Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Palestinians are beset by soaring levels of debt. Jewish-American groups are increasingly divided over Iran policy. The Israeli debate about war with Iran is focusing on defense. Israeli and American officials agree Iran has not decided whether to create a nuclear weapon. The PA is negotiating the Palestinian tax revenue issue with Israeli officials. The IMF says Palestinians urgently need the delivery of pledged aid. Israel claims the Iranian military experts are operating in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula. A UN report says Israeli settlers are taking over Palestinians springs. A new book by an Israeli academic claims Israeli textbooks promote hatred against Palestinians. Israeli and other women complain of sexual harassment at anti-occupation protests in the occupied territories. COMMENTARY: Peter Beinart says Zionists should boycott Israeli settlements and their goods in order to save Israel. Sarah Chayes and Amir Soltani say both Israel and Iran are using the nuclear issue as a diversion from deeper problems. Akiva Eldar says Israel is finding it increasingly difficult to plausibly claim victimhood. Avner Cohen says PM Netanyahu has shown contempt for the Holocaust. Nathan Jeffay asks why large “unauthorized” settlement outposts remain intact after years of court orders and promises to remove them. The Forward says it's a bad idea for pro-Israel groups to try to squelch campus free speech using Title VI. Emad El Din Adeeb says there is the danger of a war that begins in Gaza and ends in southern Lebanon. Elias Harfoush looks at changes taking place within Hamas and other Palestinian groups. Jeff Wheelwright looks at the effects of new genetic science on Israel's attempts to define “who is a Jew.” Barry Rubin says US primacy in the Middle East may have died in 2011.

Palestinians are up to ears in debt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - March 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Reporting from Ramallah, West Bank— Ayman and Rahma abu Hussein can't help but feel they are moving up in the world. The database engineer and his wife just bought their first home, and it's large enough for both of their children to have their own rooms. There's a Hyundai parked outside and a flat-panel TV hangs in the living room, one of many new appliances decking out the place.

Hawks Steering Debate on How to Take On Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler, Eric Lichtblau - March 18, 2012 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON — Even before President Obama declared this month that “I have Israel’s back” in its escalating confrontation with Iran, pro-Israel figures like the evangelical Christian leader Gary L. Bauer and the conservative commentator William Kristol were pushing for more.

In Israel, prospect of war with Iran raises questions about home-front defense
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Karin Brulliard - March 17, 2012 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV — Two young government workers had set up shop in the patio section of an Ace hardware store the other day, and many Israelis were waiting. The product: free gas masks, from a dwindling national supply that is set to dry up by month’s end.

Israeli president sends Iran greeting for Persian new year, urges against threats
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
March 18, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel’s president has sent Iranians his traditional greeting for the Persian new year, wishing for “peace and coexistence” despite tensions over their country’s nuclear program. Shimon Peres also urged Iranian leaders not to threaten anyone or make their “children flee home” — an apparent reference to the possibility of war. Peres’ greeting for Nowruz was broadcast Monday over Israeli Radio’s Farsi service, which is popular in Iran. He spoke first in Farsi and then in Hebrew,

PA, Israel negotiate revenue collection
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 19, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Reuters) -- The Palestinian Authority and Israel are holding economic talks despite frozen peace negotiations in a bid to revamp revenue collection and help relieve the PA's deepening debt crisis, officials said on Sunday. Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 and interim peace deals have tasked it with levying taxes and customs duties on the Palestinian Authority's behalf, amounting to around $100 million a month, on goods imported into the territories.

IMF warns Palestinians may face cuts without more aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Lesley Wroughton - March 17, 2012 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON, March 17 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Saturday urged donors to meet their aid pledges to the Palestinian Authority, warning that unless funding was forthcoming it would be forced to cut public wages and social benefits to address a deepening fiscal crisis. The IMF said the aid-dependent Palestinian economy had entered a "difficult phase" with a severe liquidity crunch worsening since last year due to a drop in aid from Western backers and wealthy Gulf states and Israeli restrictions on trade.

Israeli official: Iranian military experts operating in Gaza, Sinai
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - March 19, 2012 - 12:00am

Iranian military experts are active in the Gaza Strip and in Sinai, according to a high-ranking official in Jerusalem. The official said the Iranians entered the areas via Sudan and Egypt, and added that some of the rocket-launching systems in Gaza were manufactured under Iranian supervision. The senior source also claimed that Islamic Jihad continued to fire rockets at Israel even after the recent cease-fire was announced because the Iranians pressured that organization, and the popular resistance groups, to continue acting against Israel.

UN: Settlers taking over Palestinian-owned springs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff, Sharon Udasin - March 19, 2012 - 12:00am

Amid the sprawling olive groves that surround Ein Al Ariq – or Ein HaGvura – outside of Nablus, Jamal Daraghmeh recalled the days of the 1970s, when he and fellow community members used to come to the basin to collect water for their village drinking needs and livestock. “We [now] have access only after coordination for the olive harvest, once a year,” Daraghmeh, the mayor of nearby village al Luban al Sharqiya, told reporters during a United Nations field tour of the area last week. Information from the tour was embargoed until Monday.

