Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Fatah scores a mixed result in Palestinian municipal elections, which Hamas boycotted. Palestinian voters are driven by civic duty and economic concerns. Some analysts say the result was a failure for Fatah. Israel seizes control of an activist ship bound for Gaza. Israeli forces kill 2 militants in Gaza. PM Netanyahu says there will be no limit on Israeli settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem. The Emir of Qatar is expected to visit Gaza this week. The Israeli government defers a decision on the Levy Committee Report. Israel is planning to build a National Defense College in occupied East Jerusalem near the Mount of Olives. The rise of Salafists in Gaza robs Hamas of the banner of “resistance.” The Israeli military thinks Hamas is gaining strength in the occupied West Bank. Extremist Jewish Israelis are suspected in an attack on a Palestinian taxi. COMMENTARY: Khaled Diab says Israel has squandered many opportunities on peace. Akiva Eldar says Arabs need to do more to sell the Arab Peace Initiative. Susan Hattis Rolef says Netanyahu won't make the mistake of accepting the Levy Committee Report recommendations. Philip French reviews the film "5 Broken Cameras.” Jonathan Freedland chides those quick to condemn Israel but seemingly uninterested in atrocities committed by the Syrian regime. Noam Marans complains about a letter from American Christian groups to Congress questioning aid to Israel. Moriel Rothman explains a decision not to serve in the Israeli military. Stephen Spiegel says Pres. Obama has a good record on Israel. Keith Koffler says in tonight's presidential campaign debate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has a chance to win over Jewish Americans. Gershom Gorenberg says former PM Olmert does not offer solutions to the problems posed by Netanyahu's leadership.

Mixed Results for Fatah Amid Low Turnout in Municipal Elections in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Jodi Rudoren - October 20, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The dominant Fatah faction of the Palestinian Authority posted mixed results in municipal elections across the West Bank on Saturday, winning in some key cities and losing in others, but with the whole exercise appearing compromised by a relatively low turnout.

Civic Duty and Economic Worries Drive Palestinian Voters in Parts of West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Jodi Rudoren - October 21, 2012 - 12:00am

AL BIREH, West Bank — More than half the Palestinians who participated in municipal elections on Saturday said they did so because they saw voting as a civic duty, twice the portion giving the next most popular reason.

Analysts: Despite Hamas absence, elections still Fatah failure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 22, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The first elections held in the West Bank for six years reflect how frustrated Palestinians are with their political system and ruling party Fatah, political observers said Sunday. The poll was held on Saturday in 92 of the 353 municipalities in the West Bank. Other seats were uncontested, creating automatic winners, or failed to register any candidates in this round, and will hold polls next month.

Israel Seizes Activist Ship en Route to Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Jodi Rudoren - October 20, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The Israeli Navy on Saturday seized a European ship headed to the Gaza Strip to try to break Israel’s maritime blockade against the Hamas-controlled region and diverted it to an Israeli port.

Palestinians: Israeli airstrike kills 2 Gazans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
October 22, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli aircraft struck the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, killing two Palestinian militants, after mortar attacks targeted Israeli troops earlier in the day, officials said.

Israel's Netanyahu: no limit on Jerusalem building
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
October 21, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel's prime minister vowed on Sunday to continue building in east Jerusalem, despite objections from Palestinians who claim the territory as capital of their hoped-for state.

Qatar's emir to head to Hamas-ruled Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak - October 21, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The ruler of Qatar is expected in the Gaza Strip this week, in what would be a major stamp of legitimacy for the territory's Islamic militant Hamas rulers.

Israeli PM defers cabinet decision on report legalizing settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 22, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday postponed a cabinet vote on a controversial report advocating legalizing the status of settlements and outposts in the West Bank.

Israeli local board green lights war college on disputed east Jerusalem plot, objection aroused
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 22, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- A Jerusalem district planning board has okayed construction of a National Defense College near the Mount of Olives on land in dispute with the Palestinians. The 42,000-square-meter structure, according to The Jerusalem Post, is to be erected adjacent to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Mount Scopus campus, from where it overlooks the Old City, less than one kilometer away.

Salafis' rise in Gaza robs Hamas of resistance banner
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - October 15, 2012 - 12:00am

Tel Aviv Israel and Hamas are seeking to restore the relative calm that has prevailed for months after a weekend flare-up in fighting between Israel and Gaza that left at least five Palestinians dead. 

