Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: PM Fayyad says he is very concerned about Iran's behavior and nuclear ambitions. The Israeli Supreme Court upholds a law banning Palestinians who marry Israelis from living in Israel. Hamas leader Haniyyeh may go on another regional tour soon including Qatar and Iran. Hamas sentences a Palestinian man to death for alleged collaboration with Israel. The CSM looks at whether Israel was responsible for the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist. The rise of Israel's ultra-Orthodox community is creating an identity crisis for the state. A committee on Palestinian national reconciliation will reportedly begin work “immediately.” Palestinians say Sec. Clinton has asked Pres. Abbas to extend the Quartet deadline for resumed negotiations. An EU report says Israel's policies in the occupied territories are endangering the two-state solution and the Palestinians should develop in “Area C.” A makeover for Gaza's beachfront is controversial. Jordan is reportedly working on how to accommodate some Hamas members as residents. COMMENTARY: Ha'aretz says Israel must stop stalling on peace. Jihad el-Khazen thinks that if Pres. Obama is reelected, a Palestinian state should be attainable in 2013. Michael Young says it's high time to discard the hoax about a “resistance axis.” Donald Macintyre says the EU is on the brink of abandoning hopes for Palestinian statehood. Natasha Mozgovaya looks at a new fictional book about Middle East peacemaking. Elliott Abrams says 2012 is a year for elections, not diplomacy. Shmuel Rosner says the Supreme Court decision is worthy of indignation but should be respected, while Noam Sheizaf says it just legalizes racial discrimination against Arabs.

PA Shares Israel's Nuclear Iran Fears
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Chronicle
by Stephen Pollard - January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

The Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, has attacked the behaviour of Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and said that he shares Western - and Israeli - concerns with the Iranians' nuclear project. Speaking in his Ramallah headquarters, Prime Minister Fayyad said that the Palestinians were "greatly harmed" by the Iranian leader's conduct. President Ahmadinejad, he said, should stop acting as a supposed spokesman for the Palestinians. The Iranian president was concerned only with increasing Iranian influence in the region.

Israel Upholds Limits on Palestinian Spouses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel's Supreme Court upheld late Wednesday a controversial law that bans most Palestinians who marry Israelis from living inside the Jewish state. In a 6-5 ruling, the court agreed that Palestinians who gain Israeli citizenship through marriage pose a security threat. The law is believed to have prevented thousands of Palestinians from living with their spouses. Parliament passed the law in 2003, at the height of the second Palestinian uprising, a time when militants from the West Bank frequently entered Israel to carry out deadly attacks.

Hamas Leader to Visit Iran, Qatar in New Trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — An adviser to Hamas' prime minister says the leader will visit Iran, Qatar and other Muslim countries at the end of the month. Yusef Rizka says the militant group's Ismail Haniyeh will embark on his second official international trip outside the Gaza Strip. He returned this week from a tour of Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and Tunisia. It was the first time Haniyeh had left Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory from the rival Fatah movement in 2007.

Hamas Sentences Palestinian to Death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 11, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A Hamas official in Gaza says the militant group has sentenced a local Palestinian to death for collaborating with Israel. The official said the man was sentenced Wednesday to death by firing squad at a military court in Gaza. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak with reporters. Palestinians who collaborate with Israeli intelligence are widely loathed within Palestinian society.

Was Israel Behind Iran Nuclear Scientist’s Assassination?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Tel Aviv: Israel has emerged as a key suspect in the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran yesterday, thought to be the latest strike in a covert war that has targeted technicians, military plants, and computer systems at the heart of Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment program.

Israel’s Identity Crisis: Why it Could be as Detrimental as Palestinian Conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - January 11, 2012 - 1:00am

Tel Aviv: When Tanya Rosenblit boarded the No. 451 bus to Jerusalem last month, she knew that the predominantly ultra-Orthodox passengers would keep their distance from her because of their adherence to strict rules of gender segregation. In the Ultra-Orthodox enclave of Bnei Brak, buses where passengers sit separated by gender are common. Last month the refusal of a secular woman to go to the rear of the bus touched off a national outcry about growing religious extremism. But when one of them demanded she move to the rear, Ms. Rosenblit held her ground.

Reconciliation Committee to Start Work Immediately
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The committee tasked with implementing the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah has finalized all administrative preparations and will begin work immediately, committee head Rabah Mhannah said Wednesday. Speaking to reporters after a committee meeting in Gaza City, Mhannah said members were allocated aspects of the agreement to work on.

Clinton Asks Abbas to Extend Quartet’s Deadline for Talks Resumption: Palestinian Official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH -- U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton asked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to extend the deadline of Jan. 26 set by the Quartet to resume peace negotiations, a Fatah official said Thursday. "Clinton asked Abbas last night not to stop the Jordanian-hosted talks after the Quartet's deadline," member of Fatah Central Committee Azzam Al-Ahmad told reporters in Ramallah. Al-Ahmad added that Clinton has pledged that her country would continue to exert more efforts in order to achieve peace between Palestinians and Israelis in 2012.

