Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Pres. Abbas and PM Netanyahu separately address the UN General Assembly. As expected, Abbas asks for an upgrade of Palestine's status to UN nonmember observer state, but most Palestinians seem unimpressed. Netanyahu's speech is widely derided in Israel. Hamas denounces Abbas' initiative. Israelis conclude Netanyahu speech means there will be no war this year. Iran vows to retaliate if attacked. Israeli troops wound two Palestinians in northern Gaza. Four more Palestinians are killed in northern Syria. Gaza smugglers say their tunnel networks are operating at approximately 10 percent. Hamas officials say Egypt has promised to ease border restrictions in the coming days. Hamas bans fruit imports from Israel into Gaza, claiming the area is “self-sufficient.” The BBC looks at Israel's new campaign on Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world. Hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem say they face an unprecedented financial crisis. COMMENTARY: Yehouda Shenhav says Israel is trying to use Mizrahi Jews as pawns against Palestinian refugees. Saud Abu Ramadan looks at the politics behind the latest Palestinian UN initiative. David Andrew Weinberg analyzes Netanyahu's “meddling” in the US presidential election. Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff say the security situation on the Israeli-Egypt border has reached a crisis point. The Economist notes that the government of Pres. Morsy has done almost nothing to help Hamas. Jonathan Marcus says Abbas and Netanyahu's UN speeches show they have other priorities than the peace process. Hugh Naylor says the speeches offer little hope for peace. Mark Perry speculates about what an Israeli attack against Iran might look like.

Mideast Peace Mired as Abbas Trades Taunts With Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Nicole Gaouette, Flavia Krause-Jackson - September 27, 2012 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exchanged taunts at the United Nations as the world body watched a peace process that has all but slipped away.

Abbas says to seek upgrade of Palestinian UN status
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Louis Charbonneau - September 27, 2012 - 12:00am

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday he would seek to have the Palestinians' U.N. status upgraded to a sovereign country and cautioned that Israeli settlement expansion meant time was running out for a two-state solution. "Despite all the complexities of the prevailing reality and all the frustrations that abound, we say before the international community there is still a chance - maybe the last - to save the two-state solution and to salvage peace," Abbas told the U.N. General Assembly.

Palestinians shrug off Abbas bid for statehood at UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jihan Abdalla, Noah Browning - September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Reuters) -- Palestinians who were galvanized a year ago by the launch of a campaign for statehood in the United Nations were left cold on Thursday by a watered-down bid from their leader President Mahmoud Abbas. In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Abbas sought so-called "non-member state" status in the world body, a grade below the full recognition that eluded the Palestinians at the UN Security Council last year, due to insufficient backing.

Politicians deride PM's UN speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Moran Azulay - September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's UN General Assembly address, during which he busted out a red marker and an illustration of a bomb to demonstrate Iran's worrisome nuclear progress, drew varied responses from his fellow politicians.

Hamas says Abbas' call for UN recognition of non-member state "solo "
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, said Thursday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' bid to the United Nations for a non-member Palestinian state is "a solo action." Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a press statement emailed to reporters that Abbas' move to ask for the UN recognition of a Palestinian state "wasn't agreed upon or consulted by the entire Palestinians."

Israelis see no Iran war this year after Netanyahu's speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Dan Williams - September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's U.N. speech about Iranian nuclear advances has dampened speculation in Israel that he could order a war this year. Analysing Thursday's address in which Netanyahu literally drew a "red line" on a cartoon bomb to show how close Iran was to building nuclear weaponry, commentators saw his deadline for any military action falling in early or mid-2013, well after U.S. elections in November and a possible snap Israeli poll.

Iran claims right to retaliate, after Israel UN speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jonathan Marcus - September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

Mr Netanyahu showed a drawing illustrating Iran's alleged progress towards nuclear weapons Iran has warned it is ready to retaliate against attack after Israel's prime minister urged a red line to be drawn to stop its nuclear programme. Benjamin Netanyahu told the UN time was running out to stop Iran having enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb. In response, Iran's deputy UN ambassador said his country was strong enough to defend itself.

Israeli troops wound 2 Palestinians in northern Gaza: medics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Israeli troops stationed on the borderline between northern Gaza Strip and Israel on Friday opened fire and wounded two Palestinian civilians, medics said. Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the Hamas-run ministry of health, said that the two Palestinians are aged 22 and 19 years old, respectively, adding that they are brothers and were shot by Israeli soldiers' gunfire in northern Gaza Strip.

4 Palestinian refugees killed in northern Syria, violence elsewhere
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

  DAMASCUS, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- A pro-government radio said four Palestinian refugees were killed Friday when armed groups fired mortar shells at the al-Nairab camp in Syria's northern province of Aleppo. Sham FM gave no further details, but also reported that loud explosion was heard Friday in the coastal city of Banyyas. It said, however, that the details surrounding the blast are still emerging.

Gaza tunnel-traders say network at 10 percent capacity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Just 10 percent of the tunnels under Gaza's border with Sinai are still in operation, after Egypt moved to close the underground network in recent weeks, tunnel owners said Friday. The tunnel trade, which operates with oversight from the Hamas government in Gaza, is now placed under strict regulations, they told Ma'an.

