Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Palestinians and Israelis have not yet agreed on another round of talks. Significant challenges are facing efforts to revive them. The EU says there is still hope they will continue and is reportedly working on an incentive package for Palestinians. Hanan Ashrawi says Israel is “thwarting all efforts” to continue negotiations. Some experts say Palestinians are looking for alternatives to continued talks. Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti is placed in solitary confinement following recent public comments. Palestinian officials doubt elections will be held in May, as planned. Palestinians are concerned about new Israeli search technologies involving nausea-inducing gas. Hamas says it's trying to improve relations with Jordan. COMMENTARY: Carlo Strenger says politicians, including PM Netanyahu, and others should stop misusing the Holocaust. Israel Harel says Israel's High Court should create a constitutional court. Roni Brizon says religious and nationalist extremists are taking over Israel. Gershon Baskin says Israel will only find security through peace. Jonathan Rosen says Israel will probably have an election before October. Douglas Bloomfield says negotiations might be futile at this stage but they are still necessary. Gal Beckerman says Sheldon Adelson's apparent ability to change Newt Gingrich's attitudes on Israel and the Palestinians shows one person can affect an election if they're willing to spend enough money. Joel Braunold says the apparent failure of negotiations doesn't change the fundamental realities facing Israelis and Palestinians. Eyal Press looks at a new Israeli film about law and the occupation. Ronen Bergman asks if Israel will attack Iran.

Palestinians and Israelis Don’t Agree on New Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - January 25, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said Wednesday that a round of exploratory discussions with Israel under Jordanian auspices had ended. But he left open the possibility of a resumption of contacts under certain conditions and after consultations with Arab League representatives on Feb. 4. Jordan played host to five meetings this month between Israeli and Palestinian envoys as part of an international effort to get the sides back to formal peace negotiations after a break of more than a year.

EU still sees chance for Israel-Palestinian talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Dale Gavlak - January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A low-level dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians is not at a dead end, the European Union's foreign policy chief said Thursday, hoping that contacts to get "real negotiations under way" will continue. "I don't think there's an impasse," Ashton told reporters following talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Jordanian capital. Her remarks come a day after Abbas said informal talks between Israelis and Palestinians about the border of a future Palestinian state ended without any breakthrough.

Palestinians: Peace negotiations with Israel have ended
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

The time frame that the Palestinians have allowed for talks with Israel in Amman under Jordanian auspices expires on Thursday. According to diplomatic sources associated with the Middle East Quartet - the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia - last-minute efforts are underway to head off the talks' collapse, but the prospects seem slim.

EU working on Israeli incentives package for PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - January 25, 2012 - 1:00am

Israeli envoy Attorney Yitzhak Molcho met with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat for the fifth time in Amman on Wednesday. Palestinian sources said at the end of the meeting that as far as they’re concerned the talks can be declared a failure.

Ashrawi: Israel 'thwarting' all efforts to resume peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said Wednesday that peace talks with Israel were futile as long as it continues its illegal policies against Palestinians.

News Analysis: Palestinians seek alternatives after halting exploratory talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
(Analysis) January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian leadership is preparing itself to look for alternatives after six meetings of exploratory talks with Israel in Jordan, which was expected to push for the resumption of direct Mideast peace talks, came out in vain. A well-informed Palestinian official source said that chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat reiterated during his meeting on Wednesday in Amman with his Israeli counterpart Yitzhak Mulkho that the Palestinians would not extend the exploratory meetings in Jordan.

Barghouti sent to isolation after Israel comments
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti was sent to solitary confinement on Wednesday after making critical comments about Israel to journalists. After testifying in a Jerusalem court on Wednesday the Fatah leader briefly spoke to reporters. Upon returning to Hadarim prison in Israel, Barghouti was not allowed back into his regular cell and was instead put in isolation, the Palestinian Prisoners' Society said Thursday. Detainees in the prison protested the move and asked prison authorities to explain their decision. Israeli authorities have not responded.

Palestinian politicians doubt elections will take place
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Several Palestinian officials expressed doubt on Wednesday that elections scheduled for May would take place. Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan told Ma'an that "the pre-date is nearing.... elections can not be held under two governments as the national unity government has not been formed." He added: "Occupation may be a reason, but we have to overcome any obstacles that may be preventing elections." Fatah leader Thiab al-Loh told Ma’an that elections need to be prepared for in advance and at the moment "we are at the beginning (...) now we are not ready."

New Israeli search method at West Bank checkpoint worries Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - January 25, 2012 - 1:00am

Israel Police have begun implementing a new method of searching Palestinian vehicles through use of nausea-inducing chemicals at a Bethlehem checkpoint, international aid workers have reported. Since December, Israeli police officers have introduced what they call a sophisticated method of tracking explosive materials.