Israeli textbooks foster hate, says author
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - March 19, 2012 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV // One asserts that Israel's Palestinian citizens shun modernisation and are building houses illegally. Another alleges the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank steals water from Israel. And elsewhere, that Palestinians have been a "terrifying demographic problem" for Israel. Such statements are part of mainstream schoolbooks in Israel that teach an "anti-Palestinian" approach in a bid to prepare Jewish children to be aggressive towards Palestinians once they serve in the army, according to a new book.

Close encounters of the unwanted kind
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - March 19, 2012 - 12:00am

"At the demonstration today in Kafr a-Dik, I noticed looks and finger-pointing from the shabab (nickname for young Palestinians ) that made me feel some uncomfortable" wrote an Israeli leftist activist recently, referring to a West Bank protest last month. "There was some 'accidental' touching, and some incidents in which people called me a 'slut'...it was a very unpleasant experience," the activist wrote to her friends at Anarchists Against the Wall, which holds pro-Palestinian protests at Kafr a-Dik and other places in the West Bank.

To Save Israel, Boycott the Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Peter Beinart - (Opinion) March 18, 2012 - 12:00am

TO believe in a democratic Jewish state today is to be caught between the jaws of a pincer. On the one hand, the Israeli government is erasing the “green line” that separates Israel proper from the West Bank. In 1980, roughly 12,000 Jews lived in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem). Today, government subsidies have helped swell that number to more than 300,000. Indeed, many Israeli maps and textbooks no longer show the green line at all.

Iran, Israel and the nuclear diversion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Sarah Chayes, Amir Soltani - (Opinion) March 18, 2012 - 12:00am

The Middle East showdown over Iran's apparent effort to obtain nuclear weapons capability is not entirely about nuclear arms, nor even about regional security. The dispute is, at heart, about power, and preserving it. It's about the governments of two religiously defined nations using nuclear brinkmanship to distract from the legitimate grievances and explosive restiveness of their own populations.

Israel is fighting a losing battle over victimhood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) March 19, 2012 - 12:00am

With regard to A.B. Yehoshua's extraordinary remark - that he had "never heard the Jews analyze the Holocaust as a Jewish failure, which was not anticipated" - I can only wonder where the renowned author was when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waved the "Auschwitz letters"? Yehoshua didn't hear that Netanyahu said that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the new version of Adolf Hitler? He didn't know that Netanyahu had promised that he would not, under any circumstances, allow Iran to carry out a second Holocaust?

Netanyahu's contempt for the Holocaust
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avner Cohen - (Opinion) March 19, 2012 - 12:00am

In October 2006, Haaretz's weekend magazine asked a number of cultural figures to describe how they would feel if Tel Aviv were to be wiped off the map. This was in response to one of the Israeli anxiety attacks over the non-existent Iranian atom bomb and the declarations made by the Iranian president in that vein. I was surprised that serious people were prepared at all to relate to such a weird and nihilistic question but I was even more surprised that the Haaretz editorial staff had initiated the project.

Migron Is Symbol of Broken Promise
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - (Opinion) March 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Jerusalem — To almost every country in the world, all of Israel’s settlements on the occupied West Bank are officially illegal. Israel rejects this view but does consider one group of settlements illegal under its own laws. Yet, less than a handful of these unauthorized outposts have been evacuated since June 2004, when then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised President George W. Bush to remove them. Of those that were evacuated, most were repopulated within days.

A Fine Line on Title VI
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) March 19, 2012 - 12:00am

Do Jewish students deserve the same federal civil rights protections as African Americans, women and the disabled in the nation’s schools and universities? The official answer now is in the affirmative, and in principle, that seems only just and fair. After years of lobbying, Jewish groups led by the Zionist Organization of America managed to persuade the Obama administration to extend Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to cover members of religious groups on the basis of shared ethnic characteristics.

The dangers of the situation in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Emad El Din Adeeb - (Opinion) March 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Amidst our preoccupation with the situations in Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Tunisia, the danger of the situation in Gaza seems to have slipped from our memory, even though the current scenario forewarns that a military explosion is likely to start in Gaza and end in southern Lebanon.

Palestinian Transformations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Elias Harfoush - (Opinion) March 18, 2012 - 12:00am

The times are different for Gaza, and they are different for Hamas. And just as the recent confrontation in the Gaza Strip represented a new test of the ability of Israel’s offensives to inflict human casualties and material damage among the ranks of the Palestinians, as if we needed further Palestinian bloodshed to discover this, it also represented a test for the Islamist movement and for its courageous hesitation to move forward in taking the risk of such a costly confrontation.

Defining Jews, Defining a Nation: Can Genetics Save Israel?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Jeff Wheelwright - (Analysis) March 14, 2012 - 12:00am

Herzliya, a broad-beached ocean-side resort 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, is booming with construction -- big hotels going up on the bluffs and expensive new bungalows on the bougainvillea-laden streets. Herzliya was named for Theodor Herzl, the 19th-century Zionist visionary whose dream to see the Jewish people resettled in their homeland triumphantly came to pass.

In 2011, US primacy in the Middle East died
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Barry Rubin - (Opinion) March 18, 2012 - 12:00am

This is the end... Of our elaborate plans, the end, Of everything that stands.... No safety or surprise.... There’s danger on the edge of town.... And all the children are insane.... The West is the best.... But you will never follow me.” – “This is the End,” The Doors

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