Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: PM Fayyad says he is working to reduce the Palestinian dependence on foreign aid. Palestinians submit a detailed peace proposal to the Quartet, according to their deadlines, including a significant land swap, but PM Netanyahu refuses to make a counteroffer. The resumption of Israeli transfers of Palestinian tax revenues helps avert a financial crisis for the PA, but FM Lieberman denounces the move. Palestinian prisoners released by Israel get on with the business of daily life. Israel arrests 22 Palestinians in the West Bank. Pres. Obama tells Jewish Americans “no ally is more important than Israel.” Netanyahu complains about a recent meeting between Pres. Abbas and Kadima leader Livni. Hamas complains the PA continues to arrest its supporters in the West Bank. Germany confirms the sale of a sixth Dolphin submarine to Israel, and will pay for one third of it. COMMENTARY: ADL National Director Abe Foxman decries new Israeli laws that "violate democratic principles." Carlo Strenger says Israel's liberals face a wave of anti-Semitism. Douglas Bloomfield says weakening Abbas only strengthens Hamas. Asharq Al-Awsat interviews Mahmoud al-Zahar. Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan says Canada is on the wrong side of history in opposing Palestinian statehood. Nadim Rouhana says antidemocratic legislation in Israel threatens rights for the Jewish majority as well as the Arab minority. Howard Sumka says the struggle for peace must continue even if conditions are difficult. Uri Misgav says Israel was only hurting itself by withholding Palestinian tax revenues. Karl Vick says Gaza's economy continues to suffer as the peace process is it an impasse. Jonathan Rosen says dismantling outlying settlements has few disadvantages and would be a huge boost for Israel. Jesse Rosenfeld looks at a new book by Arthur Neslen on the diversity of Palestinian experiences.

Palestinians to wean themselves off foreign aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian prime minister says he wants to drastically reduce his government's reliance on foreign aid next year, and hopes to be able to pay for day-to-day operations with local revenues by 2013. Salam Fayyad told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that his decision was spurred by what he described as the Palestinian Authority's worst financial crisis since its inception in the mid-1990s. The crisis was triggered by reduced foreign aid and Israel's suspension last month of the transfer of taxes it collects for the Palestinians.

Netanyahu balks at Abbas proposal for Palestinian state borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently provided representatives of the Middle East Quartet with a new proposal on borders for a Palestinian state and security arrangements that Israel would be provided in a peace agreement. The Quartet, which is comprised of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia, has demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provide a counterproposal, however Israel has refused to do so, saying that any counterproposal should be presented in direct negotiations with the Palestinians.

Resumption of Israeli transfers averts PA crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - November 30, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' government narrowly dodged a full-blown cash crisis after Israel agreed Wednesday — under intense international pressure — to resume the transfer of $100 million a month in frozen tax funds.

Lieberman denounces 'mistaken decision' to hand over Palestinian tax money
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced on Wednesday the decision to handover $100 million in tax money to the Palestinian Authority. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's top cabinet ministers approved the handover of the funds despite the vocal opposition of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman, who voted against the transfer in a forum of eight meeting on Wednesday, said “Israel should have explained the decision clearly to the international community, instead of allowing pressure to lead to a mistaken decision.”

Released Palestinians build houses, marry, study
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Daniella Cheslow - December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian prisoners released in a swap for an Israeli soldier last month are racing to make up for lost time: Many of the 477 former inmates are already getting married, building homes or enrolling in college, even as Israel keeps a close eye on them in fear they could return to violence. Most had spent long years behind bars, and even expected to die in prison for their roles in bloody attacks that killed hundreds of Israelis.

Israel arrests 22 Palestinians in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israeli army arrested 22 Palestinians Thursday in West Bank raids that targeted key members of a leftist Palestinian faction, Palestinian sources said. The raids took place in Nablus, Bethlehem and Jenin city, where 10 members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ( PFLP) were detained, the sources said. Among the detainees was Nasser Abu Aziz, a member of the PFLP's Central Committee. "This campaign against the PFLP elements has been going on for days," said Khaleda Jarrar, a PFLP leader.

Obama to N.Y. Jews: No ally is more important than Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

President Barack Obama defended his policy toward Israel at a political fundraiser on Wednesday, saying that Israel was the U.S.'s most important ally. Obama, who has been criticized by some of Israel's U.S. supporters for being tough on a close ally and has had strained ties with Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu, offered strong assurances of his commitment to Israel's security.

Netanyahu scolds Livni over meeting with Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Hoffman - December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday scolded opposition leader Tzipi Livni in a telephone call about her meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday. Netanyahu called Livni, telling her that "if the Palestinians want to negotiate, the only way to do so is with the elected government of Israel," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

Hamas supporters still targeted by Fatah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

One week after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal announced they had agreed to “open a new page” in their relations, Hamas and Fatah complained Wednesday that their supporters were still being targeted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Following the Cairo summit between Abbas and Mashaal, representatives of the two rival parties said that the two men agreed to release all “political detainees” held by the PA in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

German sub deal sealed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Germany authorized the subsidized sale of a sixth naval submarine to Israel. Berlin officials said Wednesday that the Merkel government had decided to defray approximately a third of the cost of a new Dolphin submarine for Israel, clearing the way for the sale. Israel has three of the Dolphins, which are worth about $500 million each, with another two on order and awaiting delivery by 2013.

