Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israeli police say some Jerusalem election results should be canceled after Jewish extremists prevented women from voting. US aid to the PA will continue provided it does not press for further recognition at the UN. Palestinian factions say they are reaching a “last chance” at reconciliation. Iceland becomes the first Western European state to recognize Palestine. Israel is unifying its “special forces” under a single uniform command. AP looks at Israel's long history of failing to rein in Jewish extremists. Hamas introduces plastic money into the Gaza economy. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says Palestinians “have to prove they deserve a state.” One third of all Israeli occupation forces are now deployed to combat Jewish extremist settlers. DM Barak will meet with Pres. Obama Friday morning. COMMENTARY: Yoel Marcus says Israel's extreme right is a primary threat to peace. Uri Saguy says terrorists, including Jewish ones, should be shot. PM Netanyahu’s senior adviser Ron Dermer writes letter to the New York Times saying the prime minister will not write for them. Nathan Guttman says by sending Barak to the US, Israel is showing its “friendly face.” Liam Hoare says it's inexcusable that Israeli nationalists would find common cause with European Islamophobes. Ahmad Majdoubeh says the Arab League needs to come out of hibernation on the issue of Palestine. The Arab News is skeptical Israel will really crack down on extremist settlers. Lara Friedman says Israel is finally waking up to settler extremism. Dilshod Achilov is interviewed on the future of Hamas' relationship with Syria and Iran.

Israeli police call to cancel election result after women prevented from voting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli police say they have urged Jerusalem’s city hall to cancel some results from a recent local election after a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews prevented some women from voting. TV video showed a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews screaming at a few dozen women at a polling station and then pushing them away. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police at the scene saw “a large number” of women obstructed from voting. Rosenfeld said Friday police are investigating the incident, the latest attempt by extremely pious Jews to try impose their practices on others.

Palestinian aid to continue, with strings
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Paul Richter - December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Despite Congress’ unhappiness with the Palestinian leadership, top appropriators have agreed to continue funding the Palestinian Authority provided that it does not press any further with its campaign to win more diplomatic recognition at the United Nations. An appropriations bill for the coming fiscal year that was released this week by House Republicans would allow a continuation of aid as long as the Palestinian Authority does not join any more U.N. organizations in its bid to increase its global diplomatic standing.

Factions warn of 'last chance' ahead of unity talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian political groups have called their upcoming meeting in Cairo the last chance for implementation of a reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas. Seven months after the agreement was signed in the Egyptian capital, the factions say nothing has moved on the ground to implement the terms of the deal that would end four years of divided government in Gaza and the West Bank.

Iceland recognizes state of Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
December 15, 2011 - 1:00am

Iceland on Thursday became the first west European country to formally recognize a Palestinian state, three months after the Palestinians began to seek full membership of the United Nations with peace talks with Israel frozen indefinitely. "(This) will surely have positive influence on other states to follow the same steps," Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told a news conference in Reykjavik.

Israel forms special ops command; experts eye Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel said on Thursday it was unifying its special forces under one command, a move experts say could help Israel strike countries like Iran, whose nuclear programme the Jewish state deems a threat to its existence. "The primary task of the Corps will be to extend joint IDF (Israel Defence Force) operations into the strategic depth," said a statement from the military, announcing the formation of the "Depth Corps".

Jewish radicals get off hook in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

A rash of audacious attacks on mosques, Muslim cemeteries and Israeli military bases have trained a light on the rising threat of Jewish extremists — and the country's long history of failing to rein them in. Over the past two years, few extremists have been arrested and fewer still prosecuted in dozens of assaults. This week alone, extremists were blamed for a pair of mosque burnings as well as an attack on a West Bank military base that injured a top Israeli commander.

Hamas rule to use plastic coin to resolve liquidity crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Hamada Hattab - December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Gaza university student Mohamed Abu Suleiman had this week a tough argument over the change with a taxicab who took him from Tufah neighborhood in eastern Gaza city up to al-Azhar university in the west. The driver insisted on giving Abu Suleiman a piece of biscuit instead of half an Israeli Shekel (about 0.13 U.S. dollars) because he did not have enough change, after the student paid him two Shekels (0.52 dollars).

U.S. Jewish lawmaker: Palestinians have to prove they deserve a state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinians need to prove they deserve an independent state before on is recognized, a leading U.S. lawmaker said on Thursday, criticizing what he said was a Palestinian culture of "resentment." House Majority Leader Eric Cantor made the comments during the Reform movement's biennial conference at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland south of Washington DC, which was participated by 6,000 U.S. Jews, including rabbis, Reform movement officials, lay leaders, and students.

