Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel expels a Hamas leader from occupied East Jerusalem. Settlers are accused of torching another West Bank mosque. Fatah officials say no elections can be held before a national unity government is formed. An Israeli NGO says it's almost impossible for Palestinians to successfully pursue claims against occupation forces. Israeli troops kill a Palestinian militant in Gaza, and arrest 21 Palestinians in the West Bank. Quartet representatives will meet in Jerusalem next week.Though he has strongly denied it, some reports suggest PM Fayyad may be mulling a run for president. The British advertising oversight board has censured the PLO mission over maps not including Israel. Tensions are running high at a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon after a violent incident.Politico looks at increasing criticism of Israel's policies among some Washington liberal groups. COMMENTARY: Ha'aretz says Israel must stop changing the landscape of occupied East Jerusalem. Bradley Burston says a recent vote in Berkeley shows Jewish Americans are increasingly intolerant of diverse views on Israel. Chemi Shalev says by today's standards, the late Prime Minister Rabin would've been considered a dangerous heretic. The Jerusalem Post denounces recent comments by American officials about Israel, but Michael Berenbaum says criticism of Amb. Gutman and Sec. Panetta is unfair. Jonathan Guyer says a deep chill is setting into US-Israeli relations. Hugh Naylor agrees Israel is becoming dangerously isolated. Tony Karon says Israel's bellicose rhetoric towards Iran makes no sense. Mohammed Najib says Israel's control of 80% of Palestinian income in terms of tax revenues makes life impossible for the PA. Newt Gingrich says the Obama administration is “devoted to criticizing Israel.”

Israeli officials expel Hamas lawmaker from Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

REPORTING FROM RAMALLAH, WEST BANK – Israeli police following military court orders Tuesday expelled a Hamas lawmaker from Jerusalem and sent him to the West Bank city of Ramallah. Ahmad Attoun, who was elected to the Palestinian Authority parliament in 2006, was brought before an Israeli military court near Ramallah on Tuesday morning, which ruled to expel him. He was later taken to the Kalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, where he was ordered to cross into the West Bank with clear instructions not to enter Jerusalem again.

Settlers torch West Bank mosque
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

SALFIT (Ma'an) -- A mosque was set on fire on Wednesday by settlers in the West Bank village of Bruqin, near Salfit, local officials said. The governor of Salfit Isam Abu Bakr told Ma'an that at 2.00 a.m. a number of settlers sprayed racist anti-Arab slogans on the mosque walls and torched a car belonging to local resident Muatasim Samarah. Abu Bakr said that the attack came "after Israeli forces issued demolition warrants against the mosque claiming it was built without a license."

Fatah: No elections until unity government formed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH -- Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad said Wednesday that a unity government must be formed before elections can be held. During a meeting in Cairo on Nov. 24, Fatah leader and President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal approved a two-page document saying they would establish a joint government after elections in May 2012. But on Wednesday, al-Ahmad told Voice of Palestine radio: "It is illegal to run elections while we have two governments."

NGO: Israel army fails Palestinian complainants
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israeli army's inquiries into Palestinian complaints against its soldiers are frequently flawed and less than four percent result in an indictment, an Israeli rights group said on Wednesday. In a report entitled "Alleged Investigation," Yesh Din said more than a third of the 3,150 complaints against Israeli troops filed between 2000 and 2010, were dismissed without a criminal investigation.

Israeli troops kill gunman in Gaza -medics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal al-Mughrabi - December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli forces clashed with members of the militant Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing one gunman and wounding another in a rare cross-border incursion, witnesses and hospital officials said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the air force had struck two groups of gunmen preparing to launch rockets. But she had no immediate comment on a ground operation, in which Hamas said a small number of armoured vehicles crossed about 150 m (yards) beyond the border, east of Gaza City. Hamas also dispatched fighters to the area.

Israeli army arrests 21 Palestinians in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli army on Wednesday arrested 21 Palestinians in the West Bank, Palestinian sources said. Among them, 12 people, including officials from Islamic Hamas movement and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, were arrested in the city of Nablus , Palestinian security sources said. Other raids took place in Hebron and Bethlehem where a total of nine were arrested. Israel Radio reported that West Bank raids are targeting wanted Palestinians, and they take place on a daily basis.

Quartet to meet in Jerusalem next week
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

The United States and other Mideast mediators will gather next week in another effort to revive the Israel-Palestinian peace process, but with little hope of even restarting direct negotiations let alone reaching a breakthrough on a two-state peace agreement. The "Quartet" of mediators that includes the US, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations plans to meet Dec. 14 in Jerusalem, US officials said.

'Fayyad mulling PA presidential run'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday chaired a meeting of the Fatah central committee in Ramallah amid reports that Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is planning to run in the next presidential election. Sources close to Fayyad were quoted as saying that the prime minister would present his candidacy for PA president only if Abbas decides not to run for another term.

Palestinian mission breached ASA code by wiping Israel off the map
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Roy Greenslade - (Blog) December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has censured the Palestinian Diplomatic Mission to the UK for carrying a map on its website that described Israel as Palestine. In effect, it wiped the state of Israel off the map. It showed all the land in the region - Israel, plus the occupied territories, such as the West Bank and Gaza - in the colours of the Palestinian flag. Headlined "Discover Palestine", the interactive map was aimed at promoting tourism. Users could click on to various cities, such as Haifa, in order to obtain tourist information.

