Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The US reportedly warns, in “private correspondence,” EU states not to support any upgrade in UN status for Palestine to nonmember observer state. Syrian state media lashes out at Hamas. Palestinians say two teams of experts are investigating the death of the late Pres. Arafat. Israeli pro-settler vandals deface a Jerusalem monastery. Hamas detains a group of Muslim extremists in Gaza. PLO officials say Pres. Obama did not ask them to resume negotiations with Israel immediately. The CSM looks at Israel's new campaign to question Palestinian refugee rights by raising the issue of Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world. A former militant turned theater director is released by the PA. Palestinian citizens of Israel commemorate the killing of 14 demonstrators by Israeli police in October 2000. PM Netanyahu's popularity in Israel appears to be getting a post-UN bump. The Forward profiles Henry Siegman, a prominent Jewish American critic of Israeli policies. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says free speech shouldn't be restricted to protect either Islam or Israel. Roger Cohen says Israel and Iran must step back from the brink of war. Rachel Shabi calls Israel's campaign on Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world “obnoxious diplomacy.” Ha'aretz interviews British-Palestinian writer Selma Dabbagh. Yitzhak Laor calls Netanyahu's UN speech “hypocritical.” Rawia Aburabia says Israel needs a holistic approach to dealing with the Bedouins of the Negev. Aaron David Miller says Mitt Romney has shown he has no new ideas on Middle East policy. Alon Ben-Meir says only the US can realize Israeli-Palestinian peace. Louis Charbonneau says Pres. Obama and Netanyahu both got what they wanted out of the UN meeting.

US warns European governments against supporting Palestinians at UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

  The United States has warned European governments against supporting a Palestinian bid for enhanced status at the United Nations, saying such a move "would be extremely counterproductive" and threatening "significant negative consequences" for the Palestinian Authority, including financial sanctions.

Official: Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Elizabeth Kennedy - October 2, 2012 - 12:00am

A Lebanese security official says a Hezbollah commander and several other fighters from the militant group have been killed in Syria. The Shiite Muslim group is a strong ally of the Syrian regime. The Syrian opposition has long accused the group of assisting President Bashar Assad crack down on the 18-month-old uprising, a claim the group has denied.

Palestinians: 2 teams to probe Arafat's death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank —Investigators from France and Switzerland will conduct parallel probes into the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Palestinian officials said Monday. His remains will be exhumed, at a date kept secret, to give each team a chance to draw samples to test for poisoning. The two teams are acting separately on behalf of Arafat's widow Suha Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, who each had misgivings about the other's investigation.

Pro-settler vandals deface Jerusalem monastery
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
October 2, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Suspected hardline Israelis scrawled pro-settler graffiti and religious insults on a monastery outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City on Tuesday, police said, in the latest of a series of attacks on non-Jewish sites. The vandals wrote the phrase "price tag" in Hebrew on the gate of the Monastery of Saint Francis on Mount Zion - a reference to a violent campaign supporting unauthorised settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Hamas detains radical Salafi leader, 5 aides in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic Hamas movement's administration in the Gaza Strip has arrested the leader of a radical al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic Salafi group and five of his aides, the group said in a statement on Monday. The group, called the Army of the Nation (Jaish el-Omma), said in a statement sent to reporters that Hamas police arrested Abu Hafs al-Maqdisi, the group's leader, and five other activists of the group.

Palestinian official says Obama didn't ask to resume Mideast talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

  RAMALLAH, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- The United States President Barack Obama didn't ask the Palestinian side for resuming the peace talks with Israel, a senior Palestinian official said Monday. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Xinhua on telephone that the Palestinian side hasn't received any official offer or proposal from anybody to resume peace negotiations with Israel.

Israel scrambles Palestinian 'right of return' with Jewish refugee talk
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Christa Case Bryant - October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

More than 60 years after the founding of Israel precipitated two tides of refugees in the Middle East, the Israeli government has launched a campaign to persuade the world that it’s not just Palestinians who suffered in Israel's early days.

PA releases Zakaria Zubeidi on bail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Former Fatah fighter Zakaria Zubeidi was released from Palestinian Authority jail on Monday evening, his lawyer said. Zubeidi has been charged with connection to the shooting on the late Jenin governor's house in May, attorney Farid Hawash said. Qaddura Musa died hours later of a heart attack. Hawash said Zubeidi would plead not guilty at the next hearing on Oct. 7. The Jenin court released him on bail of 5,000 Jordanian dinar, he added.

