Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: 21 people are killed during the shelling of a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. Israel urges its citizens to leave the Sinai Peninsula. A former head of Israel's military intelligence says a missile attack on the Tel Aviv area would elicit an unprecedented response, and another says any attack on Iran would be premature and unwise. The Israeli government calculates that an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would delay the program by approximately 2 years. The murder of a battered woman by her husband continues to stir outrage among Palestinians in the West Bank. PLO officials say they still haven't decided a date on which to resume efforts at the UN. Israel is making contingency plans regarding the deteriorating situation in Syria. The UK ambassador to that country says Israel is rapidly losing international support. Israel has invested more than $2.5 billion in settlements between 2003-2011. COMMENTARY: Herb Keinon says the new Israel-PA trade agreement isn't sexy but it's extremely important. Ha'aretz interviews Brian Lurie, the new head of the New Israel Fund. David Grossman says Israelis cannot stay silent as their government is pushing them towards war with Iran. A new Israeli film profiles a group of Palestinians who make their living scavenging in rubbish dumps. Ron Ben-Yishai says Israel realizes only the United States can stop the Iranian nuclear program and increasingly thinks it will. Hirsh Goodman says it makes no sense for Israelis to dislike Pres. Obama. Zuhair Kseibati says Palestinians are no longer the only “tent people” in the Middle East. Yousef Al Kuwailet says it makes no sense for Arabs to continue to opt out of trying to influence the American political equation. Danna Harman looks at efforts by Russell Simmons and Marc Schneier to strengthen Muslim-Jewish relations. Lara Friedman says American politicians are exploiting Jewish migrants to Israel from Arab states. Zvika Krieger profiles settlement movement leader Dani Dayan.

Mortars kill at least 20 in Damascus refugee camp
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Paul Schemm - August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Mortars rained down on a crowded marketplace in a Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian capital, killing at least 20 people as regime forces and rebels fought nearby, activists said. The attack on Yarmouk camp may well have been connected to a two-day long skirmish in the nearby Tadamon neighborhood, which has been repeatedly shelled by government troops. On Friday smoke could be seen pouring from the neighborhood.

Israel warns citizens to return from Sinai
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

Israel is urging its citizens traveling in Egypt's Sinai peninsula to return immediately amid warnings of an attack. The travel warning was based on information alleging militant groups from the Gaza Strip are operating in the area and plan to attack or kidnap Israeli tourists. Thursday's travel warning was issued by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office.

Missiles on Tel Aviv will unleash unprecedented response: Israeli former intelligence chief
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Israel's former army intelligence chief said Thursday that a missile attack by foes against Greater Tel Aviv would mean that "Israel's legitimacy to take action will drastically increase." Speaking at a conference on "Israel's Home Front Preparedness," retired Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin sought to quell concerns over recent assessments that Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas could wield unprecedented 200,000 missiles and rockets in any future conflict. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has repeated threat to target Tel Aviv.

Don't attack Iran now, warns ex-IDF intel chief
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Aharon Ze’evi Farkash is worried. So worried that he decided this week to break his longstanding silence on Iran and to share his concerns with the world.

Israeli strike would only delay Iran's nuclear program by two years
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

An Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities would delay its manufacture of nuclear weapons by no more than two years, according to the prevailing assessment. This assessment holds that Iran's nuclear program would technically be set back by only a year. But it would likely take Iran another year on top of that to overcome side effects of the strike that would cause additional delays.

Palestinian women's killings spark outcry over lax laws
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Four recent cases of Palestinian women slain allegedly at the hand of relatives have prompted women and human rights groups to demand tougher laws against domestic violence and more stringent enforcement. Several female activists marched Thursday through the streets of Bethlehem in the West Bank demanding justice for women in this patriarchal and traditional society. They also demanded severe punishment for men who kill or batter a female family member.

Erekat: No date set for next UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said Thursday that no date was set for next steps at the United Nations, where officials are considering a new initiative to seek membership as a state. Erekat said the timing of a draft application for the General Assembly will be discussed at the next cabinet meeting on Tuesday and after consulting with regional leaders. His remarks followed separate meetings with ambassadors from France, Germany, India, Brazil and the United States, Erekat said.

Syria crisis felt in Israel and occupied Golan Heights
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
by Yolande Knell - August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

The deepening crisis in Syria threatens to have a destabilising effect on all of its neighbours but Israel has a particular set of concerns. Technically, the two countries have been in a state of war since 1948. Israel also continues to occupy the Golan Heights, Syrian territory which it captured in 1967 and later annexed, in a move that is not internationally recognised. Yet under President Bashar al-Assad, there has been a long-standing truce and for the past 40 years the border between the two countries has been relatively calm.

Israel losing international support, says British ambassador
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

The British ambassador to Israel has said international support for the Jewish state among those in the political mainstream is eroding, driven by settlement expansion in the West Bank and continued restrictions on Gaza. There is "growing concern" in the UK over lack of progress towards peace with the Palestinians, and Israel was now being seen as Goliath against the Palestinians as David, said Matthew Gould, in reference to the biblical story.

