Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The US and Israel are staging a massive air defense drill. Palestinian voters seem skeptical about the value of upcoming local elections in the occupied West Bank. Israeli warplanes attack militant facilities in northern Gaza. The PA anti-corruption commission is investigating PLO-owned land registered in the name of individual officials. An Israeli man suffers minor injuries after being stabbed by a Palestinian near Bethlehem. A new Israeli poll suggests PM Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition partners are stronger than ever.Palestinians say they don't expect any changes to Israeli policies as a result of the election. Palestinian parties in Israel may unite under a single ticket for the election. The Arab world seems uninterested in Israel's election. Netanyahu appears to be hoping to gain by the revival of Republican presidential candidate Romney's prospects. Palestinians urge Romney to take a more balanced view of the conflict. The PA says Israel is violating Oslo Agreement water pricing. EU officials say they warned Palestinians about the potential costs of a renewed UN bid. Outgoing Hamas leader Mishaal admits it is difficult to reconcile “resistance” with governance and calls on Islamists to manage their relations with the West. COMMENTARY: David Landau says former PM Olmert must run in the coming Israeli elections if there is any hope of defeating Netanyahu. Eric Yoffie says Israelis should make peace a central election issue. Roni Shaked says Hamas wants to avoid a major escalation with Israel in spite of recent violence. Douglas Bloomfield says Netanyahu has found the Iranian nuclear program a convenient excuse for no progress on peace with the Palestinians. Yolande Knell asks why Netanyahu has called an early election. Nathan Jeffay says Netanyahu laid the grounds for the new elections in his UN speech.

U.S., Israel to launch massive air defense drill
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. and Israeli militaries are engaged in final preparations for the largest-ever joint missile defense drill in the allies' history. The three-week exercise, dubbed Austere Challenge 12 (AC12), will start on Oct. 21, The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday, citing an army source.

Palestinian voters skeptical about value of elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - October 10, 2012 - 12:00am

HEBRON, West Bank — Stumping for votes in the first Palestinian election since 2006, Hebron City Council aspirant Maysoun Qawasmi strides into a plastics factory to promote the West Bank's first all-female political party. The 43-year-old candidate begins wooing executives, listening to workers' concerns and promising reform. She predicts that her list of candidates will shake up the conservative Islamist-leaning city, where women rarely take center stage.

Israel targets militant site in north Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israel launched an airstrike on Thursday morning at a site belonging to resistance factions in the northern Gaza Strip, a Ma'an correspondent said. An Israeli aircraft launched one missile toward the site in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood north of the Gaza strip, with no injuries reported. The airstrikes caused material damages. The Israeli army said the attack came as a response for a rocket that was fired overnight toward Netivot in the western Negev that caused material damage.

Anti-corruption commission pursues PLO land theft
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority's anti-corruption commission is working to retrieve PLO-owned land registered to individual PLO leaders, commission chief Rafiq Natsha said Wednesday. So far in 2012, the commission has recovered around 400 dunums of PLO -owned land, Natsha told Ma'an. In the past, the PLO's land was registered as the private property of PLO leaders, some of whom have voluntarily approached the commission to return it, Natsha told Ma'an.

Palestinian 'stabs settler' in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- An Israeli man suffered moderate injuries Wednesday after a Palestinian stabbed him near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, officials said. Israeli and Palestinian officials identified the attacker as a young Palestinian man, but they gave conflicting accounts of the events surrounding the incident. An Israeli police official said authorities were treating the stabbing as "a terrorist incident," while a Palestinian medic said the suspect himself had been attacked.

Haaretz poll: Netanyahu beats election rivals, right-wing bloc grows stronger
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has no serious challenger in the next election, political experts said after he launched the campaign for the 19th Knesset on Tuesday. A poll carried out for Haaretz on Wednesday appears to confirm this. The poll, conducted by Dialog under the supervision of Professor Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University, shows that Netanyahu easily defeats all his possible rivals from the center-left bloc. As far as the public is concerned, Netanyahu is deemed much more suitable for post of prime minister than any of his potential rivals.

Palestinians foresee no change after Israeli elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

The decision to move up the Knesset elections will affect not only Israel's citizens but the Palestinian Authority as well.  Since Benjamin Netanyahu's early elections announcement Tuesday, Palestinian analysts have been trying to explain the move and its consequences. All reached the same conclusion – nothing will change.

