Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel launches fresh air strikes against Gaza following an exchange of fire with militants. Lebanon says Israeli warplanes circled its airspace for an hour. Israel deploys a missile defense system after shooting down a suspected drone. Iran says the incident highlights Israel's vulnerability. Violent Israeli settlers are again disrupting the olive picking season in the occupied West Bank. Three settlers are arrested for assaulting undercover Israeli police officers posing as Palestinians. Prominent Israelis attend an event in honor of a settler about to be incarcerated for abusing a Palestinian teenager. Hamas persists in boycotting upcoming local West Bank elections. The PA says it cannot yet set a date for paying public employees' September salaries. Palestinian officials say a renewed UN bid is the only way to counter Israeli settlement expansion. The Media Line profiles a Palestinian businessman accused of fraud who has fled to Jordan. Young Israelis are increasingly moving to the occupied Golan Heights. COMMENTARY: Republican candidate Mitt Romney outlines his vision of Middle East policy in a speech at VMI. Israelis and Palestinians react to Romney's address. Chemi Shalev says the speech sounds like former Pres. George W. Bush but reads like Pres. Obama. The Jerusalem Post says it won't back either American candidate. David Rothkopf says Israel and the US are coming close to an agreement on how an attack against Iran would be structured. Oudeh Basharat says Israel's new campaign on Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world is designed to thwart Palestinian claims. The Daily Star says the anniversary of the 1973 war with Israel shows how much the Arab world has abandoned its ideals. Jacob Silverman looks at the differences in perspective between Norman Finkelstein and Anna Baltzer as a generational divide.Kate Gould says unconditional US military aid to Israel fuels violence with the Palestinians. Ibrahim Sharqieh says Obama must stand up to PM Netanyahu on Israeli settler violence. Linda Gradstein says an Israel-Iran war is not on the horizon. Hussein Ibish says the ongoing exchange of missile attacks with Israel illustrates much about changes taking place within Hamas.

Israel Launches Airstrikes After Attacks From Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram, Isabel Kershner - October 8, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Gaza militants fired a barrage of rockets and mortar shells into Israeli territory on Monday, causing no casualties but some property damage, after an Israeli airstrike in southern Gaza on Sunday killed one Palestinian and wounded at least nine others.

Lebanon Says Israeli Planes Circled Its Airspace for an Hour
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Jodi Rudoren - October 7, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The morning after the Israeli Air Force shot down an unidentified drone in the Negev Desert, the Lebanese government said that four Israeli warplanes spent an hour on Sunday illegally circling in its airspace. The Israeli Defense Forces refused to confirm or deny the report from the Lebanese Army, which said the planes entered above the village of Kfar Kila at 10:10 a.m. and left above Naqoura an hour later.

Israel deploys missile defense system days after shooting down suspect drone over its skies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
October 9, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel’s military has deployed a missile defense system near the Lebanese border, days after warplanes shot down a mysterious unmanned aircraft that entered its skies. An army spokesman said on Tuesday that the Patriot missile defense battery was deployed in the northern city of Haifa. He refused to say if the battery’s deployment was connected to Saturday’s drone incident. The drone is widely believed to have originated in Lebanon. He spoke anonymously in line with military regulations.

Iran says drone incursion displays Israel's vulnerability
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 9, 2012 - 12:00am

TEHRAN, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) general said the fact that an unmanned aerial vehicle recently penetrated into Israeli airspace shows the vulnerability of Israel's air defenses, Tehran Times daily reported Tuesday. According to media reports on Saturday, the Israeli military announced in the day that a warplane of Israel had shot a drone down near the occupied West Bank in the southern country.

Settlers' assaults in West Bank obstruct olives picking again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 8, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Right after Jom'aa Abu Fkheida and his family members had hardly managed to escape from Israeli settlers' truculent dogs, which tried to attack them in Ras Karkar village near Ramallah, an Israeli army force blockaded them for several hours under their olive trees.

