the state of Palestine."

Israel Faces Chill Wind From Europe, Central Banker Warns
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Rosenberg - November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

For the second time in three years Israel’s economy is threatened with the prospect of being pushed into a slowdown or even a recession not of its own making, prompting Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer to warn the government against boosting spending or raising taxes.

Concerns over rising settler violence in the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
by Jon Donnison - November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

"These trees are holy to me. They're so old you can't put a value on them," says Nidam Qaraweq, a Palestinian olive farmer from the West Bank village of Awarta. He pokes at the blackened, and gnarled trunks which are hundreds of years old. A large piece of what is now charcoal breaks off in his hand. "They're all dead," he says angrily. Last month, around 20 of Mr Qaraweq's olive trees were destroyed by fire. He says Jewish settlers from the adjacent settlement of Itamar deliberately set his fields alight in an arson attack.

Palestinians Rethink Statehood Bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Israelis warned of a “diplomatic tsunami,” Palestinians promised a game changer that would reshape Middle East peacemaking, and the White House and Congress geared up for an all-out battle inside and beyond the United Nations. But on November 11, the Palestinians’ initiative to gain statehood recognition from the U.N. Security Council ended finally not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Israel’s Secret Iran Attack Plan: Electronic Warfare
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Eli Lake - November 16, 2011 - 1:00am

For much of the last decade, as Iran methodically built its nuclear program, Israel has been assembling a multibillion-dollar array of high-tech weapons that would allow it to jam, blind, and deafen Tehran's defenses in the case of a pre-emptive aerial strike.

US and Israel haven't learned their history lessons. Palestinians and Abbas have.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Michael Cohen - (Opinion) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Edmund Burke famously said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” The Arab-Israeli conflict, steeped in history, is a case in point. A major piece of US Middle East policy presents a clear example of history being forgotten, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s recent statehood bid at the United Nations serves as an example of history being remembered.

Netanyahu is now the last hope for Israeli democracy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu is a democrat, though of course there are people who are more democratic than he. He is imbued, from his youth, with a dangerous ambition to destroy Israel's "old elites," but he doesn't claim to want to destroy its democracy. Let's give him credit for that. Likud's prime ministers before him knew how to inflame passions - Menachem Begin in the street, and Ariel Sharon in the party central committee - but somehow they also knew how to preserve the democratic framework.

Israel would be a backward country without the left-wing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Opinion) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to his senses at the last minute. He remembered that he's a Jabotinsky-ist and a democrat, so he blocked the bill that would have subordinated the judicial authority to the elected authority. But the bill that is designed to interfere harshly in choosing the Supreme Court president was passed. The bill that is designed to harm the funding of human rights organizations was almost passed. Channel 10 is still being pursued.

No religious conflict in Hebron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Musa Abu Hashhash - (Opinion) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian history is made up of different layers and it is wrong and unfair to dig up one layer and ignore the others. This view was voiced by Dr. Albert Algazarian from Bir Zeit University, who wanted to prove the futility of arguing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in historical terms. I would argue that it is equally futile –and in fact dangerous – to turn it into a religious conflict.

Is the Mideast peace mission impossible?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

The headline in The Jerusalem Post read, “Israel upset by PA’s refusal to renew talks.” Count me among the skeptics. I’m not convinced the Netanyahu government is at all disappointed that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas isn’t ready to return to the peace table.

Pro-Palestinian activists push cause within Occupy Wall Street movement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Dan Klein - (Opinion) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

As the Occupy Wall Street protests continue to spread across America, an internal struggle is percolating over how the movement relates to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Pro-Palestinian activists are trying to insert the issue into the protests and are co-opting the Occupy Wall Street movement’s language to attack Israel. But some left-wing Jewish activists warn that these efforts will give ammunition to the movement’s critics and make it harder to build a big tent in support of Occupy Wall Street’s main economic agenda.

Worldview: Israeli-Palestinian effort a victim of neglect
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Philly.com
by Trudy Rubin - (Opinion) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Traveling in Israel and the West Bank, and talking to leaders on both sides, one thing soon becomes apparent: The Israeli-Palestinian peace process of the last two decades is dead. Israeli leaders don't believe in it, Palestinian leaders have given up on it, and the White House has abandoned it. An end to talks on a two-state solution means a slide toward a "one-state solution" in which Palestinians outnumber Jews inside Israel's borders. This ensures perpetual violence.

Arrests greet Palestinian freedom riders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Salon.com
by Khaled Diab - (Opinion) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

We headed for Road 60, one of the few main arteries in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which is open both to Israeli and Palestinian travelers.

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