Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Hamas is gaining in confidence following the prisoner swap with Israel. Pres. Abbas will meet Hamas leader Mishaal in Egypt in spite of the unrest, and some analysts think they will finalize a deal soon. Israel is concerned about the future of its peace agreement with Egypt, and a former defense official is urging contingency plans to re-enter Sinai, but Egypt reaffirms its commitments. Israel charges a Palestinian man with "revenge" killings. Israel's Internal Security Minister says he fears more political assassinations by Jewish extremists. UNSG Ban calls on Israel to release Palestinian tax revenues. One of PM Netanyahu's media advisors resigns over threats to press freedom. UNESCO defunding is crippling its programs. COMMENTARY: Sarah Schulman says Israel engages in "pinkwashing" by using gay rights rhetoric to distract from the occupation. Bradley Burston says Netanyahu's government is hypocritical. Ha'aretz says Netanyahu must choose between FM Lieberman and the rule of law. Attila Somfalvi says Netanyahu is deliberately stifling the media. Gershon Baskin says Netanyahu could be a leader for peace if he wanted to. The Jordan Times says King Abdullah's Ramallah trip was timely support. Rebecca Vilkomerson says Israel is failing to protect its own citizens. Marwan Muasher says the Arab Peace Initiative may be dead. Dan Simpson says the peace process must be revived. Zvi Bar'el says Jordan may become the new home for Hamas' leadership.

New Winds in Mideast Favor Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Stephen Farrell - November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

For years, the imposing black gate that sealed the border between Egypt and Gaza symbolized the pain and isolation that decades of conflict have wrought on this tiny coastal strip, especially under Hamas in recent years.

Abbas, Mashaal to meet in Cairo despite Egypt unrest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal will meet in Cairo this week despite the unrest rocking Egypt, Hamas and Fatah officials said on Tuesday. Egypt has been shaken in recent days by renewed protests calling for the ruling military council to step aside and allow an interim civilian government to take power. But officials of the rival parties said the unrest would not derail a planned meeting between Mashaal and Abbas later this week.

Implementation of reconciliation pact looks likely for Hamas-Fatah meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
(Analysis) November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

The upcoming meeting between Palestinians' rival parties Fatah and Hamas slated for Thursday in Cairo has sufficient drive towards implementing a reconciliation pact the two sides inked earlier in May. Since the Palestinian division widened in June 2007 when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip, dialogues between the two parties have so far failed to achieve substantive reconciliation on the ground.

Israel girding for possible trouble for Egypt pact
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Josef Federman - November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel expects a "grave erosion" in its peace agreement with Egypt and is even preparing for the possibility of the historic deal collapsing altogether, a Cabinet minister said Wednesday, in the first official assessment of the unrest rocking Israel's southern neighbor. The comments by Matan Vilnai, the minister for civil defense and a retired military general, reflected the government's grave concerns that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood could make major gains and even win elections in Egypt that begin next week.

Prominent Israeli official calls for military preparations to re-enter Sinai
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
by Jordan Gerstler-Holton - November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

In the midst of escalating violence between Egyptian protesters and security forces, former Deputy Chief Staff of Israeli Defense Forces Uzi Dayan is calling for the creation of an Israeli “intervention force” to fight terrorism in Sinai if necessary, the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot reported Wednesday. “We must prepare for the worst-case scenario whereby the Islamists come to power,” said Dayan. "In the first stage, we have to prepare for increased terror in Sinai. There are worrying signs of terrorist Islam in Sinai already.”

Egypt committed to Israel peace deal despite revived unrest, officials say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Top Egyptian figures have delivered conciliatory messages to Jerusalem in the past two days, insisting that Egypt is committed to its peace accord with Israel, and will act to uphold it. Senior Foreign Ministry figures say these messages were relayed to outgoing Ambassador Yitzhak Levanon during a farewell visit he paid to Cairo on Sunday and Monday.

Palestinians charged with killing West Bank man, baby to avenge 'price tag' attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinians suspected in the killing of a West Bank resident and his infant son wished to avenge the '"price tag" torching of a nearby mosque, an indictment submitted to an Israel Defense Forces court said on Tuesday. In September, Israel Police confirmed that a road accident that killed Asher, who was 25-years-old and his one-year-old son Yonatan Palmer near Kiryat Arba, may have occurred after a rock was thrown at their vehicle.

Ban calls on PM to hand over Palestinian money
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called on Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hand over tax payments owed to the Palestinian Authority and to stop settlement activity, his spokesman said. The UN secretary general "stressed the need to de-escalate" Israeli-Palestinian tensions that have heightened since the Palestinian bid to become a member of the United Nations, said spokesman Martin Nesirky, giving an account of telephone talks between Ban and Netanyahu Tuesday.

