Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS:Yedioth Ahronoth claims secret peace negotiations took place between the Israeli and Syrian governments in late 2010. Hezbollah confirms it launched a drone over Israel. Iran and the economy are likely to dominate Israel's upcoming election. A poll suggests a super-coalition of left of center parties could win a majority. Hamas bans the announcement of a new Salafist party in Gaza. The ADL withdraws from an interfaith dialogue group over questions about US aid to Israel. Palestinian university staff in the West Bank and Gaza may go on strike. The PA and Jordan sign agricultural cooperation agreements.Israeli settlers are accused of stealing tons of topsoil from Palestinian land. Israel announces another initiative to establish a special police unit to deal with settler terrorism. A human rights group says the Israeli government is not doing enough to protect Palestinian olive trees from destruction by Israeli settlers. In rare cases settlers are helping and cooperating with Palestinians. Real estate in Gaza has become among the most expensive land in the world.The spiritual head of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood says “jihad” is the only way to deal with Israel. COMMENTARY: Shmuel Rosner recounts an ideological Israeli tour of the occupied West Bank that suggests Israel should control the area permanently.Ha'aretz says Israel needs to do more to fight discrimination against Arab women. Adi Schwartz says it is high time that Israel raised the issue of Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world. Meron Benvenisti tells other Jewish Israelis to "stop whining" and become one-staters. Ha'aretz interviews released PA prisoner Zakaria Zubeidi. Gilead Sher says both Israel and the Palestinians should engage in “constructive unilateralism.” Tariq Alhomayed says while Hamas leader Mishaal is admitting the organization's failures, it is in fact linked to a generalized governance failure of Islamists. Helmi Moussa says rocket attacks from Gaza challenge Israel's strategy. Gil Troy says he cannot bring himself to vote for PM Netanyahu. Graham Allison says Israel has credibility problems with its talk of “red lines” regarding Iran. Jonathan Schanzer looks at the succession and power struggles in Hamas.

Netanyahu agreed to full Golan Heights withdrawal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Shimon Shiffer - October 12, 2012 - 12:00am

The onset of the rebellion against Bashar Assad in January 2011 interrupted intense negotiations between the Syrian president and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which the latter agreed to a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for a peace agreement, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.

Hezbollah says it sent drone over Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Zeina Karam - October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

BEIRUT —The leader of Hezbollah claimed responsibility Thursday for launching an Iranian-made drone aircraft into Israeli airspace earlier this week, adding more tension to an already explosive Mideast atmosphere. Sheik Hassan Nasrallah warned that it would not be the last such operation by his Lebanese militant group.

Iran, economy to dominate Israeli elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Adam Gonn - October 12, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- In the Israeli elections scheduled on Jan. 22, 2013, the right-left fault line may not be drawn as in the past along issues such as relations with the Palestinians, but over Iran's controversial nuclear program and Israel's economy, analysts said.

Poll shows center-left "super party" could win Israeli elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 12, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- If the main leaders of Israel's center and left political forces would join forces in one party, they could defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the early general elections to be held in January, a survey revealed Thursday.

Hamas bans announcement of new Gaza Islamic party
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Islamic Hamas movement obstructed Thursday the declaration of a new Islamic party in the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Al-Nour Salafi party said. Hamas, which controls Gaza, summoned the members of the party's founding committee for questioning "in order to prevent the launching of the party" that was scheduled Thursday, said the spokesman, who calls himself Abu Outba.

ADL pulls out of interfaith talks over Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Religion News Service
by Michele Chabin - October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM (RNS) The Anti-Defamation League said Thursday (Oct. 11) it has withdrawn from an Oct. 22 U.S. Jewish-Christian interfaith meeting to protest a letter from some Protestant participants that urged Congress to rethink U.S. funding to Israel. Numerous Jewish organizations have condemned the letter, which was signed by leaders of the Presbyterian, United Methodist, Lutheran, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ denominations, as well as the head of the National Council of Churches.

West Bank, Gaza university staff to strike
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 10, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- University staff will go on strike Tuesday over ongoing wage disputes with the Ministry of Education, a union chief said Thursday. Amjad Barham, head of the union for university professors and staff, told Ma'an that staff in the West Bank and Gaza would strike on Tuesday and for two days the following week. He said the ministry continued to ignore the union's demands, despite a meeting on Wednesday with Minister of Education Ali Jarbawi.

