Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel and the United States will conduct a major joint missile defense exercise. A Saudi computer hacker is continuing a campaign against Israeli sites. Hamas leader Mishaal makes a surprise visit to Cairo. Israeli, Palestinian and American negotiators will meet again on Monday. Hamas leaders dismiss the negotiations. Analysts say by hosting the talks, Jordan is defending its strategic interests. US officials say Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders have given them assurances on the peace treaty with Israel. Two Palestinian citizens of Israel are arrested on charges of working with Hamas. Palestinians say Israel is creating a politically-motivated series of parks in occupied East Jerusalem. The Forward profiles the far-right-wing Israeli politician Danny Danon. COMMENTARY: The Huffington Post interviews former Pres. Carter on brokering Egyptian-Israeli peace. Mahmoud Abu Rahma says some Palestinian “resistance groups” have caused serious problems for people living under their rule and neglected governance. Yoel Marcus says Israel is making a mistake if it thinks Pres. Obama is no longer effective. Kadima leader Livni says she misses former PM Sharon because he cared about Israel's long-term future. Hirsh Goodman says the Israeli government has been ineffective in fighting for Israel's legitimacy.Jane Eisner looks at the role of Fadwa Barghouti. Sarah Wildman says criticism of Israeli policies cannot be conflated with anti-Semitism. Rami Khouri says the parties are beginning 2012 with a return to failed models of diplomacy. A.B. Yehoshua says Israeli policies and Palestinian conduct are dragging both peoples towards an unworkable binational reality. Daniel Gordis says loving Israel means sometimes defending and sometimes criticizing it.

Israel Will Join U.S. in Missile Drill
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

The Israeli and American militaries are gearing up for a major missile defense exercise, the largest joint drill between the two countries, the Israeli military said Thursday. The drill, intended to improve defense systems and cooperation between the United States and Israeli forces, follows a 10-day Iranian naval exercise near the Strait of Hormuz. Israel’s military said the drill was planned long ago and was not tied to recent tensions with Iran.

Saudi hacker steps up campaign against Israel, calls it payback
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - (Blog) January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

REPORTING FROM JERUSALEM -- Earlier this week, a computer hacker broke into an Israeli sports website and redirected viewers to a page linking to a file claiming to contain personal and credit card details of 400,000 Israelis. Credit card companies said the lists actually compromised about 15,000 valid credit cards, and the Bank of Israel announced the situation was under control. But authorities considered it a wake-up call. And Tuesday's assault on credit card numbers may be just the tip of the iceberg.

Mashaal makes surprise visit to Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 6, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A delegation of Hamas officials headed by party chief Khalid Mashaal arrived in Cairo Thursday in a visit that had not been officially announced, Egyptian media reported. Mashaal, who heads Hamas' politburo in Damascus, will meet Friday with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi, director of the Palestine Studies center in Cairo Ibrahim al-Darawi told Egyptian reporters. The Hamas chief will discuss internal and external developments with al-Arabi, al-Darawi said.

US: Israeli, Palestinian envoys to meet Monday
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
January 6, 2012 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators will hold their second round of face-to-face talks within a week on Monday in Amman, a US State Department spokeswoman said on Thursday. "We are encouraged that they are both coming to the table, they are talking directly," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in her daily briefing. The two sides held their first high-level talks in more than a year in Amman on Tuesday, a gathering sponsored by the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators -- the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States.

Gaza premier plays down talks with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

TUNIS, Tunisia — The prime minister of the Gaza government said Thursday the first meeting between Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators in more than a year was "a futile gesture" that will lead nowhere. Ismail Haniyeh of the Palestinian faction Hamas received a hero's welcome at Tunisia's airport where he was greeted by thousands of people chanting their support for the Palestinian cause. He also met with Tunisia's new prime minister, Hamadi Jebali.

Jordan seeks to defend its strategic interests, boost image by hosting Palestinian-Israeli talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
(Analysis) January 6, 2012 - 1:00am

AMMAN, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- As Israeli and Palestinian negotiators convened in Jordan's capital Amman this week, analysts says Jordan is seeking to bring the Palestinian issue back onto the international agenda as it has been overshadowed by the unrest across Middle East and North Africa in the past year.

U.S.: Muslim Brotherhood gave assurances on Egypt-Israel peace treaty
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - January 6, 2012 - 1:00am

The Muslim Brotherhood gave the United States assurances regarding the maintaining of Egypt's peace deal with Israel, a top U.S. official said on Thursday, despite recent comments by party leaders claiming that the 1979 treaty did not bind Cairo's new regime. Earlier this week, the Muslim Brotherhood, the overwhelming victor in the first round of elections for the Egyptian Parliament, announced that would not recognize Israel and intends to bring the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty to a referendum.

2 Arab Israelis suspected of aiding Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yoav Zitun - January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

Cleared for publication: Two Arab-Israelis residents of the northern town of Kafr Kanna are accused of joining Hamas ranks in the West Bank. Brothers Amir Asaad, 29, and Mahmad Asaad, 20, were arrested by the Shin Bet and police last month and their interrogation revealed that they were actively involved with terrorists planning attacks on both sides of the 1967 border.

