Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: There is a lull in fighting between Israel and militants in Gaza after Egypt brokers a truce. Israel claimed 79 rockets were fired at it from Gaza. Israel says it has “no knowledge” about an attack in Sudan.Palestinians and Israelis protest a settlement supermarket. Hamas sources again say Moussa Abu Marzouk is likely to be the next leader of its Politburo. More Israelis are being drawn to the idea of annexing the West Bank without providing equal rights to its Palestinian residents and jettisoning Gaza. Israel has reopened two Gaza crossings. Israel warns any renewed Palestinian UN bid will have “far-reaching consequences.” The US extends $4 billion in new loan guarantees to Israel. Israel's vice premier says the new Egyptian government of Pres. Morsy is harsher on Hamas than the former Mubarak regime. Israel deports activists from a blockade-breaking ship bound for Gaza. The embattled Zionist Organization of America cancels its annual gala after losing its tax-exempt status. Young Palestinian voters seemed disconnected from recent local elections. The Palestinian Hotel Association says its members boast a 90% occupancy rate. COMMENTARY: ATFP Pres. Ziad Asali says US elections matter and the American political system is open to all participants. Hussein Ibish says policies of the West, Israel and the Arab states are, wittingly or unwittingly, strengthening Hamas at the expense of the PA. Tariq Alhomayed says the price for Qatar's “guardianship” of Gaza is not yet clear but will be high for all. The National says the Qatari visit to Gaza is a sign of regional changes. Gideon Levy gives his view of the range of Jewish Israeli opinion. Aaron David Miller interviews former Mossad chief Halevy. Talal Awkal says Palestinian elections won't be effective until democracy is established and rights are respected.

Lull in fighting between Israel, Gaza militants
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM —A deadly flare-up in fighting between Israel and Gaza's militant Hamas group subsided on Thursday after Egypt helped to restore calm ahead of a major Muslim holiday.

Egypt brokers informal Israel-Gaza truce
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Palestinian fighters held fire overnight Thursday and Israel refrained from airstrikes as an informal truce brokered by Egypt appeared to take hold following two days of violence along the Israel-Gaza border. Palestinians had launched dozens of rockets into Israel over the preceding two days and Israel conducted a number of air raids on the coastal enclave, raising fears of a prolonged, bloody confrontation between the two sides. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the last known rocket was fired from Gaza on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.

Israel says 79 rockets fired at it from Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jeffrey Heller - October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Palestinians fired dozens of rockets into Israel from Gaza on Wednesday and an Israeli air strike killed a militant, a day after the Emir of Qatar made a rare visit to the enclave's Hamas leadership. Hamas claimed responsibility for some of the rocket and mortar bomb attacks, prompting some Israelis to wonder whether it had been emboldened by the Qatari visit on Tuesday that broke the Islamist group's diplomatic isolation.

Israel claims "no knowledge" about Sudanese allegations of arms plant attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli Foreign Ministry on Wednesday claimed they have "absolutely no knowledge" about the allegations by Sudanese officials over Israel's involvement in a " mysterious" explosion of a Khartoum ammunition plant. Yigal Palmor, spokesperson for the ministry, told Xinhua that the ministry do not know anything regarding the explosion.

Palestinians, Israeli left-wingers protest settlement supermarket
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Dozens of Palestinians and Israeli left-wing activists on Wednesday blocked the entrance to a supermarket located in a West Bank settlement industrial zone north of Ramallah. The protesters, waving Palestinian flags, burst into the branch of the Rami Levy chain and called for the boycott of settlement- manufactured foods and goods marketed at the store.

Hamas to appoint Abu Marzouk as chief: sources
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Hamas is considering appointing Moussa Abu Marzouk, currently deputy head of the Hamas politburo, to replace Khaled Mashaal as the movement's chief, sources said Wednesday. The Shurra council of Hamas, the Islamic Palestinian movement that rules the Gaza Strip, made the decision to appoint Abu Marzouk after a series of meetings in Cairo last week, the sources said.

Momentum builds for Gaza to secede, Israel and West Bank to become one
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Christa Case Bryant - October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

After decades of the "two states for two people" blueprint more or less dominating proposals for Israeli-Palestinian peace, a new paradigm is gaining momentum. Under this model, Israel absorbs the West Bank and its 2.5 million Palestinians, while Hamas-run Gaza becomes a separate entity aligned with the Middle East’s rising Islamist powers.

Israel re-opens 2 Gaza Strip crossings
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities have re-opened the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings into the Gaza Strip after closing them a day earlier, Palestinian and Israeli officials said Thursday. Palestinian border official Raed Fattouh told Ma'an that Israel would allow 167 truckloads of medical aid, clothes, shoes, fruit, and livestock to enter Gaza. An Israeli liaison official confirmed that both crossings were operating Thursday. They had been closed due to the "security situation" on the border, an official said Wednesday.

Israel: UN bid risks 'far-reaching consequences'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel on Wednesday threatened "difficult and far-reaching consequences" of plans to upgrade Palestine's status in the United Nations next month. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman relayed the warning during talks with visiting EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Jerusalem, a statement from his office said. If President Mahmoud Abbas "continues unilateral measures against Israel in the UN General Assembly, there will be difficult and far-reaching consequences," Lieberman told Ashton.

