Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are meeting this week to try to revive peace talks, but this time the US is not playing a central role. Palestinian leaders say their policies will depend on the outcome of the talks with Israel. Hamas leader Haniyyeh is visiting Turkey on the first leg of a wider regional tour. The Israeli government is preparing to deal with court orders to dismantle “unauthorized” settlement outposts. Hamas leaders in Gaza say nonviolent resistance does not apply there. Palestinian anti-corruption officials are reportedly looking into foreign bank accounts. Pres. Assad may meet with Hamas leaders in Damascus. Israel revokes the amnesty granted to the co-founder of a theater in Jenin. Israel announces 230 additional settlement housing units in occupied East Jerusalem. COMMENTARY: In an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, PM Fayyad says Palestinians have proven they are ready for independence. Arron David Miller says PM Netanyahu and Pres. Obama do not like or trust each other. Ron Gilran says Israel may be closer to another large-scale military operation in Gaza. Shimon Shiffer says Israel has a peace partner even if national narratives are not compatible. H.D.S. Greenway says the occupation is Israel's tragedy. Barak Ravid says the Israeli right wing is deliberately suppressing the truth about Palestinian-Israeli demographics. Musa Keilani welcomes European pressure on Israel. Rami Khouri says Palestinian national unity is essential in 2012. Nida' Tuma says Palestinian women are increasingly demanding equal rights in their society.

Palestinians and Israelis Will Talk This Week
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - January 1, 2012 - 1:00am

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators plan to meet for the first time in more than a year in Jordan on Tuesday, in an effort to revive moribund peace talks, although none of the sides involved suggested any reason to view the meeting as a sign of significant progress. The Jordanian Foreign Ministry said the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, and the chief Israeli negotiator, Yitzhak Molho, would be joined by officials from Jordan as well as the so-called quartet — Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations — and would later hold a separate meeting.

Why US won't be center stage in new Israeli-Palestinian talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Howard Lafranchi - January 2, 2012 - 1:00am

The United States won’t take its usual center-stage position when Israeli and Palestinian negotiators meet Tuesday for their first direct talks in more than a year.

Jordan: Chief Israeli, Palestinian envoys meet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - January 3, 2012 - 1:00am

Jordan says the chief Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are meeting for the first time in more than a year. Jordan's Foreign Ministry says Israel's Yitzhak Molcho and Palestinian Saeb Erekat are meeting in the presence of envoys from the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. The pair will later hold a separate meeting alone to exchange positions on key issues of security and borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Gaza Premier in Turkey, in First Official Trip Abroad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Sebnem Arsu, Ethan Bronner - January 2, 2012 - 1:00am

Ismail Haniya, the Hamas prime minister of Gaza, who is making his first official trip abroad since his Islamist movement took over the Palestinian strip in 2007, sought Monday to strengthen ties with the Arab and Muslim world in the wake of regional uprisings that have produced a rise in Islamist political strength. Here in Turkey, where Mr. Haniya arrived after visiting Egypt and Sudan, he was quoted by the semiofficial Anatolian Agency on Monday as saying that “the Arab Spring is turning into an Islamic spring.”

Settlement outposts at root of Jewish violence in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - December 29, 2011 - 1:00am

For months many Israelis shrugged off the mosque burnings, the uprooted Palestinian olive trees and even the death threats against Jewish leftists. But when young settlers this month vandalized army bases and stoned Israeli soldiers, the question of Jewish terrorism turned into a national emergency. The recent flare-up in settler violence has puzzled many because it comes when there are no peace talks that might lead to land concessions, Palestinian attacks in the West Bank have dropped to new lows, and Israel is led by a conservative government that is expanding settlement construction.

Hamas: Peaceful resistance not applicable to Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 3, 2012 - 1:00am

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar has cast doubt his party will take up peaceful resistance against Israel as advocated by former rivals Fatah. Under a reconciliation deal between the factions signed in May, officials called for a unified "national strategy," and Fatah officials say that Hamas chief-in-exile Khalid Mashaal agreed to adopt non-violent popular action in favor of armed struggle. But in comments to Ma'an late Monday, senior Hamas official in Gaza Zahhar stressed the situation in the Gaza Strip is different to the occupied West Bank.

Anti corruption chief going after foreign accounts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 3, 2012 - 1:00am

The head of the PA anti-corruption commission said on Monday that the body is working to restore public funds stashed abroad by Palestinian officials. Rafiq al-Natsheh told Ma'an that the commission is chasing corruption suspects living outside of Palestine, pending an agreement with their countries of residence. Jordanian newspaper al-Dustour reported last week that Palestinian officials are moving deposits from Jordanian banks to foreign accounts, raising fears that suspects were trying to circumvent the corruption crackdown.

Report: Assad to meet Hamas leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - January 3, 2012 - 1:00am

Syrian President Bashar Assad is expected to meet with Damascus-based representatives of the Palestinian factions in the coming days, including the heads of Hamas, Lebanon's al-Akhbar newspaper reported Tuesday. Assad's relationship with Hamas leadership has been rocky since March 2011, when Syria plunged into civil unrest. The Syrian president expressed his disapproval of Hamas' decision to relocate its politburo to another Arab country. The decision was made following the growing unrest in the country.

