Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The World Bank says the Palestinian fiscal crisis is intensifying. Various scenarios face Pres. Abbas in the context of the emerging crisis. The Israeli military holds its largest snap drill in many years. The PA criticizes Egypt for hosting a Hamas leader. Like Mitt Romney, many in the Middle East are losing confidence in the prospect of a two-state solution. Abbas says he will deliver a speech at the UN in September asking for nonmember observer state status for Palestine. A Palestinian militant-turned-theater director detained by PA security forces has resumed a hunger strike. Israeli settlements keep expanding despite the evacuation of a tiny “unauthorized” outpost. An advisor to Pres. Morsy says amending the peace treaty with Israel is "only a matter of time.” COMMENTARY: David Sanger says Romney's recent comments could prove problematic if he is elected president. Khaled Diab describes Palestinians and Israelis jointly visiting Israel's Holocaust Memorial. Zvi Bar'el looks at a new Israeli book about Hamas. Eitan Gilboa says Israel would be wise not to interfere in US politics. Chris McGreal says PM Netanyahu has successfully made Iran the only Middle East issue in the United States. Walid Khadduri says energy security is a priority for Israel. Hani al-Masri says restructuring the PLO is the key to Palestinian unity. David Rothkopf says Netanyahu has exposed the fallacy of an all-powerful “Israel Lobby.” Aaron David Miller asks if Romney can be trusted with Middle East policy. Tony Karon says Palestinians are used to unfair attacks such as those in the recently released Romney video.

World Bank: Palestinian fiscal crisis is deepening
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - September 19, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The World Bank warned Wednesday of a deepening fiscal crisis in the Palestinian territories and appealed to donors to act urgently to prop up the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

News Analysis: Various scenarios await Abbas amid a series of Palestinian crises
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is nowadays busy with preparing to go for a second risky trip to the United Nations in New York next week for the bid of recognizing a non-member Palestinian state in the UN General Assembly.

Israel military holds largest snap drill in years
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - September 19, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military on Wednesday conducted its largest snap drill in years as tensions with Iran over its nuclear program rise and civil war in neighboring Syria rages.

PNA criticizes Egypt for receiving Hamas leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Tuesday criticized the official reception of the deposed Premier of Hamas government in Gaza Ismail Haneya by Egyptian Premier Hesham Qandil.

Not just Romney: Many in Middle East are losing faith in a two-state solution, too
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Christian Science Monitor
by Christa Case Bryant - September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Jerusalem A newly leaked video shows presidential hopeful Mitt Romney questioning the longstanding US road map for peace in the Middle East – and, in fact, if the Palestinians want peace at all.

Abbas says he will go ahead with UN bid speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 19, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Abbas reiterated on Wednesday that he will deliver a speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations to ask for recognition of Palestine as a non-member state. The comments, which were posted on the president's Facebook page, added that the speech would most likely take place on September 27.

Detained Palestinian theatre director resumes hunger strike
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

The Palestinian militant turned theatre director Zakaria Zubeidi has resumed a total hunger strike in protest at his continued detention without charge by Palestinian security forces, and his supporters say he could die within days.

Settlements Keep Growing Despite Migron Setback
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - September 16, 2012 - 12:00am

Jerusalem — Three years after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that he had “no intention of building new settlements,” contractors paid by Israel’s government have constructed a brand-new, exclusively Jewish neighborhood in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Amending treaty with Israel 'a matter of time,' says presidential adviser
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Egypt Independent
by Ashgan Harb - September 19, 2012 - 12:00am

An adviser to President Mohamed Morsy has said that amending the 1979 peace treaty signed with Israel is "a matter of time," adding that such a move is necessary to restore full Egyptian control over Sinai.

Middle East Comments Could Vex a Romney Administration
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by David E. Sanger - (Opinion) September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

BOSTON — No one has ever had any illusions about where Mitt Romney stands on the two hottest disputes in the Middle East: the argument over the creation of a Palestinian state, and the debate over what can be done to assure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon.

Learning about the Holocaust - in Arabic
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Khaled Diab - (Opinion) September 19, 2012 - 12:00am

"Please excuse my broken Arabic," our guide, Yehuda Yarin, tells the mixed group of Palestinians and Israelis who have come to Yad Vashem to learn more about the Holocaust. It's a three-day joint excursion - a Tiyul-Rihla, the words for "trip" in Hebrew and Arabic - to Acre, Haifa and Jerusalem.

Giving Israel a new look at Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - (Book Review) September 19, 2012 - 12:00am

“Hamas offers two alternatives: 1. A separate track, dealing only with the release of Gilad Shalit in return for 1,000 Palestinian political prisoners. 2. A release of prisoners will take place in the broader context of a strategic approach ‏(as follows‏), and the number of prisoners released will not be in the hundreds.”

Blue and white elephant
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Eytan Gilboa - (Opinion) September 19, 2012 - 12:00am

Ahead of the November presidential elections, it appears that the Democrats and Republicans are in a competition to show which party supports Israel more. The Republicans are attacking the Democrats over Obama's attitude toward Israel, while the Democrats are trying to return fire. On the surface this seems harmless, but actually it is a very negative and worrying development.

Binyamin Netanyahu's Iran strategy erases the Palestinian problem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Chris McGreal - (Opinion) September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Binyamin Netanyahu's appearance on Meet the Press this weekend was telling. Interviewer David Gregory called him the "leader of the Jewish people". That's certainly how the Israeli prime minister would like to see himself, and he wouldn't be the first.

Energy Security a Priority for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Hayat
by Walid Khadduri - (Opinion) September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Israel is currently reviewing the policy on gas it intends to adopt in the future, shortly before natural gas production begins in the Tamar field in the spring of 2013. The ministerial committee set up by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and tasked by the government to draft policies on natural gas consumption at home as well as gas exports, finished drafting its final report on August 29, kicking off discussions over its contents.

Restructuring of PLO Is Key To Palestinian Reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from As-Safir
by Hani al-Masri - (Opinion) September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Following a recent press conference, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that “reconciliation between [Palestinian] factions means holding elections” and that “there will be no further dialogue with Hamas unless the electoral commission resumes voter registration in the Gaza Strip.”

Bibi's Blunder
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by David Rothkopf - (Opinion) September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Starting Sunday evening, we marked the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Numerologists with too much time on their hands noted that the digits of the year 5773 add up to the same numerical value as the word tovah, meaning good. That is supposed to be an omen, I suppose. But ever since Madonna embraced Kabala, I've been dubious about it. I like my omens more concrete and, where possible, drenched in irony.

Handle With Care
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) September 18, 2012 - 12:00am

In a testy exchange with the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, James Baker, then the U.S. secretary of state, set a standard in fantasy counterfactuals that I was sure could never be topped.

Don't Expect a Romney Intifadeh, the Palestinians Are Used to Disappointment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time Magazine
by Tony Karon - (Opinion) September 19, 2012 - 12:00am

It seems the writing is on the wall for the Palestinians: should Governor Mitt Romney win November’s presidential election, they have no credible reason to expect any help from the U.S. in realizing their national aspirations. In a recent Florida session with donors, a tape of which was posted by Mother Jones, the Republican nominee made clear he believes that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — the standing policy of the U.S.

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