Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: During his visit to Gaza, the Emir of Qatar pledges $400 million in reconstruction aid. The visit may be a historic breakthrough for Hamas. Four more Palestinians are killed in Israeli air raids on Gaza after an Israeli soldier is injured by a bomb in the border area and three Israelis are wounded by rocket attacks on southern Israel. A Palestinian is arrested trying to smuggle bombs into Jerusalem. Palestinians say Israel has destroyed five Palestinian wells near Jenin. Public sector strikes are once again gaining momentum in the occupied West Bank. Israel's High Court issues an injunction on separation barrier construction near a West Bank farming village. The PLO is reportedly circulating a position paper to European governments on its renewed UN bid. An Israeli military court rules soldiers must act to stop illegal settlement construction. FM Lieberman vows to continue to raise the issue of Jewish refugees and migrants from the Arab world. The Palestinian ambassador in Lebanon insists there was no Palestinian involvement in recent armed clashes in Beirut. Some Americans in Israel are more forcefully backing Mitt Romney. COMMENTARY: Efraim Halevy says historically it is Republicans, not Democrats, that have put sustained pressure on Israel. Adam Gonn says support for PM Netanyahu is not negatively affected by fighting with militants in Gaza. Many experts believe the Qatari visit to Gaza provides an international opening for Hamas. Muhannad Abd al-Hamid says Qatar and Hamas may be trying to establish a quasi-independent emirate in Gaza, with Israel's blessing. Eric Yoffie says Jewish and Protestant Americans may be headed towards an irreparable rift on Israel. Merav Michaeli says Israel isn't showing respect for its treaties with Egypt and Jordan, let alone evincing interest in peace with the Palestinians. Hagai Segal says Likud should learn from the volatile US presidential campaign, but isn't. The Jerusalem Post says Israel needs to do more to improve educational services for Arab citizens. Rachel Shabi joins those declaring the two-state solution "dead." Brant Rosen defends a letter by American Christian groups to Congress questioning aid to Israel as "reasonable" and “sensitively worded.” Shibley Telhami says it's not at all clear if American voters really care which presidential candidate supports Israel more. Noam Shelef says Gideon Levy misrepresented recent poll numbers regarding Israeli attitudes on apartheid. Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff say Hamas has changed its policy on not attacking Israel.

Qatar’s Emir Visits Gaza, Pledging $400 Million to Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Jodi Rudoren - October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The emir of Qatar on Tuesday became the first head of state to visit the Gaza Strip since Hamas took full control of it in 2007, the latest step in an ambitious campaign by the tiny Persian Gulf nation to leverage its outsize pocketbook in support of Islamists across the region — and one that threatened to widen the rift between rival Palestinian factions.

Qatar visit breaks Gaza ice, delights Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA, Oct 23 (Reuters) - The Emir of Qatar embraced the Hamas leadership of Gaza on Tuesday with an official visit that broke the isolation of the Palestinian Islamist movement, to the dismay of Israel and rival, Western-backed Palestinian leaders.

Israeli airstrikes kill 4, injure 8 in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Multiple Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip have killed four people and injured eight since late Tuesday, medics said. Israeli warplanes struck a target in Rafah early Wednesday, killing Muhammad al-Sheikh, 32, a member of the PRC's military wing the Nasser Saladin Brigades. One other person was also injured in the attack.

Bomb wounds Israeli officer on Gaza border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Maayan Lubell - October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM - An Israeli officer was severely wounded on Tuesday when a bomb went off beside an army patrol along the border with the Gaza Strip, a military spokeswoman said. The attack came hours before the Emir of Qatar arrived in Gaza in the first visit by a head of state to the blockaded enclave since it was taken over in 2007 by the Iranian-backed Islamist Hamas movement. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will deliver a strong response to the attack. "We will fight and we will hit them very, very hard," Netanyahu said.

More than 70 rockets and mortars hit south Israel, three wounded
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

Militants in the Gaza Strip fired more than 70 rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel over the course of Wednesday, leaving three people wounded.

Palestinian caught trying to smuggle bombs into Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Israeli border police at a busy checkpoint between Palestinian-held areas and Jerusalem on Tuesday detained a Palestinian man found trying to smuggle pipe bombs into the city.

Local official: Israel destroys 5 water wells in Jenin
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

JENIN (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces destroyed five water wells in a Jenin village on Wednesday, claiming the structures were unlicensed, a local official said. Muhammad Fahmi Maree, head of a local agricultural association, told Ma'an that an Israeli bulldozer, accompanied by military vehicles, destroyed the wells in Kafr Dan village.

Strikes paralyze West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority cabinet on Tuesday called on civil servants to go back to work as strikes in ministries, universities, schools and refugee camps paralyzed the West Bank. The cabinet in its weekly meeting said employees who continued to strike would be "held liable."

High Court bans work on separation fence near West Bank farming village
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

An injunction against beginning work on the separation fence between Israel and the West Bank in the area of the village of Batir was issued by the High Court of Justice Tuesday. The injunction followed a petition to the court by villagers, who say its construction would threaten ancient agricultural terraces and contravene a historic agreement made after the 1948 war.

Palestinians seek to enhance UN status to observer state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

The Palestine Liberation Organization will distribute a position paper to European governments on Wednesday, asking to enhance Palestine's United Nations status to that of Observer State. The document will emphasize that the request is a follow-up to its existing application for UN membership, submitted on September 23, 2011.