U.S. extends $4 billion loan guarantees to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by TheMarker - October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

The United States extended its $4 billion loan guarantees to Israel by another four years on Wednesday. U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and Doron Cohen, the director general of Israel's Finance Ministry, signed an agreement extending the loan program until 2016.

'Morsi harsher on Hamas than previous regime'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh, Ben Hartman, Yaakov Lappin - October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

Defying expectations, the current regime in Egypt has acted more harshly against Hamas than the previous one, Vice Premier Silvan Shalom told Israel Radio on Thursday. "It's good for the public to know that the current leadership is acting against Hamas in a very tough way," Shalom said, specifying that it is destroying tunnels "one after the other," limiting movement and blocking it from carrying out terrorist activity from Egyptian territory.

Israel deports activists from Gaza-bound ship
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

Immigration authorities on Wednesday deported 15 international activists who were arrested after their ship, the Estelle, attempted to break Israel's naval blockade of Gaza. The pro-Palestinian activists were sent back to their homelands, with two more scheduled to be deported late Wednesday night. Ten other activists were deported on Sunday and Monday. Three of the activists are Israeli and were released on bail.

ZOA Cancels Annual Fundraising Dinner
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Josh Nathan-Kazis - October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

The Zionist Organization of America has canceled its annual fundraising dinner because of the loss of its tax-exempt status, the organization has confirmed. The fundraiser, usually held in late November or early December, is a key annual event for the group. Recent galas have drawn such high-profile speakers as conservative talk show host Glenn Beck and Republican Rep. Eric Cantor, the House majority leader.

Palestinians Stage Elections; Young Voters Shrug
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from 972 Magazine
by Lena Odgaard - October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

Ramallah, West Bank — Despite Hamas’ boycott of the Palestinian municipal elections and a discouraging 55% turnout, candidates and observers alike saw the Oct. 20 poll as essential to re-establish political legitimacy in the city councils after a seven-year voting hiatus. But among the young electorate, Al-Monitor found few who believed their vote mattered.

Palestinian Authority Hotels Boast A 90% Room Occupancy Rate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'ariv
by Gidi Lipkin - October 22, 2012 - 12:00am

Over 90% occupancy has been recorded in the Palestinian Authority hotels, and 95% of the guests are tourists. It has thus been reported by the Palestinian Hotel Association. In Bethlehem and its environs, for instance, 3,000 hotel rooms are available in 30 hotels — an increase of 1,000 rooms since September 2011. In 2013, 700 additional hotel rooms are expected to be built.

American Elections Matter and the System is Open
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Hayat
by Ziad Asali - (Opinion) October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

The silly season, the protracted multibillion dollar period of escalating frenzy leading up to US national elections, is coming to a close. All that is said or done in this season is fair if it is deemed legal. The game ends with one winner while two parties share the uneven pie of diffuse power across the nation.  The United States and its elections matter. What other countries do not know about the US system, including elections, cost them.

Hamas Rising?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

Is everyone conspiring to undermine the Palestinian Authority and promote Hamas? This morning, in the context of yesterday's visit of the Emir of Qatar to Gaza, with his pledges of massive financial and diplomatic support, it sure looks that way. The biggest threat to the PA is a fiscal crisis originating in its quixotic U.N. membership bid of September 2012, which produced a confrontation with its main donors, particularly the United States.

Gaza and Qatari guardianship
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

The visit of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, to the Gaza Strip has raised some criticism, specifically from the Palestinian Authority. However this visit also raises a lot of questions, most importantly: Does the visit of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa mean that Gaza is now under Qatari guardianship, after it was previously under the guardianship of Iran and Bashar al-Assad?

Qatar initiative in Gaza signals a regional shift
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

For a visit that last just six hours - the same as a return flight from Doha to Cairo - the visit of the Emir of Qatar to the Gaza Strip could have remarkable consequences for long-term regional events. For Palestinians hammered by Israel's blockade since 2007, it represented a victory: not merely a challenge to the blockade by an Arab state, but a reminder that Gazans are not alone and not forgotten. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani was the first Arab leader to visit the Strip since Jordan's King Abdullah in 1999.

Meet the Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

Nice to make your acquaintance, we're racist and pro-apartheid. The poll whose results were published in Haaretz on Tuesday, conducted by Dialog and commissioned by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund, proved what we always knew, if not so bluntly. It's important to recognize the truth that has been thrown in our faces and those of the world (where the survey is making waves ). But it's even more important to draw the necessary conclusions from it.

The Spymaster
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Interview) October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

In December 1998, then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright sent me to Israel and the West Bank to monitor the first phase of the recently concluded Wye River Memorandum, a soon-to-be-forgotten agreement President Bill Clinton had brokered between then Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Disappointing Palestine Elections Point to Fundamental Issues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ayyam
by Talal Awkal - (Opinion) October 22, 2012 - 12:00am

The results of the municipal elections did not meet the expectations of election officials in the West Bank. In fact, the outcome of the elections reflects the worsening political scene across the Palestinian territories. These local elections, which were supposed to be a cause for celebration for Palestinians, were a far cry from the 2006 legislative elections, which many Arabs wish to witness again. These were the first municipal elections to take place in seven years, and only occurred following repeated delays.

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