Investment in Settlements Skyrockets Under Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Calcalist
by Shaul Amsterdamski - August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

The governmental investment in Judea and Samaria skyrocketed under the Netanyahu cabinet by 38% from 2010 to 2011, reaching its high levels on the eve of the disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Over the period spanning from 2003 to the end 2011, the Israeli governments invested more than $2.5 billion (more than 10 billion shekels) in the Jewish settlements across the Green Line. This sum reflects the overall governmental investment, including economic support for the local authorities, investment across infrastructures and tax benefits entailing loss of state revenues.

Diplomacy: Accord short on fanfare, but not meaning
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - (Opinion) August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

It was a small news item during an active news week dominated in Israel by tax increases, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s visit, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s statements on Iran, and – of course – the Olympics. But Tuesday night’s signing in Jerusalem of an economic agreement on behalf of Israel and the Palestinian Authority by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is not without significance.

New NIF head Brian Lurie: 'The occupation is a cancer that is eating us'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chemi Shalev - (Opinion) August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

Rabbi Brian Lurie, who recently replaced Naomi Chazan as president of the New Israel Fund, has spent most of his professional life at the heart of the American Jewish establishment. Nonetheless, he is a rebel, a nonconformist, a Jewish communal leader "on the cutting edge," as former Forward editor J.J. Goldberg puts it, especially in matters relating to the relations between Israel and the Diaspora.

As Netanyahu pushes Israel closer to war with Iran, Israelis cannot keep silent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by David Grossman - (Opinion) August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Here's a possible scenario: Israel attacks Iran despite the strenuous opposition of President Barack Obama, who is practically pleading that Israel leave the work to the United States. Why? Because Benjamin Netanyahu has a historical mind-set and a historical outlook under which, basically, Israel is "the eternal nation" and the United States, with all due respect, is just the Assyria or the Babylonia, the Greece or the Rome, of our age.

Making art from trash
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yitzhak Laor - (Film Review) August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Initially, I was afraid that "Zevel Tov" ("Good Garbage" ), a documentary produced and directed by Ada Ushpiz and Shosh Shlam, would be just another story about the atrocities of the occupation. At the very least, it would be an effort to prove that there is an occupation, despite the argument by emeritus Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, who headed a committee that declared that the West Bank is not occupied territory.

Israel realizes: Only US can stop Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ron Ben-Yishai - (Opinion) August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

It's a known secret that the IDF and the security establishment have been focused over the past few years on creating a viable military option for a strike in Iran. Israel has invested billions in this endeavor. The goal was to obtain operational capabilities that would serve as the basis for a strike, which, if launched, would set Iran's nuclear program several years back.

Mitt or ‘mittout’ Romney
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hirsh Goodman - (Opinion) August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Mitt Romney comes to Israel for a few hours, speaks platitudes to a largely imported crowd against the backdrop of Jerusalem, mumbles something about Iran and collects a million bucks, rushes for a series of lighting photo-ops with appropriate Israelis and off again, this time to Poland. He did not come here to learn the issues, understand the intricacies of the evolving Middle East or even receive an in-depth expert briefing on Iran. Grin, flash, platitude, applause, photo, insult the Palestinians and away we go.

The Tent People
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Hayat
by Zuheir Kseibati - (Opinion) August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

The Palestinians no longer have the privilege of “monopolizing” tents as part of the history of their setbacks and the features of their identity. The people of the region now have a new landmark that is unifying them perhaps more than the Arab League ever did: the tents of the displaced and the refugees.

Zionists frighten US presidency
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Yousef Al Kuwailet - (Opinion) August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

American Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney seems more to be a cowboy than a person who can be considered to be in a responsible position as president of a great nation. He speaks in street slang, not the formal language of a diplomat. His remarks that questioned London's preparation for the Olympics sparked fury even among those with a cool temper (“A few things that were disconcerting” about London’s Olympics preparations). Both British officials and the media reacted strongly against Romney’s remarks.

Hip-hopping to tolerance in the Promised Land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Danna Harman - (Opinion) August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

It’s a sweltering day in Jerusalem. Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, founder of a major record label and clothing company, sits fanning himself with a magazine. Next to him is Orthodox rabbi Marc Schneier, vice president of the World Jewish Congress.

Exploiting Jews from Arab Countries
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Lara Friedman - (Opinion) August 2, 2012 - 12:00am

Last month saw an assault in Congress on Palestinian refugees—an effort to use legislation to re-define the Palestinian refugee issue out of existence.  This week the other shoe dropped, when a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced a new bill embracing the cause of “Jewish refugees from Arab countries” in a way that Congress has never replicated on the Palestinian side (for more info, see this list of all bills/resolutions dealing with Palestinian and/or Jewish refugees since 1989). 

Dani Dayan's War: Can Israeli Settlers Control Both the West Bank and Themselves?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Zvika Krieger - (Opinion) August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Dani Dayan has decided to come "out of the closet," he tells me as we sit in a coffee shop looking out onto the Judean hills earlier this summer. The head of the Yesha Council, which represents the approximately 300,000 Israelis who live in the West Bank, was not referring to his strident opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state; he's been an out-and-proud critic of the two-state solution for years, prominently showcased in an inflammatory op-ed last week. When we met in Jerusalem, he was actually in the process of coming out as a moderate.

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