Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel's plans to relocate Bedouins draws heavy criticism. Pres. Peres says he is "ashamed" of undemocratic legislation. Proposed Israeli legislation seeks to ban mosque loudspeakers. Settlers attack an Israeli military base in the occupied West Bank and sieze control of structures near the Jordan border, while blaming DM Barak for the incidents. Kadima leader Livni blames PM Netanyahu. Pres. Abbas will meet with EU FP Chief Ashton. Israeli officials are mum on Newt Gingrich's recent verbal attacks against Palestinians and Mitt Romney and many Jewish American leaders condemn them. COMMENTARY: Anshel Pfeffer says Israeli law is powerless against the settlers. Jonathan Pollak says Mustafa Tamimi died a heroic death, Jessica Montell says it was an avoidable tragedy and Karl Vick says it shows how not to deal with protesters. David Remnick says Pres. Obama is "salivating" at the idea of running against Gingrich after the latter's recent comments. Hassan Barari calls Gingrich's statements "a cheap stunt." Sallai Meridor says it's up to Netanyahu to stop the rise of extremist nationalism in Israel. Gershon Baskin says Netanyahu is not walking the walk, but at least is talking the talk on peace. The Jerusalem Post claims that, unlike almost all other nations, Israel was "not invented." Linda Heard says an Obama re-election is crucial for peace.

Israeli plan to move West Bank Bedouin stirs controversy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - December 12, 2011 - 1:00am

A plan by the Israeli authorities to relocate about 2,000 Palestinian Bedouins living in the desert hills east of Jerusalem is raising concerns among U.N. officials and human rights advocates about Israel’s aims in a strategic area of the West Bank. The hills are dotted with more than 20 encampments of Bedouins, formerly nomadic goat and sheep herders who migrated from Israel’s southern Negev region in the early 1950s to the West Bank. Their hamlets, consisting of groups of corrugated metal and wooden shacks covered with plastic sheeting, are visible from roads crisscrossing the area.

Israel’s president says he’s ‘ashamed’ of bills he says are undemocratic
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel’s president says he is “ashamed” that lawmakers are trying to pass a string of bills he regards as undemocratic. Shimon Peres’ comments break with the presidential custom of maintaining silence on political issues. In an interview with the Yediot Ahronot daily published Tuesday, Peres singled out bills that would slash funding to dovish groups, silence Muslim calls to prayer and tighten a defamation law in a way that could hobble investigative reports.

Israeli lawmaker proposes ban on mosque loudspeakers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

The latest installment in a series of controversial legislative efforts in Israel is a proposal to restrict use of loudspeakers in houses of worship, which really means mosques as the other main religions don't use them. Lawmaker Anastassia Michaeli insists her proposal isn't aimed at silencing the Muslim call to prayer for religious or political reasons but for environmental reasons: it's too loud.

Settlers vandalize Israeli military base in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Over 50 settlers infiltrated an Israeli military base near Tulkarem early Tuesday, the army said. Right wing settlers set fire to tires, vandalized vehicles and placed nails along the road at the Ephraim regional division headquarters. They also threw stones at the base commander's vehicle, the army said in a statement. No injuries were reported and the army and Israeli police managed to remove settlers from the area, the military added.

Dozens of rightists break into IDF base in West Bank, wound officer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Some 50 settlers and right-wing activists entered a key West Bank military base early Tuesday morning and threw rocks, burned tires, and vandalized military vehicles. The settlers were acting in response to a rumor that the IDF would act to evict a West Bank settlement in accordance with an August Supreme Court ruling.

Settlers: Barak to blame for rightist riots
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roi Mandel - December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika has pointed a finger at Defense Minister Ehud Barak following the violent incidents involving right-wing activists in the West Bank on Monday night. "Unfortunately, Ehud Barak acted like a pyromaniac and set the ground on fire intentionally by trying to destroy homes in Ramat Gilad despite the advanced talks aimed at solving the issue peacefully," Mesika said Tuesday.

Livni blames PM for radicalization wave
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Attila Somfalvi - December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday instructed the security forces to take a firm hand against those who hurt IDF soldiers and commanders after settlers pelted the vehicle of a brigade commander and raided an army base in the West Bank on Monday night. "This warrants harsh condemnation. The security forces must be focused on protecting Israeli citizens and not on such intolerable violations of the law," he said.

Abbas to meet EU foreign policy chief Ashton
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton Wednesday, an aide to Abbas said Tuesday. The talks between Abbas and Ashton will mainly focus on efforts to revive stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and the Palestinian quest to obtain membership in the United Nations bodies, said Abbas's adviser Majdi al-Khaldi. The meeting between Abbas and Ashton will take place when Abbas arrives in Belgium Wednesday, where he will also meet European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

Israeli officials mum on Gingrich remark
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, not known for reticence in making right-wing pronouncements or speaking his mind, opted Monday not to share his thoughts on US Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s recent remark that the Palestinians are an “invented” people. After spending the better part of a press conference Monday defending recent comments he made in Russia about the legitimacy of the elections there, Lieberman – when asked by The Jerusalem Post about Gingrich’s comments – laughed and said he did not want to interfere in the internal matters of another country.