Arabs hold protest march to mark October riots
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hassan Shaalan - October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

Thousands demonstrated in Sakhnin on Monday marking 12 years since the October 2000 riots in which 12 Arab-Israelis, a Palestinian and a Jewish citizen were killed. They are protesting the State's failure to take legal action against members of the security forces who caused the victims' deaths.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Popularity on the Upswing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Linda Gradstein - October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

As Israelis begin the observance of Sukkot, a week-long religious holiday celebrating the end of the harvest, talk on the streets is of travel plans and family visits. Many Israelis build a sukkah, an outdoor hut open to the stars, as commanded in the Bible, where they eat their meals – and where some even sleep -- for the week.

Behind Henry Siegman's Turn on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - October 2, 2012 - 12:00am

At 82, Henry Siegman felt pessimism setting in as he thought of the future of Israel and its decades-long conflict with the Palestinians. “The two-state solution,” he recently wrote “is dead.”

Western double standards and free speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) October 2, 2012 - 12:00am

In my recent columns I've been critical of calls for a global "blasphemy" ban from the Organization of Islamic Conference and other Muslim leaders. But free-speech protections, if they are to be meaningful, must be universal. The greatest threat to them is double standards that are the bedrock of advocacy for the slippery slope of restrictions.

Muffling the drums of war with Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Richard Cohen - (Opinion) October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

  If you want to read a cautionary tale about whether Israel will attack Iran, I suggest Kurt Eichenwald’s “500 Days,” which is not about that question at all. It describes how a determined George W. Bush took the United States to war in Iraq. “This confrontation is willed by God, who wants us to use this conflict to erase His people’s enemies before a new age begins,” Bush told a bewildered French President Jacques Chirac. For some reason, Chirac thought Bush sounded fanatical.

The Jewish refugee equation: An obnoxious form of diplomacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Rachel Shabi - (Opinion) October 2, 2012 - 12:00am

I didn’t want to get into this again, but then the Israeli government did. Again and again. The subject of equating Jewish and Palestinian refugees from 1948 onwards has recurred, periodically, since the 1980s. Then in 2010, the Israeli government gave the issue an oxygen pump, by passing a law that stated that negotiations over Palestinian refugees had also to factor in Jewish ‘refugees’ from Arab lands. The two groups are supposed to offset each other in a sort of exile spreadsheet, says the Israeli government.

A conversation with British-Palestinian writer Selma Dabbagh
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by David Green - (Interview) October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

Selma Dabbagh’s life story, like that of so many other Palestinians, has been an odyssey, with a simple question about the bare-bones trajectory of her biography eliciting a good 10-minute response. Though born in Scotland and today a resident of London, Dabbagh, 42, a lawyer who has in recent years become a full-time writer of fiction, has spent long stretches of her life in Kuwait, France, Cairo and Bahrain, even as her heart has largely been focused on Palestine.

Netanyahu's hypocritical sermon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yitzhak Laor - (Opinion) October 2, 2012 - 12:00am

What will future historians say about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech at the United Nations General Assembly last week? Not clear. This is the risk he took on - to turn himself into a laughing stock but to be remembered as part of a tragedy.

The Beduin of the Negev
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Rawia Abu Rabia - (Opinion) October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

Over the past month, The Jerusalem Post has run two opinion articles from the same author on the subject of Arab Beduin in the Negev. The articles characterize Beduin villagers as illegal settlers against whom the government is powerless, and accuses Israeli human rights organizations of “ignoring Israel’s democratic process” by advocating on behalf of residents of unrecognized Beduin villages in the Negev.

Mitt Romney's Terrible Wall Street Journal Op-Ed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

First, full disclosure. I'm not associated with either the Barack Obama or the Mitt Romney campaign in any way. Over the years, I've worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations and voted for candidates from both parties. On foreign and domestic policy, I've come to believe that the appropriate dividing line for Americans should not be between Democrat and Republican, left and right, liberal and conservative, but between dumb and smart. And we ought to be on the smart side.

Only the U.S. Can End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Alon Ben-Meir - (Opinion) October 2, 2012 - 12:00am

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be resolved without the direct and active involvement of the United States, using both inducements and coercive diplomacy to bring about a peaceful solution. If the conflict remains unresolved over the next couple of years it will most likely precipitate a massive violent conflagration to the detriment of the Israelis and Palestinians, and will also severely damage the U.S.' security, economic interests and its credibility in the region. For these reasons, what the next president of the U.S.

Obama, Netanyahu got what they hoped for at U.N. meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Louis Charbonneau - (Analysis) October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

  (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to get what they hoped for at the annual U.N. General Assembly after closing ranks to send a message to Iran that it may face war over its nuclear program.   Obama and Netanyahu did not meet with each other at the United Nations, where leaders and foreign ministers from the world body's 193 member states have gathered since last week to give speeches and hold private talks to resolve conflicts and boost trade.

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