Israeli government press adviser quits
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Roy Greenslade - November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

One of the Israeli government's press advisers, Eva Berger, has resigned because she claims journalistic freedom is being eroded. Berger, a member of the government press office's advisory council (GPO), said: "The council's objective is to grant its approval of an old wrong, in the guise of democracy - and I will not lend my hand to this." She linked her resignation to government proposals that many see as restricting freedom of expression and creating obstacles to press freedom.

Palestinian membership threatening UNESCO programs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Elaine Ganley - November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinians can raise their flag alongside those of 194 full-fledged nations at UNESCO after signing a document Wednesday finally giving them a voice within the vast U.N. system — bringing pride across the Arab world yet hobbling the agency's pro-democracy projects around the globe. Last month's decision by the Paris-based U.N. education and cultural organization to give Palestine membership triggered an immediate funding cutoff by the U.S. that will force UNESCO to scale down literacy and development programs in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan or the new nation of South Sudan.

Israel and 'Pinkwashing'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Opinion) November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

“In dreams begin responsibilities,” wrote Yeats in 1914. These words resonate with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who have witnessed dramatic shifts in our relationship to power. After generations of sacrifice and organization, gay people in parts of the world have won protection from discrimination and relationship recognition. But these changes have given rise to a nefarious phenomenon: the co-opting of white gay people by anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim political forces in Western Europe and Israel.

Over Netanyahu's New Israel, the B.S. light is on
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Blog) November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

How does Israel expect to explain itself after this? How are people who support Israel supposed to understand the Black Flag legislation which has expropriated the business of the Knesset? Fortunately, the language of the Bible now has a word for all of it. It's spelled Bet Vav Lamed Shin Yud Tet. Sometimes written bull****.

Netanyahu must choose the rule of law over Lieberman
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is threatening to break up the coalition if the illegal outposts Migron and Givat Assaf are evacuated. "Migron is not an illegal outpost," the minister said Monday. "It's a community where then-Defense Minister Moshe Arens and the GOC Central Command stood beside the cornerstone at its founding. How did it suddenly become illegal?"

Bibi's conspiracy of silence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Attila Somfalvi - (Opinion) November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

At the end of the day, the thing that will be remembered from Benjamin Netanyahu’s second premiership term is the harm to Israel’s democracy, freedom of expression, the media and the courts. In his three years in office, Israel's democracy went back 30 years. Instead of flourishing, it’s becoming defensive and pale. The prime minister is undermining the power of regular folk and boosting politicians at the people's expense. This is the entire aim of the so-called silencing law and of the series of laws against the court. No more and no less than that.

Leadership that makes history
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Leading is not easy. Leading Israel is certainly not a simple task. It is not surprising that many leaders of Israel, maybe even most of them, have made decisions in office that go against what they preached and believed in before they sat in the prime minister’s seat. As the saying goes, “what you see from here is not what you see from there.” Real leadership is measured when one is faced with real-life situations that place diametrically opposed values and principles on the scales of decision making.

Timely support
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Opinion) November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

His Majesty King Abdullah’s visit to Ramallah for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is the second, in time, but first in importance. The Palestinians are passing through difficult circumstances, so there couldn’t be a better time to stand by them in solidarity. The Monarch reassured the Palestinians that Jordan stands by them and that support for their steadfastness in unwavering, no matter how challenging the current developments in the Middle East are.

Activist: Israeli government won't protect its own citizens
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CNN
by Rebecca Vilkomerson - (Opinion) November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

On September 30, a group of Jewish Israelis from the activist groups Solidarity and Ta'ayush set out on a visit to support the Palestinian al Rifai family in the West Bank. The family's claim to their land has been recognized by the Israeli Supreme Court, but the settlement of Anatot is nevertheless built upon it. Al Rifai family members have faced harassment for years while insisting on their right to access private land. The settlers of Anatot, enraged by the Israeli support of the Palestinian family, violently attacked the family and activists alike.

The Death of the Arab Peace Initiative?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Marwan Muasher - (Opinion) November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

We should all be "celebrating," in a few short months, the tenth anniversary of the Arab Peace Initiative, a collective Arab offer championed by then Saudi Crown Prince (and current king) Abdullah to help bring about a permanent resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Instead, the fate of the plan is more precarious than ever.

Revive the peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
by Dan Simpson - (Opinion) November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

It may seem misdirected to insist on there being in place a credible effort to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when there is so much turmoil in neighboring states. There is, however, a critical case for not letting that effort stay dormant. There is even an argument that the situations in some neighboring states would become more coherent if an Israeli-Palestinian peace effort promised a stable and just resolution.

Jordan seeks Palestinian respect by offering Hamas a new home
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - (Opinion) November 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Jordan's King Abdullah is not an innovative leader. But last week he surprised Arab leaders and the whole world by becoming the first Arab ruler to call on Syrian President Bashar Assad to resign. "If I were in his shoes, I'd step down," he told the BBC.

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