Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Palestinian officials say they won't yield to Israeli “extortion” regarding Palestinian tax revenues. Four men accused of a sensational “honor killing” that has scandalized the West Bank deny the charges. Palestinians accuse Israeli settlers of abducting a shepherd. Palestinian officials say Israel must abide by its commitments to a settlement freeze before talks can resume. Israeli artists say it's ridiculous for the government to offer a prize for “Zionism” in the arts. In the next phase of the prisoner swap, Israel may seek to boost Fatah instead of Hamas. The International Organization of Parliaments says the PA is a welcome member, but Hamas cannot join. Israel is planning to forcibly evict thousands of Bedouins from their homes to near a rubbish dump to make way for settlers. A hard-line Israeli MK heaps praise on the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Israeli occupation forces demolish two Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem. COMMENTARY: Roger Cohen says there's a lot more for Jewish Americans to be outraged at in Israeli policy than ads warning against life in the United States. Ha'aretz says human rights are in danger in Israel. Khaled Diab says PM Netanyahu and Pres. Ahmadinejad are "gifts to each other but curses on their nations.” Caroline Glick says "under Obama, the US is no longer Israel’s ally." Elliot Jager reviews a new book about the “Stern Gang” Jewish terrorist organization during the British mandate. Gal Beckerman looks at a new book by Pres. Peres about David Ben-Gurion. Linda Heard says US criticism is good for Israel. Yossi Alpher says Palestinian financial vulnerability does not compromise their claims for independence. Ghassan Khatib says Palestinians have faced worse financial crises in the past, but the political impasse and stagnation is crippling. David Brodet says the recent financial crisis has shown how vulnerable the PA is economically to Israel and donor nations.

Abbas aide: PA won't yield to 'extortion'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority "will not yield to extortion," presidential adviser Nimir Hammad said Tuesday of threats by Israeli officials to withhold Palestinian money again. Hammad's comments followed reports in Israel that the government would refuse to pay Palestinian tax revenues if the PLO applied again for full UN membership. Citing political sources, Israel radio reported Tuesday that the Israeli government would consider withholding Palestinian money in the event of another UN bid. Hammad told Ma'an radio that the PA "will not yield to such extortion."

Suspects in 'honor' killing deny charges
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Four men accused of the honor killing of 20-year-old Ayah Ibrahim Baradiyya, whose remains were found in May 2011, told a jury on Monday that their confession was obtained through torture. The four men, an uncle and three other relatives of the victim, were attending the first court hearing in the murder trial of the young student who went missing in April 2010. “I am guiltless and I have nothing to do with this charge which I denounce. What happened was that detectives tortured me and broke my jaw to make me confess," the victim's uncle said in court.

PA: Settlers kidnap shepherd near Nablus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli settlers on Monday kidnapped a 60-year-old shepherd after attacking him in Orif village south of Nablus, officials said. Village council head Fawzi Shehadeh said six residents of Yitzhar settlement attacked Salim Jamil Shehadeh near the local high school and took him away in a car. The settlers stole all 50 of his sheep, the councilor added. Palestinian Authority settlement affairs official Ghassan Doughlas told Ma'an the government was conducting intensive negotiations with Israeli officials to secure the shepherd's release.

No peace talks with Israel without settlement freeze: Palestinian official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

There would be no peace negotiations with Israel without a settlement freeze and a two- state solution, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Tuesday. "These are not Palestinian conditions, they are Israeli Phase I Roadmap obligations," Erekat said during a meeting with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman. "The Palestinian bid to get a full membership at the United Nations would continue," said Erekat, quoted by a statement issued by his office..

Artists call to scrap ministry prize for 'Zionist' works
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Elad Samorzik - December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Hundreds of dancers, authors, filmmakers and other artists have signed a petition calling to cancel the NIS 50,000 prize initiated by Culture Minister Limor Livnat intended to "reflect Zionist values and history" and give the prize money to "the meager coffer supporting free artistic work in Israel." The artists say a prize in the Zionism field is controversial, as its criteria do not pertain solely to artistic quality.

Israel to reward Abbas in phase 2 of Shalit deal?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

The second phase of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, which will see the release of another 550 prisoners, will be completed in the next two weeks, with Israel seeking to use the occasion to boost Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' status. Sources familiar with the issue told Ynet that officials in Jerusalem are seeking to link the upcoming prisoner release to a previous Israeli pledge to Abbas, whereby Israel will release Fatah detainees rather than Hamas prisoners.

Hamas barred from international political group
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Lahav Harkov - December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas members will not be allowed to represent the Palestinian Authority in the International Organization of Parliaments (IPU), the group’s secretary-general, Andres B. Johnsson, told Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Sunday. “Fatah is a recognized political movement, but Hamas is a terrorist organization. The PA must choose a side. Hamas is trying to use the IPU to pave its way to international recognition,” Rivlin told Johnsson.

Israel to forcibly remove bedouin communities in settlements push
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Around 20 bedouin communities between Jerusalem and Jericho are to be forcibly relocated from the land on which they have lived for 60 years under an Israeli plan to expand a huge Jewish settlement. The removal of around 2,300 members of the bedouin Jahalin tribe, two-thirds of whom are children, is due to begin next month. The Israeli authorities plan to relocate the families from the West Bank to a site close to a municipal rubbish dump on the edge of Jerusalem.

