Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: A new poll finds a majority of Palestinians support the continuation of PM Fayyad as prime minister. Pres. Peres visits Jordan to discuss issues related to the Palestinians. A second Palestinian teenager is convicted of murdering an Israeli settler family. A Fatah leader says Palestinian factions have agreed to release each other's prisoners. Pres. Abbas says he “hopes” talks with Hamas will lead to elections on May 4. Israeli officials say there has been an exchange of rocket fire across the Lebanese border. Israeli authorities apologize for mistreating a New York Times journalist. FM Lieberman is looking for ways to prevent Israeli airport security from humiliating foreign VIPs. Ha'aretz says data shows that almost all cases before occupation military tribunals end in convictions. COMMENTARY: In an interview with the Media Line, Fayyad says "unity and non-violence" are prerequisites for Palestinian statehood. Sefi Rachlevsky says Palestinian citizens of Israel are being discouraged from voting. Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff say Arab elections are boosting both democracy and Israeli fears. Asaf Gefen says right-wing legislation is threatening Israeli democracy. Gershon Baskin says it's in everyone's interests that Hamas adopt more moderate policies as a result of negotiations with Fatah. Khaled Diab says Israel could do with some freedom riders of its own. Hassan Jabareen says Israeli officials are prone to making false historical analogies. Amy Teibel says there is a battle raging for the character of the Israeli state. The UN urges greater support for Palestinian refugees. Ghassan Khatib says the occupation is starting to manifest itself inside Israel.

Majority of Palestinians Support Retaining Fayyad as Prime Minister
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from AWRAD
(Analysis) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

According to the preliminary findings of Arab World for Research and Development‘s [AWRAD] most recent poll in the West Bank and Gaza, conducted November 22-24, a majority of Palestinians (57 percent) believe that Salam Fayyad should be retained as Prime Minister in a unity government. The results were identical in the West Bank and Gaza. The percentage of respondents opposed was higher in Gaza at 40 percent compared to 28 percent in the West Bank. About 11 percent responded "don‘t know"; 4 percent in Gaza and 15 percent in the West Bank.

Israeli Leader Visits Jordan to Discuss Palestinian Issue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - (Analysis) November 28, 2011 - 1:00am

King Abdullah II of Jordan played host on Monday to Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, in an effort to make progress on the stubborn Palestinian question at a time of regional diplomatic uncertainty and fragmentation. Last week, the king made his first visit in a decade to the West Bank to see Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, and is to travel next week to Washington. As postrevolutionary Egypt pulls back from its longstanding role as the bridge between Israel and the Arab world, Jordan sees an opportunity and is using these public visits to make that clear.

Second Palestinian teenager found guilty in murder of settler family
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Blog) November 28, 2011 - 1:00am

An Israeli military court on Monday convicted a second Palestinian teenager of murder in the March deaths of five Jewish settlers, including three children, as they slept in their home. Conservative Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari repeatedly interrupted Monday's hearing, cursing the defendant, Amjad Awad, 19, and urging the judges to impose the death penalty. Prosecutors are recommending five life sentences. In September, Awad's cousin and co-defendant, Hakim Awad, 18, was given five terms in the slayings.

Fatah, Hamas to release political prisoners
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

Fatah and Hamas are in talks to release political prisoners in a bid to end all outstanding disagreements, an official said Monday. "(President Mahmoud) Abbas gave instructions to the director of the Palestinian Authority’s general intelligence service, Majid Faraj, to release Hamas-affiliated detainees stated in a list received from Hamas," Fatah affiliated lawmaker Faysal Abu Shahla told Ma'an. There are no political detainees in Ramallah, only suspects held on security-related charges, Abu Shahla added.

Abbas 'hopes' for May 4 elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
(Analysis) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday he hoped elections would be held on May 4 next year, after what he called "important" talks between his Fatah group and Hamas in Cairo. "I hope, God willing, that the elections will be on May 4," Abbas told reporters during a visit to Vienna after talks with Austrian President Heinz Fischer. The comments followed Abbas' reconciliation talks last week in Cairo with Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal aimed at cementing a stalled unity deal signed six months ago.

Rockets fired across Lebanon, Israel border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
(Analysis) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

An exchange of rocket fire hit the Lebanese-Israeli border on Tuesday in the first such incident since 2009, coming at a time of heightened regional tensions over Syria and Iran's nuclear programme. UNIFIL, the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, said at least one rocket was fired at northern Israel, prompting the Israeli army to return fire. The Lebanese army said Israel launched four rockets in return.

Israel apologizes for treatment of NYT journalist
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
(Analysis) November 28, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel's Defense Ministry apologized Monday for the treatment of a pregnant American news photographer who said she was strip searched and humiliated by Israeli soldiers during a security check. Lynsey Addario, who was on assignment for the New York Times, had requested that she not be forced to go through an X-ray machine as she entered Israel from the Gaza Strip because of concerns for her unborn baby.

