Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israeli forces arrest two Hamas officials at a protest in occupied East Jerusalem, bringing the total number detained in recent days to 5. One of them is ordered jailed for 6 months without charges.The US says the latest composition of the UN Security Council isn't more favorable to the Palestinians. A Jordanian official says Hamas leader Mishaal will visit that country on Sunday, along with the emir of Qatar. Hamas says Mishaal won't be visiting Gaza anytime soon. PM Netanyahu may have finally reached an agreement with settlers in a large “unauthorized” outpost. Israeli authorities say they will not interfere with two PA police stations on the outskirts of municipal Jerusalem. Israeli embassies and consulates in many places are on high alert due to an anthrax scare. DM Barak says if Hamas accepts the Quartet principles and renounces violence, Israel will negotiate with it. COMMENTARY: The Washington Times interviews PM Fayyad. Sefi Rachlevsky says Israel has its most extreme government. Akiva Eldar says mainstream Israeli society is coming to terms with the historical facts of the Palestinian Nakba. Barak Ravid says Pres. Abbas is eager to continue negotiations but Israel will have to play its part for that to happen. Ehud Eiran says Israel needs to urgently repair relations with Turkey. Omar Ghraieb says Palestinians remained badly divided. Matthew Weinstein says depictions of Israel in films at the Sundance Festival range from critical to abysmal. JJ Goldberg says Jewish Americans should take the resignation of an editor who suggested Israel might assassinate Pres. Obama as an opportunity for introspection. Elias Harfoush says Mishaal's apparent decision to step down indicates Hamas may be attempting to emulate Islamist parties in emerging Arab democracies. Amb. Peter Millett says Israeli-Palestinian peace is achievable and necessary.

Israeli Police Arrest 2 Palestinian Legislators in East Jerusalem Protest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - January 23, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel arrested two Palestinian legislators affiliated with Hamas as they staged a protest in the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in East Jerusalem on Monday, an act criticized by the Palestinian leadership as a blow to the first direct meetings between the Israeli and Palestinian sides in more than a year now under way in Jordan.

Israeli soldiers arrest Hamas lawmaker in West Bank, fifth such arrest in as many days
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 23, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Israeli troops detained a Hamas legislator in the West Bank early Tuesday in the fifth such arrest in as many days, the Islamic militant group said. Hamas has accused Israel of trying to sabotage possible Palestinian elections, the centerpiece of reconciliation attempts between Hamas and the rival Fatah movement of internationally backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas has said it would only participate in elections, tentatively set for late spring, if its candidates are safe from arrest by Israel.

Israel orders 6 months jail without charge for PLC speaker
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 24, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- An Israeli military court on Tuesday ordered the detention of Palestinian parliamentary speaker Aziz Dweik for six months without charge. Dweik, who was seized by Israeli forces at a Ramallah checkpoint on Thursday, heads the Palestinian Legislative Council. His lawyer Fadi Qawasmi said Ofer military court gave the administrative detention order early Tuesday, after a Sunday hearing was postponed.

US: New UN council no more favorable to Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Patrick Worsnip - January 24, 2012 - 1:00am

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Security Council dynamics are no more favorable now to a Palestinian UN membership bid than they were last year despite a partial change in the council makeup, the US ambassador to the United Nations said on Monday. In the teeth of strong opposition from the United States and Israel, the Palestinian delegation applied to the council last September for UN membership. But a committee to consider the application failed to reach consensus, and the Palestinians have not so far requested a formal vote in the council.

Report: Mashaal to visit Jordan with Qatar emir
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 24, 2012 - 1:00am

AMMAN (Ma'an) -- Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal will visit Jordan on Sunday with the Emir of Qatar, a Jordanian official said Tuesday. "King Abdullah (II of Jordan) will host Crown Prince of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Tamim al-Thani and Mashaal to express brotherly relations," information minister Rakan al-Majali told AFP. The official Qatari news agency said that Mashaal spoke with the emir on Tuesday to update him on recent Palestinian developments.

Hamas chief won't visit Gaza soon: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 23, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- A senior Hamas official on Tuesday denied reports that Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal will visit the Gaza Strip soon. "I do not think the visit will be soon," Khalil Al-Hayya, a Hamas official based in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, told Xinhua. "Mashaal intends to visit Gaza, but the visit is subjected to necessary security and political arrangements." Mashaal, who was born in the West Bank, has never visited Gaza, where Hamas has been holding sway since routing forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. Mashaal is currently based in Syria.

PM, settlers reach compromise on Migron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yair Altman - January 23, 2012 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reached a compromise with Migron residents over the removal of the illegal West Bank outpost, a source close to the talks told Ynet on Monday. The agreement would require Migron residents to vacate the outpost and move into buildings that will be constructed nearby. Meanwhile, the outpost's structures will be converted into a farm instead of being razed. The settlers' new homes are to be built approximately two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the outpost, on Israeli land.

Israel won't interfere with PA police stations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - January 24, 2012 - 1:00am

Israel is turning a blind eye to the establishment of two Palestinian Authority police stations on the border of Jerusalem as it considers a series of goodwill gestures to President Mahmoud Abbas. One of the police stations was established recently in the village of a-Ram, which lies northeast of the Jerusalem neighborhood Neveh Ya’acov, just outside the capital’s municipal borders. The second station was established in what is known as the Biddu enclave – a group of eight Palestinian villages located near Ramallah and along Road 443.

