Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The US and Israel are intensifying talks about Iran. Ephraim Halevy says Iran should be worried about possible military action in the coming weeks. Palestinians are preparing to deal with negative consequences from Israel and the United States in the event of another UN bid. Palestinian women express outrage at the murder of a battered wife by her husband. Hamas condemns the visit of a senior advisor to Pres. Abbas to Auschwitz. Interpol is circulating an image of the man thought responsible for the terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. Palestinians say there are now more than half a million Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories. A Hamas official downplays expectations from the new Egyptian government. Palestinian officials denounce Israel's closure of Orient House in occupied East Jerusalem. The University of California is considering banning political “hate speech.” COMMENTARY: Fareed Zakaria says Mitt Romney's view of the relationship between culture and economics is profoundly unsound. Ron Pundak says PM Netanyahu's apparent plans for the occupied West Bank would be a catastrophe for everyone. Noam Dvir looks at the architectural style of Palestinian villas in northern Israel. Zafrir Rinat says Israeli settlers yearn for an environment without borders or Palestinians. Douglas Bloomfield wonders if Romney's Israel trip suggests he's "not ready for prime time.” Ron Kampeas says Jewish Americans are among those alarmed by Islamlophobic attacks on an aide to Sec. Clinton. The National says Iran is a threat, but Israeli and American hints about possible military action are unhelpful. Hani al-Masri says Palestinian political divisions are becoming more apparent. Mustafa Barghouthi says American and Israeli policies are pushing Palestinians, including himself, away from a two-state solution to a one-state aspiration.

U.S. and Israel Intensify Talks on Iran Options
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Elisabeth Bumiller, Jodi Rudoren - August 1, 2012 - 12:00am

A series of public statements and private communications from the Israeli leadership in recent weeks set off renewed concerns in the Obama administration that Israel might be preparing a unilateral military strike on Iran, perhaps as early as this fall.

Former Israeli spymaster: Iran should be worried
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

A former Israeli spymaster on Thursday cautioned Iran not to dismiss Israel's talk about possibly attacking Iranian nuclear facilities. The next 12 weeks will be "very critical" to Israel's decision on whether to strike, Ephraim Halevy said. That time frame coincides with the run-up to the U.S. presidential election. "If I were an Iranian, I would be very worried about the Israeli talk about a possible attack, because Israel's threats sound serious and credible to me," Halevy, who left the Mossad a decade ago, told Israel Radio.

Palestinians brace for repercussions over UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

The Palestinians are bracing for possible punitive reactions by the U.S. and Israel if they go ahead with plans to seek U.N. General Assembly recognition of "Palestine" as a non-member observer state, according to an internal document obtained Thursday. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, backed by the Arab League, is ready in principle to take this step, but hasn't decided whether to submit the request when the General Assembly convenes in September or to wait until after the U.S. presidential election in November.

Palestinian women outraged by marketplace killing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Dalia Nammari - August 1, 2012 - 12:00am

The brutal killing of a battered wife in front of horrified witnesses in an open-air Bethlehem market prompted angry accusations Wednesday that Palestinian police and courts ignore violence against women. Nancy Zaboun, a 27-year-old mother of three, had her throat slashed Monday after seeking a divorce from her abusive husband of 10 years. The husband was arrested at the scene and is the prime suspect, West Bank officials said.

Hamas blasts Palestinian official's Auschwitz trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
August 1, 2012 - 12:00am

Gaza's ruling Hamas has criticized a Palestinian official for visiting a memorial at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz and paying respects to its 1.5 million victims there, most of them Jews. Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum, expressing the Islamic militant group's position, claimed Wednesday that the Holocaust "is a big lie." He said last week's visit to the Auschwitz by Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, went against Palestinian public opinion. Abbas and Hamas are political rivals.

Interpol circulates image of Bulgaria bus bomber
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

Bulgaria has asked Interpol member countries to circulate a computer-generated image of a suicide bomber who killed five Israeli tourists and a bus driver on the Black Sea coast two weeks ago, the police organisation said on Thursday. Experts in Bulgaria have constructed an image of the man, aged around 30 and with swept-back black hair and dark eyes, using remains of his body recovered from the bus wreckage.

Palestinians say Jewish settlers over half million in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

The number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank has exceeded half a million, an official Palestinian report said Thursday. According to the report issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, more than 536,000 Israeli settlers live in 144 settlements and outposts in the West Bank. The annual report showed that the number of settlers has seen a 1.3-percent increase compared to the year-end of 2010. The peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled since 2010 because Israel insisted to continue settlement construction in the West Bank.

