Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israeli officials are instructed to keep quiet about potential US-Iranian negotiations. PM Netanyahu and FM Lieberman announce their parties will be running a joint list in the upcoming Israeli election. The heads of Catholic churches in the "holy land" condemn the route of Israel's West Bank separation barrier. Israeli officials complain Egypt is not doing enough to curb militant activity in Sinai. A UN expert calls for a boycott of companies tied to Israeli settlement activity. Arab MKs in Israel are facing an uphill task in mobilizing their community for the upcoming election. Israeli officials worry about the consequences of Israel's reaction to, and diplomatic campaign against, a renewed Palestinian UN bid in November. The Guardian explains why Israel might have been responsible for an attack in Sudan. The EU is moving to strengthen pharmaceutical trade ties with Israel. COMMENTARY: Douglas Hamilton and Nidal al-Mughrabi say Hamas' brinksmanship betrays a quiet confidence. Alaa Tartir and Jeremy Wildeman say World Bank policies consistently fail the Palestinians. Yossi Verter says fear drove Netanyahu and Lieberman into each other's arms. Chemi Shalev says the partnership could backfire. Aluf Benn says the coalition is aimed at war with Iran. Gideon Levy says the present quiet in the occupied West Bank cannot last. Yonah Jeremy Bob says the Goldstone report may have actually strengthened Israel. Nathan Guttman says US Jewish-Christian dialogue in was in trouble long before the controversy over a letter to Congress. Sari Bashi says the next US administration must not allow Israel to deny Palestinian students American scholarships. Patrick Seale asks if the next US administration can change course in the Middle East, especially regarding Israel. Hassan Barari says Israel is a slogan in American politics. Adel Zaanoun says the visit of the Emir of Qatar may have been a coup for Hamas, but it doesn't set the stage for an independent state in Gaza. David Roberts says Qatari meddling in Gaza is mainly aimed at countering Iran. George Hale looks of the dynamics of the PA fiscal crisis.

Israeli Officials Asked to Be Silent on Issue of U.S.-Iran Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Jodi Rudoren - October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent an e-mail on Monday to its embassies and consulates around the world, sharing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration that he had no knowledge about the possibility of bilateral talks between the United States and Iran, and advising others not to speak publicly about the issue.

Netanyahu Announces Coalition With a Nationalist Party
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced Thursday that his conservative Likud Party would run on a joint ticket with the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu Party in January elections. The surprise joining of forces immediately shook up Israel’s political map and was apparently intended to cement Mr. Netanyahu’s chances of leading the next government.

Churches condemn Israeli security barrier
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM —The heads of Catholic churches in the Holy Land are condemning the route of Israel's security barrier near Bethlehem, saying it affects the livelihood of Christian families there. The churches said in a statement that the barrier would affect the lives of 58 families who live off the land.

Israeli official: Egypt not doing enough in Sinai
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM —Israel's vice premier voiced rare public criticism of Egypt on Thursday, saying it isn't doing enough to curb Islamist militants operating in Egypt's Sinai desert. The timing of Moshe Yaalon's comments also appeared unusual, given that Egypt spent the previous day brokering an end to the latest round of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip after several days of rocket fire from Gaza and Israeli airstrikes.

UN expert calls for boycott of companies in settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Michelle Nichols - October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- A frustrated UN investigator on Palestinian human rights urged a boycott of companies tied to Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land on Thursday, while the United States criticized the call as "irresponsible and unacceptable." Richard Falk, the independent special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian Territories, said the companies - which include Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Volvo and Caterpillar - should be boycotted until they adhered to international rights standards and practices.

In Israel, Arab MKs seek the impossible - voters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury - October 26, 2012 - 12:00am

Today, the Arab and Muslim world will observe Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice. The holiday atmosphere has been felt since the start of the week. In recent days, stores and shopping malls in Arab towns and villages in the Galilee and the Little Triangle area of Baka al-Garbiyeh, Taibeh and Tira have been packed. Concurrently, however, support committees operating within mosques report that they are fielding numerous calls for assistance from those lacking the resources to prepare holiday meals.

Ahead of Israel election, PA bid in UN may push Netanyahu to harsh unilateral reaction, diplomats say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - October 26, 2012 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority's bid for UN recognition as a non-member observer state could lead to a new intifada or the PA's collapse, Israeli diplomats are warning countries worldwide as part of an intensive diplomatic campaign against the move.

'Israeli attack' on Sudanese arms factory offers glimpse of secret war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ian Black - October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

No one in Israel is admitting that its pilots carried out a long-range raid against a munitions factory in Sudan, said to be supplying weapons to the Palestinian movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But no one is denying it either. Amos Gilad, a senior defence ministry official, ducked a direct question, praising the capabilities of Israel's air force and calling Sudan "a dangerous terrorist state".

Europe set for closer trade ties with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Ferry Bidermann - October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

ROTTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS // The European Union took a step towards closer trade ties with Israel despite tensions over the construction of settlements in the Palestinian territories. European opponents of Israel's settler policy, including NGOs, several political blocs and activists, now pin their hopes on a growing movement towards a consumer boycott of goods from Israeli settlements. The European parliament voted by a large margin on Tuesday to open up Europe to Israeli pharmaceutical products after years of delays caused by opposition to the settlement policy.

Hamas brinkmanship masks quiet confidence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Douglas Hamilton - (Analysis) October 26, 2012 - 12:00am

GAZA STRIP, Oct 26 (Reuters) - One of 70-odd rockets fired from Gaza into Israel this week hit a chicken coop, critically wounding two Thai migrant workers, innocent bystanders in a deadly game of brinkmanship. If it had killed children on the Israeli farm they work for, Israel and Gaza would probably be at war right now.

