Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israelis complain that Palestinians are sending anti-peace messages. Palestinians and Israelis compete for tourist foreign-exchange. A new poll suggests that very few Palestinians think national reconciliation talks will succeed. Israeli settlers vandalize a Hebron mosque. The PA says occupation forces have destroyed key roads leading to Nablus. A released Palestinian prisoner continues to assert that the rabbi he was convicted of trying to assassinate deserves to die. Egyptian Salafists pledge to maintain the peace treaty with Israel. A major Palestinian citizens of Israel poet,Salem Jubran, passes away. The BBC profiles a Palestinian long-distance runner from Gaza. COMMENTARY: Aner Shalev says Israeli leaders are also part of the “greater Israel” movement. Salman Masalha looks at early Arab efforts to understand Zionism. Gershon Baskin says I'm seeing to decide what they mean about “normalization.” James Adler says Israel needs to stop seizing land in occupied East Jerusalem. Amal Jamal says there can be no self-determination without democracy. Hussein Ibish questions how far Hamas will really go in response to the regional realignment in the Middle East. Ephraim Sneh says sanctions will accelerate the collapse of the repressive regime in Tehran.

Finding Fault in the Palestinian Messages That Aren’t So Public
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — A new book by an Israeli watchdog group catalogs dozens of examples of messages broadcast by the Palestinian Authority for its domestic audience that would seem at odds with the pursuit of peace and a two-state solution. Instead, the authors say, their findings show a pattern of non-recognition of Israel’s right to exist, demonization of Israel and promotion of violence.

This Holy Land battle focuses on tourists' wallets
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

Reporting from Bethlehem, West Bank— A 45-foot-high artificial Christmas tree towers over Manger Square, and downtown Bethlehem is festooned with sparkling decorations. There's even a picture of a saxophone-playing Santa Claus. But Nabil Giacaman, co-owner of a souvenir shop called Christmas House, isn't feeling the holiday spirit. The third-generation woodcarver, who sells handmade likenesses of baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary, sees as many as 200 tour buses arrive every day from Israel to visit the Church of the Nativity, just a few steps from his store.

Poll: Palestinians have doubts about outcome of reconciliation talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - (Blog) December 19, 2011 - 1:00am

REPORTING FROM RAMALLAH, WEST BANK -– As new reconciliation talks between Palestinian factions get underway in Cairo, including a meeting set for Wednesday between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, a poll suggests there are serious doubts among the Palestinian people about whether the negotiations will succeed. A public opinion poll by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research published Monday found that, regarding the reconciliation efforts, Palestinians are equally divided between believers and skeptics.

'Price tag' slogans painted on Hebron mosque
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- A Hebron village mosque was spray-painted with racist slogans on Monday, locals said, in the fourth such attack in two weeks. Suspected extremist settlers daubed "price tag" and "Yitzhar" on the walls of the mosque in Bani Naim, which lies opposite the Kiryat Arba settlement. Yitzhar settlement in the northern West Bank is notorious for so-called price tag incidents, in which settlers exact revenge on Palestinians and their property for Israeli government policies towards unauthorized settler outposts.

PA: Israeli forces demolish main road near Nablus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces on Tuesday bulldozed a main road serving several villages in southern Nablus, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Daghlas, the PA official for monitoring settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an that over 30 military vehicles entered the Nablus village of Beita before bulldozers demolished a road in-between the villages of Beita, Osarin and Aqraba. The Mayor of Huwwara, Moeen Damidi, told the official news agency Wafa that the 4km road was demolished without any warning. It had cost $400,000 to build, he added.

Ex-Palestinian prisoner: No regrets on Yosef plot
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

A Palestinian jailed by Israel for plotting to kill one of Israel's most influential rabbis said after his release on Sunday that he had no regrets about the path he had chosen. Salah Hamouri, 26, was one of 550 prisoners freed to complete a deal in which Israel released 1,027 prisoners for soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive in the Gaza Strip for more than five years. Many of the 450 prisoners freed on Oct. 18 under the Egyptian-brokered swap for the soldier had been serving life sentences for deadly attacks.

