Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: A man in Gaza commits self immolation apparently in an act of economic despair. In response to Israeli prompting, the US is weighing new measures against Iran. Pro-settler vandals attack a monastery near Jerusalem. Egypt appoints a new ambassador to Israel. 300 settlers finally evacuate a tiny outpost after years of wrangling, although some of them are vowing to return. Israeli authorities threaten to demolish a Bedouin school in the occupied West Bank. Occupation forces are increasingly using their new “skunk” weapon against Palestinian protesters. Palestinians are increasingly distressed by the high cost of living in the West Bank. Sweeping new divorce laws empowering wives come into effect in the West Bank. Two people are killed as Syrian government forces again shell a Palestinian refugee camp. Israeli settlers and police begin evicting a Palestinian family in occupied East Jerusalem. Hamas is persisting with plans to censor the Internet in Gaza. Palestinians accuse Israel of pillaging Dead Sea resources. Hugh Naylor looks at the motivations for Suha Arafat's campaign regarding her late husband's death. Egyptian Jihadists claim Palestinians were behind the attack on Egyptian forces in Sinai. Palestinian refugees from Syria are facing harsh conditions in Jordan. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says Americans have to make up their minds about whether Israeli-Palestinian peace is a vital national interest or not. Paul Thomas Chamberlin says history shows today's terrorists can be tomorrow's peacemakers. Avi Issacharoff says Israel, Egypt and Hamas need to work in an uneasy, unspoken coalition against Sinai extremists. Oudeh Basharat says emerging Arab democracy is good for Israel. Nir Hasson says a united Palestinian electorate could pick the next mayor of Jerusalem. Nahum Barnea says as bad as the current Israeli government is, the next one won't be any better. Herb Keinon says US-Israel differences over Iran are mainly due to the upcoming American election. Leonard Fein says the occupation is corrupting the soul of Israel. Julia Hurley says a new UN report has sounded a wake-up call on living conditions in Gaza. Shai Feldman says Pres. Peres is still important.

Gaza: An Act of Despair
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
September 3, 2012 - 12:00am

A Palestinian man has died after setting himself on fire, apparently in response to the economic hardships in Gaza, his family and the police said Monday. The man, Ehab Abu Nada, 18, left home on Thursday after an argument with his father, who had urged him to find work to help feed his family. Frustrated in his job hunt, he set himself on fire inside a Gaza hospital. He was pronounced dead on Sunday.

To Calm Israel, U.S. Offers Ways to Restrain Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt - September 2, 2012 - 12:00am

Israel openly debating whether to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities in the coming months, the Obama administration is moving ahead with a range of steps short of war that it hopes will forestall an Israeli attack, while forcing the Iranians to take more seriously negotiations that are all but stalemated.

Pro-Settler Vandals Attack West Bank Monastery
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

Vandals set fire to the doors of a Christian monastery in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Tuesday and daubed pro-settler graffiti on its walls in a possible retaliation for the eviction of families from an unauthorized outpost. The name of the unauthorized Migron outpost, cleared of Israeli settlers following a court order on Sunday, was scrawled on the well-known 19th century Latrun Monastery, alongside the words "Jesus is a monkey" in Hebrew, police said.

Egypt appoints new ambassador to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Tia Goldenberg - September 2, 2012 - 12:00am

Egypt has appointed a new ambassador to Israel, choosing an experienced career diplomat, officials from both countries said, in what some took as sign of positive relations between Israel and Egypt under an Islamist president in Cairo. Atef Salem el-Ahl has been serving as Egypt's consul in the Israeli resort town of Eilat. He will replace Yasser Reda, whose four-year term ends this summer. Israel's Foreign Ministry and Egypt's state media confirmed the appointment Sunday.

Settlers evacuated from large West Bank outpost
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Alon Bernstein - September 2, 2012 - 12:00am

Israel completed evacuation of a large unauthorized West Bank settlement outpost on Sunday, culminating years of legal wrangling in a case that has become a rallying cry for hardline settler groups opposed to any withdrawal from occupied land claimed by the Palestinians. By midday, all of Migron's roughly 300 residents had left, authorities said, two days ahead of a court-ordered deadline to clear out.

Evicted vow to return to Migron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

Jewish settlers vowed yesterday to return to their illegal hilltop enclave in the West Bank, a day after Israeli authorities imposed a court order and evicted them from the Palestinian-owned site. "We will start a new fight," said Elisheva Razvag, 27-year-old mother of two who works as an occupational therapist. She and her family were among the 300 Israelis peacefully vacated from the hamlet of Migron on Sunday, after Israel's Supreme Court ordered the state to relocate them by today.