PA, Jordan sign agricultural cooperation agreements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 5, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Authority agriculture minister on Friday said a number of cooperation agreements signed with Jordan will benefit Palestinian producers. During a brief trip to the West Bank on Thursday, Jordanian Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh signed a number of trade deals with the Palestinian Authority. Agriculture minister Walid Assaf said these included exchange of scientific expertise between the two sides to boost agricultural productivity.

West Bank settlers stealing tons of soil from Palestinian land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

Roughly a month ago, infrastructure work began in one of the house-trailer neighborhoods in the West Bank settlement of Ofra. Brown soil was needed to cover the foundations. In properly functioning places, such soil is bought and paid for, but not in Ofra. Tzvi, a local farmer, nicknamed “Kishu,” found an alternative: He sent a rented tractor and truck to the outskirts of the settlement, next to the Palestinian villages of Silwad and Deir Dibwan, where they simply stole dirt. Tzvi claims that the land belongs to him.

Israel Police to set up 'Jewish terror' unit in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

A new department in the Judea and Samaria District Police will be formed to deal with Jewish terrorists, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided on Wednesday. This unit is set to play a key role in the fight against attacks perpetrated by right-wing ideologues in the West Bank.

Rights groups: Protect Palestinian olive trees
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - October 12, 2012 - 12:00am

Five human rights groups on Thursday penned an urgent letter to the IDF and the police urging security forces to do more to protect Palestinian olive trees in the West Bank. Although the olive harvest only began on Wednesday, there have been a high number of vandalism incidents this week starting on Sunday, said B’Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli. Her organization – along with Rabbis for Human Rights, Yesh Din, Association of Civil Rights in Israel and Hamoked – plan to send their letter to the security forces in the coming days.

Rare twist as Palestinians, Israeli settlers cooperate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
October 12, 2012 - 12:00am

Saed's village, Khirbet Zakariya, is in a part of the West Bank under full Israeli administrative and security control. As a Palestinian, he cannot build without Israeli permission, which is often extremely difficult to secure. "Settlers came to visit the village three years ago and were surprised when they saw how little housing there was," he told AFP.

Gaza's precious space and the cost of real estate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jon Donnison - October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

On a horse and cart winding his way through his olive grove, sun-kissed in the early evening autumn sunshine, I meet Hamed Talba. A policeman by trade, Hamed has recently become a man of the land. He's not really cut out as a farmer, striking something of an urbane figure. But this was an investment and it has proved very lucrative. "I bought this plot for $90,000 (£56,000) in 2010," he tells me as he shows me round his land on the outskirts of Gaza City.

‘Holy Jihad’ is the only way to deal with Israel, says Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood chief
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times of Israel
by Elhanan Miller - October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

Egypt’s foremost Muslim Brotherhood official called on the Arab world Thursday to replace negotiations with Israel with “holy Jihad,” claiming that if Jews are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount they will destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and supplant it with the third temple.

Occupation Tourism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
by Shmuel Rosner - (Blog) October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank — Last week, with family in tow, I took the day off to go on an organized tour of the West Bank. The trip started in Peduel, a Jewish settlement half an hour from central Tel Aviv. It’s a scenic spot. Ariel Sharon used to call it “the balcony of Israel”: located on top of a mountain in the Samaria region, Peduel reveals below the big cities of Israel that lie near the Mediterranean shore.

Discrimination against Arab women
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

The rate of workforce participation among Arab women is only 28 percent, compared to 80 percent for nonreligious Jewish women. The barriers preventing Arab women from looking for work are many, but one of the main ones is their exclusion from the job market. That is what emerges from an analysis published this week by Prof. Eran Yashiv of the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies, based on new unemployment data generated by changes in how the Central Bureau of Statistics conducts its employment survey.

