Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The IMF issues a strong warning on the state of the Palestinian economy, saying it poses a "high risk" of continued social unrest in the occupied West Bank.The PA plans to tell donors at an upcoming meeting that the economic status quo is unsustainable. Experts say the stability of the PA is gravely threatened by its ongoing financial crisis. A new Palestinian opinion poll suggests a strong link between economy and security. The New York Times profiles Israeli Amb. Michael Oren. A pro-Hamas bloc wins union elections among UNRWA employees in Gaza. In a recently released surreptitiously filmed video at a fundraiser, Mitt Romney suggests peace is almost impossible to accomplish and this is entirely the fault of the Palestinians. PLO leaders say they are looking at the possibility of canceling the Oslo agreements with Israel, as UN officials say a 2-state solution is becoming more remote. The controversy grows over Islamophobic and anti-Semitic sentiment at California universities. A Gaza-based poet remembers the Sabra and Shatila massacre. IPS profiles Palestinian Paralympians. Palestinians in Ramallah stage a peaceful protest against a controversial anti-Islam online video. Tobias Buck profiles Rawabi, the first ever planned Palestinian city. COMMENTARY: The Washington Post says it would be extremely risky for Palestinians to renew a UN bid. Yossi Verter says PM Netanyahu is perceived as campaigning on behalf of Republicans. Linda Gradstein says US-Israel tensions are exaggerated. Nathan Jeffay asks what Israel would do without the PA and Pres. Abbas. Samuel Berger worries that Romney may be adopting Netanyahu's “dangerous timetable for war.” Daniel Drezner is dismayed by Romney's videotaped comments about Israel and the Palestinians. Hussein Ibish defends his critique of Israel's new campaign on Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world.

IMF issues warning on Palestinian economy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Financial Times
by Tobias Buck - September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

The Palestinian economy is heading for a further slowdown in growth and a spike in unemployment just as it faces a “high risk” of continuing social unrest, according to the International Monetary Fund. The conclusions of the most recent IMF fact-finding mission make alarming reading both for Palestinian leaders and western governments amid growing concern over the viability of the Palestinian Authority and with peace talks with Israel frozen.

PNA to donors: Status quo cannot continue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Nasouh Nazzal - September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Ramallah: The Palestinian National Authority will tell a donors conference in New York on September 23 that the status quo in the Palestinian Territories cannot continue. Rather, the PNA will present a plan to take over Zone C which constitutes 65 per cent of the total Palestinian Territories. According to a statement issued by the Palestinian government, Dr Nabeel Qasis, Finance Minister, and Mohammad Abu Ramadan, the State Minister for Planning Affairs will represent the PNA at this key conference.

Financial Strains Said to Threaten Stability of Palestinian Authority
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - September 17, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — As the Palestinian Authority marks the 19th anniversary this month of the signing of the Oslo Accords, the agreement with Israel that brought it into existence, the authority is facing a financial crisis that experts say could threaten its future operations and stability.

Palestinian protests in West Bank highlight link between economy and security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Zakaria Zbeidi's continued arrest by the Palestinian authority has a great deal of impact and is condemned abroad, specifically by pro-Palestinian activists. Zbeidi's arrest, without a proper investigation, indictment and when allegations against him are constantly altered, is not exceptional. This is the Palestinian version of the Israeli administrative detention (extrajudicial arrest).

Israeli Diplomat Is Man in Middle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Elisabeth Bumiller - September 17, 2012 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON — With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel engaged in an unusually public dispute with the Obama administration over Iran, Mr. Netanyahu’s man in Washington, Michael B. Oren, has been working rooms all over town.

Pro-Hamas bloc wins control of UN agency union
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak - September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A pro-Hamas bloc has won control of a union representing Palestinians working for a UN agency in Gaza. The bloc won 25 out of 27 union seats in a late Monday vote among 10,000 staffers with the U.N. Relief and Works Agency. The development underscores Hamas' influence among Gaza's professionals even though it has been criticized lately for ignoring the needs of the poor.

SECRET VIDEO: On Israel, Romney Trashes Two-State Solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Mother Jones
by David Corn - September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

At the private fundraiser held May 17 where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney candidly spoke about political strategy—noting that he saw half of the American electorate as freeloaders and "victims" who do not believe in personal responsibility—he discussed various foreign policy positions, sharing views that he does not express in public, including his belief that peace in the Middle East is not possible and a Palestinian state is not feasible.

Palestinian leadership considers annulling peace deal with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

  RAMALLAH, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian leadership is considering canceling the interim peace deal signed in 1993 between Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel after failing to reach a final-status solution, a Palestinian official said Tuesday. "The Palestinian leadership is seriously looking into the possibility of canceling Oslo accords," said Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator.

Two-state solution less viable in Israel-Palestine conflict: UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- The UN Special Coordinator for the Peace Process in the Middle East Robert Serry on Monday said a two-state solution to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict is at risk. "The lack of progress between Israelis and Palestinians on the political track and the continuing conflict and occupation put at risk the viability of the two-state solution," said Serry in a briefing to the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East.

Study of anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim bias on UC campuses stirs debate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Larry Gordon - September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is again extending its reach onto University of California campuses, raising questions about the limits of free speech and how welcome Jewish and Muslim students feel at their schools.