Israeli lawmaker says McCarthy was right
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
December 5, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israeli lawmaker who sponsored a bill to limit funding to left-leaning NGOs said Joseph McCarthy “was right in every word he said.” Likud lawmaker Ofir Akunis told a political television show Sunday night that McCarthy, the Wisconsin senator who presided over a U.S. Senate committee in the 1950s that investigated Americans suspected of sympathy with the communists, "was right in every word. The fact is, there were Soviet agents."

Israel demolishes 2 homes in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli forces demolished two Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday, locals said. In Beit Hanina, troops bulldozed the temporary residence of a man who took shelter there after he could not get a permit from the Israeli municipality to build his house, the official PA news agency Wafa reported. In Silwan, Israeli forces tore down the house of Burhan Burqan, that was home to nine people. "Israeli troops came at five in the morning to demolish the house and were done by 7 am. They also demolished our barn that had some poultry in it," Burqan said.

Come Home to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - (Opinion) December 5, 2011 - 1:00am

When Israeli actions seem arrogant or insulting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is capable of rapid action to repair the damage — provided those offended are American Jews. That is the lesson of the brouhaha over a now-aborted Israeli advertising campaign intended to shame Israeli expatriates in the United States into returning home by suggesting that America is no place for real Jews and that Diaspora life leads to loss of Jewish identity. The Jewish Federations of North America called the ads “outrageous and insulting.”

Human rights in Israel are in jeopardy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Today, December 6, the Israeli legislature will mark Human Rights Day (scheduled for December 10 ) ahead of many parliaments in the world with a series of events, meetings and debates. On this date in 1948 the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration was drafted in the shadow of the Holocaust horrors and in view of millions of homeless refugees.

The common cause of Netanyahu and Ahmadinejad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Khaled Diab - (Opinion) December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Netanyahu and Ahmadinejad are gifts to each other but curses on their nations. Rather than attack Iran, Israel should commit to a nuclear-free Middle East. One may be the heir apparent of Israeli right-wing royalty and the other the son of a poor, provincial Iranian jack-of-all-trades, but Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad behave like mutant clones when it comes to their international brinkmanship and their uncanny knack of furthering their peoples' international isolation.

Our World: An ally no more
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Caroline Glick - (Analysis) December 5, 2011 - 1:00am

With vote tallies in for Egypt’s first round of parliamentary elections in it is abundantly clear that Egypt is on the fast track to becoming a totalitarian Islamic state. The first round of voting took place in Egypt’s most liberal, cosmopolitan cities. And still the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists received more than 60 percent of the vote. Run-off elections for 52 seats will by all estimates increase their representation.

Terror Out of Zion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Ideas Daily
by Elliot Jager - (Opinion) December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

There is no love lost between the British Foreign Office and Israel. In a report to parliament last month, Foreign Minister William Hague condemned Israel for building in Jerusalem, being in the West Bank, and treating the present Gaza regime like the enemy it is. Hague's report mentioned Hamas only to blame Israel for the Islamist group's obduracy.

Secrets of Ben-Gurion's Leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Gal Beckerman - (Opinion) December 5, 2011 - 1:00am

The most revealing conversation that Shimon Peres ever had with his mentor, David Ben-Gurion, was perhaps his first. Peres was a young activist in Ha’Noar Ha’Oved, the Labor Zionist youth movement, when he asked the powerful and charismatic chairman of the Jewish Agency for a lift up the coast to Haifa from Tel Aviv. They spent most of the ride in silence, but then, just as they were approaching their destination, Ben-Gurion decided, out of nowhere, to tell the young man why he preferred Lenin to Trotsky. This was, for sure, a surprising admission.

US criticism will only benefit Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Linda Heard - (Opinion) December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

It appears that the Obama administration is playing “good cop, bad cop” with the Israeli leadership. While the President Barack Obama goes out of his way to prostrate himself before the powerful pro-Israel lobby in the run-up to next January's election, his minions are sending a different message — a message Obama has no doubt blessed behind the scenes. Publicly, the president is muffled.

Not central to independence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) December 5, 2011 - 1:00am

Revelations concerning the Palestinian financial crisis of recent weeks touch upon three issues. The most obvious one is the seeming inability of the Palestinian Authority under Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to accumulate sufficient reserves to withstand a few weeks' shortfall in income. Put differently, it is the PA's huge reliance on donor-nation funds and on taxes collected for it by Israel.

Ultimately crippling
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) December 5, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority has been plagued this year by various financial troubles that are affecting, in turn, its ability to fulfill some of its financial obligations. The most recent source of these problems has been a decline in PA revenues. The Palestinian budget is usually composed of two sources of income. One is external funding ($1.83 billion annually) from donors, and the other is made up of domestic revenues, direct ($812 million a year) and indirect ($1.442 billion annually collected by Israel).

The fragility of the Palestinian economic situation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by David Brodet - (Opinion) December 5, 2011 - 1:00am

The mood in the Palestinian Authority recently changed radically in the space of a few weeks. In September 2011, the attention of Palestinians and the world was directed toward the United Nations, where the Palestine Liberation Organization submitted its request to be accepted as a state by the UN and Palestinian spirits were at an all-time high.

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