Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: PM Netanyahu is seen as moving quickly to try to repair relations with Pres. Obama, and Palestinians appear lukewarm to his victory. Israeli forces and militants in Gaza exchange fire. Israel says it is ready to resume negotiations with the Palestinians without preconditions.Israel and Russia continue intensive consultations. PLO officials insist their renewed UN bid is an effort to save the two-state solution. Hamas says Pres. Abbas is not welcome in Gaza. Quartet envoy Blair says Obama's reelection opens the door for a new push on Middle East peace. Amnesty International declares Palestinian nonviolent protester Bassem Tamimi, now held in Israeli jail, to be a “prisoner of conscience.” Three shells fired from Syria land near an Israeli settlement in the occupied Golan Heights. DM Barak demands the US and Israel work together to thwart a renewed Palestinian UN bid. COMMENTARY: David Ignatius says Israeli-Palestinian peace should be a major priority for a 2nd Obama term. Yossi Sarid apologizes to Obama for Netanyahu's behavior and urges him to resume peace efforts urgently. Ha'aretz says Obama must now face two crucial problems: Iran and Israeli-Palestinian peace. Gideon Levy says Israel desperately needs Obama to save it from its own occupation. Sima Kadmon says Israel will pay a price for Netanyahu's hostility towards Obama. Kamel Abu Jaber wonders whether or not it is wise to raise the issue of a renewed Jordanian role in the West Bank. Michael Jansen says the Palestinians are always the forgotten people, this time in Syria. Yossi Melman says Netanyahu's goal in 2010 was to provoke, not attack, Iran. Hani al-Masri doubts that PM Fayyad intends to resign. Bernard Avishai says Obama should appoint Bill Clinton his new Middle East envoy. Aaron David Miller says Middle East policy can make or break Obama's legacy.

Netanyahu Rushes to Repair Damage With Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Jodi Rudoren - November 7, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Over the past several years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has on several occasions confronted or even undercut President Obama, taking his message directly to the Israel-friendly United States Congress, challenging Mr. Obama’s appeal to the Arab world, and seeming this fall to support his opponent, Mitt Romney.

Palestinians Show Lukewarm Reaction to Obama’s Reelection
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Diana Atallah - November 7, 2012 - 1:00am

Ramallah - Palestinians reacted lukewarmly to the news of U.S. President Barack Obama’s reelection for a second term, saying they are not hopeful this will improve their situation.

Israeli army, Gaza militants in firefight
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 8, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- A firefight erupted after Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired on an Israeli army patrol midday Thursday. "An Israel Defense Forces unit was on a regular patrol along the security fence alongside central Gaza" when militants opened fire and fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the force, an army source told Xinhua, adding that Israeli troops returned fire at " suspicious figures."

Israel ready to resume peace talks with Palestinians without preconditions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 7, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Quartet's (U.S., UN, EU and Russia) middle east envoy Tony Blair that he is ready to resume peace negotiations with the Palestinians without preconditions. Netanyahu met with Blair on Wednesday during the latter's visit to Israel and responded to remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recently.

Russia’s Putin hosts Israeli counterpart for talks on economy, international crises
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
November 8, 2012 - 1:00am

MOSCOW — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has hosted his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres for talks focusing on economic ties and international crises. Putin said at the start of Thursday’s meeting with Peres that bilateral ties have been developing successfully. The two leaders were expected to discuss the situation in Syria among other international issues.

Erekat: UN bid aims to preserve two-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 8, 2012 - 1:00am

JERICHO (Ma'an) -- Israel's settlement policy is threatening the two-state solution, not the PLO's bid to upgrade Palestine's status at the UN, PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said Thursday. Erekat said Palestine's request for non-member statehood of the UN did not contradict the two-state solution, in separate meetings with Quartet envoy Tony Blair, US consul Michael Ratney and French consul Frédéric Desagneaux.

Hamas MP says Abbas not welcome in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 8, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas-affiliated MP Yahia Mousa said Wednesday he would not welcome Mahmoud Abbas to the Gaza Strip, after the president was reported to have considered a joint visit with the Turkish premier. "No hello, no welcome, no greeting, your visit is refused. Gaza is the house of the revolution and the revolutionary, and we don't welcome anyone who sells our homeland," Mousa posted on his official Facebook account.

Blair: Obama win opens way for new Mideast push
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Crispian Balmer - November 8, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- President Barack Obama's election victory opens the way for renewed efforts to revive moribund peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Middle East envoy Tony Blair said on Wednesday. Speaking hours after Obama won a second term in office, the former British prime minister told Reuters he did not believe the United States had lost interest in the decades-old conflict, adding that he hoped to see a fresh initiative soon.

After jail sentence, Bassem Tamimi declared prisoner of conscience
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 8, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi, who has been sentenced to four months in prison in a plea bargain with an Israeli court, is a prisoner of conscience and should be released, Amnesty International said on Wednesday. Tamimi was detained on Oct. 24 during a protest at an Israeli supermarket in a Jewish settlement near Ramallah. Ofer military court sentenced him to four months in prison and fined him 5,000 shekels ($1,280) in a plea bargain on Tuesday, Amnesty said.