Israeli FM seeks to prevent airport security from humiliating foreign VIPs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
(Analysis) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman wants to establish clear guidelines to avert embarrassing incidents between foreign diplomats and airport security personnel, the Ma'ariv daily reported Monday. The newspaper cited a letter Lieberman sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he warned "the humiliating treatment the guests received severely damages Israel's image in the world. All the efforts that are being invested in public diplomacy are going to waste."

Nearly 100% of all military court cases in West Bank end in conviction, Haaretz learns
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - (Analysis) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

Virtually all - 99.74 percent, to be exact - of cases heard by the military courts in the territories end in a conviction, according to data in the military courts' annual report, which has been obtained by Haaretz. The report also shows that the military appeals courts decidedly favor the prosecution, with appeals court judges accepting 67 percent of appeals filed by the prosecution, as opposed to only 33 percent of appeals filed by the defense. Photo by: Limor Edri

Prime Minister Fayyad: “Unity and Non-violence” Requisites for Statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Felice Friedson - (Interview) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

With skepticism rife over a Fatah-Hamas rapprochement and the Hamas demand to replace him, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the man credited with energizing the movement toward statehood and the man Western governments want holding the PA’s purse strings, discusses the pending issues with Friedson Friedson, President and CEO of The Media Line news agency, at his Ramallah office. Below is the first of two sessions between Prime Minister Fayyad and Ms. Friedson. Friedson: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for taking the opportunity to speak with me and The Media Line.

A surefire way to keep Israeli Arabs from voting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Sefi Rachlevsky - (Opinion) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

Against the wave of anti-democratic legislation, the meaning of conservatism is turned around; refraining from action becomes active political cooperation with the trampling of democracy.

Arab Spring elections boost democracy, and Israeli fears
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Opinion) November 28, 2011 - 1:00am

Egyptian parliamentary elections that begin Monday are expected to result in victory for an Islamic party - in this case, the one affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood As in the other election campaigns in the Middle East that have taken place since the Arab Spring, the Egyptian parliamentary elections that begin Monday are expected to result in victory for an Islamic party - in this case, the one affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Goodbye, Israeli democracy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Asaf Gefen - (Opinion) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

Everyone talks about the "Arab Spring," yet nobody mentions the "Israeli Spring" – an exciting period where democracy’s horrific regime is finally drawing to an end around here, following a popular uprising at the Knesset cafeteria. If a few months ago it appeared that the Arab world is moving closer to Israel’s democratic model, now it turns out that Israel is the one quickly approaching the Saudi model. Finally, we joined the "Spring of Nations" - and so what if we are referring to the Belorussian, Afghani and North Korean peoples.

Further from peace, closer to reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas and Fatah just ended another round of talks in Cairo on what they call reconciliation. Both sides are reporting that progress was made, but they have not yet reached the point of agreement on several key issues. In May of this year Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal signed an agreement orchestrated by Egyptian intelligence. Initially the deal was described as a landmark reconciliation pact aimed at ending their bitter four-year rift.

Israel needs its own freedom riders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Diab - (Opinion) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

Following last week’s Palestinian “freedom ride,” it’s time for Israeli “freedom riders” to cross the psychological and physical barriers between the two peoples. Drawing inspiration from the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, a group of six Palestinians – dressed in emblematic Palestinian checkered keffiyehs and T-shirts emblazoned with the words “dignity,” “freedom” and “justice” boarded an Israeli bus en route from the West Bank to Jerusalem.

The right context
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Hassan Jabareen - (Opinion) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

The government frequently tries to justify its anti-democratic bills by comparing them to laws in democratic states. For example, it contends that the newly proposed bills regarding the nomination procedures for Supreme Court justices reflect the process used in the United States.

A battle is raging for the soul of Israeli society
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - (Opinion) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

On billboards, on buses and in the halls of parliament, a battle is raging over the nature of Israel, raising ever more urgent questions over its future as a democracy. Radicalized religious activists and conservative lawmakers see themselves as bulwarks against assaults on faith and country by rivals within multifaceted Israel and by the outside world.

UN official urges greater support for Palestinian refugees
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Nations News Service
(Opinion) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

The head of the United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees today urged the international community to strengthen support for the refugees, particularly the youth who constitute an increasingly significant segment of the population.

A symptom of the occupation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) November 29, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel's Knesset has recently intensified its consideration and approval of numerous laws that appear to compromise the democratic nature of Israel, while strengthening the right wing's control over various aspects of Israeli life. In light of this, Israel's media is full of analysis and opinion pieces written by those worried by this trend. They say it will both increase discrimination against Israel's Palestinian minority and narrow the space for freedom of expression and secular elements in Israel.

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