Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich claims Palestinians are “an invented people.” A Palestinian protester is killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank, and an Israeli military spokesman appears to mock his death. A new Israeli ambassador is set to arrive in Egypt. Israel approves 40 new settlement housing units in occupied East Jerusalem. Some Israelis are not pleased about competition among Republican candidates to outbid each other on the issue. Settlers attack a village near Nablus. Hamas says it's moderating its social conservatism in response to the "Arab Spring." Deputy FM Ayalon launches a new YouTube video attacking Palestinian refugee rights. COMMENTARY: Sen. Carl Levin denounces Gingrich's anti-Palestinian comments. Michael Kinsley says the Palestinians' next "invention" will be their own state. David Remnick says Gingrich's comments are reminiscent of Joan Peters' notorious hoax “From Time Immemorial.” Ha'aretz says Israel holds Palestinian lives cheaply. Gideon Levy says the occupation inevitably leads to innocent deaths. Sami Michael says Israel is in danger of becoming an oppressive theocracy, and Eric Alterman agrees. Saeb Erekat says Israel is facing a moment of truth in negotiations. Daniel Goldhagen says emerging Arab democracies should take their cue from Israel, not Turkey. Afshin Molavi says Gingrich doesn't understand how history works.

Gingrich: Palestinians 'invented,' promises Netanyahu-style foreign policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Ben Smith - December 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich dismissed the Palestinian bid for statehood as the effort of an "invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community." Gingrich also said the Palestinian Authority, which has typically represented the moderate wing of Palestinian leadership and formally accepts Israel's right to exist, is motivated by "an enormous desire to destroy Israel."

Gingrich calls Palestinians an ‘invented’ people
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Amy Gardner, Philip Rucker - December 9, 2011 - 1:00am

Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich said in a cable TV interview that Palestinians are an “invented” people with no apparent right to their own state, a rejection of a decade of bipartisan U.S. foreign policy. In the interview, which was taped Wednesday in Washington and will be broadcast Monday on The Jewish Channel, Gingrich spoke about his mistrust of Palestinian leaders, his admiration for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his view that the Obama administration is “favoring the terrorists” with its foreign policy.

Activists Say Tear Gas Canister Killed Palestinian
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
December 10, 2011 - 1:00am

A Palestinian protester who had been struck in the face by a tear gas canister fired by an Israeli soldier at close range died of his wounds on Saturday, activists said. They accused the army of using disproportionate force. The protester, Mustafa Tamimi, 28, was hurling rocks at a military vehicle on Friday in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh when a soldier inside opened the rear door and fired at him from a few yards away, witnesses said.

Israeli military spokesman accused of mocking dead Palestinian protester
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Telegraph
by Adrian Blomfield - December 11, 2011 - 1:00am

Mustafa Tamimi died on Saturday, a day after he was struck in the face by a tear-gas canister fired at close range from an armoured military jeep in Nabi Saleh, a village in the West Bank that has seen weekly protests against the Israeli occupation. Israeli military officials have been largely unapologetic for the death, releasing pictures of a sling they said was found on Mr Tamimi's body as evidence that the dead man had thrown stones.

Citing public safety, Israel orders closure of controversial walkway in Jerusalem’s Old City
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
December 12, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli authorities have ordered the closure of a pedestrian walkway in Jerusalem’s Old City that has become a flashpoint for competing religious and political claims. Jerusalem municipality spokesman Stephan Miller said Monday the temporary ramp is dangerous and the city engineer ordered it closed. The walkway leads up to the sacred enclosure known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. It is used by Jews and tourists, while Muslims use other entrances.

Why Israelis may not be thrilled by sweet nothings from Gingrich, GOP
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - December 11, 2011 - 1:00am

Israelis have grown accustomed to being the object of affection by US politicians and a stop on the campaigns of aspiring candidates over the past decade. But the recent one-upmanship in the Republican primary on Israel has taken the debate into new territory. Newt Gingrich’s declaration that the Palestinians are an "invented" people potentially put him further to the right of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, whom Mitt Romney then name dropped in promising to stay on the same page with the government. An embarrassment of diplomatic riches for Israel? Not necessarily.

Hundreds of settlers attack Nablus village
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 12, 2011 - 1:00am

Hundreds of settlers stormed the Nablus village of Asira al-Qibliya overnight Sunday, causing damage to Palestinian property. Witnesses told Ma'an that around midnight more than 200 settlers from the notorious Yitzhar settlement entered the village and threw rocks at Palestinian homes. Local resident Ibrahim Makhlouf said that the settlers smashed the windows of a bus and tried to set it on fire. “They were armed and wearing black uniform as if it was an organized militia,” he told Ma'an.

