Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: US troops arrive in Israel for a joint defense drill. Palestinians are reportedly urged by Britain to delay renewing their efforts to secure more recognition at the UN. Shas welcomes back a disgraced former official as co-head of the organization. Israeli officials claim missiles from the war in Libya are making their way to Gaza, and add that war will not solve the problems regarding the territory. The State Department says Palestinian students in the occupied West Bank will be able to take SAT exams that were being withheld by Israeli customs. Egypt's new ambassador to Israel takes up residence in that country. Israeli media misinterpret Facebook comments by Pres. Abbas. A street in occupied East Jerusalem will be named after the late Egyptian singer Umm Kulthoum. Hamas leader Mishaal will reportedly finally visit Gaza again. Hamas says it opposes teaching Holocaust studies in UN schools for Palestinians. In Israel, fascination with former Hamas prisoner Shalit continues. Israel's attorney general reiterates his opposition to the Levy Report and recognition of settlement outposts. Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are going ahead with municipal elections despite a Hamas boycott. COMMENTARY: Adam Gonn says most Israeli experts think the center-left can't unseat PM Netanyahu in upcoming elections. Carlo Strenger says he attaches no hopes to the election. Yossi Verter says it offers the last hope for former PM Olmert to successfully return to Israeli politics. Michael Jansen says a Netanyahu victory would be a disaster for peace. Stuart Reigeluth says the EU needs to do much more to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace. Gil Troy says Pres. Obama is neither anti-Israel nor its best friend. Simran Sachdev looks at the all-women's slate running in Hebron in upcoming Palestinian municipal elections. Douglas Bloomfield says Palestinians are aiming for a "victory" at the UN that could prove more costly than beneficial.

American Troops Arrive in Israel for Defense Drill
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The first of 1,000 United States troops have begun to arrive in Israel to take part in a joint missile-defense exercise, which the lead American planner described on Wednesday as the largest in the history of the two countries’ relationship and a testament to the strength of their military ties.

Palestinians urged by Britain to delay 'non-member state' bid at UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

Britain is urging the Palestinian leadership to delay its bid for upgraded status at the United Nations general assembly, warning that the move is likely to be detrimental to US re-engagement with the peace process following next month's presidential election.

Popular Israeli politician back to help lead party
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM —A popular ultra-Orthodox Israeli politician previously jailed for accepting bribes has agreed to return to his powerful party in upcoming parliamentary elections. The Shas Party announced Wednesday that Arieh Deri would share the party's leadership along with the party's current chief Eli Yishai and senior party member Ariel Atias. The decision came after lengthy negotiations with the three politicians, and with the blessing of the party's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Israel: Gaza getting missiles from Libyan war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM —A top Israeli defense official says Gaza is being flooded with sophisticated weapons from Libya and that the anti-aircraft missile fired last week at an Israeli helicopter likely originated there. Yossi Kuperwasser, who directs the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, says "significant" numbers of weapons have been smuggled into the territory from Libya since the fall last year of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The country is awash in weapons after the eight-month civil war and has weak central authority.

War will not resolve Gaza problem -Israeli official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Crispian Balmer - October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct 17 (Reuters) - A major Israeli attack on Gaza would not curb growing extremism in the Palestinian enclave, with the ruling Islamist group Hamas itself struggling to quell radicalism, a senior Israeli official said on Wednesday. Voicing concern about a recent influx of increasingly potent weaponry into the Gaza Strip, the director of Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs told reporters that international pressure was needed to try to put an end to militancy.

Palestinian students will take SAT college admissions exam after delay by Israeli customs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The U.S. State Department said dozens of Palestinian students whose SAT exams were delayed because of Israeli customs will take the test this Saturday. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Wednesday that about 100 students in the West Bank will sit the exam this weekend. “I’m happy to say that we have learned that this issue has now been resolved,” Nuland said.

Egypt's new envoy to Israel says brings message of peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM -- Egypt's new ambassador to Israel took up his post on Wednesday, assuring the country of Cairo's continued commitment to a 1979 peace treaty. "I came with a message of peace and I came to confirm that we are working for mutual trust and transparency and we are committed to all the agreements we signed with Israel," Atef Mohamed Salem Sayed Elahl said on presenting his credentials to President Shimon Peres.

Israeli media misinterpret Abbas' Arabic remarks on Facebook
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Abdul-Hakim Salah - October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli media on Wednesday misinterpreted a Facebook status by Mahmoud Abbas to suggest the president had abandoned the two-state solution. Discussing the bid to upgrade Palestine to a non-member state at the UN, Abbas posted an Arabic-language status update explaining that recognition of statehood would prove that Palestinian territory is under occupation rather than "disputed" land. The president referred to Palestinian land occupied before 1967 using terminology commonly used to refer to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Jerusalem street to be named after Egypt's Umm Kulthoum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 16, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) – After decades of refusal, the Israeli municipal council of Jerusalem has agreed to grant names to more than 100 roads in East Jerusalem starting Wednesday. One of the roads will be named after famed Egyptian singer Umm Kulthoum in a ceremony Wednesday at the entrance to the street, near Abdul-Hamid Shoman Street 20. Palestinian singer from Israel Nisreen Kader will sing one of Umm Kulthoum’s most popular songs Inta Umri (“you are my life”) during the ceremony.