Why did we wait so long?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Adi Schwartz - (Opinion) October 12, 2012 - 12:00am

The government initiative to put the history of Jews of Arab countries - along with the circumstances under which they came to Israel - on the public agenda has aroused anger and opposition. Palestinian dignitaries, among them Hanan Ashrawi and MK Ahmed Tibi, claim that raising this issue is an outrage. They have been joined in the pages of this newspaper by Gideon Levy ("How many homelands do the Israelis get to have?" September 20 ) and Yifat Bitton ("Another way to discriminate against Mizrahim," Hebrew edition, September 20).

Jerusalem-born thinker Meron Benvenisti has a message for Israelis: Stop whining
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Interview) October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

Meron Benvenisti was my first editor. At the beginning of the 1980s, Ariel Sharon established more than 100 settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. At the beginning of the 1980s, Meron Benvenisti founded a Jerusalem-based information center to monitor the settlements Sharon established. At the beginning of the 1980s, I was a very young, very enthusiastic young volunteer in Peace Now, which thought ‏(rightly‏) that the settlements Sharon was establishing and that Benvenisti was monitoring were going to lead Israel to perdition.

When Palestinian jail hurts more than Israeli incarceration
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Alex Lavac, Gideon Levy - (Opinion) October 12, 2012 - 12:00am

He was waiting for us at the entrance to his handsome and well-appointed stone house, atop the hill on which the homes of Jenin refugee camp residents are perched. Skinnier than ever - he lost seven kilograms in hunger strikes - Zakaria Zubeidi, the "cat with nine lives," was finally released on bail after being detained for five months in the Palestinian Authority's Jericho prison without trial. He was indicted on suspicion of taking part in a shooting attack on Jenin Governor Kadura Musa last May.

Steps Israel should take to control its destiny
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Gilead Sher - (Opinion) October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV (JTA) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told European diplomats that he will resume negotiations with Israel on a two-state solution after the United Nations votes in November on a Palestinian request for "non-member state" status. What’s most interesting about the widespread report this week is that Abbas made no mention of his longstanding demand for Israel to halt West Bank settlement construction, which Israel has refused, before peace talks resume.

Are you serious?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

The above title is a popular expression of disapproval previously used by my colleague Dr. Mamoun Fandy in an article about the previous stances of the Qatari Prime Minister. Now I find myself having to borrow the same expression following the rhetoric put forth by the head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Mishal, in his recent address in Qatar.

Hamas-Jihad Rocket Strikes Change Israel's Gaza Strategy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from As-Safir
by Helmi Moussa - (Opinion) October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

High-level Israeli military circles warned that the only way to avoid escalation in the Gaza Strip may be through the implementation of a ground operation. The threats came following a night of heated confrontations, during which settlements in the so-called "Gaza envelope" [the area of Israel abutting the Gaza Strip] were subject to a number of rocket attacks whose number, accuracy and source surprised the Israeli leadership. For Hamas, conditions are seemingly ripe for changing the rules of the game with which Israel is familiar.

I Wish I Could Vote Bibi, But I Can't
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Gil Troy - (Opinion) October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

During this difficult moment in history, with Iran rapidly progressing toward nuclear status, with world economies still fragile, and with Western values under attack, Israel needs strong leadership. In the upcoming elections, I would love to vote for Israel’s popular and powerful prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, giving him a clear mandate to lead domestically and diplomatically.  But, like so many Israelis, I will search elsewhere for political redemption and reassurance, knowing just how limited the choice really is.

Red Lines in the Sand
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Graham Allison - (Opinion) October 11, 2012 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been campaigning for an unambiguous red line to stop Iran's nuclear advance. In an infelicitous foray into American politics last month, he took to the Sunday morning television shows to insist that Barack Obama act to stop Iran, saying, "You have to place that red line before them now." Smarting from the Obama administration's refusals, he challenged the U.S.

Reality catches up with Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jonathan Schanzer - (Opinion) October 12, 2012 - 12:00am

Hamas' long-standing political leader Khaled Meshal was in trouble the moment Western sanctions - punishment for Iran's illicit nuclear activities - began eating into Tehran's funding for its longtime Palestinian proxy. Meshal's job, after all, was to manage the lucrative Iran-Syria-Hamas axis. Then Bashar Assad began mowing down Sunnis in Syria, making it impossible for Hamas to remain there without appearing complicit. When the group pulled its headquarters out of Damascus in February, there was no denying it: Meshal was toast.

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