Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Hamas fines banks in Gaza. A pilot program to increase exports from Gaza is faltering. Israel is increasing diplomatic outreach in East Africa. Israel annexes privately-owned Palestinian land within Israel itself. A leading settler rabbi says soldiers should prefer death to listening to a woman singing. Israeli soldiers say extremist settlers have tried to kill them. Israel's separation barrier divides a Christian community in the occupied territories. Fatah and Hamas still plan unity talks, and some experts expect them to succeed at the expense of PM Fayyad. “Price tag” attacks are now targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel. COMMENTARY: Nehemia Shtrasler says PM Rabin understood the intimate connection between peace and economics. Anshel Pfeffer says there is no need for the ultra-Orthodox in Israel to protest, because they already run the place. Yair Lapid says the Israeli right does not understand that the left can also use new oppressive laws. Uri Savir says an Obama reelection is strongly in Israel's interests. Marcus Sheff says Palestinians may be divided about the right of return to a Palestinian state. Ahmad Majdoubeh says Palestinians should continue to insist on statehood and recognition. Ronit Avni says the story of occupation in Jerusalem is not being told. Hagit Ofran says the potential eviction of a Palestinian family in Jerusalem could spark a political crisis. Paul Pillar says nonviolence is the most potent Palestinian weapon. Former Special Envoy Mitchell says the peace process is not dead and must be continued. Abdel-Moneim Said says dissolving the PA would be “the mother of all gambles.”

Hamas-Appointed Court Fines Gaza Banks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram, Ethan Bronner - (Analysis) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

In what could be the first of many such decisions, a Hamas-appointed court this week ordered two major banks in Gaza to pay tens of millions of dollars in back fees and fines for refusing to accept the taxing power of the Hamas government, rather than its West-Bank-based rival, the Palestinian Authority. Bank officials, who boycotted the judicial hearings, said the decision, handed down by a lower court earlier this week, might force them to shut down temporarily, at least, further reducing access to money in this isolated coastal enclave.

Israel-Gaza tensions: Pilot program to expand Gaza exports falters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Kristen Chick - (Analysis) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

The Bright Star textile company in Gaza used to sew 4 million pieces of clothing a month, most of it for export to Israel and beyond – part of a humming manufacturing sector that accounted for nearly a third of Gaza's economy. But after Israel imposed a blockade in 2006, Gaza's factories fell silent, unable to import the raw materials they needed or send their finished products abroad for sale.

With eye on militants, Israel builds Africa ties
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Josef Federman - (Analysis) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel has identified eastern Africa as an important strategic interest and is stepping up ties with nations in the region in a joint effort to control the spread of Islamic extremists, officials said Thursday. In effect, Israel would become a player siding with Christian-led African nations in conflicts with Muslim movements, a fault line that has sharpened around the continent in recent years. Israeli moves come as the United States as well has hiked up military support for African governments, in large part to combat al-Qaida-linked groups.

Israel effectively annexes Palestinian land near Jordan Valley
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Akiva Eldar - (Analysis) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel carried out a de facto annexation of Palestinian land northeast of the Jordan Valley and given it to Kibbutz Merav. Merav, part of the Religious Kibbutz Movement, is about seven kilometers northwest of the parcel. The route of the separation barrier in the area was changed so that the plot in question, about 1,500 dunams (375 acres), would be on the Israeli side.

Top settler rabbi: Soldiers will sooner choose death than suffer women's singing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yair Ettinger - (Analysis) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel Defense Forces soldiers should choose death before they remain at army events which include women's singing, a top settler religious leader said in an interview on Thursday. The comment made by Elyakim Levanon, the rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Elon Moreh, came after earlier this week, 19 reserve major generals sent a letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, imploring them not to allow harm to come to women's service in the army as a result of religious soldiers' demands.

Settlers 'attempted to kill' Israeli soldiers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - (Analysis) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

Though fairly hair-raising, the blog Haim Har-Zahav wrote about how his Israel Defence Forces unit was attacked several times in the West Bank back in September would have gone almost unnoticed – except for one thing.

Christian community divided by Israeli separation barrier
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - (Analysis) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

Even though its concrete pillars and barbed wire have yet to be pieced together through these terraced olive orchards, Israel's separation barrier has already divided this small Christian community. Israeli authorities are expected to build a segment of its 760-kilometre fence through Cremisan, an area of verdant hills wedged between occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Fatah-Hamas meeting to focus on unified Palestinian vision
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Salah Jumaa - (Analysis) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

Nimr Hammad, the Palestinian president's political adviser, has asserted that President Mahmud Abbas will focus at next week’s meeting with Hamas chief Khalid Mishal on the need to have a unified political program for the next government for the sake of communicating effectively with the world and so as to have a unified Palestinian vision for dealing with the world and with political issues. Hammad believes that the division and different political stands between Hamas and Fatah and the absence of a unified vision toward the strategic issues serve Israel.