Settlers attack undercover Israeli police in Hebron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 8, 2012 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Three young Israeli settlers are in custody on suspicion of attacking undercover Israeli officers posing as Palestinian shepherds in southern Hebron, Israeli media reported on Sunday. Israeli police said the settlers punched the officers and attacked them with clubs last week, assuming they were Palestinians, Israeli news site Ynet reported. Another suspect fled the scene when police identified themselves to the masked group, the report said.

Prominent Israeli figures hold send-off for a settler who abused Palestinian teen
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - October 7, 2012 - 12:00am

Prominent rabbis, public officials and a Knesset member, on Saturday, held a send off for a criminal about to enter prison after being convicted of abusing a Palestinian youth.

Hamas election boycott leaves West Bank Palestinians with only one choice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ben Lynfield - October 6, 2012 - 12:00am

Municipal elections in the West Bank are still three weeks away, but the self-styled patriarch of Nablus politics, Ghassan Shakaa, speaks as if he is already in the mayor's office. He describes one of his key plans – an after-school program for teens who, he laments, currently languish in coffee shops – as if it's a sure thing.

PA: No date set for payment of September salaries
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 9, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority has not set a date for the payment of government employees' September salaries, PA spokeswoman Nour Odeh said Monday. The Ministry of Finance will release a statement when the salaries are available to employees, Odeh told Ma'an. On Wednesday, the PA paid part of employees' August salaries. Their full salaries had been put on hold to pay lower wage earners.

Erekat: UNGA bid the only way to stop settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - October 9, 2012 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Monday that the Palestinian bid for non-member status at the United Nations is the only way to stop the expanding Israeli settlement enterprise in the West Bank, official PA news agency WAFA reported. Speaking after meetings with foreign diplomats, Erekat called on the international community to support the Palestinian UN maneuver when it comes to a vote in the UN General Assembly, likely in November.

The Palestinian Great Escape?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Adam Nicky - October 7, 2012 - 12:00am

AMMAN, JORDAN  -- Abdullah Ashee, a 45-year old investor, is wanted in the West Bank for alleged fraud. But two years ago, while his case was being considered in a court in the West Bank city of Ramallah, he fled to neighboring Jordan. He says he entered Jordan legally and that he fled his home because he does not trust the Palestinian Authority’s legal system.

Israelis Moving to Golan Heights As Development Booms
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Yedioth Ahronoth
by Ofer Petersburg - October 8, 2012 - 12:00am

A peace agreement with Syria seems to be far away, more so than ever before. Meanwhile, the Golan Heights is enjoying an unprecedented development boom and highly generous incentives are offered to potential settlers. Just come and settle here! Where else in Israel can you receive these days a plot of land for free?

Transcript: Mitt Romney Remarks at Virginia Military Institute
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mitt Romney - (Transcript) October 8, 2012 - 12:00am

MITT ROMNEY: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so very much for that warm welcome. And I particularly appreciate the introduction by my good friend and tireless campaign companion, Governor Bob McDonnell. We have traveled the state together time and time again, and he goes all over the country helping me. He is also showing here in Virginia what conservative leadership can do to build a stronger economy.

Romney on foreign policy: view from Israel and the Palestinian territories
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - (Opinion) October 8, 2012 - 12:00am

Mitt Romney's pledge "to use America's great power to shape history" is likely to be applauded by those in Israel who interpret it as getting tough with Iran. But any indication that interventionism could extend to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be much less welcome.

The Romney foreign policy speech: Sounds like Bush, reads like Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chemi Shalev - (Opinion) October 8, 2012 - 12:00am

In principle, much of the rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s foreign policy address in Virginia on Monday sounded as if it came from the era of President George Bush. In practice, one needed a microscope to differentiate it from the most of the policies pursued in the past four years by President Barack Obama.