World Bank policies persistently fail Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Alaa Tartir, Jeremy Wildeman - (Analysis) October 26, 2012 - 12:00am

The Middle East featured prominently on the agenda of the recent annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Tokyo. But how relevant are these agencies’ policy prescriptions in the context of conflict? In the case of the occupied Palestinian territories they are not only inappropriate but also harmful.

It was fear that drove Netanyahu, Lieberman into each other's arms
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - (Opinion) October 26, 2012 - 12:00am

The Israeli political world was shocked Thursday. While everyone was carefully watching the center-left bloc waiting to see what steps Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni would take, suddenly they were overtaken from the right side of the political map by the October surprise of the 2013 election. The option of a merger between Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu was in the air for the past few months, but it was considered somewhere between unfounded speculation and an unlikely possibility. But Thursday it turned into a shocking electoral reality.

Netanyahu's ‘big bang’ gambit with Lieberman might blow up in his face
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chemi Shalev - (Opinion) October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to reunite with his former protege Avigdor Lieberman is a gamble of epic proportions, a “big bang” of Israeli right wing politics that Netanyahu hopes will ensure his reelection - but which could very well blow up in his face and achieve the opposite outcome.

With Lieberman at his side, Netanyahu's war cabinet is on a one-way track to Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Opinion) October 26, 2012 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a war cabinet last night that will lead Israel into a confrontation with Iran.

The calm before the storm in the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) October 26, 2012 - 12:00am

It's kind of boring in the West Bank. The Gaza Strip has been closed to Israeli journalists for about six years now, and very little is actually happening in the West Bank. There is no way to reflect routine, week after week, no matter how discouraging it is. And the routine of life in the West Bank, we must admit, has been a bit more humane in recent years. The Israeli occupation has become more comfortable, a little.

The Goldstone Report’s positive effects
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yonah Jeremy Bob - (Analysis) October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

The UN’s 2009 Goldstone Report’s scrutiny of Israel for its use of force in Gaza may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. For obvious reasons, most commentators would say that the immediate impact of the document’s harsh criticism of Israel was decisively negative. It exposed the Jewish state not only to bad headlines, which it is used to, but also to the unprecedented possibility of mass international criminal proceedings against everyone, from political leaders, to top commanders, to foot soldiers.

Interfaith Dialogue Troubled Even Before Israel Dispute
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - (Opinion) October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

Frustrated by what he saw as hostility toward Israel, Rabbi Eric Greenberg recalled how a few years ago he presented Christian leaders in an interfaith dialogue with a study highlighting historic Jewish ties to the Holy Land. Sitting across the table, one of the church leaders replied that, according to the prophets, the Jewish people sinned and lost their right to the land.

With Gaza Palestinian students in mind, a call for ‘daylight’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Sari Bashi - (Opinion) October 24, 2012 - 12:00am

TEL AVIV (JTA) -- Like most viewers, I was surprised neither by the prominence of Israel in Monday's foreign policy presidential debate, nor by the jockeying of candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to reassure voters of the absence of "daylight" between the positions of the American and Israeli governments. But a bit of daylight may be just what Israelis, Americans and Palestinians need most right now.

Can the US change course in the Middle East?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Patrick Seale - (Opinion) October 26, 2012 - 12:00am

Who will emerge victorious on November 6? Will it be the sitting President Barack Obama or his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney? In no part of the world will the outcome of the US presidential election be awaited with greater anxiety than in the Middle East. Monday’s foreign policy debate between the two contestants was not reassuring. It did not give Arabs and Muslims any reason to believe that their fundamental problems would be addressed by whoever occupies the White House for the next four years.

Israel a political slogan in American elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Hassan Barari - (Opinion) October 26, 2012 - 12:00am

For decades, Israel has occupied a central place in American elections. It is hard to believe, but neither candidate for American presidential elections can afford to ignore assuring Israel of unqualified American support. Even when Israel’s policies in the region embarrass Washington, Israel gets away in time of elections.

Qatari emir’s Gaza visit seen as move to wean Hamas away from Syria, Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Adel Zaanoun - (Opinion) October 26, 2012 - 12:00am

The Qatari emir’s visit to Gaza may have been a political coup for the Palestinian enclave’s Hamas rulers, but it was not aimed at supporting a separate entity there, analysts say.And many commentators believe that in receiving Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the first head of state to visit since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, Hamas is seeking closer ties with the Gulf states while pulling away from Syria and Iran.

Why Is Qatar Mucking Around in Gaza?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by David B. Roberts - (Opinion) October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

A deeply contrarian streak has taken hold in Qatar these days. Insulated by U.S. security guarantees, eager to use its burgeoning fiscal reserves, and propelled by its elites' reformist zeal, Doha continues to exert a disproportionate influence on regional politics. Emir Hamad bin Khalifah Al Thani's latest move was a dramatic visit to the Gaza Strip, becoming the first head of state to visit the Palestinian territory since Hamas wrested control of it in 2007.

Why The Palestinian Authority Is Broke
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by George Hale - (Opinion) October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

File under: Reading the writing on the wall. As the United States withholds vital aid for the Palestinians, Israel handed over $78 million last week. The early transfer of tax revenues reflects Israeli fears of wider unrest as the crisis strains the Palestinian Authority's budget to the point of government shutdowns over unpaid wages. 

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