Gingrich, Romney Clash Over Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Forward
by Nathan Guttman - December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Republican frontrunner Newt Gingrich’s claim that the Palestinians are an “invented” people brought the issue of Israel and the Middle East to center stage in Saturday’s Republican candidates’ debate in Iowa. For Gingrich’s rivals, especially Mitt Romney, who has seen his once-safe lead slip away, the issue of Israel and Palestine posed somewhat of a challenge.

Israeli law is powerless in the settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - (Opinion) December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

As the situation currently stands between the Israel Defense Forces and the widening margins of the extreme settler right, the only "red line" that has yet to be crossed is a scenario in which an Israeli citizen would open fire on IDF soldiers. There are those in Israel's security forces who fear that that day is not so distant. Before we hurry to call Tuesday's attack on an IDF brigade commander and his deputy an "escalation" in IDF-settler ties, it is important to emphasize that this is not a new situation.

A courageous Palestinian has died, shrouded in stones
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jonathan Pollack - (Opinion) December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Mustafa Tamimi threw stones. Unapologetically and sometimes fearlessly. Not on that day alone, but nearly every Friday. He also concealed his face. Not for fear of the prison cell, which he had already come to know intimately, but in order to preserve his freedom, so he could continue to throw stones and resist the theft of his land. He continued to do this until the moment of his death.

A death that could have been avoided
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jessica Montell - (Opinion) December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Every death is a tragedy for the family and friends of the deceased. Yet a death you can see coming from miles away, a needless death that could have been prevented, is a tragedy about which hard lessons must be learned. Such is the case of Mustafa Tamimi, the 28-year-old Palestinian man killed in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh last Friday. Tamimi was shot at close range with a tear gas canister. The canister hit him in the face, causing massive bleeding, and he died the following day.

How Not to Deal With Protesters: A Death in the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Karl Vick - (Blog) December 12, 2011 - 1:00am

The weekend offered a hard lesson in the nature of what passes for calm between Israel and the Palestinians living in the territory its army watches over. It was a lesson in two parts, one exploding in the sandy soil of the Gaza Strip, where the Israeli military exchanged fire with militants in the kind of clash that militaries are made for.

David Remnick to Haaretz: Gingrich statement on 'invented' Palestinians is 'alarming'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chemi Shalev - (Interview) December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Republican candidate Newt Gingrich’s characterization of the Palestinians as an “invented” people is an “alarming attempt to diminish the Palestinian people and to diminish Palestinian history,” according to David Remnick, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of the prestigious New Yorker magazine.

‘The invented people’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Hassan Barari - (Opinion) December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

The statement by Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich that Palestinians are an “invented” people is nothing but a cheap stunt to get votes. Gingrich also assailed the righteousness of the Palestinians struggle for statehood when he referred to them as “terrorists”. If Newt Gingrich becomes the next president of the United States, we have every reason not to be optimistic. It is obvious that he is influenced not only by his quest for Jewish vote but also by ignorance.

Netanyahu's biggest test
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Sallai Meridor - (Opinion) December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

During my service as the Israeli ambassador to the United States I often leaned on Israeli democracy, our freedom of speech and equality among the sexes to promote Israel's status. The congressmen who opened their doors and their hearts to me did so because they believed they were meeting with someone representing the only democracy in the Middle East. Their constituents, Americans who are currently facing rising unemployment and both a national and a private recession, continue to support the US' alignment with Israel – even when they are the only ones in the world to do so.

Encountering Peace: Half-way there
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

‘I am very pessimistic on the future of Israel. The trends in general mood in Israel, US, worldwide are towards polarization, conflict and pessimism, and all is made worse by the worsening worldwide financial problems which I expect to end in a depression pretty much everywhere. I don’t expect Israel to avoid war with considerable casualties and damage.”

The Republicans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Less than a month before the Iowa caucuses, the first step in the US presidential nomination process, Republican presidential hopefuls seem to be engaged in an attempt to outdo one another in demonstrations of support for Israel. Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the US House of Representatives who has pulled ahead of Mitt Romney in recent polls, has been the most outspoken. During a Republican debate held in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday night, Gingrich defended comments he made last week to the Jewish Channel referring to the Palestinians as an “invented people.”

If Obama goes, so will peace prospects
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Linda S. Heard - (Opinion) December 13, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ultra-nationalistic sidekicks must be praying for Barack Obama’s departure next January. It’s not that the US president has exactly been tightening the screws on the intransigent Israeli leader to return to the table, although unfettered by a reliance on the Jewish and Christian Zionist vote he would probably have taken a much more forceful line.

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