Gaza official: Egypt pledged to ease Rafah travel in days
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 27, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egypt has informed Palestinian officials that it will introduce measures to ease travel through the Gaza Strip's Rafah crossing in the coming days, a crossings official said Thursday. Gaza crossing director Maher Abu Sabha said they understand the crossing will be opened on Fridays, the weekend day it is usually shut. Everyday working hours, currently from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., will also be increased, Abu Sabha said. The number of passengers permitted to travel each day will be raised to 1,500, he added.

Hamas Bans Israeli Fruit Imports Into 'Self-Sufficient' Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Calcalist
by Doron Peskin - September 27, 2012 - 12:00am

The Agriculture Ministry in the Hamas government announced over the weekend a prohibition on the import of fruits from Israel to the Gaza Strip, except for bananas and apples. Tahsin al-Saqa, manager of marketing in the Agriculture Ministry in Gaza, explained that the prohibition comes from the desire to protect local production. Saqa explained that the Strip has achieved self-sufficiency in various sectors, including grapes, citrus fruits, guavas, and more, and that preference is thus given to local farmers. 

Israel campaign throws spotlight on Jewish refugees from Arab lands
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Yolande Knell - September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

At the edge of Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, elderly men sit playing backgammon - or shesh besh as it is known locally - wearing looks of intense concentration. It is a scene which can be found in coffee shops across the Middle East, such as in Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. In fact many of the men here are Jewish Israelis who originally came from those Arab countries.

Palestinian Jerusalem hospitals warn of financial crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: A group of six medical facilities serving Palestinians in east Jerusalem warned Friday of an "unprecedented financial crisis" because of unpaid bills owed by the Palestinian Authority government. In a statement, the East Jerusalem Hospitals Network said they are owed more than 67.5 million shekels ($17 million, 13.3 million euros) for the treatment of Palestinians whose bills are supposed to be covered by the West Bank government.

Spineless bookkeeping: The use of Mizrahi Jews as pawns against Palestinian refugees
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from 972 Magazine
by Yehouda Shenhav - (Blog) September 25, 2012 - 12:00am

In the last three years, we have witnessed an intensive campaign aimed at winning political and legal recognition of Arab Jews as “refugees.” The aim of this campaign is to create symmetry in public opinion between the Palestinian refugees and the “Oriental” Jews who arrived to Israeli in the 50s and 60s, presenting both populations as victims of the 1948 war.

Abbas goes for UN bid of recognition as two-state solution retreated
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan - (Analysis) September 27, 2012 - 12:00am

  RAMALLAH, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas found out that reviving the stalled peace process with Israel impossible and the United States retreated from backing the two-state solution, he decided to go to the UN to ask for recognizing a non-member Palestinian state.

What Netanyahu's meddling in US election means for Obama, Romney, and diplomacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by David Weinberg - (Opinion) September 27, 2012 - 12:00am

Some observers claim that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to tip the scales against President Obama in the elections this November. Judging by his recent behavior – and based on my own research about how such efforts have played out in other settings – these accusations are probably correct.

As Sinai border heats up, Egypt buries its head in the sand
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Opinion) September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

Beyond this week's dramatic media coverage of the female soldier deployed with the Karakal infantry battalion credited with helping to end a terror attack, and the subsequent Facebook correspondence between her and a female colleague who hid when the firing began, the incident last Friday in which Israel Defense Forces soldier Cpl. Natanel Yehoshua Yahalomi was killed gives Israel cause for concern.

A honeymoon that wasn’t
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
(Analysis) September 29, 2012 - 12:00am

ABOVE Gaza’s parliament hangs a tableau of two smiling Islamist leaders. Muhammad Morsi, the new president of Egypt, and Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the neighbouring Gaza Strip, which is run by Hamas, the Palestinians’ dominant Islamist movement. The two men are raising their hands together, hailing a regional dawn against a backdrop of Cairo’s pyramids. The billboard’s message is that the new Egypt, under a Muslim Brother, recognises Hamas, originally a Brotherhood branch, as its new ally—and as the legitimate authority in Palestine.

Netanyahu, Abbas display divergent priorities at UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jonathan Marcus - (Opinion) September 27, 2012 - 12:00am

t is perhaps one of the paradoxes of the past 18 months in the Middle East that as people protested and dictators toppled, so the region's longest-lasting conflict - that between Israel and the Palestinians - has largely disappeared from the headlines. What used to be termed "the peace process" has largely become moribund - a useless label as there is no peace process to describe.

Netanyahu and Abbas offer little hope for future peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - (Opinion) September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM // The Palestinians and Israelis diverge on almost every issue but what they do have in common is that they have done little to satisfy the administration of Barack Obama. In his address at the United Nations yesterday, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, called for world recognition of a Palestinian state while Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, demanded firmer international pressure on Iran.

The Entebbe Option
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Mark Perry - (Opinion) September 27, 2012 - 12:00am

While no one in the Barack Obama administration knows whether Israel will strike Iran's nuclear program, America's war planners are preparing for a wide array of potential Israeli military options -- while also trying to limit the chances of the United States being drawn into a potentially bloody conflict in the Persian Gulf. 

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