West Bank theatre founder wanted by Israel after amnesty deal revoked
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - January 1, 2012 - 1:00am

A former Palestinian militant who renounced violence in favour of "cultural resistance" is in custody after Israel apparently revoked an amnesty deal, in a move seen by his associates as part of a campaign of harassment against a radical West Bank theatre. Zakaria Zubeidi, a former of leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, is being held by Palestinian security forces after being told he would be arrested by Israeli authorities if he did not hand himself in.

230 more colonist homes to be built in occupied Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Nasouh Nazzal - January 3, 2012 - 1:00am

Ramallah: Israeli authorities announced the construction of 230 new colonist homes in occupied East Jerusalem. 117 homes will be built in Gabal Abu Ghunaim area close to Al Aqsa compound and the second tender of 113 homes will be built in two colonies of Gosh Etzion south of Occupied East Jerusalem. The building of more illegal Jewish homes are expected to be announced in the coming weeks which will be expanding the colonies of Gifat Hazat and Har Adar.

Interview with Salam Fayyad: To Act and Not to Fall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Yedioth Ahronoth
by Nahum Barnea - (Interview) December 30, 2011 - 1:00am

One of the few privileges enjoyed by an Israeli journalist is the privilege to drive to Ramallah in his car. Going to Ramallah is going abroad while remaining close to home. For Christmas and New Year, its main streets are lit with colored lights: Red, blue and golden. On Wednesday evening, the city was very quiet. The cars did not honk their horns. The muezzins did not issue calls for prayer. One of the members of the Fatah leadership called for a third Intifada in a gathering in Ramallah, but his words were carried away by the wind. This week belongs completely to Santa.

Bibi and Barack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) January 2, 2012 - 1:00am

Barack Obama has an Israel problem. Almost three years in, the president still can't decide whether he wants to pander to the Israeli prime minister or pressure him. The approach of the 2012 elections makes the former almost mandatory; the president's reelection may make the latter possible. Buckle your seat belts. Unless Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu find a way to cooperate on a big venture that makes both of them look good, and in a way that allows each to invest in the other, the U.S.-Israel relationship may be in for a bumpy ride.

Moving closer to Gaza war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ron Gilran - (Opinion) January 1, 2012 - 1:00am

Tensions in southern Israel remain high after the Air Force targeted an Islamic Jihad cell Friday as it prepared to fire a rocket into Israel, the latest incident in a string of tit-for-tat attacks in recent days.

Israel has a partner
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Shimon Shiffer - (Opinion) December 28, 2011 - 1:00am

Officials at the Prime Minister’s Office are again angry at Mahmoud Abbas. Did I say angry? I meant stunned. The Palestinian leader met in Turkey last week with Amna Muna, who was involved in the murder of teenager Ophir Rahum. “Those who make pretenses of making peace with Israel are going all the way to Turkey to meet a despicable murderer,” Netanyahu’s office charged. Well said.

Israel’s modern tragedy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
by H.D.S. Greenway - (Opinion) January 3, 2012 - 1:00am

IN THE last days of the dying year, Israel’s foreign office issued a sharp rebuke to the European nations on the UN Security Council, accusing them of “interfering with Israel’s domestic affairs.’’ Britain, France, Germany, and Portugal had pointed to the upsurge in violence against the Palestinians by Israeli settlers in the occupied territories, and called upon Israel to reverse its settlement policies. The Europeans are part of the “quartet’’ of peacemakers, made up of the United States, Europe, Russia, and the UN.

Israel's right-wing is trying to stifle the reality of Palestinian demographics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - (Blog) January 2, 2012 - 1:00am

Every year, in almost every country, government reports detailing statistics and demographics of the country's citizens are published during the last week of December. The reports detail how many babies were born that year and how many people died. Some of those reports are turned into semi-comic articles on the back page of the newspaper, or discussed on current event radio programs, and sometimes they are simply thrown to the wastebasket.

Lieberman’s fury
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Musa Keilani - (Opinion) January 1, 2012 - 1:00am

It is an understatement to say that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is hopping mad at some of his European counterparts because of their objective observations about Israel’s practices and policies against not only the Palestinians living under its occupation but also its own Arab citizens.

A critical moment for Palestinian unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) December 31, 2011 - 1:00am

What event this month is likely to reverberate across the Middle East most clearly next year? My prediction is that it will be the continued attempts by the leading Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, to reconstitute a unified national leadership and government. If this initiative succeeds in holding elections for a new parliament and government, it will soon generate a more coherent Palestinian strategy for dealing with Israel. This in turn will allow democratic and legitimate Arab leaderships to harness public support for the Palestinian cause in a more credible and effective manner.

Fight for Palestinian women’s rights takes on a new dimension
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Nida' Tuma - (Opinion) January 3, 2012 - 1:00am

A Facebook page with nearly 2000 members has recently attracted the attention of the Palestinian public and media. "Puzzled young women" is becoming an important arena in the debate on women's rights in the Palestinian territories, a debate which previously lacked one essential element: Dialogue with proponents of a more traditional role for women.

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