Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NOTE: The ATFP Daily News Roundup will resume publication on Tuesday, January 3. Happy holidays. NEWS: Israel has literally 101 types of permits governing the movement of Palestinians living under occupation. The PLO tells the quartet it will resume its UN statehood bid activities if there is no movement on the peace process within the next month. Palestinian groups establish a committee to consider restructuring the PLO, possibly including Hamas and other groups. Hamas says such a deal would strengthen both Palestinian parties and the PLO in its negotiations with Israel. Analysts and even Hamas officials say the group is responding to a deep crisis. UNESCO cuts funding to a Palestinian magazine that published an article sympathetic to Hitler. Israel's mayor in Jerusalem says he wants to shift the city's municipal boundaries to approximate the West Bank separation barrier. Congress earmarks $235 million for Israeli antimissile systems. Gazan Christians complain Hamas has effectively banned Christmas celebrations. Hamas leader Mishaal touts non-violent protests but does not renounce violence. American Charities for Palestine donates $27,000 to St. John's Eye Hospital in Jerusalem to combat blindness among Palestinians. COMMENTARY: Yoel Marcus says PM Netanyahu's choice of advisers is a source of real concern. Abdelrahman Al Ahmar describes life under the occupation and how Israel came to define him as a “terrorist.” Ha'aretz says settlers might see dismantling of unauthorized outposts as an injustice, but they violate Israeli law. Omar Ghraieb says a drug-related double-murder has shocked the Gaza Strip. Jay Bushinsky says Israel's diplomacy is being undermined by behavior in the occupied territories that does not conform to international norms. Frida Ghitis says Israel is suffering from self-inflicted wounds. Joseph Dana looks at the writings of jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti.

Israel has 101 different types of permits governing Palestinian movement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Israel's Civil Administration issues 101 different types of permits to govern the movement of Palestinians, whether within the West Bank, between the West Bank and Israel or beyond the borders of the state, according to an agency document of which Haaretz obtained a copy. The most common permits are those allowing Palestinians to work in Israel, or in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Over the decades, however, the permit regimen has grown into a vast, triple-digit bureaucracy.

Palestinian Authority gives Mideast peacemakers an ultimatum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

REPORTING FROM BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK -– The Palestinian Authority on Thursday gave the so-called quartet of Middle East peace negotiators an ultimatum: It will resume its campaign for statehood recognition if there is no movement in the peace process in the next month. "If nothing happens by Jan. 26, we are going back to our international campaign for recognition," said Nabil Shaath, a senior official in the administration of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas says it plans to join Fatah-dominated PLO
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Rival Palestinian factions took a significant step towards reconciliation Thursday as the Islamist group Hamas said it planned to join President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization. Abbas held a meeting in Cairo with leaders from the factions, including Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal, where a committee was formed to prepare for the inclusion of Hamas, as well as the smaller Islamic Jihad, in the PLO. There are still some serious obstacles that could prevent a final unity deal and attempts to reconcile in the past have failed.

Jihad official: PLO membership not final
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

An Islamic Jihad leader said Thursday that joining an "interim leadership framework" of the PLO did not necessarily mean it had formally joined the Palestinian body. Khaled Al-Batsh told Ma’an that joining the organization requires a clear framework for how the PLO will be restructured. He added that if there was an agreement concerning these issues, Islamic Jihad would become a member in the organization. However, if there was no agreement, the group said it was still willing to contribute.

Officials say PNI joined PLO at Cairo talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Officials from Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian National Initiative said late Thursday that they had accepted positions on an "interim leadership" of the PLO. Ayed Yaghi, a PNI leader, said the small faction joined the PLO and that it was a natural position to take. Yaghi told Ma’an that Thursday's talks in Cairo marked a milestone in the history of the Palestinian people. He pointed out that the PNI had previously submitted a request to join the PLO in 2004.

Abbas in a stronger position with Hamas in PLO
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh, Herb Keinon - December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will be in a stronger position to deal with Israel and the United States if Hamas joins the PLO, a senior Hamas official told pan-Arab London-based newspaper Asharq Alawsat Saturday. According to the source, who spoke to Asharq Alaqsat following productive meetings between Palestinian factions aiming to "activate" the reconstruction of of a unity Palestinian government, reconciliation of Hamas with the PA would see Abbas become president of a more united Palestinian people, instead of just a segment of it in the West Bank.

Hamas considers shift to non-violent resistance, relocation to Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
by Nadine Marroushi - December 22, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, is adopting a popular, non-violent resistance strategy in a move aimed at gaining international recognition and support. The group is under internal and external pressure to change tactics after being isolated by ongoing revolutions in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere.

UNESCO cuts funds for Palestinian magazine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Matti Friedman - December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — The U.N.'s cultural agency said Friday it is pulling funding for a Palestinian youth magazine that published an article suggesting admiration for Hitler. The magazine, Zayzafouna, published an article in February written by a teenage girl who presented four role models: a medieval Persian mathematician, a modern Egyptian novelist, the Muslim warrior Saladin, and the Nazi leader.

Jerusalem mayor intends to contour city border along security barrier
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is considering a number of plans that would largely shift the city's meandering eastern municipal boundary to more closely follow the security barrier abutting largely Palestinian-populated areas, the city said on Thursday. A statement sent to Xinhua said the plan would limit municipal services to areas west of the security barrier, and leave areas on the eastern side to be dealt with by the Civil Administration (CA), an army entity that sees to the daily needs of the Palestinian population in the West Bank.