Egypt's radical Islamist party vows to respect peace treaty with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

Egypt's radical Salafi movement has announced for the first time that it intends to respect all treaties that Egypt has signed, including the peace deal with Israel. The Salafi Al-Nour party, which won 25-30 percent of the votes in the first round of Egypt's parliamentary elections, said that they are also in favor of negotiating with Israel.

Salem Jubran, Israeli Arab poet and journalist, dies at 71
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ido Blass - December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

Israeli Arab poet and journalist Salem Jubran died Sunday at his home in Nazareth at the age of 71. He was laid to rest in his hometown yesterday. Born in 1941 in the Galilee village of Peki'in, Jubran published three books of poetry, the last of which appeared about 30 years ago. Poet Marwan Makhoul said Jubran's poetry was the most important ever published by an Israeli Arab author.

London 2012: Gaza blockade threatens Olympic hopes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jon Donnison - December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

Nader el Masri feels the loneliness of a long distance runner. The 32-year-old 5,000 metre specialist is the fastest man in Gaza but he has few places to train and few people to train with. "I have a coach but there's nobody at my level in Gaza," says Nader. "I have to do most of my training sessions on my own." And the facilities in Gaza are far from great. There is not a single tartan track in the Palestinian territory and Nader does much of his training on the pot-holed cinder track that loops around the football stadium in Gaza City.

Israeli leaders are also advocates of 'Greater Israel'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aner Shalev - (Opinion) December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

It is easy to perceive terror. It is easy to perceive a terrorist wave. It is easy to discern a breach in the Jordanian border fence. It is easy to see a brick thrown into a military jeep. It is easy to discern a mass raid on a brigade base. It is easy to discern torched mosques. It is easy to detect black letters sprayed on a wall. But is it easy to understand their meaning?

A short history of Arab feelings toward Zionism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Salman Masalha - (Opinion) December 19, 2011 - 1:00am

The Arab attempt since the start of the 20th century to understand the Zionist movement has long produced mixed feelings. A new Arabic monthly, Lughat al-Arab ("the Arabic language"), began publication in Baghdad 100 years ago. The third issue, from September 1911, contains an investigative report by the editor called "The Founder of Zionism."

Encountering Peace: Normalizing anti-normalization
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) December 19, 2011 - 1:00am

The Al Quds al Arabi newspaper, published in London, gave voice to senior Fatah member Hatem Abdel Qader Eid from Jerusalem announcing that Fatah has decided to boycott and prevent all meetings between Palestinians and Israelis, official and non-official. Being one of the leading Israeli advocates of such meetings and someone who has organized more than 2,000 of them over the past 24 years, many people have asked my opinion of the move.

Israel’s problem isn’t Thomas Friedman
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by James Adler - (Opinion) December 19, 2011 - 1:00am

There is a common thread linking The Jerusalem Post’s attack on Thomas Friedman last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s refusal to write an opinion column for The New York Times and an attack on my views by Haifa resident Ella Berkovitz on the Post letters page last Thursday. In all three instances, the individuals in question showed they prefer to take the easy road of crowd-pleasingly attacking the New York Times and one of its senior columnists, without addressing the fact that similar views are held by the United States government and most Western democracies.

Democracy is favorable for right of self-determination
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Amal Jamal - (Opinion) December 19, 2011 - 1:00am

The Arab Spring has been a source of pride and happiness for many Arab citizens of Israel. Most of the Arab public in Israel has expressed unequivocal support for the courage shown by thousands of Arab civilians around the region in calling for the ouster of corrupt regimes, endangering themselves and their families.

Hamas on the move
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas is on the move, both literally and figuratively, but how far it can and will go very much remains to be determined. Hamas is in an impossible position, given the regional realignments following from the Arab uprisings, and is frantically trying to adjust without paying too high a price.

A Warning Call
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Ephraim Sneh - (Opinion) December 19, 2011 - 1:00am

In light of the damning IAEA report released in November, showing no equivocation regarding Iranian intentions for producing nuclear weapons, it is high time that the United States and Israel abandon their current policies and adopt a new joint strategy. Since 1993 I have been calling attention to the potential of a nuclear Iran, perhaps the most dangerous development in our region. Today we all understand that if Iran achieves nuclear military power, it is only a matter of time, a few years, before Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey will reach nuclear capacity as well.

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