Israel threatens to demolish Bedouin school
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Diaa Hadid - September 2, 2012 - 12:00am

Dozens of children returned to school on Sunday, taking part in an annual ritual that has taken on special meaning in this Bedouin tent camp. The makeshift school buildings, cobbled together from mud and old tires, were built over the objections of Israeli authorities who are now threatening to demolish the structures. Israel says it won't tear them down until alternate facilities are available.

Israeli "skunk" fouls West Bank protests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Noah Browning - September 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Imagine taking a chunk of rotting corpse from a stagnant sewer, placing it in a blender and spraying the filthy liquid in your face. Your gag reflex goes off the charts and you can't escape, because the nauseating stench persists for days. This is "skunk", a fearsome but non-lethal tool in Israel's arsenal of weapons for crowd control. It comes in armoured tanker trucks fitted with a cannon that can spray a jet of stinking fluid over crowds who know how to cope with plain old tear gas.

High cost of living in West Bank outrages Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 3, 2012 - 12:00am

The growing cost of living in the West Bank has urged Romel al-Swaiti, a Palestinian blogger from a village near Nablus, to devote his page on the internet to speak about the issue by publishing a comic picture of him going to work riding on a donkey. He wrote on his page on the social website of Facebook that he was obliged to go to work from his house in the village of Howara to the city of Nablus, which is about 11 km away, by riding a donkey as an alternative to traveling by car or by bus due to the high cost of transportation in the West Bank.

New divorce legislation passed in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

Women who have not had sex with their husbands will be able to ask for a divorce under new legislation that came into effect on Monday, the head of Islamic courts in the Palestinian Authority said. Sheikh Yousef Ideis announced the implementation of the "bold" new law at a meeting with supreme court judges and the deputy governor of Nablus.

Witnesses: Palestinian camp in Syria shelled, killing 2
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

Two Palestinian refugees were reported killed and a third seriously injured in Al-Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria on Monday morning, according to witness accounts. Palestinians in the camp said a barrage of shells hit a home in the al-Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood of al-Yarmouk, in Damascus. The casualties were identified as Fadi al-Thahir and his wife Rawaa Muhammad Saadi, refugees who originally come from Tiberias. The couple’s four-year-old son was also seriously injured, according to al-Yarmouk News, a Facebook page reporting on events in the camp.

Palestinians, settlers forced to share Ras al-Amud home
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Noam Dvir - September 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Israeli settlers began moving into part of a home in east Jerusalem on Sunday, as police officers enforced a court order requiring the Palestinian family living there to vacate part of it.

New Internet Censorship in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Omar Ghraieb - September 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Many Gazans have long lamented that there’s not much to do in the Gaza Strip. There are no movie theaters, pool halls or bowling alleys -- all of which are seen as “un-Islamic.” And it’s not getting any better. In fact, now, curbs are being extended further – to the Internet. The Islamist Hamas movement that rules Gaza issued a new law this week that forces Gaza’s ten main internet providers to block all access to any websites with pornographic content.

Israel accused of pillaging Dead Sea resources in occupied territory
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - September 2, 2012 - 12:00am

Israel is "pillaging" the natural resources of the Dead Sea which lie in occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law, a report which singles out the cosmetics firm Ahava for criticism. According to the Palestinian human rights organisation al-Haq, the "appropriation and exploitation of Palestinian land and natural resources in the occupied Dead Sea area by Israeli settlers and companies … meet the requirements of the crime of pillage".

Arafat's widow has unclear motives
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - August 30, 2012 - 12:00am

After her husband, the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, died in 2004 in a Paris military hospital, she refused to allow outside examination of his medical records or permit an autopsy. Her refusal compounded the mystery surrounding Arafat's death and fuelled rumours of stonewalling, Israeli plots and cover-ups.

Egyptian Jihadist Leader Claims Palestinians Behind Rafah Attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
by Ahmad Abou Darah, Ayman Abou Zeid, Mohamad Behrawi - September 3, 2012 - 12:00am

A high-ranking military source revealed to Al-Masry Al-Youm that the investigation of Jihadist leader Hamada Abou Shita, who was arrested in the Sinai on Friday evening (August 30), has led to the discovery of important details concerning the identity of the perpetrators of the terrorist attack in Rafah in early August.