W. Bank: 3rd of IDF used against 'price-tag' attacks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The IDF Central Command has allocated 30 percent of its forces deployed in the West Bank for “price-tag” attack-related missions, the largest proportion in years, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The missions vary for the forces: Some are stationed along roads in the West Bank to prevent the stoning of Palestinian vehicles, and others are stationed on the outskirts of Palestinian villages, such as near the Yitzhar settlement, to prevent settler infiltrations.

Obama to meet with Ehud Barak
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will meet with President Obama on Friday morning, acording to sources. The meeting will come shortly before President Obama's address Friday afternoon to the biennial conference of the Union for Reform Judaism, which is being held in nearby National Harbor, Md. In an address Thursday night to the organization, Barak said it’s important not to remove any option from the table when it comes to Iran. Barak also praised Obama for opposing Iran’s quest for nuclear capability and said U.S.-Israel defense cooperation is stronger than ever.

Israel's far right-wing is real threat to Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yoel Marcus - (Opinion) December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The undersigned was educated in a religious boarding school near Kfar Hasidim in the north. Boys and girls studied together. The girls would crochet skullcaps for the boys, and the institution was under the sponsorship of Hapoel Hamizrahi, a moderate Zionist party, from which the first advocates of Greater Israel eventually emerged.

Shoot the Jewish terrorists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Uri Saguy - (Opinion) December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The rioters who attacked IDF soldiers resorted to terror, and terror should be addressed firmly. However, the prime minister declared that these people are not a terrorist organization, thereby showing a leadership failure, to my regret. In the absence of leadership, we may have to facilitate a confrontation and win it. As the people who ruin us hail from our midst, we must take action. I fear these domestic threats more than I fear the Iranian threat. At this time, we are in the midst of a messianic, delusional process that is violent, belligerent, intolerant, and also un-Jewish.

PM adviser's letter to 'New York Times'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Dear Sasha, I received your email requesting that Prime Minister Netanyahu submit an op-ed to the New York Times. Unfortunately, we must respectfully decline. On matters relating to Israel, the op-ed page of the “paper of record” has failed to heed the late Senator Moynihan's admonition that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but that no one is entitled to their own facts. A case in point was your decision last May to publish the following bit of historical revision by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas:

Barak Shows Friendly Face to URJ
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - (Analysis) December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

National Harbor, Md. — The Israeli government chose to show its friendly face to the Reform movement by sending defense minister Ehud Barak as the top Israeli representative to the biennial conference of the Union for Reform Judaism. After all, there are not many officials in the current Israeli coalition government that can offer a warm embrace to America’s largest Jewish denomination.

Devilish Pact With Europe’s Right Wing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Liam Hoare - (Blog) December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

Economic upheaval and strife in Europe have historically begat fierce nationalism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. Faced with a serious debt crisis, severe budget cuts, grim austerity, rising unemployment and creeping inflation, the current depression is no exception.

In regard to Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Ahmad Majdoubeh - (Opinion) December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The Arab League has been in hibernation for years, content only with routine and symbolic meetings or statements that did not make any difference. At present, however, it has emerged as an active, effective player in the region. In light of such an emerging role, shouldn’t it help the Palestinians who desperately need help? The Arab Spring has brought with it not only a new role for the peoples of the region but also, it would seem, a new role for the Arab League.

‘Inventing’ reasons to please Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

It would be a fine thing to believe what he says, except that Netanyahu himself leads a government that is one of the most extreme since Israel’s 1948 creation. The reality is that the views and attitude of the gang of settlers who have just been arrested and charged with these appalling and deliberately inflammatory crimes are merely a logical extension of the Eretz Israel (Greater Israel) policies that underpin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and his no-less radical coalition allies.

The Belated Awakening to Settler Extremism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Lara Friedman - (Blog) December 15, 2011 - 1:00am

Recent attacks on the IDF have led to an abrupt awakening in Israel and abroad. Suddenly people are realizing the danger posed to Israel by a generation of settlers who respect neither Israeli law, nor Israel's army, nor the Israeli state, and who are prepared to use violence against not only Palestinians (which has long been the case) but also against fellow Jews.

Will Hamas Now Abandon Syria and Assad?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Business Times
by Palash R. Ghosh - (Interview) December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

The ongoing rebellion (and brutal government crackdown) in Syria has presented an embarrassment for Hamas, the Palestinian militant organization which was embraced by President Bashar al-Assad and given a home in Damascus for several years. Reportedly, some lower-tier Hamas members have already fled Syria, although the leadership has insisted it will stay. Moreover, Hamas groups on Gaza and West Bank have not (to any significant degree) staged protests against Assad, the way they did for former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.

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