EU Report: Israel Policy in West Bank Endangers Two-State Solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

The European Union will direct its activities towards supporting the West Bank’s Palestinian population, a report by the European Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah said on Thursday, over what the survey said was Israeli efforts to muscle out Palestinians from Area C.

Controversial Makeover for Gaza’s Beachfront
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Omar Ghraieb - January 11, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – For years, it was a dusty, often garbage-strewn asphalt ribbon winding along Gaza City’s otherwise beautiful Mediterranean coast. Today, it’s a construction site, with heavy equipment plowing sand into position, digging tunnels and laying pipes. But if the plans proceed on schedule, Al-Rashid Road, popularly known as the Beach Road, will be transformed into a scenic seaside promenade, or corniche, in the style that has made the meeting between land and sea in places like Beirut, Alexandria and Nice tourist attractions and a gathering place for their residents.

Hamas Members to Reside in Jordan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

AMMAN — The government is examining the best method to allow Hamas members to reside with their families in Jordan, according to Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh. In an interview with Time magazine, excerpts of which were published on Monday, Khasawneh said Hamas members will not be allowed to establish political headquarters for the movement in Jordan or to practise any political activity. "We will be finding modalities to bring back members of Hamas and their families to come," Khasawneh told Time. "We don’t want them to establish another organisation here."

Israel Must Stop Stalling on Peace Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Just as with previous efforts to advance negotiations on a final-status agreement, the Jordanian attempt to breath new life into the diplomatic process has gotten hung up on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy of dragging his feet. As Barak Ravid reported in yesterday's Haaretz in Hebrew, at this week's meeting in Amman with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, Israeli envoy Isaac Molho refused to present Israel's positions on borders and security.

Ayoon Wa Azan (A Palestinian State is Attainable After 2013)
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Jihad El-Khazen - (Opinion) January 11, 2012 - 1:00am

American policies, both domestic and foreign, are a hostage of the U.S. elections, a stand-alone American industry much like the auto and hi-tech industries. Presidential elections are held every four years, along with elections for the House and a third of the Senate’s seats (in addition to local elections of every kind in the states). Then the winner in the presidential elections in November would have barely entered the White House in January, when he has to begin preparing for the U.S.

Do Discard the "Resistance Axis" Hoax
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Michael Young - (Opinion) January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

This past week several British parliamentarians were in Beirut to learn more about the situation in Lebanon and Syria. They met with politicians, academics and journalists, and an argument they took home with them was particularly intriguing. It pertains to what has become known in the West as the “resistance axis.”

EU on Verge of Abandoning All Hope for a Viable Palestinian State
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - (Editorial) January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

The Palestinian presence in the largest part of the occupied West Bank – has been, "continuously undermined" by Israel in ways that are "closing the window" on a two-state solution, according to an internal EU report seen by The Independent.

Washington’s Ultimatum to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - (Book Review) January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

The President of the United States, haunted by troubles home and abroad, finally decides to forge a breakthrough on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - at any price. He separately summons Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and presents them with an ultimatum: for Israel, lack of agreement means no more aid and no more vetoes at the UN Security Council.

A Year for Elections, Not Mideast Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Elliott Abrams - (Opinion) January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Last week Israelis and Palestinians held talks for the first time since September 2010. Back then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met at the White House, under bright lights and with great expectations, along with Jordanian King Abdullah and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. In a matter of weeks the talks failed—and Mr. Mubarak didn't last much longer himself. What to expect this time?

Hate Israel’s Citizenship Law, Accept the Supreme Court Decision
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Journal
by Shmuel Rosner - (Opinion) January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

It was an important decision and not a trivial one, when Israel’s Supreme Court upheld a law yesterday that prevents most non-Israeli Arabs who marry Israelis from living in Israel. The court was split almost in half: Six justices sided with the majority ruling and five justices – Chief Justice Dorit Beinish included – opposed the ultimate decision. The numbers reflect the magnitude of the dilemma, they reflect the fact that this cannot be an easy decision for any country, and they reflect the delicate balancing act with which Israel has to live.

High Court Okays Citizenship Law, Legalizing Racial Discrimination of Arabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from 972 Magazine
by Noam Sheizaf - (Opinion) January 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi famously said that “Israel is indeed a Jewish-democratic state: it is democratic for Jews and Jewish for all the rest.” This rings truer than ever after Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected yesterday (again) the petitions against the Citizenship Law, one of the first measures to make racial discrimination against the Arab minority not just common practice, but part of Israel’s legal codex.

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