Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Hamas leader Mishaal makes his first visit to Gaza in 45 years. The visit is widely regarded as a sign of Hamas' growing regional acceptance and wider ambitions. Israel is seen as more openly dealing with Hamas, though still within strict limits. Israel reportedly threatens to cancel the ceasefire if the leader of Islamic Jihad visits Gaza. Human Rights Watch says Israel's attack on the Daloo family home in Gaza during the recent conflict, which killed 12 civilians, was unlawful. Palestinian officials say Jordan's King Abdullah II has passed on US assurances that it will not allow Israel to go forward with controversial new settlement plans. Chancellor Merkel reportedly also urges PM Netanyahu not to implement the plans. Even Canada reportedly warns Israel against the plans. 20 are injured in skirmishes between Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian police near Hebron. Israel's Ministry of Education suspends a literature program for fifth graders that includes a novel by Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani. A new guidebook is published in Israel to Palestinian villages destroyed after the 1948 war. Palestinian refugees are being increasingly drawn into the war in Syria. Rabbis at a prominent New York synagogue express "regret" for praising the Palestinian UN upgrade vote. COMMENTARY: Ma'an explains why several Pacific islands voted against the recent Palestinian UN upgrade. Sandy Tolan says both Pres. Obama and Israel are walking away from a two-state solution. Menachem Klein says the E1 settlement plan is "recycled and oppressive." Ilan Baruch says Palestinian reconciliation could set the stage for a new phase in the peace process. Alex Fishman says Israel is conducting regular, secret negotiations with Hamas. The Media Line profiles Khaled Jarrar, whose art is based on concrete pieces cut from Israel’s separation barrier.Nathan Jeffay says many Israelis suspect the government's announced E1 settlement plan is a bluff. George Hishmeh asks what's holding Pres.Obama back from confronting Israel. Gil Troy says both Netanyahu and Pres. Abbas are pandering to extremes.

Hamas Leader Makes First Visit to Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Steven Erlanger - December 7, 2012 - 1:00am

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Khaled Meshal, whom the Israelis tried to assassinate in Jordan in 1997, arrived for his first visit to the&n

Hamas chief's Gaza visit sign of regional embrace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Karin Laub - December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

  GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — 

Hamas leader returns to Gaza with wider ambitions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Samia Nakhoul - December 7, 2012 - 1:00am

Dec 7 (Reuters) - Fifteen years after Israel tried to assassinate him in Jordan, Islamist leader Khaled Meshaal says the Jewish state would not risk trying again on his triumphant return to Palestinian land.

Hitmen on hold, Israelis might talk to Meshaal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Crispian Balmer - December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

Fifteen years later, it is starting to view him in a slightly different light and Israeli analysts say he might yet prove the man who can open a dialogue between the Palestinian Islamist movement and the Jewish state.

Israel threatens to cancel Hamas truce if Islamic Jihad leaders enter Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

Members of Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad say Israel has warned the militant group's two top leaders against trying to enter the Gaza Strip this week. The pair had planned to visit Friday, along with Khaled Meshal the leader-in-exile of Hamas, Islamic Jihad's sister group.

Rights group: Israeli strike on Gaza home unlawful
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Daniel Estrin - December 7, 2012 - 1:00am


Jordanian king carries U.S. assurances to Abbas: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Jordanian King Abdullah II conveyed U.S. assurances to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Washington will not allow a new Israeli settlement plan to pass, a Palestinian official said Thursday.

Germany's Merkel cautions ally Israel on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Alexandra Hudson - December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

BERLIN (Reuters) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday to avoid "one-sided moves," amid uproar over Israeli plans to build 3,000 settler homes in a highly sensitive area of the West Bank.

Canada frowns on Israel’s settlement expansion plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Canadian Jewish News
by Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf - December 7, 2012 - 1:00am

Canada believes Israel went too far when it declared its intent to build 3,000 new settlement units in a controversial tract of the West Bank in response to the Palestinians achieving non-member state status at the UN last week.

