Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Palestinian seem set to ask for upgraded status at the UN as a nonmember observer state. The BBC looks at the implications of nonmember observer state status. FM al-Malki says no date has been set for a UNGA vote on the question. Pres. Abbas meets with Sec. Clinton and EU FP chief Ashton. In contrast to last year, this year's Palestinian UN preparations are distinctly quiet. Sources tell Asharq Al-Awsat that Musa Abu-Marzuq is likely to be elected the next head of Hamas' politburo. Outgoing Hamas politburo chief Meshaal's exit spurs reports about strife within the organization. A spokesman for Pres. Morsy says there is no need to amend the peace treaty with Israel. PM Netanyahu promises a tough response to Pres. Ahmadinejad. Most Israelis don't seem moved by Netanyahu's warnings about Iran, and half say they fear for the state's existence in the case of a war. A Palestinian smuggler dies when a tunnel between Egypt and Gaza collapses. Israeli forces detain two Palestinians who were reportedly attacked by a mob of settlers near Nablus. Israel's High Court rejects a petition by Palestinian students in Gaza to study in the West Bank. Israel is continuing to refuse to cooperate with an investigation into settlement activity by the UNHCR. The fight over campus speech in California hinges on the definition of anti-Semitism, which some want to include broad terms about criticism of Israel. COMMENTARY: ATFP Pres. Ziad Asali previews Abbas' UN speech. Ha'aretz says that in his UN speech Netanyahu should stop making noise about Iran and instead put forward a credible peace plan and begin to repair relations with the US. Yaron Friedman says Israel is sitting on a time bomb in both the West Bank and Gaza. Jonathan Rosen looks at DM Barak's proposals for unilateral action by Israel in the occupied West Bank. Paul Gross asks if Netanyahu and Abbas really are interested in a two-state solution. The National says this year's renewed Palestinian UN bid shows new tactics are needed. George Hishmeh thinks Palestinian UN nonmember observer state status would pose a big quandary for the US.





Abbas set to renew bid to upgrade Palestine's UN status
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - September 26, 2012 - 11:00pm


RAMALLAH // When Mahmoud Abbas addresses the UN General Assembly today, those in attendance could be forgiven if they experience a sense of déjà vu. During his speech at last year's annual gathering of the world body, the Palestinian Authority (PA) president announced his intention to seek recognition for a Palestinian state amid great fanfare and popular support back home. Today, he is expected to make a similar request. Only this time, the distinguished guests will notice the Palestinian leader doing so under less enthusiastic circumstances.


Q&A: Palestinian bid for upgraded UN status
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
September 26, 2012 - 11:00pm


The Palestinians are to ask the United Nations to upgrade their status to become a "non-member observer state" by the end of 2012. It follows a failed bid to join the international body as a full member state in 2011 because of a lack of support in the UN Security Council. Here is a guide to what is likely to happen and its significance. What are the Palestinians asking for?


No date set for UN vote on Palestinian bid for recognition: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 25, 2012 - 11:00pm


RAMALLAH, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- A senior Palestinian official revealed Wednesday that no date has been set for the vote in the United Nations General Assembly to recognize a non-member state of Palestine. Palestinian Foreign Minister Reyad al-Malki, who is currently in New York to attend the UN General Assembly meetings, told " Voice of Palestine" radio that the issue is not related to the Palestinian readiness.


Abbas meets Clinton, Ashton ahead of UN speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 26, 2012 - 11:00pm


RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday on the sidelines of a UN summit, the PA's official Wafa news agency reported. The report said the meeting in New York was attended by PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, senior Abbas aides Nabil Abu Rudeina and Akram Haniyeh, and PLO ambassador Maen Areikat. Abbas was in New York for the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations, where he plans to seek an upgrade to Palestine's status at the world body.


Palestinian delegation working quietly at UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 25, 2012 - 11:00pm


NEW YORK (Ma'an) -- In stark contrast to 2011, the Palestinian delegation to the UN General Assembly is working quietly and limiting its remarks to the media. Since Friday, few details have emerged of President Mahmoud Abbas' visit to New York for the UN's 67th General Assembly, or his plan to seek an upgrade to Palestine's status at the world body.


Abu-Marzuq most likely to head Hamas - Sources
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Saleh Al-Naami - September 25, 2012 - 11:00pm


  Gaza, Asharq Al-Awsat- with Hamas officially announcing that Khalid Mishal, head of its Political Bureau, will not run again for a new term, sources in the Movement said that they expect to a large extent that his successor would be from the leaders abroad.


Hamas Leader Meshaal's Exit Sparks Reports of Internal Strife
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Hayat
by Tamer Samadi, Mohammad Younes - September 25, 2012 - 11:00pm


Informed sources in the Hamas movement said the head of the movement’s political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, was discontent with accusations made against him "from within the closed leadership rooms in the Gaza Strip," particularly those made by two leaders, Mahmoud el-Zahar and Khalil al-Hayya. The sources described these accusations as "flawed, shameful and made against a man who served the movement for many years.”


Egypt: No need to amend treaty with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
September 25, 2012 - 11:00pm


CAIRO —A spokesman for Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi said Wednesday that there is currently no need to amend the peace treaty with Israel, despite calls in Cairo to revise the 1979 accord to allow the country to beef up its presence in the Sinai Peninsula to combat militants there, the state news agency reported.


Netanyahu promises tough response to Ahmadinejad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Douglas Hamilton - September 25, 2012 - 11:00pm


JERUSALEM, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday promised a tough response at the United Nations to the latest verbal attacks on Israeli by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and said he was determined to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons. Before boarding a flight to New York to address the annual U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu issued an open letter to Israelis marking the end of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the most sacred holiday in the Jewish calendar.