Israeli embassies on high alert following anthrax scare
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
January 24, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israeli embassies and consulates have raised their alert level after several in missions in the United States and Europe received envelopes with white powder in them. The missions received white envelopes with the word "anthrax" written on them, according to reports; the powder inside was found to be flour. Among the embassies and consulates that received the envelopes Monday were The Hague, Brussels and London in Europe, and New York, Boston, and Houston in the United States.

"We will negotiate with Hamas if they halt terror"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
January 24, 2012 - 1:00am

Israel will negotiate with a Palestinian unity government if Hamas agrees to Quartet conditions and dismantles its terror infrastructure, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview with Israel Radio Tuesday. "The continuation of the peace process is in the interest of Israel, the Palestinians and the world," Barak said. "If Hamas adopts the Quartet's conditions and dismantles its terror infrastructure, we will negotiate with them."

Palestinian leader dismisses presidential rumors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Ben Birnbaum - (Interview) January 23, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — A top Palestinian leader says he will not run for president, even as the two main Palestinian factions inch toward a unity deal that would allow elections as early as May. Salam Fayyad, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, dismissed reports that he is considering a presidential bid, particularly if President Mahmoud Abbas makes good on his pledge not to run again.

Israel's enemy within
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Sefi Rachlevsky - (Opinion) January 24, 2012 - 1:00am

When the Nazi regime set out to create the image of the enemy, it was found in the image of the Jew, the intellectual, the liberal, the socialist, the communist, the modernist, the homosexual, assisted by similar figures among world Jewry, whose women were lustful and who was himself was a traitor to his country who adulterated the race.

A softer touch on the Nakba
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Analysis) January 24, 2012 - 1:00am

Security and border issues are a familiar safety valve in efforts to break impasses in talks between Israel and the Palestinians. These issues are thought to be relatively solvable compared to the problem of Palestinian refugees and the fate of East Jerusalem.

Abbas' disheartening European voyage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - (Opinion) January 23, 2012 - 1:00am

During his visit to Berlin and London this week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ mood was identical to the weather in Western Europe. Grey, bleak and depressing. The Germans and the British received Abbas with nearly all the pomp and circumstance due a head of state but even the shower of respect they rained down on him did not succeed in encouraging him.

The threat of the weak
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ehud Eiran - (Opinion) January 23, 2012 - 1:00am

Israel’s traditional threat perception was created in response to strong states. In the 1950s, Israeli operational planning was directed against a potential invasion by all its neighbors. In 1956, Israel launched a pre-emptive war against a rising Egypt, armed with new Soviet weapons. In the 1970s, Israel advanced a massive build-up of its military in order to protect against Syria and Egypt. In the last decade or so Israeli concerns coalesced around Iran’s nuclear program.

Palestinians Remain a House Divided
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Omar Ghraieb - (Opinion) January 23, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip –Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas government in control of the Gaza Strip, will allow 80 members of the rival Palestinian Fatah movement into Gaza for the first time since they were expelled nearly five years ago.

At Sundance, view of Israel ranges from critcal to abysmal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Matthew Weinstein - (Analysis) January 23, 2012 - 1:00am

PARK CITY, Utah (JTA) – For Israel fans, it's all pain and anguish this year at the Sundance Film Festival. Unlike in years past at America’s top independent film fest, when feature films exploring the nuances of Israeli life offset some hard-hitting documentaries – such as in 2007 when the award-winning “Sweet Mud” contrasted with “Hothouse” – 2012 has no such leavening agents. At the venues in this mountainous ski town showing the films this week, the views of Israel range from critical to abysmal.

"Taking Out" Obama, and Our Slide Into Madness
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Editorial) January 24, 2012 - 1:00am

I guess we can all breathe a sigh of relief now that Andrew Adler has resigned as publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times. His January 13 column, proposing that Israel might consider assassinating President Obama, was enormously embarrassing to Israel, its supporters and Jews everywhere. Removing him from his visible position makes life a lot easier for the rest of us, doesn’t it?

Hamas and the Contagion of Democracy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Elias Harfoush - (Opinion) January 23, 2012 - 1:00am

It would be easy to place Khaled Mashal’s desire to step down from the leadership of the Hamas movement within the framework of the contagion of democracy that is currently infecting the Arab World, and particularly Islamists movements in it, of which the Hamas movement is considered the most cherished child.

Giving peace a chance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Peter Millett - (Opinion) January 24, 2012 - 1:00am

As has been widely reported, His Majesty King Abdullah has succeeded in bringing Israeli and Palestinian negotiators together for the first time in 16 months. They have held three meetings in Amman, choreographed by Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh. Comments in the international press have seen a wide range of optimism, pessimism and cynicism. It is easy to be pessimistic and say that nothing will come of it. I prefer realism: no one should pretend that reaching a deal is easy. It has eluded negotiators for years. But as the King himself has said, it is better to talk than not to.

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