Hamas leader downplays expectations for Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

A Hamas official on Wednesday downplayed expectations from Egypt's President Muhammad Mursi following Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh's recent visit to Cairo. Hamas leader Ahmad Yousef told Ma'an that Haniyeh met with Mursi to congratulate him on his recent election and to discuss problems facing the Gaza Strip, particularly the power crisis and medical shortages. The transition from Cairo's pledges to ease life in Gaza to actions on the ground will be left to specialists within ministries and security services, Yousef said.

Renewal of Orient House closure 'an act of piracy'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Wednesday that Israel's decision to renew a closure of the former PLO office in Jerusalem was "an act of piracy." He wrote in a letter to foreign officials in Jerusalem that "such illegal Israeli measures are considered null and void by the international community." Erekat said Israel was violating international law and UN resolutions by continuing to close Palestinian institutions in east Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in 1967.

U. of Calif. Weighs Banning 'Hate' Speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Naomi Zeveloff - August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

The University of California, birthplace of the 1960s campus Free Speech Movement, is now considering a proposal that would ban certain forms of speech as a result of a report on Jews and the Israel debate at its schools. The July 9 report, issued by an advisory panel to UC President Mark Yudof, concluded that Jewish students sometimes face a hostile environment at UC schools in the form of anti-Israel protests. It recommends that UC “seek opportunities to prohibit hate speech on campus.”

Capitalism, not culture, drives economies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Fareed Zakaria - (Opinion) August 1, 2012 - 12:00am

Mitt Romney has explained that his comments abroad were simply truth-telling. “I tend to tell people what I actually believe,” he said. With regard to one much-debated comment — on the cultural differences between Israelis and Palestinians — many agree with him. The Wall Street Journal editorial page and columnists including Marc A. Thiessen and John Podhoretz all applauded. Podhoretz wrote: “Anyone who publicizes his remark is helping Romney win the election.”

Decoding Bibi's West Bank agenda
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ron Pundak - (Opinion) August 1, 2012 - 12:00am

The prime minister’s policy of de facto annexation of the West Bank will end badly for everyone, and there will be no way out. It took a while, but the prime minister’s political ideology seems to have been decoded. The designation of a university in the West Bank city of Ariel, Judge Edmond Levy's report that Israel is not an occupier, the construction of more than a thousand new buildings in the settlements and intensive Israeli activity in Area C in the West Bank, all indicate the fundamental political principles that guide Benjamin Netanyahu.

An Israeli Arab's home is his castle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Noam Dvir - (Opinion) August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

During his last visit to Wadi Ara in January 2012, Dr. Kobi Peled was surprised to discover dozens of Corinthian-style pillars on the facades of private homes. While some were structural, it was clear that many were not weight-bearing, but merely placed there to lend an appearance of classical beauty and sanctity to the house, or sometimes, to make homes look like public or government buildings.

Settlers yearn for 'environment without borders' - and without Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zafrir Rinat - (Opinion) August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

In the last two years, Jewish settlers in the West Bank have made a concerted PR effort to showcase their commitment to the environment. At the heart of this campaign, headed by NGOs and regional councils operating on the other side of the Green Line, is the call to separate politics from the environment. According to the settlers, it is important to create Palestinian-Israeli cooperation in order to tackle problems hurting both sides.

Is Romney ready for prime time?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) August 1, 2012 - 12:00am

Mitt Romney’s overseas tour got off to a poor start in London, where he succeeded in insulting nearly the entire country, but did little harm beyond getting a headline in the country’s largest newspaper calling him “Mitt the twit,” and sullying his reputation as not being ready for prime time.

Allegations against Clinton aide Abedin stir Jewish concerns about attacks on ‘outsiders’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - (Opinion) July 31, 2012 - 12:00am

Rep. Michele Bachmann has incurred the wrath of leading Jewish groups and some Republican leaders, even though she may be one of Israel’s staunchest defenders in Congress and one of its best-known Republicans. The reaction was spurred by the Minnesota congresswoman's call for an inquiry into allegations that Huma Abedin, a top aide to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Some of the toughest condemnations of Bachmann have come from major Jewish groups.

US-Israeli threats against Iran put diplomacy last
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Not a week goes by before another embattled Israeli or American politician prods the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme. And every week this tactic - all stick, no carrot - fails to deliver any progress to bring a peaceful end to the standoff.

Palestinian Divisions Displayed During Romney, Haniyeh Visits
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ayyam
by Hani al-Masri - (Opinion) August 1, 2012 - 12:00am

As is customary for American presidential candidates, Republican candidate Mitt Romney visited Israel. The aim of the visit was to show that he was the “closer friend” to Israel [compared to President Barack Obama].

Palestinian freedom counts for nothing - or so it seems
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Hill
by Mustafa Barghouthi - (Blog) August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

Gov. Romney’s visit to Israel – and occupied East Jerusalem – very nearly succeeded in erasing Palestine from the agenda. Save for a short visit with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Palestine was largely a non-matter. And Romney did not publicly raise Palestinian rights a single time. 

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