Hamas wants a ‘branch’ in Jordan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Taylor Luck - January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

AMMAN — Hamas chief Khaled Mishaal is set to make a long-anticipated official visit to Jordan next week, marking a turnaround in relations between Amman and the Palestinian resistance movement. His Majesty King Abdullah will receive Mishaal next week in what will mark the first official visit by the Hamas leader to the Kingdom in over a decade, according to Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Rakan Majali.

Netanyahu must stop misusing the Holocaust
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) January 25, 2012 - 1:00am

The Holocaust is one of humanity’s most terrible historical episodes and the greatest horror that has befallen the Jewish people. It must be remembered and it must be studied.

An alternative to Israel's High Court of Justice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Israel Harel - (Opinion) January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

From time to time the demand is heard in Israel to establish a constitutional court, like the most advanced countries have. Ever since Chief Justice Aharon Barak expanded the right to petition the court, the High Court has been used continually by extremist organizations funded by foreign governments and groups. These front organizations are working, it is said, to change the character of the country.

Israel is being hijacked
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Brizon - (Opinion) January 25, 2012 - 1:00am

Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni said in weekend interviews that Israel faces three existential problems: One on the diplomatic-security front, another on the socioeconomic front, and yet another on the religious-cultural front. Ms. Livni is both right and wrong. The three issues are in fact three sides of one problem: What will Israel look like in the future and who will be shaping its national character?

Encountering Peace: Breakthrough dynamic
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) January 25, 2012 - 1:00am

We are about to enter another one of those critical weeks in the chronicles of our peoples. Decisions with historic consequences could be made by the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the coming days. Neither Israel nor Palestine has a real strategic alternative to a negotiated peace agreement that leads to the establishment of a nation-state of the Palestinian people, Palestine, next to the nation-state of the Jewish people, Israel, and the end of the conflict.

Inside Out: Veering towards the center
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jonathan Rosen - (Opinion) January 25, 2012 - 1:00am

Despite the fact that no formal announcement has been made, the prevalent assessment in political corridors is that a general election in Israel will be held by October 2012. The primaries that have been scheduled by the Likud and Kadima, as well as Yair Lapid’s decision to enter the political arena, have contributed to that sense of momentum. Figures from within the Prime Minister’s Office, moreover, reportedly shared with journalists a number of weeks ago that Netanyahu would prefer to seek reelection before a second-term Barack Obama was potentially seated in the White House.

A necessary act of futility
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas have much in common. Both are pure of heart, noble of purpose and free of blame. Each man wants nothing more than peace between Israelis and Palestinians and would have it were it not for the other one’s intransigence. “The Palestinians have no interest in entering peace talks. I’m ready to travel now to Ramallah to start peace talks with Abu Mazen [Abbas] without preconditions,” Netanyahu has said.

What Sheldon's Money Buys
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Gal Beckerman - (Opinion) January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

It is safe to say that without multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s help the chances of Newt Gingrich becoming the Republican nominee for president would be zero — and consequently the race itself, going into Florida at the moment, would not be the competitive, drag-out fight it has become. Adelson, the hotel and casino magnate, has kept Gingrich alive, first through an infusion of $5 million into a super PAC, which allowed the former speaker to defend himself against attacks by Mitt Romney and led to Gingrich’s thumping victory in South Carolina.

Political Failure Does Not Change Reality for Israelis or Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Joel Braunold - (Opinion) January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

Today, 26 January, will mark another line in the sand in the morbid negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Whether or not this is the date that the Quartet has stated its deadline to get each side's documents presented to each other is currently under dispute by the sides themselves. Arguments about deadlines of document submission is as far as the sides have got in getting the decision makers into the same room together.

How the Occupation Became Legal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Review Of Books
by Eyal Press - (Film Review) January 25, 2012 - 1:00am

In 1979, a group of Palestinian farmers filed a petition with Israel’s High Court of Justice, claiming their land was being illegally expropriated by Jewish settlers. The farmers were not Israeli citizens, and the settlers appeared to have acted with the state’s support; indeed, army helicopters had escorted them to the land—a hilltop near Nablus—bringing along generators and water tanks. The High Court of Justice nevertheless ordered the outpost dismantled.

Will Israel Attack Iran?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ronen Bergman - (Opinion) January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

As the Sabbath evening approached on Jan. 13, Ehud Barak paced the wide living-room floor of his home high above a street in north Tel Aviv, its walls lined with thousands of books on subjects ranging from philosophy and poetry to military strategy. Barak, the Israeli defense minister, is the most decorated soldier in the country’s history and one of its most experienced and controversial politicians. He has served as chief of the general staff for the Israel Defense Forces, interior minister, foreign minister and prime minister.

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