Israelis shrug at Netanyahu's urgent warnings on Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Christa Case Bryant - September 24, 2012 - 11:00pm


Even as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presses the United States for “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear development and Iran ramps up its rhetoric, Israelis don’t seem to be expecting a war with Iran anytime soon – and are not frantically preparing for one.


Half of Israelis 'fear for the state's existence' if war breaks out with Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - September 26, 2012 - 11:00pm


The Jewish New Year that began last week doesn't seem to hold much optimism for Israeli citizens: A majority rates the chance of a war breaking out with Iran in the coming year as "high" or "medium," according to a new Haaretz-Dialog survey. And half of Israelis say they either "fear" or "greatly fear" for the state's continued existence if such a war breaks out.


Palestinian smuggler dies in tunnel cave-in
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 25, 2012 - 11:00pm


GAZA, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- A Palestinian worker died when a smuggling tunnel on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt collapsed Wednesday, medical sources said. Medics at Abu Yusuf al Najjar hospital in Rafah city identified the man as Sulieman al-Masri, 24. Two other workers were injured in the tunnel cave-in, the medics added.


Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinians 'attacked by settler mob'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 25, 2012 - 11:00pm


NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Wednesday detained two Palestinians who were attacked by a mob of settlers south of Nablus, locals said. Iyad Rashdan and Muhammad Allan were picking olives in fields of Einabus village when a group of settlers attacked them. Israeli forces arrived and detained the two Palestinians, locals told Ma'an. An Israeli military spokeswoman was not familiar with the incident.


High Court rejects Gaza students' petition to study in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - September 26, 2012 - 11:00pm


The High Court of Justice ruled on Monday against four female university students from the Gaza Strip who have been seeking to study at Birzeit University in the West Bank. The court rejected a petition filed on the women's behalf by the Gaza-based Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights and the Israeli group Gisha, which advocates in favor of Palestinian freedom of movement, particularly from the Gaza Strip. A panel of high court judges accepted the state's argument that it has no obligation to accord Gaza residents the right to study in the West Bank.


UNHRC settlement probe calls for submissions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - September 26, 2012 - 11:00pm


The UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission into UN Human Rights Council settlements is seeking written submissions with documentation on the topic from all relevant parties. It has made this request of member states, international organizations, national institutions and nongovernmental organizations, according to a letter sent last week by Christine Chanet, the head of the three-person mission, to council president Laura Dupuy Lasserre.


Anti-Semitism Fight Hinges on Definition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Seth Berkman - September 24, 2012 - 11:00pm


When the California State Assembly passed a nonbinding resolution recently, urging state-funded colleges to clamp down on anti-Semitism, the storm that followed sent some of the resolution’s supporters backtracking. The resolution’s wording, critics said, threatened to label as anti-Semitic those who strongly criticize Israel over its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, or advocate measures to oppose its policies.


No Drama at Turtle Bay
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Ziad Asali - (Blog) September 25, 2012 - 11:00pm


At the United Nations General Assembly meeting, the world will be watching -- though with markedly less intensity than last year -- to see what the Palestinians will do. The prevailing mood among Palestinians appears to have assimilated some lessons from last year's experience -- that uncoordinated diplomatic initiatives can produce a damaging deterioration in relations with the West, a devastating reduction of aid, and no improvements in living conditions on the ground, even as they fail to achieve their stated objective.


At UN, Netanyahu must put a stop to Iran 'noise'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) September 26, 2012 - 11:00pm


A dark shadow of distrust and suspicion between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama hangs over the prime minister as he mounts the rostrum at the United Nations General Assembly today in New York. The difference of opinion between the two men on the issue of Iran's nuclear program has injected itself into the American presidential election campaign and has become an open rift.


Time bomb under Israel's nose
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yaron Friedman - (Opinion) September 25, 2012 - 11:00pm





Inside Out: Barak’s unilateral proposition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jonathan Rosen - (Opinion) September 26, 2012 - 11:00pm


Defense Minister Ehud Barak gave a lengthy interview to Israel HaYom on Tuesday in which he called on the government and the public to consider a partial unilateral withdrawal from large swathes of the West Bank, in the absence of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Such a withdrawal would involve abandoning Israeli control over dozens of settlements and the creation of a Palestinian state in the vacated areas.


Are Netanyahu, Abbas really interested in 2-state solution?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Paul Gross - (Opinion) September 26, 2012 - 11:00pm


With Binyamin Netanyahu’s focus firmly on the Iranian issue (and on how he can help the Romney campaign without Obama’s people finding out), and Mahmoud Abbas revisiting last year’s push for UN recognition of a Palestinian state in place of negotiations with Israel, the question should be asked: does either side actually want a two-state solution? The reality is that there has been less than a month of (tentative) negotiations in the three years since this government came to office.


A year on, calls for statehood hide PA failures
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) September 26, 2012 - 11:00pm


A year ago, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas went to the United Nations with a rightful bid for state membership. The move for full membership was never voted on at the Security Council (largely due to US pressure).* Today Mr Abbas returns to the UN General Assembly, this time seeking to lay the groundwork for a new resolution to elevate the Palestinians from "observer entity" to "observer state".


Shenanigans at work in the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) September 26, 2012 - 11:00pm


The Middle East figured prominently, but not sufficiently, in the speech of the US President Barack Obama at the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday, six weeks before the US presidential elections and in the presence of 120 world leaders.





American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017