Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: PM Netanyahu reportedly cut short a national security meeting on Iran, accusing one of its participants of leaking information to the media. Israel is trying to downplay differences with the United States over Iran policy. A senior Palestinian security officer in Jenin is killed by gunmen. The PA asks Israel to facilitate the travel of a French team investigating the death of the late Pres. Arafat. Israel releases a Hamas leader in the West Bank. PM Fayyad will debate a Palestinian youth leader on television. The PA forms a committee to investigate the rising cost of living. A Jewish Australian businessman has big plans for occupied East Jerusalem. The Israeli government is paying hundreds of thousands of shekels to move settlers' mobile homes from one part of the occupied West Bank to another. Norway's FM says Israel and the Palestinians may be losing the chance at a two-state solution. Knesset Speaker Rivlin says Pres. Obama doesn't understand the Middle East, while FM Lieberman praises him. The Israeli campaign to “counterbalance” the final status issue of Palestinian refugees with the question of Jewish refugees and migrants to Israel from Arab states is continuing. Bedouin children again begin attending a school threatened with demolition by Israel. The Democratic Party platform is changed to better reflect occupied East Jerusalem's role as a final status issue to be negotiated between the parties. COMMENTARY: Haim Saban says Pres. Obama's support for Israel has been rocksolid in every way. Ha'aretz says Israel's police are serving as an unlikely bridge between Palestinian and Jewish citizens. Zvi Bar'el says the blockade of Gaza has been counterproductive and should be lifted. Linda Gradstein asks if Israel is preparing to attack Iran. The Forward says there's too much secrecy about funding in American politics, including among pro-Israel organizations. Tony Karon says Israeli plans to attack Iran have fallen apart because of the force of reason. Avner Cohen says Israel's constant threats against Iran are damaging its relations with the United States. Peter Beinart says it looks like the United States, including the Democratic Party, is giving up on Israeli-Palestinian peace for the meanwhile.

Israeli PM breaks up Iran meeting, citing leaks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

Israel's prime minister has angrily cut short a key gathering of top security officials, accusing an unnamed participant of leaking details of the sensitive meeting to the media. Netanyahu says the leak occurred after a daylong meeting of his Security Cabinet on Tuesday. The forum was briefed by top security officials about various regional threats.

Israel tries to ease differences with US over Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Josef Federman - September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

Israeli officials said Tuesday they are in close discussions with the United States over how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program, seeking to ease tensions that have emerged between the two allies over a possible Israeli military strike against Iran. The dialogue, in which Israel is looking for President Barack Obama to take a tough public position against Iran, suggests the odds of an Israeli attack in the near term have been reduced.

Security chief slain in restive Palestinian city
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ali Samoudeh - September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

Gunmen killed a colonel in the Palestinian security forces early on Wednesday when they raked his car with gunfire in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, local officials said. Hisham al-Rukh was attacked while driving home in the Jenin refugee camp, which has been the focal point of a broad sweep by security forces since May following an upsurge of violence led by criminal gangs and corrupt security officers.

Israel urged to facilitate entry of French prosecutors investigating Arafat's death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Wednesday asked Israel to allow a French delegation to visit the West Bank for investigations related to the death of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in 2004, a Palestinian official said. The Palestinian Minister of Justice Ali Muhanna said that a formal request had been submitted to the Israeli authorities to facilitate the entry of the French criminal investigation delegation to Ramallah.

Israel releases Hamas legislator in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

Israel on Wednesday released a Hamas member of parliament from jail, a Palestinian rights sources said. The legislator Mohammed Abu Teir was released after being held in administrative detention for a year in the Ofer prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Abu Teir is originally from Jerusalem, but Israel deprived him from his Israeli identity because he joined the Palestinian parliamentary elections and ran as a candidate representing Hamas, the Islamic movement that doesn't recognize the Jewish state.

Fayyad to face youth leader in televised debate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad will participate Wednesday in a debate with Muhannad al-Rabi, director of the Free Palestinian Youth Coalition, broadcast live on Palestinian TV. Al-Rabi said the coalition would deliver a message from the Palestinian youth, mainly on social and economic issues. He hoped the debate would result in solutions for the youth sector. The youth leader thanked Fayyad for agreeing to the debate, which is being held in cooperation with Al-Najah University in Nablus and will be shown on various Palestinian TV networks.

PA asks economic committee to study price crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday said it asked a special economic committee to study a government memo about the rising cost of living in the occupied territories. The committee will respond to the memo, prepared by the ministry of national economy, within two days. The report focuses on possible ways to cope with the situation amid growing protests. The assignment was made during the PA cabinet’s weekly meeting in Ramallah where prime minister Salam Fayyad and his ministers discussed the financial situation as they prepared a budget for 2013.

Investor Kevin Bermeister has big plans for Jerusalem, West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - August 31, 2012 - 12:00am

Australian technology investor Kevin Bermeister has had some hits and misses in his career. He founded the popular file-sharing network Kazaa, built Australia's largest video game distributor and was an early investor in Skype. Less successful ventures included the now-defunct Sega World theme park in Sydney and an offshoot of troubled PC-maker Packard Bell.

