Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel arrests three suspects in the murder of a Palestinian Christian leader in what appears to have been an intra-communal real estate dispute. Hamas leader Haniyyeh is visiting Iran. PM Netanyahu offers a wide range of concessions to the settler movement. Netanyahu answers questions online from Arab netizens. Netanyahu's office denies reports it might be willing to forgo sovereignty in the Jordan Valley in the event of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Jordan and Qatar emerge as the leading candidates to be Hamas' new headquarters. Palestinian actor Mohammed Bakri faces a campaign of harassment from Jewish extremists. A new study suggests the violence of the second intifada did not damage Israel's national morale. The JTA looks at a controversy involving the Center for American Progress. MK Tibi says criticisms of him in the Knesset are totally unfair. COMMENTARY: Uri Misgav says Israel needs to separate religion and state. Avirama Golan says Israeli school students are being indoctrinated in nationalism more extreme than ever. Akiva Eldar says Newt Gingrich's flip-flop on Palestine won't help him win Florida. Gershon Baskin says both sides are to blame for the failure of peace talks in Jordan. David Newman criticizes Israel's growing policy of walling its borders. The Forward says there's something fundamentally undemocratic about billionaire Sheldon Adelson funneling $10 million to Newt Gingrich's campaign. The Jordan Times says the King was correct in opening a new chapter with Hamas. Yossi Alpher says the Amman talks bordered on counterproductive. Ghassan Khatib says Jordan and other sponsors should explain to the world Israel's responsibility for the talks' failure. Maher Abukhater says no matter how frustrated parties are, talks will continue.

Israeli police arrest 3 suspects in murder of Arab Christian leader over property dispute
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Israeli police say they have arrested three suspects in the murder of a prominent Christian leader over a church property dispute. Gabriel Cadis, the head of Jaffa’s Orthodox Church Association, was stabbed in the back during a procession to mark Orthodox Christmas earlier this month by men disguised as Santa Claus. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Tuesday that the three Arab Christians from Jaffa have confessed — one for ordering the hit and two for carrying it out.

Hamas Gaza leader heads for Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal al-Mughrabi - January 30, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, left on Monday for a tour of Iran and Gulf states, continuing a diplomatic drive to realign the Palestinian Islamist movement after a year of political change in the Arab world. Non-Arab Iran, along with its Arab ally Syria, have been principal backers of Hamas. Iran has supplied funds and - according to Israel - weapons to use against the Jewish state.

Israeli government offers concessions to settlers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has made two overtures to West Bank settlers in the run-up to his party's leadership race on Tuesday: It's offering financial incentives to encourage people to move to settlements and opening the door to legalizing rogue settler outposts.

Israeli PM answers questions from Arab Internet surfers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday answered questions on Facebook from Arab Internet users regarding issues, including the ongoing turmoil in Arab nations and the peace process with the Palestinians. For the first time, the Prime Minister's Office, through their Facebook page in Arabic, allowed users to pose questions that were answered via a translator from Hebrew to Arabic.

Israeli PM denies willingness to cede Jordan Rift Valley
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Israel's Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Monday denied a local report claiming the Jewish country was willing to cede its sovereignty over the Jordan Rift Valley to the Palestinians. The report, carried by the Ma'ariv daily, also said Israel would settle for security arrangements along the Jordan River after ceding the power.

Hamas' next host country after Syria, Jordan or Qatar?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan - January 30, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- The historic visit of Islamic Hamas movement supreme leader Khaled Meshaal on Sunday to Jordan, in the company of Qatar's prince, carries huge significance to the changing Arab world. Observers are speculating whether Hamas would move its headquarters from Syria's Damascus to another Arab capital. Earlier this week, Hamas leaders denied such allegations. However, Analysts say the reality on the ground shows otherwise.

Behind the curtain of a right-wing campaign against an Israeli-Arab actor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Michael Handelzalts - January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

In a normal - not to say ideal - country, discussion of a production of Federico Garcia Lorca's "The House of Bernarda Alba" would deal with the production's artistic merits. But we are not living in a normal country, and so before I discuss the artistic values of this production at Tel Aviv's Tzavta venue, I have no alternative but to set forth the background to this production.

Terror Targets With Teflon-Coating
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by David Rosenberg - January 30, 2012 - 1:00am

Does seeing a bus bombing or a shooting attack on television, or reading about in the newspaper, affect your state of mind? Common sense says it should. Terrorists certainly believe that small but high-profile acts of violence undermine their enemies’ morale. There is documented evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on a mass scale after events like 9/11. But a recent study seeking a correlation of terror attacks to people’s sense of happiness begs to differ.

