Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Pres. Abbas says the PLO will present its new UN resolution on Nov.29. Israel says it may cut off transfer of all Palestinian tax and other revenues if the PLO proceeds with the initiative. PLO officials are seeking feedback, especially in Europe, on their draft resolution. Palestinian officials say Pres. Obama placed a personal phone call to Abbas expressing opposition to the initiative, but Abbas said he would go ahead anyway. FM Lieberman meets ambassadors to rally opposition to the Palestinian initiative. Israel's finance minister admits the country has doubled spending on settlement activity in recent years. Israel fires warning shots into Syria. 7 more Palestinians are killed in fighting in a refugee camp outside Damascus. Violence continues to escalate on the Israel-Gaza border. Israel says it is prepared for major military action in Gaza if necessary, as four Palestinians and a youth are killed by Israeli shelling. The PA says it is again beginning to partially pay public employee salaries. Israel announces 500 new settlement housing units in the occupied West Bank. Russian experts will now join French and Swiss investigators looking into the death of the late Pres. Arafat. 1,200 tunnels between Egypt and Gaza are reportedly operating at full capacity, but Egypt may be preparing to destroy many of them. A new breast cancer screening unit is operating in the occupied West Bank. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says Arab Americans must politically normalize themselves.The New York Times says it would be a huge mistake for Obama not to reengage with Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, but Thomas Friedman says he is otherwise occupied. Amira Hass says it's hard to tell who has a tighter “iron fist” against demonstrators, Hamas or Israel.Gideon Levy says Israel is not an apartheid state, but its occupation is an apartheid system. Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff say Israel will probably avoid a major military operation in Gaza, but may assassinate Hamas leaders. Barry Rubin says Israeli leaders are increasingly realizing they cannot simply rely on the US as a protector. Rachel Shabi looks of a new film about how Israeli courts enforce military rule against Palestinians. The National says Israel's reaction to Palestinian UN initiatives shows "anxiety, ruthlessness and hypocrisy." Eitan Schwartz says diplomacy with the Palestinians is the only way to end Israel's international isolation. Raja Shehadeh recalls his father's1967 peace proposal to Israel. Stephen Rosen asks if J Street is winning a battle over Israel in the Democratic Party. Ami Ayalon says a two-state solution is Israel's only hope. The Media Line interviews Fatah Central Committee member Mohammed Shtayyeh.In his final column after 35 years at Haaretz, Akiva Eldar urges Israelis to keep the two-state solution alive.

Palestinians to present UN bid on Nov. 29: Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 13, 2012 - 1:00am

CAIRO, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinians are set to present their bid for the status of an observer state in the United Nations on Nov. 29, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said here Monday evening. Abbas made the remarks after meeting with Arab League (AL) chief Nabil al-Arabi in Cairo during an AL ministerial meeting on the Syrian crisis.

Israel says to close cash tap if Palestinians seek UN statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ori Lewis - November 11, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel will stop collecting tax revenues for the Palestinian Authority and not hand over any money if President Mahmoud Abbas continues to seek observer state membership of the United Nations, Israel's finance minister said Saturday. "If the Palestinians continue to advance their unilateral move they should not expect bilateral cooperation. We will not collect their taxes for them and we will not transfer their tax revenues," Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said.

Palestinians Renew Push for Enhanced U.N. Status
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - November 9, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — A Palestinian official in the West Bank said Friday that the distribution of a draft resolution at the United Nations headquarters in New York a day earlier was the “first big step” toward a vote this month on enhancing the Palestinians’ status in the General Assembly.

Palestinian, US president discuss UN initiative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
November 11, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank —A spokesman for the Palestinian president says the Palestinians will proceed with asking the U.N. General Assembly to recognize a Palestinian state, despite a personal call from President Barack Obama to abandon the bid. Nabil Abu Rdeneh said President Mahmoud Abbas had a long phone conversation with Obama on Sunday evening. He said Obama "expresses his opposition to this step," but Abbas replied he would carry on.

Abbas tells Obama he'll seek Palestinian UN upgrade, defying U.S.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Noah Browning, Matt Spetalnick - November 12, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank/WASHINGTON, Nov 11 (Reuters) - P alestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told President Barack Obama on Sunday he was intent on pressing ahead with a Palestinian bid for United Nations recognition as a non-member state, despite the U.S. leader's objections. Abbas explained his decision to Obama in a phone conversation, according to Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdaineh. Continued defiance of Washington on such a sensitive issue casts further doubt on the chances for any renewed U.S.-led Israeli-Palestinian peace drive following Obama's re-election on Tuesday.

Israeli FM meets ambassadors over Palestinian UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 12, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met Sunday with Israeli ambassadors to the European Union regarding Israel's response to the Palestinians' bid for upgrading their status at the United Nations. The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is expected to submit its application for upgrading their status at the United Nations later this month.

Israeli finance minister admits to doubling settlements' budget
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 13, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz admitted Monday that the Israeli government has doubled in recent years its money for the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Steinitz, who was interviewed by a local radio station, said the budget increment was downplayed in order not to cause a stir within the international community.