Over 20 hurt in Hebron as soldiers clash with PA police
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- More than 20 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli forces in central Hebron on Thursday afternoon, after a skirmish between Israeli troops and Palestinian police.

Israel's education ministry 'suspends program' over Palestinian novel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 5, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Israel's Ministry of Education has suspended a literature program for fifth graders because a Palestinian novel was on its syllabus, Israeli media reported Wednesday.

The Arab villages that were; a new Israeli guidebook
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Moshe Gilad - December 7, 2012 - 1:00am

A round white dome stands in the middle of the vacation village at Dor Beach, near Caesarea. I've visited this place dozens of times but never noticed the sheikh's tomb on the well-tended lawn. Nor did I remember the large stone building right on the shoreline, a few dozen meters from the water, opposite the bobbing fishing boats.  

Palestinian refugees increasingly drawn into Syrian war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Yolande Knell - December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

Among the diverse sectarian and ethnic groups caught up in the uprising in Syria there are nearly 500,000 Palestinian refugees. Most have tried to stay on the sidelines of the fighting but in recent months it has reached several refugee camps.

N.Y. shul’s rabbis ‘regret’ email praising U.N. Palestine vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

NEW YORK (JTA) -- Rabbis at B'nai Jeshurun are expressing "regret" over an email sent out by the prominent New York synagogue praising the United Nations vote to elevate Palestinians to non-member state status.

Why we lost Pacific Islands
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Opinion) December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

As Israel reflects on losing Europe in Thursday's vote to upgrade Palestine's UN status, mystery shrouds the positions of four Pacific island nations that broke with international consensus and sided with Tel Aviv.

Obama and Israel are walking away from two-state solution with Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Sandy Tolan - (Opinion) December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

The Obama administration’s refusal to support the success

The E-1 plan: recycled and oppressive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Menachem Klein - (Opinion) December 7, 2012 - 1:00am

  Ehud Barak was wrong. He minimized the cabinet decision on massive construction in Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim as little more than cold leftovers reheated by Master Chef Bibi. On the eve of the national election, he said, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted to dress up recycled scraps as a tasty feast for his Likud voters. Don't take him seriously, the defense minister told the Americans.

What if Gaza and Ramallah get their act together?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ilan Baruch - (Opinion) December 7, 2012 - 1:00am

  An examination of national liberation struggles pursued since the end of World War II reveals a mixed record of success by different rebel leaderships in their ability to balance prudently their political and their military (or, if one prefers, terror ) wings, in their fight for political independence. This applies to the organizations that fought for the creation of the Jewish state - Israel.

Choosing Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Alex Fishman - (Opinion) December 7, 2012 - 1:00am

The State of Israel is conducting regular negotiations, more or less, with Hamas. About once a week an Israeli delegation travels to Cairo, where it holds talks on easing financial constraints, which effectively means Israel is holding talks on easing the siege on Gaza. 

Palestinian Artist Chips Away at the Wall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Diana Atallah - (Opinion) December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

  In a small gallery in an ancient house in the village of Qalandiya, between Ramallah and Jerusalem, Khaled Jarrar stands alongside his latest art project placed on a podium: a small soccer ball made of cement. But not just any cement – this cement had been cut out of the barrier built by Israel separating the West Bank from Israel.

Could Plan for E1 Be Just a Bluff?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - (Opinion) December 7, 2012 - 1:00am

  For Israelis living at the epicenter of the settlement-building storm, there’s widespread suspicion that Bibi is bluffing.

Why is Obama handcuffed?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

  A front-page headline in The New York Times last Monday startled me for a few seconds. It read: “Obama brings end to giving in”, which for a few seconds I thought was related to how US President Barak Obama was on the verge of adopting a more even-handed stance towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, or more correctly twisting the arm of Israel.

Both Bibi And Abbas Pander To Extremes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Gil Troy - (Opinion) December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

The tired, depressing scripts too many of us follow regarding the Middle East have been on full pathological display these last two weeks. Unfortunately, during this time, neither the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas nor Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu displayed the grace, vision, or creativity needed to move forward.

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