Hamas in Gaza says it's learning from Arab Spring
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - December 12, 2011 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Bans on women smoking water pipes in public and male coiffeurs styling women's hair are no longer being strictly enforced in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, apparent signs of greater tolerance as the Islamic militant group acknowledges mistakes in seeking to impose a religious lifestyle.

Israel's Palestinian refugee video racking up views, strong responses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 11, 2011 - 1:00am

A brief animated YouTube video recently released by the Foreign Ministry focusing on the Palestinian refugee issue has drawn tens of thousands of page views so far, as well as arousing strong pro and con sentiments. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon last week posted the five- and-half-minute long clip, entitled "Israel Palestinian Conflict: The Truth About the Refugees." In it, he compares the disparity in treatment by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of Palestinian refugees, to that of other refugee groups which have been resettled in other areas.

Statement of Senator Carl Levin Regarding Newt Gingrich’s Comments about the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Carl Levin - December 10, 2011 - 1:00am

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., issued the following statement today in regards to Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s comments on the Jewish Channel television network regarding the Palestinian people: "Newt Gingrich is wrong to think his attempt to turn the Palestinians into a non-people with no claim to a state will appeal to his audience on the Jewish Channel on which they are apparently to be aired on Monday.

Palestinians Will Invent a State Next
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Michael Kinsley - (Blog) December 12, 2011 - 1:00am

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- In November 1947, shortly after the United Nations voted for partition of the Holy Land into separate Arab and Jewish states, Chaim Weizmann was cited by the New York Times as saying that “the most important work now was to build Palestine.” What? To build Palestine? Yes, in 1947 the word “Palestinian” --if it meant anything at all -- referred to Jews living in Palestine. The Palestine Post (now the Jerusalem Post) was the Jewish English-language newspaper.

Newt, the Jews, and an “Invented” People
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New Yorker
by David Remnick - (Blog) December 11, 2011 - 1:00am

Late last week, as part of a Republican pander-fest for the Jewish vote—what Jon Stewart aptly called a “tuchus kiss-off”—Newt Gingrich, the frontrunner in Iowa and South Carolina, turned on the spigot of his pedantry and called the Palestinians an “invented” people.

In Israel, the life of a Palestinian is cheap
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) December 12, 2011 - 1:00am

The pictures from Friday's events in Nabi Saleh are hard to swallow: An Israel Defense Forces soldier opens the back door of an armored military jeep and, from a distance of just a few meters, fires a tear-gas canister directly at a young man who is throwing stones. After the canister is fired, the jeep continues on its way without stopping.

The stench of occupation hovers over the Palestinian bereaved
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) December 12, 2011 - 1:00am

The face of Mustafa Tamimi was a frightful yellow. A piece of cotton covered his crushed eye, where the gas grenade fired at him from only a few meters away hit him in the skull; the other eye was closed forever. He was carried to his grave by his friends, his body wrapped in the Palestinian national flag, with only his unshaven face visible.

Fighting democracy's erosion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Sami Michael - (Opinion) December 11, 2011 - 1:00am

There is a special atmosphere marking this year's Human Rights Day. On the one hand, we're witnessing an awakening and a determined fight for freedom and against corruption, from Morocco, through Yemen and Syria to Israel.

Israel Turning Into Theocracy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Eric Alterman - (Opinion) December 12, 2011 - 1:00am

It is becoming increasingly obvious that a break between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, particularly its American variety, is fast approaching. The reason for this is that Israel is slowly but inexorably turning into a conservative theocracy while the Diaspora is largely dedicated to liberal democracy.

The moment of truth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Saeb Erakat - (Opinion) December 11, 2011 - 1:00am

The two-state solution on the 1967 borders has been the official Palestinian position for the past 23 years. Since then, we have engaged Israel and the international community and exerted sincere efforts to achieve our inalienable right to self-determination through the establishment of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state on the territory occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and a just solution to the Palestinian refugee issue in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.

Arabs Should Take Cue From Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Opinion) December 12, 2011 - 1:00am

As the countries and peoples of the Middle East seek to forge their political futures, they, or at least some of them, are searching for models of democracy that they can follow.

A dangerous ignorance leads US Republican politics astray
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Afshin Molavi - (Opinion) December 12, 2011 - 1:00am

The half-educated man is dangerous because, as the adage goes: "Knowing a few things, he thinks he knows everything." There is bizarrely something of the half-educated man in the Republican presidential candidate and front-runner Newt Gingrich. A PhD "historian", Mr Gingrich certainly "knows" a few things. In fact, he has impressed audiences in debates with sweeping historical references and a seemingly assured command of policy details. This has partly contributed to the Gingrich surge, catapulting him into first place in many Republican polls.

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