Meshal set to make first official visit to Gaza visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Arab VIPs including the emir of Qatar are expected to visit the Gaza Strip next week to "completely and officially end the Israeli blockade of several years," Hamas' television station reported Wednesday. There were also unconfirmed reports that Hamas leader Khaled Meshal will accompany the emir for his first official visit. The station said Qatar is launching a huge reconstruction project in the Strip, for which building materials will be transferred through the Rafah crossing, which hitherto has been open for people only.

Hamas opposes Holocaust study at UNRWA schools
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

Hamas on Wednesday reiterated its strong opposition to teaching about the Holocaust in Gaza Strip schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency. The Refugee Affairs Department of Hamas said that teaching the Holocaust was a “crime against the issue of the refugees that is aimed at canceling their right of return.” The Hamas statement came in response to unconfirmed reports in a number of Arab media outlets that UNRWA was planning to reintroduce the Holocaust into its school curriculum.

Shalit-prisoners exchange: One year on
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Yolande Knell - October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

At the Free Gilad campaign tent erected by his parents on the pavement outside the prime minister's official residence, school children tied yellow ribbons around a tree and passers-by would sometimes break down in tears. Tens of thousands joined a 12-day march from his home in northern Israel to Jerusalem in 2010 to focus attention on his plight. The ordinariness of Gilad Shalit, a 19-year-old corporal on mandatory military service, when he was wounded and seized by militants in a cross-border raid in June 2006, meant that many Israelis could easily identify with him.

'A-G Weinstein opposes adoption of Levy Report'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein opposes Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's supposed intention to seek government approval for the "Levy Report," which calls on the government to transform West Bank outposts on state land into legal settlements, Israel Radio reported Thursday. The Prime Minister’s Office said that they did not know of any formal decision to bring the report to either the Ministerial Settlements Committee or the cabinet, after rumors that Netanyahu intended to do so next week sparked condemnation from the Left on Wednesday.

Divided Palestinians hold municipal elections without Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jihan Abdalla - October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Palestinians in the West Bank go to the polls on Saturday in long-delayed municipal elections that have already highlighted deep divisions in the occupied territory and stoked complaints about a lack of leadership. The Oct. 20 ballot will hold up a cracked mirror to a political landscape clouded by financial crises, failure to reconcile the major Palestinian factions and stalemate in peacemaking efforts with Israel.

Israeli center-left can't challenge Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Adam Gonn - (Opinion) October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- A possible comeback by former prime minister Ehud Olmert has hit a snag as the State Prosecutor' s Office on Tuesday announced that it will appeal Olmert's acquittal in a recent corruption case.

Israel’s upcoming elections: No hope we can believe in
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

Israel’s next elections will take place in a bit more than three months, and there have been some interesting developments. Aryeh Deri’s return to the helm of Shas might turn this party from an appendix to the anti-democratic right-wing policies of the current coalition into a more productive contributor to urgently needed social policies.

For Ehud Olmert, it's now or never
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - (Analysis) October 12, 2012 - 12:00am

A day after announcing an early election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got into his armored car and made the short trip from his office to the official residence of President Shimon Peres. Veteran Government Press Office photographer Moshe Milner took their picture sitting side by side and having a cozy chat. Yet just two months ago, Netanyahu had his confidants rebuke Peres for daring to make public his opposition to the idea of an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities before the U.S. presidential election and without coordination with Washington.

If Netanyahu wins
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Jansen - (Opinion) October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

On Monday, the Israeli Knesset did Benjamin Netanyahu’s bidding by dissolving itself and going for an election on January 22. Netanyahu decided to opt for an early election because his right-wing government could not agree on an austerity budget and his Likud bloc is certain to win in 2013 with an increased majority.

What is EU doing for peace in Palestine?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Stuart Reigeluth - (Opinion) October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Despite the current crises within different member states of the European Union, the creation of such a supra-national body to encourage trade, social cohesion, and political unity is without a doubt an incredible achievement. Regardless of the pros and cons of creating a homogenous proto-European and the heavy bureaucratic structure of the overpaid institutions that are each day more and more distant from the majority of citizens who are outside the Brussels bubble, the EU has successfully created a peaceful ambiance to avoid the devastations of war.

Neither "Best Friend" Nor "Anti-Israel"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from ACCESS
by Gil Troy - (Opinion) October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

Washington Post editorial on October 16 matter of factly stated the obvious: that President Barack Obama “sought to publicly distance himself from Israel early in his term” and that Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu “have made a mess of their personal relationship.” Both of these statements are quite obvious even to many casual observers of the Middle East.

Hebron's Independent Women, Part I
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Simran Sachdev - (Editorial) October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

This Saturday, the West Bank city of Hebron will hold its first municipal elections in over three and a half decades. While this is critical for Hebron’s people, what makes these elections remarkable is the first all-women list to ever run in Palestinian politics.

A UN victory could be costly for Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) October 17, 2012 - 12:00am

Can the Palestinians afford the UN recognition they seek? That is the question their leadership must ask itself as it presses for a vote next month on its application to upgrade its status from observer to non-member state. The issue is being couched by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas in terms of prestige and improved bargaining position for possible peace talks with Israel, but that conflicts with reality. The Palestinians already have diplomatic recognition by some 120 countries and that has put them no closer to statehood.

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