Israel Fires Into Syria After Shell Hits Post
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - November 11, 2012 - 1:00am

SDEROT, Israel — Israel confronted fire along two of its borders on Sunday, with rockets landing from Gaza and a mortar shell crashing in from Syria, prompting Israel to respond with what its military described as “warning shots” at a Syrian position across the frontier for the first time in 39 years.

Activists: 7 Palestinians killed in Damascus camp
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 13, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Seven Palestinian refugees were killed Monday in a refugee camp in Damascus, the Yarmouk coordination committee said. The committee said forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad shelled al-Tadamon neighborhood, causing a huge fire on Palestine Street. Free Syrian Army rebels destroyed an army tank on the same street, the group added. Imad Arabi, Jihad Younis, Iman Azimeh and Mahmoud Kassab were among those killed, according to the committee.

Violence Surges on Israeli-Gaza Border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Fares Akram, Isabel Kershner - November 10, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA — Palestinian militants fired an antitank missile on Saturday at an Israeli military jeep patrolling Israel’s border with Gaza, and five Palestinians, including four civilians, were killed when Israel returned fire with tank or artillery shells, officials said. The Israeli military said four of its soldiers were wounded, one seriously, in the antitank missile attack. The Gaza Health Ministry said about 26 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire.

Israeli DM says to strike Gaza if necessary
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 11, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday that Israel will strike Gaza if necessary and will not allow Palestinian militants to "change the rules" in southern Israel following an escalation of insecurity in the area. Barak, who talked to Army Radio, said Israel will make sure that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have the "freedom" to operate along the Gaza border.

Four Palestinians killed in Israeli shelling after border attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - November 10, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Palestinian militants fired an antitank missile at an Israeli army vehicle on Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip on Saturday, wounding four soldiers and prompting Israeli shelling that local medical officials said killed four Palestinian civilians and wounded 25 others. The flare-up, one of the worst in months, followed a series of recent incidents in which explosive devices were detonated near Israeli forces operating on both sides of the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Palestinian youth dead in Israel's Gaza shelling
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 13, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- A Palestinian youth died Tuesday of wounds he sustained during an Israeli artillery shelling in eastern Gaza City Saturday, medical sources said. The death of Mohammed Qanou, 20, came as Israeli airstrikes continued in the Gaza Strip for the fourth day in a new cross- border violence flare-up, with Palestinian militant groups firing dozens of rockets at southern Israel.

PA says to pay partial salaries Sunday
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 11, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority finance ministry announced Sunday that it would pay part of salaries owed to public sector employees by the end of the day. The salaries of prisoners families will be paid completely while public sector employees will receive 52 percent of their salaries, the ministry said in a statement. The aid-dependent Palestinian economy in the West Bank faces a financial crisis due to a drop in aid from Western backers and wealthy Gulf states, as well as Israeli restrictions on trade.

Barak approves plans to build 500 new homes in West Bank settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - November 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has agreed to advance a plan to expand the Itamar settlement to five times its size by adding 538 homes, according to documents obtained by Haaretz. Barak approved the plan in September, even though there is still no master plan in effect for the settlement, which was founded in 1984 on state land, which means that no legal building permits can be issued. But since the murder of five members of the Fogel family on the settlement in March 2011, the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria has been pressing to advance the construction.

Abbas says Russia to join in Arafat's death investigation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 11, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday revealed that Russia will take part in investigating the death of his predecessor Yasser Arafat alongside France and Switzerland. "There is a complete coordination between us and the French and also experts from the Russian government to exhume Arafat's body," Abbas said during a festival in the West Bank city of Ramallah marking the eighth anniversary of Arafat's death.

1,200 tunnels operating between Egypt and the Gaza Strip- Sinai tribal leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Mohammed Mohsin - November 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat - The leader of the Al-Akur Tribe in Sinai, Arif Abu-Akr, has revealed that the 1,200 tunnels between the borders of Egypt and Gaza Strip are working at full capacity. Abu-Akr told Asharq Al-Awsat that these tunnels were being used to carry out terrorist attacks, “but we cannot arrest them or present them to justice.”

Egypt to Destroy Gaza Tunnels
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
November 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Security sources have revealed that the security services in North Sinai governorate are preparing to destroy the most dangerous underground tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip in the town of Rafah. The location of these tunnels was determined via extremely accurate intelligence and investigations. The sources noted that the extensive security operation to demolish the tunnels will start in a few days.

Breast Cancer Screening Comes to Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jillian Kestler-D'Amours - November 12, 2012 - 1:00am

DURA, Occupied West Bank, Nov 12 2012 (IPS) - Fatmeh Abu Hrar Tabeel has had her first ever breast cancer screening. “It feels good to know, of course. Thanks to god, I am well,” the 51-year-old mother of seven told IPS. “Now I can examine myself once a month from home; the doctor showed me how.”

Arab Americans Need Political Normalization
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) November 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Following the recent election, and noting the growing influence of nontraditional power blocs such as Latinos, Arab Americans have again raised the question of how they can become politically empowered. There is only one answer: become politically "normal" Americans.