US earmarks $235 million for Israel's defense systems
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - December 22, 2011 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON – The Unites States has announced it will allocate $235 million for the development of safeguards against rockets and missiles that could be launched towards Israel by Hezbollah and Iran. A large part of the funds will go towards the development of the David's Sling system, designed to intercept medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, and the Arrow 2 and 3 systems against long-range ballistic missiles. This unprecedented sum comes at an unexpected time, while the American government is dealing with large budget cuts, including at the Pentagon.

Gaza Christians long for days before Hamas cancelled Christmas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Phoebe Greenwood - December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

When the Latin patriarch came to Gaza's Holy Family church to celebrate Christmas mass last week, he instructed a full house of Catholic and Orthodox families to pray for reconciliation. As the archbishop, Fouad Twal, stood at the lectern in Gaza City, Fatah and Hamas leaders were meeting in Cairo attempting to mend differences that have divided the Palestinian factions for four years and rendered Gaza a besieged Islamist enclave.

AP Interview: Hamas leader touts new focus on popular protests, does not renounce violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
(Interview) December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

CAIRO — Hamas will focus on a strategy of holding mass protests against Israel in the style of the Arab Spring, although it is not renouncing the use of violence against the Jewish state, the Islamic group’s leader, Khaled Mashaal, told The Associated Press late Thursday. Mashaal was in Cairo for reconciliation talks with Hamas’ rival, President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah. The sides agreed that Hamas would join the Palestine Liberation Organization, led by Abbas, and allow elections to go ahead in Gaza and the West Bank in 2012.

ACP donates $27,000 to St. John's Eye Hospital in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from American Charities for Palestine
December 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 22, 2011 - 4:00pm ACP is pleased to be able to update you on theOperation Restore Vision in Palestine project which our partner, St. John’s Eye Hospital in Jerusalem (SJEH), is implementing on the ground.

Netanyahu's choice of advisers is cause for concern
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yoel Marcus - (Opinion) December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

The situation is so funny that I feel like crying. There's something about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that, despite his pretensions to glory as the nation's unparalleled leader, and despite the basso-profundo voice that presents him as a person of authority and the nation's savior, makes him look like a caricature of a leader.

How I became a 'terrorist'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Abdelrahman Al Ahmar - (Opinion) December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

The first time I was attacked by an Israeli settler, I was 14 years old. I was walking to school when an armed man wearing a skullcap, standing near some Israeli soldiers, pulled my pack off my back and threw it in the mud. That wasn't last month, nor was it near a new outpost in Nablus. Rather, this happened 30 years ago, on the main road running through Bethlehem, near Deheisheh refugee camp, where I lived. The settler was not just any alienated, disaffected man. He was, I learned later, the father of the national religious settlement project - Rabbi Moshe Levinger.

No room to compare Binyamin to Bil'in
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

It's true that the settlers are also rising up against what they see as injustice: the evacuation of settlement outposts, but these outposts are patently illegal. Ever since dozens of settlers rioted at the Binyamin Brigade's base in the West Bank last week, several people, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have compared the rioters to those who gather weekly at Bil'in to protest the separation fence. Netanyahu compared the two again this week, during the lighting of the first Hanukkah candle at the brigade's headquarters. This is an unfounded and outrageous comparison.

Gaza in Shock After Rare Double Homicide
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Omar Ghraieb - (Analysis) December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – The Gaza Strip is all abuzz about a grisly murder of an elderly couple in a story that brings together drugs, money, the dangers of leaving home and family, and a desperate escape by tunnel to Egypt. It’s the routine stuff of tabloid journalism in America and Europe, but here in this tiny coastal enclave, killings like those of Mustafa Al-Huweihi and his wife Salma are quite rare, despite all the violence associated with the ruling Hamas movement and the other Islamic groups in Gaza that are in constant war with Israel.

Diplomacy should conform to international norms
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jay Bushinsky - (Opinion) December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Two major mistakes were by Israeli policy- makers: The Oslo Accords of 1993 and the unilateral and unconditional withdrawal of troops and civilians from the Gaza Strip in 2005. These ill-considered initiatives have caused seemingly insoluble problems. They were radical departures from the Jewish state’s original adherence to traditional diplomacy based on international norms, and deviated from the initially consistent effort to gain recognition as a bona fide member of the international community.

New test for Israel — this one from within
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Miami Herald
by Frida Ghitis - (Opinion) December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Over the six decades since its founding, Israelis have faced, and continue to face, countless threats to their country’s survival as the democratic state of the Jewish people. That threat comes from abroad and from neighboring countries that would like to see Israel cease to exist. But today Israel also suffers from self-inflicted wounds. And some of those wounds are becoming infected.

Page by page, Marwan Barghouti's anti-war tome walked out of prison
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Joseph Dana - (Opinion) December 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza celebrated the return of their loved ones last Sunday as the final wave of prisoners were released in an exchange between Hamas and Israel. However, one prisoner was notably absent. Marwan Barghouti, the jailed Fatah leader known by many Palestinians as the "prince of resistance", remains behind bars in Israel despite promises from the Palestinian leadership that his freedom would be secured through the exchange of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

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