Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel approves settlement expansions near occupied East Jerusalem.Palestinians begin municipal elections in the occupied West Bank, but face a lack of competition due to a boycott by Hamas. Over 1,000 women are running in the election. A spokesman for Pres. Morsy confirms the authenticity of a letter to Pres. Peres. Both Lebanese and Israelis are annoyed by the TV show “Homeland.” Experts say Jewish Americans are still solidly Democratic. Syrian rebels assassinate a pro-Assad Palestinian activist. Hamas vows to capture more Israeli soldiers. Some Palestinian citizens of Israel say voting is pointless for them, and a new report suggest their towns receive inferior public transportation. Palestinians and settlers trade accusations over this year's olive harvest. Palestinians released in last year's prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas vowed to continue "resistance.”Controversies rage over street-naming in Jerusalem. Palestinians in the West Bank say brewing beer is a form of resistance to occupation. COMMENTARY: Ha'aretz interviews former Amb. Gabriella Shalev, who says she couldn't represent Israel under the current circumstances. Gideon Levy says Israeli statesmen are perennially the “almost-peacemakers.”Patrick Seale says Gaza is a demographic and humanitarian timebomb. Dawoud Abu Lebdeh asks if the PA could deploy civil disobedience as a tool of resistance to the occupation. Ahmad Majdoubeh says Pres. Abbas' decision to try to resume negotiations with Israel after a UN vote is sound. Raja Shehadeh describes Israeli and Palestinian remembrances of the Nakba. Dmitry Shumsky says history doesn't provide a basis for comparing the experiences of Jewish and Palestinian refugees. Paul Pillar says the US must not neglect the need for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Israel approves more expansion of settlement near Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ori Lewis - October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Israel on Thursday issued a detailed plan for the building of some 800 new homes on annexed land in the West Bank that is certain to attract further international condemnation of its settlement policies. A planning committee issued a call for bids from contractors to start building 797 housing units on the western slopes of the urban settlement of Gilo, an area that Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war and later declared part of Jerusalem. The annexation has never been recognised internationally.

Palestinian local elections kick off in West Bank among concerns
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian municipal elections started in the West Bank Thursday for the first time since 2005 among concerns of excluding the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The voting on Thursday was allocated for policemen and security staff, and the polling stations will be open for more than 518,000 eligible voters Saturday, Palestinian officials said.

Palestinians, heading to the polls, complain about lack of competition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Karin Brulliard, Sufian Taha - October 19, 2012 - 12:00am

HEBRON, West Bank — When local elections open on Saturday, Palestinians across the West Bank will exercise their right to vote for the first time in six years. Here in this city, the poll will carry even more significance: A long 37 years have passed since residents last cast ballots for their municipal council.

More than 1,000 women running in Palestinian elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CNN
by Samuel Burke, Claire Calzonetti - October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

This Saturday, Palestinians in the West Bank will hold elections for the first time in six years, voting for municipal leaders. It takes place against a backdrop of a deep sense of frustration with the split between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, the stalled economy, and the stalemate with Israel over final statehood. What's so unusual about this election is the number of women running.  Maysoun Qawasmi is leading the first all-female independent ticket, their slogan: 'by participating, we can'.

Morsi’s office confirms warm letter to Peres is authentic
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times of Israel
October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

A spokesman for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi confirmed on Thursday that the president had sent a letter to Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres calling him a good friend. The letter, presented to Peres by incoming ambassador Atef Salem on Wednesday, sparked an outcry in Egypt for marking a new level of normalization, with one Muslim Brotherhood official calling it a “fabrication.”

TV show 'Homeland' irks Lebanese, Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Bassem Mroue - October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

BEIRUT —Militants carrying assault weapons clear the area around a street, shouting in Arabic for people to get out of the way. A jeep pulls up: The world's No. 1 jihadi has arrived for a meeting with top Hezbollah commanders. On rooftops, U.S. snipers crouch unseen, the kingpin in their crosshairs at last. The scene, from a recent episode of the hit U.S. Showtime series "Homeland," is supposed to be Beirut. But it is really in Israel, a country similar enough in some areas to stand in for Lebanon, yet a world away in most other respects.

Scholars say Jewish shift to GOP a long way off
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Rachel Zoll - October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

NEW YORK —Like Chicago Cubs fans in spring, Jewish Republicans start every presidential election season hoping this will be their year: American Jews, who have voted overwhelmingly Democratic for decades, will start a significant shift to the political right. But scholars who study Jewish voting patterns say not this year. Or anytime soon, for that matter. Although recent studies have found potential for some movement toward the GOP, analysts say any revolution in the U.S. Jewish vote is a long way off.

Syrian rebels 'killed Palestinian leader'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 19, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Gunmen from the Free Syrian Army on Friday assassinated a Palestinian leader in Deraa refugee camp, the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command said. Free Syrian Army rebels shot dead PFLP-GC leader Adel Hasan in the southern Syrian city, PFLP-GC said in a statement. PFLP-GC added that Palestinians would continue to support the Syrian people and resist "terrorists" trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

Hamas vows to kidnap more Israeli soldiers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Hamas vowed Thursday to abduct more Israeli soldiers and hold them as bargaining chips for militants in Israeli jails, on the anniversary of the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. A Hamas spokesman said that "soldiers of the enemy can be a target anytime, they can be killed, wounded or held captive by militants."