The Foreign Policy Agenda
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) November 11, 2012 - 1:00am

National security didn’t play heavily in the presidential election. But President Obama’s legacy, and the country’s future, will be shaped as much by the foreign policy and defense decisions he makes over the next four years as by those on the domestic side.

My President Is Busy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Thomas L. Friedman - (Opinion) November 10, 2012 - 1:00am

ISRAELI friends have been asking me whether a re-elected President Obama will take revenge on Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu for the way he and Sheldon Adelson, his foolhardy financier, openly backed Mitt Romney. My answer to Israelis is this: You should be so lucky.

Who has a tighter iron fist, Hamas or Israel? It's hard to tell
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) November 12, 2012 - 1:00am

The police dispersed the protesters by force. Female protesters, actually, which might make everything more readable and enticing, especially when we go on to say that it was the Hamas police who used clubs and fists to break up a demonstration organized by the General Federation of Palestinian women.

Apartheid, by any other name
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) November 11, 2012 - 1:00am

Are we really as terrible as all that? Anyone who tries to draw a comparison between the occupation regime in the territories to the South African apartheid regime - and their number is rising constantly - is instantly labeled anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. But the facts justify the comparison. No, Israel is not an apartheid state, but the occupation in the territories is apartheid.

Israel will avoid Gaza war but may mull Hamas assassinations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Opinion) November 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Sunday was another grueling day for Negev residents as dozens of missiles and mortar shells rained down from the Gaza Strip, leaving three people with shrapnel wounds and forcing hundreds of thousands into their protected spaces. The Israel Air Force killed two Islamic Jihad activists in a retaliatory strike, but the escalation in the south is increasing the pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to intensify Israel's military response.

Israel’s situation, strategy in Obama’s second term
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Barry Rubin - (Opinion) November 11, 2012 - 1:00am

What should Israel’s policy and priorities be during President Barack Obama’s second term? There will be two key themes: minimize antagonism and cope with the negative consequences of US regional policy. Protect bilateral relations

The Israeli documentary putting military rule in Palestine on trial
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rachel Shabi - (Film Review) November 12, 2012 - 1:00am

The Law In These Parts, an Israeli documentary awarded this year's Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury prize, examines how the country created a military-legal system to control the Palestinians in the lands Israel occupied in 1967. And at some point during the film, it becomes clear that it's the judges who are on trial. The documentary, which just screened as part of the UK Jewish Film Festival, features forceful archive footage, alongside a line-up of Israeli legal experts, explaining how they made Israel's occupation laws.

Israeli threat a sign of growing anxiety
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) November 12, 2012 - 1:00am

The Palestinian people should take satisfaction from Israel's latest bit of bluster, because it reveals growing alarm over the world's steadily growing support for Palestine. To be sure, there is nothing pleasing about the threat, made on Saturday by the Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, that Israel will stop collecting taxes on the PA's behalf, and withhold money already collected, if the Palestinians persevere in their effort to take a step, via the United Nations, towards statehood.

Diplomacy with Palestinians Key to Ending Israel’s Isolation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Calcalist
by Eitan Schwartz - (Opinion) November 9, 2012 - 1:00am

Our refusal to have any kind of a diplomatic dialogue is a weight that will drag us underwater, both politically and economically-socially. Seeing worsening international isolation, Israel’s prestige among Diaspora Jews is also declining.  For the last two years, countries across the globe have been grappling with an ongoing economic and social crisis. The importance of having a social alternative that prioritizes the welfare of the citizen is unquestionable. But make no mistake: Social platforms go inextricably hand in hand with a diplomatic horizon. 

My Father's Peace Proposal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Raja Shehadeh - (Opinion) November 9, 2012 - 1:00am

A few days after the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories began on June 6, 1967, my father, Aziz Shehadeh, submitted a peace proposal to the Israeli government.

Is J Street Winning?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Steven J. Rosen - (Opinion) November 9, 2012 - 1:00am

Will there be a tectonic shift in attitudes toward the Middle East among Democrats in the next Congress?

Separation from Palestinians crucial
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ami Ayalon - (Opinion) November 13, 2012 - 1:00am

Barack Obama's reelection will concern the Israeli public throughout the election campaign and will likely affect the political establishment as well over the next four years. The US elections are the elections of the American citizens, who have America's interests in mind. The American economy has its own problems, and the State of Israel is not a major factor in the US' economic policy.

Palestinians Snub President Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Diana Atallah - (Opinion) November 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Ramallah - Palestinians will not succumb to United States President Barak Obama’s request to postpone their United Nations bid and will ask members the UN’s General Assembly to vote on a resolution to upgrade the Palestinians’ status to a non-member state no later than the 29th of this month.

Before the 1967 lines retire, too
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) November 13, 2012 - 1:00am

On Saturday afternoon light rain greeted the long column of cars crawling through the narrow lanes of the Palestinian village of Jayus in the heart of the northern West Bank. At the head of the column was a battered truck dragging behind it a cart laden with black plastic chairs. Little children gathered around the visitors, proudly showing off their knowledge of Hebrew. Curious onlookers looked out of windows at the strange men and women, most of them gray-haired and a few of them young. On one doorstep a mustached man surrounded by youths waved at the people arriving.

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