For the record, 'The Jerusalem Post' is not backing either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney in next month’s presidential elections.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) October 8, 2012 - 12:00am

For the record, The Jerusalem Post is not backing either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney in next month’s presidential elections. As Israel’s top English-language newspaper which prides itself on its balanced news coverage and opinion columns, we are certainly committed to providing our readers with as much material as we can on the candidates and their campaigns.

A Truly Credible Military Threat to Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by David Rothkopf - (Opinion) October 8, 2012 - 12:00am

In Mitt Romney's "Hope Is Not a Strategy" speech at the Virginia Military Institute, the Republican challenger zeroed in on the current unrest in the Middle East as a sign that President Barack Obama's foreign policy is not working. The most biting implication in the speech is the assertion that al Qaeda is resurgent -- in other words that killing Osama bin Laden, emotionally satisfying as it was, was not the game-changer in the region that the Obama administration has implied it was.

The rights of Jewish refugees
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Oudeh Basharat - (Opinion) October 9, 2012 - 12:00am

Regarding the Foreign Ministry's initiative for international recognition of the Jews from Arab countries as refugees, one could apply the statement by Khalif Ali bin Abu Talib: "Words of truth whose intent is falsehood."

Abandoned ideals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) October 6, 2012 - 12:00am

Saturday marks the anniversary of the October War of 1973, which the Israelis call the Yom Kippur War, while the Arabs have a few additional names for it. Some, like the Egyptians, might refer to it called the Ramadan War, because the month of fasting in which it took place, while the Syrians officially refer to it as the War of Liberation.

Not Trying To Cause A Big Sensation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Jacob Silverman - (Opinion) October 8, 2012 - 12:00am

Alan Dershowitz would have been disappointed. Not only did Dershowitz's occasional debating partner, Noam Chomsky, have to cancel his New School appearance on Saturday (laryngitis, we were told), but his adversary, the controversial scholar Norman Finkelstein, was positively mainstream in his own remarks. Those who are quick to vilify Finkelstein—variations on “self-hating Jew” represent the typical charge—might do well to listen again.

Unconditional US military aid fuels Israeli-Palestinian violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Hill
by Kate Gould - (Opinion) October 8, 2012 - 12:00am

Amidst another week of deadly Israeli-Palestinian violence, fifteen faith leaders representing U.S. churches and faith organizations have called on Congress to condition U.S. military aid to Israel upon Israel’s “compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies.” These leaders--representing Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Orthodox, Quaker and other major Christian groups--agree that unconditional U.S.

Obama must stand up to Netanyahu on Israeli settler violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ibrahim Sharqieh - (Opinion) October 9, 2012 - 12:00am

My Palestinian driver had reason to worry as we passed near the Israeli settlement Yitzhar in the West Bank. The settlement is notorious for frequent attacks on nearby Palestinian citizens. Only a month earlier, my driver had himself been attacked by a group of settlers with a big rock that barely missed his car. Two miles farther up the road, he reported the attack to an Israeli Army patrol that was in the area. The patrol commander asked if anyone in the car had been injured. “No,” the driver had said.

Israel-Iran War Not on Horizon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Linda Gradstein - (Opinion) October 9, 2012 - 12:00am

This summer, it seemed that the world believed that an Israeli attack on Iran was imminent – a belief shared in the Jewish state as well. Panicked Israelis rushed to gas mask distribution centers, newspapers published banner headlines speculating on Israeli war plans, and Israel saw a seemingly endless parade of senior American officials trying to convince their counterparts to rethink plans for an attack.

Hamas in transition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) October 9, 2012 - 12:00am

The recent exchange of attacks between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip is unlikely to lead to a broader conflict, but it helps illuminate some of the dramatic changes happening within Hamas. It is yet another indication of the increasing willingness of Hamas factions in Gaza to resume not only countenancing but participating in rocket attacks against Israel. This, in turn, reflects the increasing influence and independence of more militant elements within the organization and their strategy for trying to wrest control of Hamas away from externally-based leaders. 

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