Tensions high in Ain el-Hilweh after shooting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Tensions ran high at the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh Wednesday after an unknown assailant shot and wounded the personal bodyguard of a senior Fatah officer. A security source said the attacker opened fire with an automatic weapon at around midday on Uday Hammad, the Syrian-Palestinian personal bodyguard for the military commander of the mainstream Fatah Movement, Brig. Gen. Sobhi Abu Arab. The source, speaking to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity, said the shooting took place in the camp’s Safsaf neighborhood, a stronghold for fundamentalists.

Israel rift roils Democratic ranks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Ben Smith - December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Two of the Democratic Party’s core institutions are challenging a bipartisan consensus on Israel and Palestine that has dominated American foreign policy for more than a decade. The Center for American Progress, the party’s key hub of ideas and strategy, and Media Matters, a central messaging organization, have emerged as vocal critics of their party’s staunchly pro-Israel congressional leadership and have been at odds, at times, with Barack Obama’s White House, which has acted as a reluctant ally to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israeli government.

Without peace talks, Israel must leave East Jerusalem alone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

As the diplomatic process has sunk deeper into hibernation, acts whose sole purpose is to tighten Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem have multiplied. Thus even as the Palestinians have given the Quartet a proposal on security arrangements and permanent borders in the West Bank, Israel is advancing proposals to change the master plans of neighborhoods over the Green Line.

When Jews in Berkeley vote to cut support for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Bradley Burston - (Opinion) December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Every vote sends a message. Last week, when the Berkeley Jewish Student Union voted to bar J Street's student organization from membership, the message it sent was regrettably clear: The choice is up to you - You can be welcomed as a Jew, or you can speak your mind on Israel.

By today’s standards, Rabin would have been considered a disgrace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chemi Shalev - (Opinion) December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

On October 16, 1993, inside the Israeli Boeing jet that was idling on the tarmac of Jakarta Airport, I experienced one of the high points of my journalistic career. Together with my dear colleague, the late Dan Semama of Israel Television, I had been chosen to enter the Indonesian capital to cover the historic meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and President Suharto. Before the encounter, we were to be privately briefed by the head of the Mossad, Shabtai Shavit, and by Rabin himself.

Scary US views
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

In recent days, there has been a truly frightening articulation of the US administration’s perception of Israel vis-à-vis the Muslim world. On Friday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta essentially blamed Israel for its own “increasing isolation,” urging the Jewish state to reach out to its neighbors.

Was Howard Gutman Right?: Israel and Antisemitism, What Do We Know
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Journal
by Michael Berenbaum - (Opinion) December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

We are hearing an awful lot of nonsense about the remarks of Howard Gutman, the US Ambassador to Belgium regarding whether Israel treatment of the Palestinians is to “blame” for the increase in antisemitism. A summary of Gutman’s remarks, not a direct quote appeared in an Israeli newspaper and American bloggers took them as gospel and Republican political candidates called for Howard Gutman’s ouster. Abraham Foxman himself condemned the remarks as an excuse for inaction on antisemitism and the headlines blared American Ambassador blamed Israel for antisemitism.

Israel's chilling relations with the US
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jonathan Guyer - (Opinion) December 6, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israeli government has come under criticism from both the Obama administration and American Jewish communities over the past week – the latter focused on a bizarre advertisement campaign aimed at the US diaspora. The current Israeli government's insensitivity toward American Jews has gotten their attention, but whether forthcoming Knesset bills that are an affront to democratic values will cause similar alarm is yet to be seen.

A tin ear during a shifting political landscape leaves Israel in fearful isolation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - (Opinion) December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

The public scolding of Israel by a top US defence official last week represented more than just frustration with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for its refusal to resume peace talks with the Palestinians. Leon Panetta's demand that Israel "get to the damn" negotiating table, made during a speech at a Washington think tank on Friday, was the most overt sign yet of the Obama administration's impatience with what it views as Israel's refusal to adapt to the Middle East's shifting political landscape.

Israel's war drums over Iran drown out common sense
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Tony Karon - (Opinion) December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

It has become an article of faith among Israeli leaders and their neoconservative partners in Washington that the only way Iran can be persuaded to back down in the nuclear standoff is if Tehran believes it's in real danger of being bombed. Hence the relentless war drums pounded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak, despite the obvious misgivings of the Obama administration.

Already having an impact
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Mohammed Najib - (Opinion) December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority's latest financial crisis--which Palestinians widely believe was punishment for President Mahmoud Abbas' request for statehood at the United Nations in late September--has seriously impacted various sectors within the Palestinian community, including both civil sector employees and West Bank security personnel.

Why Is the Obama Administration So Devoted to Criticizing Israel?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Human Events
by Newt Gingrich - (Opinion) December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

At a fundraiser in New York last week, President Obama said his administration “has done more in terms of the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration.” Is the President looking at the same record we are? Last week’s news abounded with evidence that his administration often coddles forces opposed to Israel’s very existence while his officials publicly brutalize Israel in the diplomatic arena.

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