Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: One year after failing to secure full UN membership, Palestinians are now considering seeking nonmember observer state status. PM Netanyahu's office claims this is a violation of the Oslo agreements. Egypt says it is working to promote Palestinian reconciliation. Experts are skeptical about Pres. Abbas' reported threat to resign. Palestinian security forces return three Israeli soldiers who strayed into Palestinian-controlled areas of the occupied West Bank. 30 international aid NGOs appeal to the Quartet to stop the ongoing demolition of Palestinian homes. Hamas says Egypt's disruption of tunnel trade is hurting the Gaza economy. Israeli forces kill three extremists in Sinai. Mitt Romney reportedly makes no mention of the peace process in a call with Jewish American leaders. The PLO says over 400 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict in Syria. A committee in the Irish parliament recommends a national ban on Israeli settlement products. COMMENTARY: Aaron David Miller asks how unsustainable the status quo between Israel and the Palestinians is. Yezid Sayigh says the Palestinians may renew their UN efforts this year, but show no signs of having better learned how to contain the fallout. David Rosenberg says, given the economic crisis, the PA can't even offer the Palestinians personal prosperity. Yossi Verter says if Netanyahu is reelected, his next term will probably be a repetition of his current term. Eva Illouz says Judith Butler is getting a taste of her own boycott politics. Danny Caravan says the reason Oslo failed is that the occupation persisted. Yoram Drori says because they have full citizenship and a homeland in the state of Israel, there are no Jewish refugees in the Middle East. Uri Savir says Bill Clinton should be the next Middle East envoy if Pres. Obama is reelected. Ben Capsit says Netanyahu had better begin preparing for the day after Obama is reelected. Ghada Karmi says Palestinians need a one-state solution. Zuheir Kseibati says Hamas might be gaining more from aligning with the Muslim Brotherhood than they did with Syria and Iran. Mohammad Salah says Egypt has got to get control over the Sinai Peninsula.

Year After Effort at U.N., New Aim for Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Jodi Rudoren - September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

JERICHO, West Bank — One year after the Palestinians’ high-profile failure to win United Nations membership through the Security Council, they are returning to the General Assembly next week seeking largely symbolic “nonmember state” status, with a subdued campaign that many analysts see as a long-shot effort to win back the waning attention of the world.

PMO: PA's UN statehood bid violates Oslo process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon, Tovah Lazaroff - September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

The Prime Minister’s Office warned Thursday that a Palestinian unilateral statehood bid at the UN, along with attempts to set the territorial boundaries of the conflict through a General Assembly resolution, would be a “mistake” and “a blow to the peace process.” “We hope this does not happen,” said Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. “The Palestinians committed themselves to resolving all outstanding issues in negotiations, and such a unilateral action would be viewed as a violation.”

Egypt continues to support Palestinian reconciliation: FM
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 21, 2012 - 12:00am

CAIRO, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr said Egypt is working on the Palestinian reconciliation, state media reported on Thursday. "We hope the disputes between the West Bank and the Gaza strip will be resolved soon," said Amr, adding that differences weaken the reconciliation efforts, official news agency MENA reported.

News analysis: Abbas' retirement threats an attention-getting bluff
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Adam Gonn - September 21, 2012 - 12:00am

  JERUSALEM, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas has told his staff to start looking for someone to replace him, according to a recent report by Saudi Arabia's Al-Watan newspaper. "You have 10 days until I return from the United States," Abbas reportedly told members of his Fatah party, "You should seek a new president."

Palestinian forces return 3 Israeli soldiers strayed in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

  RAMALLAH, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian security forces returned three Israeli soldiers who entered a Palestinian- controlled area in the West Bank by mistake, a Palestinian official said Thursday. The governor of Nablus city, Gabreen Al-Bakri, told Xinhua that the soldiers were handed over to the Israeli side at a checkpoint near the city. Witnesses said that the soldiers were armed and entered the city in a red car with Israeli plates.

Aid groups appeal to Quartet to halt demolitions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 21, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The international Quartet of Middle East negotiators must take immediate action to stop 13 Palestinian villages from being destroyed and evacuated in south Hebron, a group of 30 international organizations said Friday. The rare appeal comes after several development agencies received demolition or stop work orders for aid projects in the area. Oxfam said it was given notice by Israeli authorities that it is not permitted to enter the villages to continue its development projects.

Gaza ministry: Tunnel closures hurt imports
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 21, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Basic goods are becoming more scarce in the Gaza Strip after Egypt moved to close dozens of tunnels under their border, Gaza's ministry of national economy said Friday. Monthly imports of basic foodstuffs, including flour, rice, sugar, and wheat, have fallen 31 percent since the tunnel closures, the ministry said in a statement. Construction materials brought through the tunnels have declined by 45 percent, it added.

IDF soldier killed in terrorist attack on Egypt border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yoav Zitun - September 21, 2012 - 12:00am

  Another serious incident on southern border: An Israeli soldier was killed and another was lightly to moderately injured when terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula opened fire on an IDF patrol in the Mount Sagi area, on the Israel-Egypt border, at around noon Friday. Heavy exchanges of fire ensued, during which the terrorists were killed.

Romney makes no mention of peace process during call with Jewish leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times of Israel
by Yoel Goldman - September 21, 2012 - 12:00am

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney held a conference call with Jewish community leaders on Thursday night, but did not mention the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Romney stressed the need to adopt an aggressive policy toward Iran’s nuclear program, which the Islamic Republic has long insisted is being cultivated for non-military purposes.

