Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Qatar says it intends to open a diplomatic office in Gaza. Palestinians in Gaza ask the Egyptian government not to continue destroying smuggling tunnels. PLO officials say a vote on UN nonmember observer state status for Palestine will be “very soon,” and that their issue isn't going to go away even if it is being ignored by the US. Israeli authorities release two detained Hamas politicians in the occupied West Bank. American evangelical Christian TV broadcasters are programming out of Jerusalem. The Israeli-Palestinian group OneVoice is pushing for progress on peace. Electric companies claim some PA agencies haven't paid bills in over 2 years. The PA says it will cut fuel prices starting Oct. 1. The new poll finds most Palestinians enthusiastic about voting and strongly preferring Pres. Abbas over Hamas leader Hanniyeh. DM Barak strongly criticizes FM Lieberman's harsh comments about Abbas. Preparations are still underway for the potential exhumation of the body of the late Pres. Arafat. Jordan appoints a new ambassador to Israel. In its latest crackdown, Hamas is arresting Gaza teenagers wearing baggy pants and prominent underwear. The PA is trying to securitize $200 million in public debt in order to reduce borrowing from banks. COMMENTARY: GOP candidate Mitt Romney is strongly critical of Pres. Obama's Middle East policies. Aaron David Miller says Obama had good political reasons for refusing to meet with PM Netanyahu and Pres. Morsy last week. The Boston Globe says the PAs financial crisis is a problem for the US and Israel as well. Tamir Haddad says Hamas corruption is weighing heavily on Gaza's economy and society. Daniel Levy is harshly critical of Netanyahu's foreign and domestic policies. Rachel Corrie's mother describes the Israeli court verdict in their lawsuit as “deeply disturbing.” Norman Birnbaum decries what he calls “false prophecy” in the Middle East.

Qatar opens diplomatic office in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
October 30, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — In a boost to Gaza's Hamas government, the Gulf state of Qatar said on Sunday it opened the first diplomatic office in the isolated territory since the Islamic military group took power five years ago.

Gazans call on Egypt not to destroy tunnels
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- Dozens of Palestinian notables and community leaders demonstrated on Sunday at the borderline area between southern Gaza Strip and Egypt, calling on Egypt not to destroy dozens of smuggling tunnels.

Vote on UN bid of recognizing Palestinian as non-member state to be "very soon": official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- A senior Palestinian official on Sunday said that the vote on the bid of recognizing Palestinian as a non-member state by the United Nations will be "very soon." Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, told Xinhua that the Palestinian delegation in New York began its contacts and consultations with Arab and foreign countries.

Palestinian official criticizes U.S. position on U.N. recognition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- A Palestinian official Friday criticized President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for opposing Palestinians' bid for statehood recognition in the United Nations, and failing to give the issue more attention in their speeches this week before the international body.

Israel frees two Hamas lawmakers in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- Israeli authorities on Sunday released two lawmakers in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in the West Bank.

Daystar, TBN ready for Messiah in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — If the Messiah descends from the Mount of Olives as foretold in the Bible, America's two biggest Christian broadcasters are well-positioned to cover it live thanks to recent acquisitions of adjacent Jerusalem studios on a hill overlooking the Old City.

Activists: Now, yes now, is the time for US to push for MidEast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Christian Science Monitor
by Ariel Zirulnick - September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

Cambridge, Mass. A major Israeli-Palestinian activist group is bucking conventional wisdom by arguing that now is the right time to engage Americans in the moribund Middle East peace process. The presidential campaign season is traditionally a terrible time to make any progress on foreign policy, especially during elections focused on pocketbook issues.

Electricity company: Govt bodies have not paid bills
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Some Palestinian Authority government institutions have not paid their electricity bills for more than two years, the head of the indebted Jerusalem electricity company has revealed. The company, which supplies power to Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jericho, still owes its Israeli supplier around 300 million shekels ($76 million), Director-General Hisham al-Umari told Ma'an on Sunday. The Israeli company has repeatedly postponed threats to cut power supplies.

PA finance ministry to cut fuel prices from Oct. 1
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Ministry of Finance announced Sunday that fuel prices are set to be reduced, a statement said. The price cuts, which will be implemented on Oct. 1, will see a liter of diesel reduced from 6.95 shekels ($1.77) to 6.70 ($1.70). A liter of benzene will now cost 7.60 shekels ($1.93), down from 7.98 shekels ($2), and a 12kg canister of domestic-use gas will be reduced to 64 shekels ($16), down from 65.