Palestinians' talks over unity government likely to succeed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Adam Gonn - (Analysis) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

An agreement between Fatah and Hamas, Palestinians' rival parties, looks likely on the formation of a unity government with Fatah's flexibility on the future role of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the ruling body. Hamas, which established its own government in Gaza after routing out forces loyal to Fatah in 2007, has been opposed to Fayyad's playing any part in the unity government.

Attacks Target Palestinians In Israeli Towns
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from National Public Radio (NPR)
by Sheera Frenkel - (Analysis) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

In Israel, tensions are rising between Jews and Palestinian Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of the population. Over the past few months, several Arab sites have been vandalized by militant Jews who left graffiti such as "Death to Arabs." Locals blame activists from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. At a recent demonstration on a street corner in the central Israeli town of Jaffa, protesters chant in both Hebrew and Arabic. The crowd is made up of Jews and Palestinians angry over the attacks, which have rocked their community.

Rabin knew road to peace passed through the bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nehemia Shtrasler - (Analysis) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

Last Saturday night, I went to the square. I do so every year, as part of my civic duty to salute the prime minister who was assassinated on the altar of peace. Everyone should devote at least one day a year to the frustrating thought that if the Shin Bet security service had done its job and arrested the murderer, we would today be living in a completely different reality - a much better one.

Jerusalem & Babylon / Ultra-Orthodox need not protest Israel, they run it
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - (Opinion) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

Someone just woke up and discovered that women have been banished from advertising billboards throughout Jerusalem. Good morning! The Modesty Police has been ruling the streets for years and none of you have done anything about it. I am normally very skeptical of conspiracy theories, because that is what they are, theories, and because I have actually met some of the conspiracists. But even I sometimes wonder if a group of rabbis did not get together at some point at the end of the 1990s and hatch a plan to take over the state of Israel by legal and democratic means.

Left’s revenge will come
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yair Lapid - (Opinion) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

Imagine that we are in the year 2013, and the Left is in power. The first thing it will do is pass the “Law for protecting IDF officers and soldiers,” whereby the army would immediately evacuate any community whose residents abuse IDF soldiers. When the Right would furiously claim that the law’s only purpose is to prompt settlement evacuation in Judea and Samaria, Leftist Knesset members will show puzzlement while playing dumb, saying that this is not a leftist law – after all, leftists who reside in settlements will also be evacuated should they dare abuse IDF troops.

Right of return, but not in my backyard
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Marcus Sheff - (Opinion) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

On a recent afternoon in Nablus, during the Id al-Adha Muslim holiday, a group of Palestinian men sat down to a conversation in an office suite. As traffic honked and rattled in the streets of this bustling West Bank city, the discussion ranged from the relative popularity of Fatah and Hamas to the man most likely to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian president.

Palestinian insistence is key
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Ahmad Majdoubeh - (Opinion) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel can be expected to be hostile to the Palestinian UN bid for statehood. The present Israeli government is not only not serious about peace, deliberately seeks to subvert all peace efforts and abort any attempts at arriving at Palestinian statehood, be it through negotiations or through the UN Security Council.

Who Will Write Jerusalem's Story?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Ronit Avni - (Opinion) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

While Jerusalem has always received its fair share of attention at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, too often it is treated as an idealized symbol rather than a real place. In debates surrounding the future of the city, religious proclamations and lines on maps overshadow the needs and interests of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis who live, work and raise their families in the city.

The Eviction of One Palestinian Family Might Cause the Next Political Crisis Over East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Hagit Ofran - (Opinion) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

August 2nd, 2009. The Ghawi and Hannun families of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem are waking to the sounds of police and trucks and movers. In a few hours, their houses will have become the home to settler families, and they will be kicked out to the street.

The Palestinians' Most Potent Weapon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National Interest
by Paul Pillar - (Blog) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Nine years ago an article by Gal Luft titled “The Palestinian H-Bomb: Terrorism's Winning Strategy” addressed suicide bombing against Israeli citizens as a fearsome and inexorable force. The tactic instead proved to be a self-destructive fizzle. It earned enemies rather than friends, drove Israelis deeper into their defensive crouch, was ultimately controlled by Israel through measures such as a meandering defensive barrier, and did absolutely nothing to bring Palestinians closer to self-determination and their own state.

Sen. George Mitchell on Mid-East Peace Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Free Press
by Christine Parrish - (Opinion) November 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Senator George Mitchell told an overflow crowd at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast on Tuesday morning that the Middle East peace process, which he spent two and a half years shepherding as the U.S. special envoy to the Middle East, is not dead and that it is crucial to continue the effort towards a two-state solution.

The mother of all gambles
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Abdel-Moneim Said - (Opinion) November 18, 2011 - 1:00am

It is reported that in his attempt to pitch to the Palestinian leadership the Oslo Accords, which he played a key role in negotiating, Mahmoud Abbas -- Abu Mazen -- described them as a gamble. Before long it was palpable that he did not master the rules of the game that he had dragged the Palestinians into. It seems that Abu Mazen, like any skill-less gambler, was placing his hopes solely on being dealt a royal flush.

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