IDF judge: Troops must halt unlicensed settlement construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

An Israeli military court has ruled that soldiers and police officers assigned to guard construction sites at West Bank settlements must ask to see building permits for the work, and to stop work at the site if valid licenses are not forthcoming.

Liberman vows to emphasize Jewish refugee issue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jeremy Sharon - October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

“We will not give up on this goal,” Liberman told representatives from the Central Organization for Jews from Arab Countries and Iran on Tuesday afternoon in reference recent developments on his ministry’s efforts to bring the issue of Jewish refugee rights to public and diplomatic attention.

Ambassador denies Palestinian involvement in armed clashes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Mohammed Zaatari - October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

MAJDALYOUN, Lebanon: The Palestinian ambassador to Lebanon and representatives of rival factions said Tuesday that Palestinians were not involved in the recent armed clashes that erupted in Beirut.

Among Americans in Israel, More Forceful Backing for Romney
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Americans living in Israel went to the polls this week, dropping sealed envelopes into improvised ballot boxes at community centers in this city and at other locations around the country.  Instead of a unifying experience, though, participating in the November presidential elections from afar seemed to accentuate the distance between the American Jewish voters here and those back in the United States.

Who Threw Israel Under the Bus?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Efraim Halevy - (Opinion) October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

ON Monday, in their final debate, Mitt Romney denounced President Obama for creating “tension” and “turmoil” with Israel and chided him for having “skipped Israel” during his travels in the Middle East. Throughout the campaign, Mr. Romney has repeatedly accused Mr. Obama of having “thrown allies like Israel under the bus.”

Support for Netanyahu not to be affected by Gaza region fighting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Adam Gonn - (Analysis) October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is standing for re-election on Jan. 22 next year and most polls indicate that his Likud party would become the largest party in Knesset (parliament) and that he would form the next government.

Qatari Emir's Gaza visit may boost Hamas rule to international open-up
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
(Analysis) October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- The visit of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa al Thani on Tuesday to the Gaza Strip is politically symbolic, as it was the first ever visit of an Arab leader since Hamas' violent takeover of the coastal enclave in June 2007.

Qatar Emir's Gaza Visit Shifts Focus Onto Palestinian Unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ayyam
by Mohannad Abdel Hamid - (Opinion) October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

The visit of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, to the Gaza Strip raises big questions: Will Qatar and its Emir reinforce the separation between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and abandon the efforts to end the state of division which culminated in the Doha Agreement? Or will the visit carry a surprise?

Heading toward an irreparable rift between U.S. Jews and Protestants
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Eric H. Yoffie - (Opinion) October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

There have always been ups and downs in the relations between mainline Protestants and American Jews, but they have now hit a 45-year low.  And this time, they may not recover.

Contempt for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Merav Michaeli - (Opinion) October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

"It would be best for the European Union to concentrate now on the problems arising between the various peoples and nationalities on European soil," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in response to the EU's condemnation of Israel's plan to build 800 new housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. "When those problems are satisfactorily solved, we will be happy to hear proposals from the EU on how to solve the problems with the Palestinians."

Lesson in arrogance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hagai Segal - (Opinion) October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

The fascinating turnarounds in the US election campaign should have been an important lesson in humility for Likud, but instead the ruling party's arrogance is reaching new heights. It has learned nothing from the sad case of Obama, who in one debate managed to lose his significant lead in the polls.

Improving Arab education
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

As the academic year kicked off this week, the Hebrew University honored the incoming freshman who received the highest grade on the psychometric entrance exam. The winner was Hamza Morad, of the Arab-Muslim town Bu’eine Nujeidat in the North.

The death of the Israel-Palestine two-state solution brings fresh hope
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rachel Shabi - (Opinion) October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

We could argue over who killed it, but what's the point? It's increasingly obvious that a continued insistence on zombie peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians is deluded, because the two-state principle framing them is dead.

Christians’ letter was reasonable, worded sensitively
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Brant Rosen - (Opinion) October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

CHICAGO (JTA) -- There has long been an unwritten covenant between the Jewish establishment and Christian leaders when it comes to interfaith dialogue: “We can talk about any religious issues we like, but criticism of Israel’s human rights violations is off limits.”

Who's the Bigger Friend of Israel — And Do Voters Really Care?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Shibley Telhami - (Opinion) October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

One of the striking aspects of the third presidential debate was the frequent mention of Israel (34 times). Western Europe and the challenges facing the European Union, or Mexico and Latin America hardly registered. It is as if the Israel issue is a burning one in American politics, or that the American public is dying to see which candidate supports Israel more. Neither is close to the truth.

That Poll's Apartheid Problem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Noam Shelef - (Opinion) October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

The front page of today's Haaretz featured an article by Gideon Levy about a dramatic survey of Israeli Jewish public opinion. I admire Gideon Levy. He's had the courage over the years to document some of the ugliest aspects of the occupation.

Hamas policy on attacking Israel has changed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Analysis) October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

Maybe it's the support it received from the official visit of the Qatari emir, maybe it's Hamas' feeling that it has restrained itself for too long in light of the Israeli assassinations of extremist Jihad activists in Gaza – what is apparent, based on the heavy rocket attack from the Strip on Wednesday morning, is that Hamas has changed its policy on attacks against Israel.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017