Gaza-based poet remembers Sabra and Shatila massacre
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 16, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Rihab Kanaan bursts into tears while talking to Ma'an's reporter in Gaza about the trauma she suffered after losing her son and dozens of family members in the notorious Tel al-Zaatar and Sabra and Shatila massacres during Lebanon's civil war. The Gaza-based poet says the Palestinian leadership has forgotten about the Sabra and Shatila massacre in which an estimated 800-3,000 Palestinian civilians were killed by Lebanese Christian militias over a three day period on September 16, 1982.

Without Medals, With Pride
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Eva Bartlett - September 14, 2012 - 12:00am

AFAH, Gaza, Sep 14 2012 (IPS) - The car’s engine revs, wheels spinning in vain, as it sinks deeper into the sandy lane near Rafah, southern Gaza. Members of the Palestinian Paralympic Committee (PPC) are en route to welcome Palestine’s two Paralympic contenders, Mohammed Fanouna and Khamis Zaqut, home from the 2012 London Paralympic Games. Zaqut and Fanouna, both repeat medal winners in prior Paralympic, Arab, and Asian Games, came fourth and ninth respectively in their events in London 2012.

Palestinians protest anti-Islam film
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
September 17, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories — Hundreds of Palestinians on Monday staged a peaceful protest in Ramallah against an anti-Islam film that has sparked violent demonstrations in the Muslim world. Participants of the sit-in, organised by the Palestinian Authority's Waqf (religious endowment) and held outside its offices, held signs saying "We are against those who oppose you Mohammed" and "Do not touch our Prophet." Speaking at the event, Waqf minister Mahmoud Habbash called on the United States to remove the film and apologise for it.

Investor creates Palestinian facts on the ground
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Financial Times
by Tobias Buck - September 17, 2012 - 12:00am

Over the years, Palestinians have learnt to rue the sight of cranes and bulldozers going about their work on a West Bank hilltop. For more than four decades, such machinery has usually heralded the construction of a new Jewish settlement on occupied Palestinian land – and delivered a fresh blow to Palestinian hopes for an independent and viable state.

Mahmoud Abbas’s U.N. gambit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
(Editorial) September 17, 2012 - 12:00am

ONE OF THE winners in last week’s protests outside U.S. embassies in the Middle East was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Before the eruption of outrage over an anti-Muslim film, Mr. Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had faced a week of demonstrations and strikes in the West Bank that some were starting to compare to the revolts against other autocratic Arab rulers. Thanks to the eruption of anti-Americanism and Mr. Fayyad’s timely repeal of several recent price and tax increases, the opposition movement appears to have subsided for now. But one way or another, Mr.

In Israel, we speak Republican
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - (Opinion) September 15, 2012 - 12:00am

In January 2009, on the eve of the Israeli general elections, and before the newly elected U.S. president, Barack Obama, was sworn in, the leading candidate for the premiership, Benjamin Netanyahu, met with his then-adviser and former consul general in New York, Alon Pinkas. Netanyahu asked Pinkas, who was close to the leaders of the Democratic Party, to help him build a bridge to the new administration.

Exaggerated US-Israel Tensions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Linda Gradstein - (Opinion) September 16, 2012 - 12:00am

If you believe the Israeli and some of the US press, American-Israeli relations are at their lowest point ever. The New York Times accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “trying to browbeat President Obama into a pre-emptive strike (on Iran).” Israeli press this week ran banner headlines trumpeting the rift.

What Would Israel Do Without Mahmoud Abbas?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - (Opinion) September 15, 2012 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called Israel’s President Shimon Peres to offer him Rosh Hashanah greetings. “Happy holiday and a Happy New Year to you and the entire Israeli nation,” Abbas said.. Well, perhaps he meant all of Israel with one exception. At the same time as the phone call from Ramallah came in at Peres’ residence, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman had his team working on his attempt at character assassination of Abbas.

Red Lines over Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Samuel R. Berger - (Opinion) September 17, 2012 - 12:00am

Even with all the turmoil in the Middle East, foreign policy is unlikely to have a decisive impact on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. But the outcome of the presidential election will have a profound impact on U.S. foreign policy. Nowhere is that more consequential than the debate over whether, when, and with whom we go to war against Iran.

Oh, Mitt.....
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Daniel W. Drezner - (Opinion) September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

So yesterday David Corn at Mother Jones made some waves when he released a video of Mitt Romney locking up the Ayn Rand Institute's vote explaining that he had no chance of winning the  "47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government." Well, this morning, the foreign policy shoe dropped from the Romney video.  Here's the excerpt of Romney musing about the two-state situation for Israel and Palestine: 

A Hollow Call For "Justice"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) September 17, 2012 - 12:00am

Ben Cohen's response to my recent piece systematically proves every point I make about Israel's cynical new campaign to raise the issue of Jewish refugees. In particular he demonstrates that this is not about defending the rights of Jewish refugees, since no substantive demands on their behalf are made, but simply about using them to try to obliterate the claims of Palestinians. It's one of the oddest cries for "justice" I've ever encountered, since it seeks merely to deny the claims of others.

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