Palestinian Refugees From Syria Face Harsh Conditions in Jordan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Hayat
by Tamer Samadi - September 3, 2012 - 12:00am

High-level Jordanian official sources expressed their concern to Al-Hayat over the massive displacement of Palestinian refugees from Syria. In parallel, Jordanian relief sources revealed that some 200 Palestinian refugees with Syrian identification documents have fled the isolated camp in the border town of al-Ramtha in northern Jordan.

Is peace a “vital” American interest?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

“Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a vital national security interest,” the voice of the American foreign policy consensus has intoned, with its trademark gravitas, for the past decade. “But,” it continues sagely, “We cannot want peace more than the parties themselves.” Around Washington wise heads have nodded grimly at the self-evidence of this hegemonic dictum. 

When It Pays to Talk to Terrorists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Paul Thomas Chamberlin - (Opinion) September 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Munich massacre in which Palestinian militants killed 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team. For many Westerners, the incident was the most chilling example of international terrorism before 9/11.

Egypt's holy war against Sinai jihadists leaves many questions unanswered
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - (Opinion) September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

In contrast to the sloppy-looking Egyptian soldiers we saw here three weeks ago, the troops we encountered on Monday of last week at a fortified position close to the Kerem Shalom crossing seemed to be from a different unit. They wore helmets and protective vests and held their Kalashnikov rifles at the ready. They bore no resemblance to the Egyptian border police who were here until a few days after the August 5 attack on an Egyptian outpost which left 17 of their troops dead.

The Arabs are no longer the same Arabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Oudeh Basharat - (Opinion) September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

At the time of writing these lines, the sun continues to shine and even though the Muslim Brotherhood is in power in Egypt, the country has not been cloaked in darkness. It was not out of excessive love of secularism that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi declared in Tehran that Egypt is a modern, constitutional democracy. Egypt has not adapted itself to the Brotherhood, it is the Brotherhood that has adapted itself to Egypt, which is known as "Umm al-Dunya," the mother of the world.

Palestinian Zionism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - (Opinion) September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

Representatives of American-Jewish businessman Irving Moskowitz on Monday took over a room in the home of the Hamdallah family in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud. As in previous cases, the emissaries of Moskowitz, whose foundation raises funds for Jewish housing projects in Arab neighborhoods, enjoy a privilege that East Jerusalem's Palestinians don't have: to get back property that was abandoned during the 1948 War of Independence.

A not so happy new year
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Nahum Barnea - (Opinion) September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

t is customary for Jews to wish each other a happy new year from the beginning of the month of Elul. It is a nice tradition, and I embrace it every year, including this one. But this year I was confronted with a serious credibility problem: I wish a happy new year, but people refuse to believe me.

It's the elections, stupid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - (Opinion) September 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Here is why all the talk about Iran has the mind reeling: Yediot Aharonot led its front page Monday with a story claiming the United States sent secret messages – through the Europeans – to the Iranians saying that it would not stand behind Israel if Jerusalem attacks.

Occupation Corrupts Soul of Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Leonard Fein - (Opinion) September 3, 2012 - 12:00am

It is tempting to impute retroactive intentionality to yesterday’s events. As Gershom Gorenberg felicitously puts it, we mistakenly assume “that if things turned out a certain way, someone planned it that way.” Looking back now, it may seem a foregone conclusion that Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank (and in Golan, too) was from the beginning an evil design, intended to encroach on Palestinian rights rather than to solve immediate problems. But the effort to draw a straight line of intentionality from then to now obscures more than it clarifies.

Gaza's children in an 'unliveable' siege cannot wait for 2020
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Julia C Hurley - (Opinion) September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

Last week, the United Nations released a report questioning whether or not Gaza will be liveable by 2020, with the conclusion that if the siege continues, then living there will become literally impossible. Gaza's development has been thrown off track, and "de-development" has set in, leaving the UN saying that "even if the political situation were to improve dramatically over the next years, the issues identified in this study would still need to be addressed as a matter of urgency".

Why Shimon Peres Still Matters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Shai Feldman - (Opinion) September 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Some three weeks ago, on the occasion of his 89th birthday, Israeli President Shimon Peres gave loud and clear public expression to his opposition to a possible Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear installations. This followed two years during which Peres is said to have counseled Israel’s leaders in closed quarters against the ramifications of such an attack. Giving a number of separate interviews on Aug. 16, Peres did not oppose such a strike under all circumstances. Rather, he warned against an attack that would not receive a green light from Washington. 

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