The Assault on Israel's Vibrant Democracy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Abraham H. Foxman - (Opinion) December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

There are many reasons why the recent spate of domestic legislation in Israel -- regarding non-governmental organizations, the media, Israel as a Jewish State, the Supreme Court -- is disturbing. In many of these cases, the Knesset is addressing real and challenging problems. But it is doing so in the wrong way. The truth is that a number of foreign governments and non-governmental organizations have been funding activities in Israel that go beyond representing a diversity of viewpoints about Israel's political and security situation.

New anti-Semitism directed at Israel’s liberals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

A few days ago I was struck by a statement by MK Yaakov Katz of the Nation Union party about the law that will allow Justice Grunis to be Dorit Beinish’s successor as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: “This Law returns control to the people and wrests it away from a small, pathetic group; a bunch of Tel Avivian, secular Neturei Karta that emanates lack of love for the people of Israel, and adhere to laws of the gentiles.”

Weakening Abbas only strengthens Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

In his zeal to punish Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for assorted affronts real and imagined, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may be Hamas’s most important benefactor. The Islamic terror organization has many friends – Iran, Syria, Hezbollah – but none is doing as much to expand its power and popularity from the Gaza Strip to all of the West Bank as the Netanyahu government.

Al-Zahar: Inter-Palestinian reconciliation will not take place because Abbas is not serious about this
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Saleh Al-Naami - (Interview) December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas strongman Mahmoud al-Zahar broke ranks last week to criticize Hamas leader Khalid Mishal on his handling of the inter-Palestinian reconciliation talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The inter-Palestinian reconciliation saw Mishal accept a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, as well as the provision of another time-limit period for negotiations with Israel, something that al-Zahar strongly spoke out against.

Electoral politics behind Canada's Mideast policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan - (Opinion) December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Such an appeal would have found receptive ears in the days when Canada supported the United Nations and sought to promote peace with justice and respect for human rights everywhere, including the Middle East. But then Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin Jr. moved away from Canada's traditional fairness in favor of unquestioned backing of Israel. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has gone even farther.

Anti-Arab laws and the appearance of democracy in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Nadim Rouhana - (Opinion) December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

The spate of anti-democratic bills recently introduced by the Israeli government has forced the issue onto the public agenda in Israel. This is so not because anti-democratic bills are new, but mainly because for the first time some of the proposed bills threaten democracy for Jewish citizens themselves.

Working to solve the conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Howard Sumka - (Opinion) December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Across Israel and the Palestinian territories hard-liners empower each other and drown out voices for peace. Distrust, fear and alienation increasingly define the next generation of Israelis and Palestinians. The status quo of fatalism and political lethargy looms over them.

Israel hurting itself
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Uri Misgav - (Opinion) December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Ever since the Palestinians were accepted into UNESCO last month, Israel has been halting fund transfers for the taxes and duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in the framework of the Oslo Accords. While hundreds of millions of shekels are being held up in Jerusalem, members of Israel’s government continue to argue over what’s the right move. Let’s make it easier for them. Below is a list of conditions that make it permissible, reasonable, and preferable to continue freezing these funds:

As the Peace Process Goes Sideways, Gaza's Economy Remains Stifled
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Karl Vick - (Blog) December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel's grip on the Palestinian economy amounts to business as usual. Palestinians carry shekels in their pockets, and most of what they buy with the Israeli currency comes from Israel, which is said to account for at least 80% of foreign trade with the occupied territories. That is a dependence that goes unremarked until something untoward comes along, such as the recent Palestinian effort to gain recognition as a state.

Inside Out: Back to unilateralism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jonathan Rosen - (Opinion) December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

Over the past two decades Israel and the PLO have negotiated intermittently over a final-status arrangement to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That process has essentially been at an impasse since 2009 for a variety of reasons, some of which are technical and tactical, while others are more substantive in nature. If we are to accept at face value the statements made by the two parties, the substantive issue for both Israelis and Palestinians preventing negotiations from advancing can be summed up as a lack of confidence in the other’s true intentions.

In Your Eyes a Sandstorm: the Palestinian collective experience
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jesse Rosenfeld - (Opinion) December 1, 2011 - 1:00am

I first met the British journalist Arthur Neslen in Ramallah during the autumn of 2007 when he was researching his new book, In Your Eyes A Sandstorm: Ways of Being Palestinian. A cloud of disillusionment hung over the region at that juncture. The separation wall had all but severed the West Bank, the Gaza blockade was tightening and political division between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) was at its peak. Israeli raids across the West Bank, intended to round up the remnants of the resistance from the Second Intifada, were matched by PA reprisals and arrests against Hamas.

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