Israel paying hundreds of thousands of shekels to move West Bank settlers’ mobile homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

The Israeli government is footing the bill, worth hundreds of thousands of shekels, for moving caravans in the now-evacuated West Bank outpost of Migron. The caravans are owned and rented out by an organization called “Amana,” which supports settlements in the West Bank and other areas of Israel. The mobile structures at Migron are not owned by the former Migron residents, but rather by Amana, an organization responsible for illegal settlement construction in numerous other areas, has a yearly budget of tens of millions of shekels.

Israel, Palestinians may lose chance for two-state solution, Norway FM says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

The international community must consider how to relate to the import of goods that are produced in the settlements, "which we consider illegal according to international law," the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Store told Haaretz on the eve of his visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah. Store, head of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee - a donor support group to the Palestinian Authority - said that Norway would "consider various options to demonstrate its policy in regard to the expansion of the settlements."

Rivlin says Obama doesn't understand Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Lahav Harkov - September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

US President Barack Obama's administration does not understand the realities of the Middle East, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Wednesday, amid ongoing speculation of a rift in US-Israel relations. "The fact that the Democrats removed a united Jerusalem as Israel's capital from their platform is more worrying than the argument over Iran," Rivlin told The Jerusalem Post. "The change may have far-reaching consequences."

Liberman praises Obama, talks tough on Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Hoffman - September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman issued praise for the policies of United States President Barack Obama’s administration Tuesday at a pre-Rosh Hashana toast for activists of his Yisrael Beytenu party at Jerusalem’s Shalom Hotel. Liberman’s comments come at a time when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been issuing veiled public criticism of Obama’s Iran policies. While the foreign minister did not mention the US president by name, his comments could aid Democratic efforts to market Obama as pro-Israel.

Push for recognition of Jewish refugees from Arab lands seeks to counterbalance Palestinian claims
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ben Sales - September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

Naim Reuven was only 8 when he left Baghdad more than 50 years ago, but he still remembers going with his father to catch fish in the Tigris River. His dad worked in a laundromat, a middle-class father of six and one of Iraq’s more than 100,000 Jews. Baghdad’s Jewish community suffered a pogrom in 1941, but Reuven, born a year later, has only fond memories of his childhood there -- until Israel declared independence in 1948.

Palestinian bedouins return to threatened school
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

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

Platform Change on Status of Jerusalem Sparks Debate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Naftali Bendavid, Jared Favole - September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

The Democratic Party released a 2012 platform Tuesday that omits previous language describing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, sparking an unexpected dust-up just as President Barack Obama is preparing to accept his party's nomination for a second term.

The Truth About Obama and Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Haim Saban - (Opinion) September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

AS an Israeli-American who cares deeply about the survival of Israel and the future of the Jewish people, I will be voting for President Obama in November. Here’s why. Even though he could have done a better job highlighting his friendship for Israel, there’s no denying that by every tangible measure, his support for Israel’s security and well-being has been rock solid.

A Ray of Hope
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

The Arab community is clearly a victim of discrimination by the government. Israeli Arabs have never received what has been due to them, as far as budgets or positions. The mirror image of reduced rights is reduced duties, in practice if not in theory. A close look at Arab towns and villages reveals a troublesome picture of citizens ignoring state laws and the regulations of local councils. Israeli Arabs have told their government: if we don't get the honey, we don't want the sting either.

Free Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - (Opinion) September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

The time has come to free the Gaza Strip, to lift the closure against it and to maintain a "normal" relationship both with its Hamas leadership and its population. The time has come to allow European nations and the United States to make direct investments in the Strip and allow the Gaza economy to develop, like its counterpart on the West Bank. The time has come to stop bluffing and pretending that the Gaza blockade punishes Hamas, impedes missile fire and serves Israel's security needs.

Is Israel Preparing for Attack on Iran?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Linda Gradstein - (Opinion) September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

In the past few weeks, the question has morphed from “Should Israel attack Iran to try to stop its nuclear program?” to “When will Israel attack Iran to try to stop its nuclear program?”   Israel seems to be increasing its preparations for that attack. Gas mask distribution has been ramped up, and newspapers are filled with bellicose statements, some of which are directed at Israel’s closest ally, the United States.  

Too Many Secrets
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Forward
(Editorial) September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

Back in April, Stephen Colbert told his television audience about a new tax-exempt group he had created, one which “never has to disclose its donors, because it is a quasi-charitable organization called a 501(c)4.” As his own lawyer explained on the show, it’s a social welfare organization that is supposed to further public policy goals and is not supposed to engage too much in politics.

Plans To Attack Iran Unravel In the Clear Light of Reason
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Tony Karon - (Opinion) September 5, 2012 - 12:00am

With bellicose theatrics between Israel and Iran nearing fever pitch, US President Barack Obama recently received some sage advice from the Bush administration's point man on dealings with the Islamic Republic. Former ambassador Nicholas Burns warned that the European-led negotiations over Iran's nuclear programme were going nowhere, and that the United States urgently needs protracted, direct negotiations with Tehran's leadership, putting all issues of conflict on the table.

Israeli Talk of Attacking Iran Damages Relationship with US
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Avner Cohen - (Opinion) September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

“When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk,” goes a famous line from the old Clint Eastwood movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Giving Up
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Peter Beinart - (Opinion) September 4, 2012 - 12:00am

When it comes to Israel, the American Jewish right won’t take yes for an answer. Today the Democrats released their party platform, and almost instantly, neoconservatives became apoplectic, with the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin dubbing it the “most radically unsupportive statement of policy on Israel by a major U.S. party since the founding of the state of Israel.”

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