PLO: Over 400 Palestinians killed in Syria conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

More than 400 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the fighting between the Syrian army and anti-government forces, Zakariya al-Agha, a senior PLO official, announced Thursday. The announcement came as Palestinian refugees who fled from Syria to Jordan complained that the Palestinian Authority was doing nothing to assist them. Nearly 500,000 Palestinians live in a number of refugee camps in Syria.

Ireland moves to ban imports from Israeli settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Arabiya
September 21, 2012 - 12:00am

A committee in Ireland’s Oireachtas, the country’s legislature, has called for a national ban on imported products from Israeli settlements considered internationally as illegal. The Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade is set to write a proposal on the ban to the deputy head of government, Eamonn Gilmore, who is also the minister of foreign affairs, Irish Times reported on Wednesday.

Palestine — The Sustainable Unsustainable Status Quo?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

In recent months, the issue of Palestine has been pushed over the world’s and region’s radar screen by Iran, Syria and recent anti-American demonstrations sweeping the Arab and Muslim world.  hat’s happening here? Is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict old hat? Does anyone care anymore? Will it simply keep?

Palestine to Bid For Observer Status at UN General Assembly
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Carnegie Middle East Center
by Yezid Sayigh - (Opinion) September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

Following a month of contradictory statements from various Palestinian Authority (PA) officials, on September 5 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed that he would seek non-member observer status for Palestine at the United Nations when he addresses the General Assembly on September 27. In his announcement, he pointed to support for the bid from the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League's Council of Foreign Ministers and the Islamic states.

Fayyad’s democracy of bread
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by David Rosenberg - (Opinion) September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

The economic protests of the last couple of weeks have been principally about the rising price of fuel and the government’s austerity measures. But across the Middle East, it’s the price of bread that can spark revolution or ensure political quiet, which is why Egypt spends billions of dollars annually subsidizing bread prices. Thus, the agreement reached earlier this week between the Palestinian Authority and bakery owners in the West Bank to freeze bread prices until next month is laden with symbolism.

If Netanyahu is reelected, history will repeat itself
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - (Opinion) September 21, 2012 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's selection as Man of 5773 - that is, of the Year to Come - is so painfully obvious that maybe it even begs to be set aside. Netanyahu is indeed the man of the year in which Iran, according to the minimalist forecast, is expected to become a member of the nuclear club - or at least to reach the threshold of the club. Unless the United States does the dirty work for him, the premier is the man who, in the next few months, will make the most critical decision in these parts since David Ben-Gurion decided to declare Israel's statehood.

Judith Butler gets a taste of her own politics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Eva IIIouz - (Opinion) September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

Judith Butler has recently been awarded the prestigious Theodor W. Adorno Prize by the city of Frankfurt. The award mandate is to reward someone who reflects the late philosopher’s varied intellectual interests in the arts, culture and music, as well as his engagement with critical theory.

Oslo – a missed opportunity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Danny Caravan - (Opinion) September 21, 2012 - 12:00am

  The Palestinians are threatening to cancel the Oslo Accords. On the Israeli side, unbridled attacks on the agreement have crossed all red lines. They stem from maliciousness, distortion of facts, lack of understanding and ignorance of those who want to hide and blur the truth.

The Jewish refugee issue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yoram Dori - (Opinion) September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

In recent days I have been exposed, like many others, to a campaign of the Foreign Ministry and the National Security Council which is titled: “Restitution of property to Jewish refugees from Arab countries.” The intention, according to the international campaign editors, is to compare in the eyes of the world public opinion the loss of the property of the Palestinian refugees with the loss of Jews who were forced to leave the Arab countries and came to Israel. To compare the damages and the costs.

Bill Clinton for the Middle East peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Uri Savir - (Opinion) September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

Barack Obama will most likely be reelected to a second term in the Oval Office. If so, one of the dramatic turning points in the election campaign will be considered the rousing and brilliant endorsement speech by former president Bill Clinton at the Democratic convention in Charlotte.

Preparing for the day after
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ben Caspit - (Opinion) September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

It seems that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has begun to understand the extent of the breakdown in our future relationship with Washington. US President Barack Obama emerged this week as a clear front-runner in the polls. In the running for the electoral college delegates to be selected by each state to formally elect the president, his situation is even better. It seems that only a miracle will save Mitt Romney and those who have pinned their hopes on his victory. This is the miracle that Binyamin Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelson are praying for.

Palestinians need a one-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ghada Karmi - (Opinion) September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

It is one year this week since the Palestinians applied for UN membership. President Mahmoud Abbas's impassioned plea to the UN's General Assembly for support of the We Palestinian case on 23 September 2011 won him much praise, even from his detractors. But it came to nothing, and no further Palestinian application for UN membership was made. Now, however, the statehood issue is back on the Palestinian agenda.

Gaza on the Horse of the Muslim Brotherhood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Hayat
by Zuheir Kseibati - (Opinion) September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

With Egypt in the post-revolutionary phase, Hamas might become closer to the West Bank than it was while in the lap of the Syrian-Iranian rejectionism axis. And in light of the distance with Damascus, Meshaal has become closer to Ramallah than to the alliance with Khamenei. But what is certain is that Ismail Haniyeh is racing Meshaal to win the heart of the Muslim Brotherhood group, and the mind of President Muhammad Morsi, in order to launch a new round of the conflict with head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas.

The Sinai
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Hayat
by Mohammad Salah - (Opinion) September 20, 2012 - 12:00am

If the Islamists are in power in Egypt today, then who are those Islamists who are committing acts of violence in the Sinai? The question strongly poses itself in light of the violent incidents repeatedly taking place in the Egyptian peninsula – incidents which are branching out and have not ceased despite the broad military campaign waged by the Egyptian army in extremist Islamist strongholds there ever since the attack on border guards that resulted in 16 deaths.

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