IDF source: Hamas gaining strength in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Lappin - October 21, 2012 - 12:00am

Hamas is getting stronger in the West Bank, but is focusing its activities on indoctrinating Palestinians in its extremist ideology and creating social assistance programs, an IDF source said Sunday.

W. Bank: Vandals graffiti, try to burn Palestinian cab
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ben Hartman - October 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Vandals unsuccessfully tried to torch a Palestinian taxi cab at the entrance to the village of Danya in the southern Hebron Hills region late Sunday night, in what police are investigating as a 'price tag' incident. The vandals also spray-painted "tag mahir" (price tag) on a nearby wall.

Israel's missed opportunities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Khaled Diab - (Opinion) October 22, 2012 - 12:00am

It is 39 years since the 6th October/Yom Kippur war of 1973. After the peace talks in Geneva following the war, Israel’s then-foreign minister, Abba Eban, the ever-articulate founding father of Israeli diplomacy, quipped that, “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

The general from Jeddah must shout louder
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) October 22, 2012 - 12:00am

About a month ago, I participated in one of the many seminars on the Arab Spring taking place around the world. One of the outstanding speakers was a retired general from the Saudi Arabian army who now heads a research institute in Jeddah. The general went out of his way to praise the Arab Peace Initiative that had been the brainchild of Saudi King Abdullah more than a decade ago.

Will Netanyahu change the status of the settlements?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Susan Hattis Rolef - (Opinion) October 21, 2012 - 12:00am

As yet we do not know whether prior to the general elections Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will actually bring to the cabinet for approval parts of the report former Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy submitted to him concerning the legalization of the allegedly illegal outposts in Judea and Samaria.

5 Broken Cameras – review
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Phillip French - (Film Review) October 20, 2012 - 12:00am

Back in the late 70s and early 80s, before he embarked on the grander works that made him famous such as his Decalogue series and his Tricolor trilogy, Krzysztof Kieslowski made a succession of films about politics and personal responsibility. One of the most notable is Camera Buff about Filip, a minor functionary in a provincial Polish town who buys an 8mm camera to photograph his baby daughter.

We condemn Israel. So why the silence on Syria?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jonathan Freedland - (Opinion) October 19, 2012 - 12:00am

We know the government hopes to do nothing, but what about the rest of us? Exactly one year after the death of Muammar Gaddafi, the chances of another round of Libya-style western military intervention, this time for Syria, hover close to zero. Even the hawkish Mitt Romney promises no such thing. Few politicians speak even of non-military options – of which there are many – let alone taking up arms.

Christians’ letter is an unworthy tactic
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Noam E. Marans - (Opinion) October 21, 2012 - 12:00am

NEW YORK (JTA) -- Iran is threatening Israel, the Middle East and the world with the specter of nuclear weapons. Christians across the Middle East are persecuted and martyred in the repercussions of the so-called Arab Spring. But some American Christian leaders are busy dedicating time, money and resources to their habitual demonization of Israel.

Why I Refuse to Serve in the IDF
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Moriel Rothman - (Opinion) October 19, 2012 - 12:00am

American Jews actively supported the civil rights movement. Or so goes the popular narrative in the American Jewish community. For the purposes of this piece, let’s call it “The Narrative.” The values that come along with The Narrative are values that have guided me throughout my life: values of nonviolence, values of anti-racism, and values of disobeying unjust laws.

Obama’s bad for Israel? His record indicates otherwise
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times of Israel
by Steven L. Spiegel - (Opinion) October 19, 2012 - 12:00am

President Obama has been criticized for being antagonistic to or wrong for Israel. Some go so far as to claim that he is the worst president for Israel in American history. Really?

Romney’s big chance with Jewish voters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Keith Koffler - (Opinion) October 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at the Monday foreign policy debate, should play to the Jewish TV audience like he was the star of a Borscht Belt revue.

The Man on a Mud-Stained Horse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Gershom Gorenberg - (Opinion) October 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Somewhere in Israel, a printing house awaits Ehud Olmert's decision on his political plans before printing a Hebrew version of that most despairing of election slogans, "Vote for the Crook. It's Important." Or so you might think while reading Israeli headlines of recent days.

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