Many disillusioned Arabs say voting is pointless
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ilene Prusher - October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

At the Khubez bakery and coffee shop in the village of Abu Ghosh, west of Jerusalem, men meet for coffee and conversation every morning. Faisal Abdul Rahman is in the minority, because he says he’ll vote in national elections this January. Most of the others, including Muhammad Ibrahim – who has worked with Abdul Rahman in construction in the past – say that voting is pointless.

Israeli Arabs face inferior public transportation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ilene Prusher - October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Every morning, Nama Abu Ghosh takes a 15-minute walk from her home in the village that shares her last name and heads for a bus stop in Telz Stone, the adjacent haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community also known as Kiryat Ye’arim. Even though Abu Ghosh has almost twice as many residents as Telz Stone – 6,270 in the former versus 3,158 in the latter, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics – buses to the Arab village are much more infrequent.

As Olive Harvest Begins Palestinians, Israelis Trade Accusations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Linda Gradstein - October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

[Aboud, West Bank] – Wearing a white hat with a flap to protect his neck from the hot sun, 57-year old Khalil Muallem, climbs on a stepladder and disappears into the green leafy branches of an olive tree. He carefully plucks the black fruit by hand, dropping them one by one into a bucket.

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.

In Jerusalem, even street naming can be divisive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
October 19, 2012 - 12:00am

In East Jerusalem, addresses in many Palestinian neighborhoods are nonexistent. Without street names and house numbers, people identify where they live by adjacent landmarks: "opposite the mosque," or "next to the corner bakery." Bills and mail are delivered to those fortunate enough to have post office boxes or by local couriers familiar with the homes and people living on the unmarked streets.

‘Making beer is a form of resistance’: brewing West Bank tensions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Crikey
by Matthew Clayfield - October 19, 2012 - 12:00am

Beer brewers in Palestine lost many of their customers when the Israeli walls went up. But one defiant ale maker says it’s all part of a resistance fight for freedom. The most famous section of the Israeli-West Bank separation barrier is also the shortest: the eight feet tall concrete slabs festooned with anti-Zionist graffiti, the vast majority of it written, somewhat tellingly, in languages other than Arabic, make up only 6% of the structure’s total length.

Former Israeli ambassador to UN: 'I couldn't represent Israel now'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ayelett Shani - (Interview) October 19, 2012 - 12:00am

You once made a statement that stuck in my mind: “The United Nations is the place where all the hatred is concentrated.”

Israeli statesmen are the almost-peacemakers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Once every few years, usually before the elections, a story of this kind comes out. An Israeli statesman was a hairbreadth away from achieving peace. Had he only had two months more, even two weeks more, the great peace would have been signed, forever. Shimon Peres almost achieved peace with the London Agreement; Ehud Barak almost did so at Camp David; Ehud Olmert almost had it with Mahmoud Abbas, and with Bashar Assad too. Even Tzipi Livni came close with Ahmed Qureia, and the Oslo agreement was of course almost peace.

Gaza siege: A bomb waiting to explode
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Patrick Seale - (Opinion) October 19, 2012 - 12:00am

One of the most urgent tasks for the international community in 2013 must surely be to lift Israel’s cruel siege of Gaza, now entering its sixth year, and end the misguided boycott of its Hamas government.

Can the Palestinian Authority lead with civil disobedience?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Dawoud Abu Lebdeh - (Opinion) October 19, 2012 - 12:00am

Last month, large protests swept through major cities in the West Bank. In some places the demonstrations escalated into destruction of public property and a display of anarchy, while in others they were calm and collected. Peaceful or otherwise, the various demonstrations shared a common grievance: the economic policies of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, recently highlighted after price hikes on main consumer items such as fuel and flour.These protests have called into question whether the Palestinian Authority is still able to lead the Palestinian people.

Abbas’ right decision
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Ahmad Majdoubeh - (Opinion) October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to talk peace with Israel only after the Palestinian bid for UN non-member state status is accepted is correct.

The Nakba, Then and Now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
by Raja Shehadeh - (Editorial) October 16, 2012 - 12:00am

LYDDA, Israel — Last Friday, some 40 Israeli Jews and Arabs gathered in Lydda, a small mixed Arab-Israeli city less than 10 miles southeast of Tel Aviv, for “a study tour” featuring “Zionist testimonies from 1948.” It was part of the project Towards a Common Archive, sponsored by Zochrot (Hebrew for remembering), an Israeli organization that hopes to bring “awareness and recognition of the Nakba” to Jewish Israelis so that they can take “responsibility for this tragedy.”

The Jewish refugee, hypothetically speaking
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Dmitry Shumsky - (Opinion) October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Let's consider the following hypothetical scenario: At the end of World War I the Allied Powers decide to offer national self-determination to the Arab entity of the Ottoman Empire, and give their blessing to the founding of a single, broad Arab state in the region. Immediately upon establishment, this new state halts Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel and begins a relentless persecution of the local Zionism movement, claiming that it threatens to rip the historic land from the Islamic nation.  

Don't Neglect an Israeli-Palestinian Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National Interest
by Paul Pillar - (Opinion) October 18, 2012 - 12:00am

Leon Hadar in these spaces has commended as a “sensible stance” toward the Israeli-Palestinian a policy, enunciated by a prominent American politician, that “we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.” Hadar criticizes “some self-proclaimed foreign-policy realists,” implying that their belief that “Washington can and ought to help make peace between Israelis and Palestinians” somehow contradicts realist criticisms of neocon ambitions to remake the Middle

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