Arab parties may unite under one ticket for election
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ilene Prusher - October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

Following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s declaration of early elections, Arab political parties spent time regrouping Wednesday, trying to figure out how they would shape their message and increase voter participation. MK Taleb a-Sanaa, from the UAL-Ta’al party, is proposing that all the Arab parties unite under one ticket, in part as a buffer to the “extreme right-wing control” that now has a hold on the Knesset, he said.

Arab World Greets Israel’s Elections with a Yawn
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Linda Gradstein - October 10, 2012 - 12:00am

Arab newspapers barely mentioned Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to go to early elections, some nine months ahead of schedule.  

Netanyahu tries to capitalise on Romney revival
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV // The resurgence of Mitt Romney in key US polls in the past few days ahead of next month's US presidential election may also be a boost to the campaign of the Republican candidate's key ally overseas. Benjamin Netanyahu, the conservative Israeli prime minister, said that general elections will take place early next year, about eight months ahead of schedule. The decision comes a year after peace talks stalled with the Palestinians and amid tensions with Iran over Tehran's nuclear programme.

Palestinians urge Romney to take balanced approach to Middle East conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - October 10, 2012 - 12:00am

Sesame Street's Big Bird may have been surprised this week to get a front seat in the U.S. presidential campaigns - but the Palestinians were no less surprised by the Republican candidate's promise on Monday "to recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel."

Palestinian Authority: Israel violating Oslo deal on water prices
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

This past summer, Palestinian water authority officials were hoping that the water crisis would ease up in the Hebron area and the Gaza Strip, after an agreement was reached over the purchase of additional water from Israel.

'EU warned PA of negative costs of UN bid'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

The European Union is advising the Palestinian Authority to “be careful” regarding its stated plan to ask the UN for non-member state observer status at its General Assembly, Deputy Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas said Wednesday. Kourkoulas, on a one day trip to Israel where he met his counterpart Danny Ayalon and National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror, told The Jerusalem Post that while there has not been any formal EU discussion on the matter, informal deliberations are ongoing.

Mashaal admits Hamas made mistakes in gov't
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - October 10, 2012 - 12:00am

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was quoted Wednesday as admitting that it was difficult to combine governance with “resistance.” Speaking at a symposium in Qatar on Islamists and democratic regimes, Mashaal said that Hamas tried to “combine resistance with government, but this is difficult. Hamas has been and remains a resistance movement and is with the resistance.” Mashaal said that there should be no comparison between Hamas’s experience in power and the rise of Islamists to power in the Arab world.

Run, Olmert, run
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by David Landau - (Opinion) October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

The worst thing that could happen to Ehud Olmert – if he chooses to run against Netanyahu in the Israeli general elections that have just been announced – the most demeaning, the cruelest, is that the High Court disqualifies him, before or after the election, amid outpourings of joy from the righteous hypocrisy crowd.

A call to Israelis from U.S. Jews: Make peace an election issue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Eric H. Yoffie - (Opinion) October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

It is time for us, as American Jews, to offer advice to Israelis on their election. This seems only right.  For the last year, my Israeli friends have inundated me and others with comments about the American election. 

Low key escalation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Shaked - (Opinion) October 10, 2012 - 12:00am

The Hamas rulers of Gaza do not shed a tear when Israel takes out global jihad terrorists. This was the case Sunday night when the Air Force targeted two terrorists in Rafah, only this time 11 passersby, including women and children, were also injured – two of them critically.

Excuse for no peace process?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) October 10, 2012 - 12:00am

Whatever you may think of Binyamin Netanyahu, and very few people are neutral on the subject, there is no denying that though often abrasive and irritating, he has put the Iranian nuclear program high on the international agenda. Without his stubborn nudging it is fair to assume the intensity of international pressure on the Islamic Republic would be far weaker than it is today.

Why has Israel's PM called an early election?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Yolande Knell - (Analysis) October 10, 2012 - 12:00am

The announcement of an early Israeli general election by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came just in time for the main evening news bulletin on Tuesday but the public was already prepared. Last week, as Mr Netanyahu met the leaders of his coalition partners, it became clear that he did not have their support for the 2013 budget, which must be passed by the end of this year.

Netanyahu Planted Seeds for Early Vote at U.N.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - (Opinion) October 10, 2012 - 12:00am

Tel Aviv — Nobody outside his inner circle knew it yet, but when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the United Nations late last month, it was the start of his election campaign. He talked tough on Iran in the September 27 speech, presenting himself to Israelis as a leader who has the confidence to make demands for their security, and the guts to take out a red pen and draw the “red line” he is setting for the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program on a cartoon-style picture of a bomb.

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