Plans for east J'lem national park anger residents
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Melanie Lidman - January 6, 2012 - 1:00am

The National Parks Authority is creating a politically motivated network of parks in east Jerusalem aimed at stopping expansion of Arab neighborhoods in the area, charged officials at Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights in a scathing report released this week. “[In Jerusalem], the National Parks are like green settlements,” said Efrat Cohen-Bar, an architect at Bimkom. “These are areas where the settlers felt they would not be able to develop settlement projects so they tried to make a national park out of it.”

Danon Sets Agenda for Rising Right Wing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

Tel Aviv — Lawmaker Danny Danon pauses during an interview to scribble an important note to himself. A question about a derogatory portrayal of him in the left-leaning daily newspaper Haaretz gave him an idea: “I must remember to use this article in my campaign.”

Jimmy Carter Interview: Real Story Behind Egypt Israeli Peace Deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush - (Interview) January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

Jimmy Carter is the 39th president of the United States, founder of the Carter Center and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He has authored many books, the most recent being "Through the Year with Jimmy Carter: 366 Daily Meditations from the 39th President." In this wide-ranging interview, HuffPost's Senior Religion Editor spoke to President Carter by phone about the role faith played in the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, the time of his greatest alienation from God, faith in the White House and his personal daily devotional practice.

The gap between resistance and governance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Mahmoud Abu Rahma - (Opinion) January 6, 2012 - 1:00am

Once again, the media have begun to focus their attention on Palestinian reconciliation talks, which seem at last to be headed in a positive direction. These talks will include the particularly difficult process of social reconciliation for the period between 2004 and 2007 when inter-communal violence led to the terrorizing, wounding, and killing of scores of people as well as the widespread destruction of property.

Israel should remember: Obama is down, not out
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yoel Marcus - (Opinion) January 6, 2012 - 1:00am

While we are toying with the notion that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will bring forward the elections here in order to gain a decisive majority, we are simultaneously entering the real thing: the U.S. elections. This is not only the matter of President Barack Obama's potential second term, it's also election year for the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. Although we don't vote in America, we are keeping very close tabs on the elections' progress.

I miss Ariel Sharon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Tzipi Livni - (Opinion) January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

Arik Sharon sank into a coma six years ago. All of us followed it and prayed with hope as the ambulance disappeared into the hospital. When today I try to think about the essence of the public longing for Sharon, six years later, it appears that the longing for Arik has turned into longing for a prime minister who does not fear domestic politics and who sees the welfare of the nation of Israel before him when making decisions.

PostScript: Time to get smart
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hirsh Goodman - (Opinion) January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

Israel’s legitimacy, over the past few years, has become the battle cry of Israel and its supporters. With no wars, suffering, mass immigration and other heart-wrenching situations to flesh donor dollars out of ever-tightening wallets, saving Israel from those who seek to delegitimize it has become the new cause; the new war.

Marwan Barghouti Speaks, Through Wife
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Jane Eisner - (Editorial) January 6, 2012 - 1:00am

He is the Palestinians’ most famous prisoner and most popular politician. Now Marwan Barghouti is speaking to the American public, through the voice of his wife. Every 15 days, Fadwa Barghouti is allowed to visit her husband in an Israeli prison, where he has served 10 years of five consecutive life sentences for helping to arrange and fund terrorist attacks that killed five Israelis. Marwan Barghouti insisted that his trial was politicized and unfair, and even some Israelis have spoken out for his release.

When 'Anti-Semitism' Is Abused
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Sarah Wildman - (Opinion) January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

We were raised to be vigilant. We were taught to fight oppression, admonished to be New Jews — strong, muscular, defiant. We were told to look for the signs, the slogans and the double-speak. We learned at the knee of those with tattooed forearms; knelt at the feet of those who lost brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, parents, grandparents, lovers, spouses, children. We have cried, we have wailed, we have lit thousands upon thousands of memorial candles. And we have sworn, again and again, that we would never forget.

Starting the new year with failed old diplomacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) January 6, 2012 - 1:00am

The good news about the Jordanian-hosted Palestinian-Israeli-Quartet meeting in Amman to explore possibilities for resuming Palestinian-Israeli direct negotiations is that former US Mideast specialist Dennis Ross is not there to guarantee failure with the pro-Israel tilt of the US delegation. The bad news is that the meeting is likely to fail because the Ross approach to guaranteeing diplomatic failure with the pro-Israel tilt of the US delegation still prevails.

An unwelcome intro to the binational state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by A.B. Yehoshua - (Opinion) January 2, 2012 - 1:00am

In his op-ed last week ("Now it's your turn," Haaretz, December 23), Avraham Burg posited a new thesis holding that the time has come to prepare for the possibility that Israel is moving with blind, irreversible certitude toward the establishment of a binational state in Eretz Israel.

A Dose of Nuance: Prophets and guardians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Daniel Gordis - (Opinion) January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

There is, it seems, a bit of an occupational hazard to this column-writing business. It probably holds for all sorts of topics, but it’s undoubtedly true when thinking aloud about Israel. Here’s the choice: You can either plant yourself firmly on one side of the political divide, being predictably “right wing” or “left wing,” or you can, depending on the issue, say what you think but appear a bit less consistent. The advantages of the first option are clear.

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