Poll: 72 percent plan to vote in October's local elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 29, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A new poll shows 72 percent of Palestinians plan to vote in elections taking place in three weeks, but supporters of Hamas are much less likely to participate in the vote, which is being boycotted by the party. In a poll published on Saturday by the Arab World for Research & Development, 85 percent said they support holding local elections, which will take place on Oct. 20 in the West Bank only.

Barak: Lieberman's comments on Abbas harm Israel's interests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak harshly criticized Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman over the weekend, for naming Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as “the biggest obstacle to peace.”

Yasser Arafat's exhumation may answer questions over his death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - October 30, 2012 - 12:00am

Within the guarded walls of the Palestinian presidential compound, known as the Muqata, the body of Yasser Arafat lies inside a gleaming limestone and glass mausoleum. It is here that political figures, dignitaries, devotees and tourists come to pay their respects to a man who was revered and reviled across the world as the face of the Palestinian struggle for decades.

Jordan appoints new ambassador to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

(JTA) -- Jordan reportedly has appointed a new ambassador to Israel. The appointment late last week of career diplomat Walid Obeidat was reported by the French news service AFP and Ammon News. The position has been vacant since mid-2010, when Ali al-Ayed left to become the country's minister of media affairs. Jordan did not fill the position immediately, citing the lack of progress in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

Hamas cracks down on saggy pants
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times of Israel
by Ilan Ben Zion - September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

Hamas is cracking down on a new threat to the well-being of the citizens of the Gaza Strip: low-riding pants. Several Gazan teenagers from Rafah were recently arrested by Hamas police because the clothes they wore were “foreign to Palestinian society, and contradicted the culture, values, and ethical code of the Strip’s residents,” the Hebrew daily Maariv reported on Sunday. The perpetrators had adopted “Western street fashion” and wore pants that rode so low as to show their underpants.

Palestinian authority aims to securitize $200 million of debt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Martin Dokoupil, Sylvia Westall - September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Palestinian authorities are aiming to securitize an initial $200 million of some $1.3 billion worth of government debt by the first quarter of 2013 to help reduce state borrowing from local banks, a top banker said on Sunday.

Mitt Romney: A New Course for the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Mitt Romney - (Opinion) September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

Disturbing developments are sweeping across the greater Middle East. In Syria, tens of thousands of innocent people have been slaughtered. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has come to power, and the country's peace treaty with Israel hangs in the balance. In Libya, our ambassador was murdered in a terrorist attack. U.S. embassies throughout the region have been stormed in violent protests. And in Iran, the ayatollahs continue to move full tilt toward nuclear-weapons capability, all the while promising to annihilate Israel.

Snubbed by Obama?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

President Obama did not meet with Egypt's Mohamed Morsi or Israel's

Palestinian Authority’s woes are a problem for US, Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
(Editorial) October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority is on the verge of financial collapse — and that’s not just a problem for Palestinians. It is also bad news for the United States and Israel, both of which say they support a future Palestinian state. Unrest is spreading in the West Bank over high prices and delayed salary payments by the Palestinian Authority, the area’s largest employer. Economic woes add to mounting frustration after four years of stalled peace talks.

Hamas corruption weighs heavily on Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Tamir Haddad - (Opinion) October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

Recently, an official of the Finance Ministry in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip announced that since 2006 the office had not received a single report of corruption. Whether or not this is true, the fact is that Hamas corruption is not only pervasive in Gaza, it has also been detrimental to the greater social and economic good.

Spare a Thought for Bibi’s Medievalists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Daniel Levy - (Opinion) September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

Let’s face it: September 27th, 2012, was not a good day for the Israeli Prime Minister’s office props and graphics department.

The deeply disturbing Israel court ruling on Rachel Corrie
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Seattle Times
by Cindy Corrie - (Opinion) September 29, 2012 - 12:00am

LAST month, in a deeply disturbing ruling, an Israeli court dismissed the civil lawsuit brought by my family against the state of Israel for the wrongful death of my daughter Rachel Corrie. Born and raised in Olympia, Rachel was a human-rights defender and peace activist killed in 2003 by an armored Israeli military bulldozer as she stood for hours, visibly and nonviolently protesting the Israeli government’s policy of civilian home demolitions in Rafah, Gaza.

False Prophecy and Real History in the Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Nation
by Norman Birnbaum - (Opinion) September 24, 2012 - 12:00am

Kabuki theater, with its extremely stylized dramaturgy, and the Yiddish stage, with its lachrymose realism, are rarely joined. The Democratic National Convention succeeded, however, in fusing the two. A platform insertion terming Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel was gaveled through by a visibly unhappy mayor of Los Angeles, reportedly at the insistence of the White House, which sought to silence Republican charges that the administration is disloyal to our unruly client state.

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