3 mortar shells fired from Syria hit Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Eli Ashkenazi - November 8, 2012 - 1:00am

Three mortar shells were fired from Syria into northern Israel on Thursday, in what appears to have been an errant targeting. One of the shells landed on the fence surrounding the Alonei Habashan community, but did not explode. The other two exploded in open areas. No casualties were reported. This is the third security incident involving Syria in less than a week. On Monday evening, an Israel Defense Forces jeep was hit by a bullet from Syria near the Syria-Israel border. No one was injured in the incident, but the vehicle was damaged.

Barak: Palestinian UN bid must be delayed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - November 8, 2012 - 1:00am

Israel and the US must delay Palestinian unilateral statehood moves at the UN until after the Israeli elections, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday night. He spoke on Channel 10 hours after US President Barack Obama was elected to a second four-year term. “We have a joint interest, ours and theirs, to delay the Palestinian UN bid for nonmember state,” he said. “This has to be done now, immediately.”

A time for Obama to be bold
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by David Ignatius - (Opinion) November 7, 2012 - 1:00am

There’s a telling moment at the beginning of Robert A. Caro’s new book when Lyndon Johnson’s advisers are gathered, four days after he has become president, to draft his first speech to Congress. Capitol Hill is divided, the country is grieving from the assassination of his predecessor and some of LBJ’s advisers are urging him to take it slow. “Well, what the hell’s the presidency for?” Johnson replies.

So sorry, President Obama, please forgive Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Sarid - (Opinion) November 8, 2012 - 1:00am

Only my closest friends are aware of the hasty steps I was contemplating if Barack Hussein Obama had been denied a second term. That would have been really much too much for me; there's a limit. Do I have strength of stone and flesh of brass? That's just what we would've needed, for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to win not just here, but there - when winning there is more important. The three-stranded rope - Sheldon Adelson, Mitt Romney and Netanyahu - would have been a wound around our necks and choked us. Now, at least, we can breathe.

Obama's test
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) November 8, 2012 - 1:00am

America's ceremonial political rituals played themselves out on Wednesday in all their glory before the entire world. There was the respectable appearance by the loser, who could barely conceal his disappointment but still praised the victor to the point where you wondered if perhaps he voted for him and not for himself; and the passionate address of the winner, who made similar gracious gestures to the loser and challenged the entire nation to unite and overcome together the many obstacles that lie in its path.

Obama the Second
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) November 8, 2012 - 1:00am

They could turn out to be the winning duo, the ones who bring about an agreement with the Palestinians: a furious U.S. President Barack Obama opposite a gambling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (who lost the gamble). If a second-term Obama obeys his heart and logic, his moral code and values, and American and world interests, then we can expect an old-new president in the White House. A president who will translate his anger against Netanyahu into pressure on Israel to finally end the occupation.

Netanyahu gambled, we'll pay
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Sima Kadmon - (Opinion) November 8, 2012 - 1:00am

Netanyahu had a rough morning on Wednesday. Diplomatic manners cannot conceal the disappointment of someone who just got Obama in the White House for another four years, Naftali Bennett as head of the Jewish Home party and a frustrated Sara in the Prime Minister's Residence.

Sovereignty over occupied territories
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Kamel S. Abu Jaber - (Opinion) November 7, 2012 - 1:00am

A voice is being heard loud in the wilderness of Arab politics. It carries with it the weight of experience and a deep knowledge of Arab politics. It is the voice of HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal, joined, lately, by that of Farouk Qaddoumi of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

‘The forgotten people’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Jansen - (Opinion) November 7, 2012 - 1:00am

Two years ago, Palestine was the international community’s primary regional focus. At the end of May, the Israeli navy intercepted and boarded a flotilla of ships and yachts sailing to break the blockade of Gaza and Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists, having boarded a Turkish ferry.

Netanyahu Sought to Provoke, Not Attack, Iran in 2010
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Yossi Melman - (Opinion) November 7, 2012 - 1:00am

TEL AVIV — Sometime in 2010, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with their top five cabinet ministers for a routine yet secret meeting to discuss pressing security and foreign-policy issues. The group, which has no legal status and does not have the authority to make decisions,? is known as the "Secret Seven,” inspired by the “Secret Seven" series of adventure novels for children by the British author Enid Blyton.

Is the Palestinian Prime Minister Serious About Resigning?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from As-Safir
by Hani al-Masri - (Opinion) November 6, 2012 - 1:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad threatened to resign and demanded the formation of a factional government — in which top-tier leaders would participate — to confront the repercussions of the upcoming period, especially if Palestine were granted observer-state status [by the United Nations] and the Palestinians refused to be influenced by American and Israeli threats. What are the factors behind this threat to resign?

Appoint Bill Clinton Peace Envoy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Bernard Avishai - (Opinion) November 7, 2012 - 1:00am

President Obama's next move in the Middle East is so obvious I almost hesitate to suggest it: before the Israeli election season completely unfolds, ask, cajole, or beg Bill Clinton to take on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

How the Middle East Could Make Or Break Obama's Legacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) November 7, 2012 - 1:00am

Congratulations, Barack Obama. You now join a small club of 16 two-term presidents. (Of those, only 13 actually served out their second four-year term -- William McKinley, Abraham Lincoln and Richard Nixon weren't so lucky.) An eight-year run does count for something. There are no great one-termers. All consequential presidents require a bond with the public that the validation of a second term provides. Consider it a necessary but not sufficient condition for presidential greatness.

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