On Israel, think tank adopts a more cautious approach, even as anger at critic lingers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- In one corner was the Center for American Progress, or CAP, arguably Washington’s leading liberal think tank. In the other was Josh Block, a pugnacious former spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, who aggressively pushed the notion to reporters that CAP has an Israel problem. Nearly two months after their dispute made headlines, both parties have been left bloodied -- and some in the pro-Israel community say they wish the issue had never played out in such a public way.

No Paean to Palestinian Terror
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

Jerusalem — When a government probe into allegations of treason caused the charismatic Arab politician Azmi Bishara to resign his Knesset seat and flee Israel in 2007, Dr. Ahmad Tibi, a former aide to PLO leader Yasir Arafat, leaped easily to the fore as his community’s most prominent national advocate. Like Bishara, he gained notice, too, as the Arab sector’s sharpest goad against Israel’s self-definition as a Jewish state.

It's time for Israel to separate religion and state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Uri Misgav - (Opinion) January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

According to John Lennon, "God is a concept by which we measure our pain." That means that Israel is apparently a nation in great pain. According to a sensational survey by the Guttman Center, 80 percent of Israeli Jews believe in God. Ostensibly this is a harsh statistic. Gideon Levy's heartfelt moan, as expressed in his opinion piece "God have mercy on us," which appeared in this newspaper earlier this week, is understandable.

Educating Israel's children in right-wing politics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avirama Golan - (Opinion) January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar has made a mockery of Breaking the Silence. For a year the organization has been pestering him to allow its members to lead junior high school pupils on a tour of Hebron, just like the right-wing non-profit organizations do - and finally he agreed. But before the first student had boarded the first bus the police arrived and cancelled the tour. How surprising.

Newt Gingrich's flip-flopping on the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

According to opinion polls, Republican hopeful Newt Gingrich will be receiving consolation calls from at least two of his friends tomorrow when the results of the Florida primaries are announced. He will hear from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and from billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the conservative U.S. politician's main backer and the publicist for Israel's conservative prime minister.

A victory for our side?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

The Palestinian and Arab media reports that the Jordanian-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian talks have failed. Palestinian politicians and factions are recommending to the PLO leadership to put an end to what they call a farce. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ask the Arab League to support the Palestinian decision to suspend the talks until Israel accepts a full settlement building freeze and agrees that negotiations on the borders must be based on the June 4, 1967, lines.

Rethinking Israel’s border policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Newman - (Opinion) January 30, 2012 - 1:00am

Speedily, and with a minimum of headlines, the government has constructed a new physical barrier between Israel and Egypt along almost the entire length of the border, from the Gaza Strip to Eilat. The barrier consists of parallel swathes of electrified barbed wire fence. Sophisticated surveillance ensures that any attempt to cross the border, cut the fence or tunnel underneath can be detected and an immediate response force dispatched.

The Adelson Factor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

Any discussion of Sheldon Adelson’s dominant role in both American and Israeli politics must begin with a fundamental ackowledgement: Everything about it is legal and transparent. But that is what makes it even more troubling.

Open-door policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

His Majesty King Abdullah’s talks with Hamas politburo chief, Khaled Mishaal, in Amman came to reinforce Jordan’s commitment to help achieve Palestinian reconciliation and unity of ranks for the purpose of arriving at the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli crisis. The King also confirmed his unequivocal support for the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and invited Hamas to forge a united front with the PA, important if the Palestinians wish to acquire clout in facing Israel.

Not-so-hidden agendas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) January 30, 2012 - 1:00am

The Amman preliminary peace talks between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization were suspended after the latest session adjourned on January 26. At the time of writing, it was not clear whether the Jordanian and Quartet organizers could persuade PLO leaders to return for more in February. PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas intends to consult with the Arab League before deciding.

Not only time will be lost
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

The Palestinian-Israeli negotiations that took place in Jordan over the month of January were very controversial among the Palestinian people and politically costly for the Palestinian leadership, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas. This is because the Palestinian leadership had said repeatedly that it would not renew negotiations unless Israel stops settlement expansion. Israel did not comply. Moreover, the Palestinian leadership promised the public to proceed with attempts to internationalize the conflict, rather than allow their cause to continue languishing in bilateral talks.

The talks are dead, long live the talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Maher Abukhater - (Opinion) January 31, 2012 - 1:00am

While little has been said about what went on in the five rounds of exploratory talks between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators in the Jordanian capital Amman in January, it is nevertheless evident that whatever happened has not given Palestinians faith in the resumption of serious direct negotiations any time soon. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was clear when he said that the talks have reached an impasse and that the parties have failed to reach any concrete outcome on the issues of borders and security as the talks required.

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