Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: A new US intelligence report predicts a Palestinian state will be created approximately along the 1967 lines, but possibly without a full peace agreement with Israel, by 2030. PM Netanyahu accuses the international community of "double standards," and claims settlements are no obstacle to a Palestinian state. Hamas calls for Palestinian national unity. The EU, though saying it is "dismayed" by Israeli settlement expansion plans, takes no action. PLO leaders call on the EU to review relations with Israel. Hamas bans Israeli-provided Internet services in Gaza. Approximately half of the Palestinian citizens of Israel may not be planning to vote in the upcoming election. Israeli occupation forces raid the offices of a Palestinian NGO in Ramallah and reportedly assault the staff at a Bethlehem school. Israeli occupation authorities say they will yet again demolish the access road to the West Bank village of Qarawat Bani Hassan. Israel's Foreign Ministry says it's launching a campaign to equate Pres. Abbas with Hamas. FM Lieberman says Palestinian police officers who clash with Israeli occupation troops "should not remain alive." The BBC looks at "unusual careers" for youth in Gaza due to the blockade. Sources say Khalid Mishal is preparing to retract his resignation as Hamas' leader. COMMENTARY: Alan Baker points out that no Palestinian state has been created. Reuven Pedatzur says the recent UN vote was the best in 65 years. Charles Freilich criticizes the policies of both Netanyahu and Abbas. Linda Heard says Mishal's Gaza speech only bolsters Israeli propaganda. Ophir Pines-Paz thinks Abbas has reached the end of the road politically. Frank Jacobs says Israel doesn't have to worry about running out of oil. Frida Ghitis says Israeli leaders need to start making more intelligent strategic decisions.

U.S. intel predicts: Palestinian state to exist by 2030, but not peace with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amir Oren - December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

A U.S. intelligence report predicts growing conflicts between secular Israelis and the ultra-Orthodox and settlers, with the Palestinians getting a state based on the 1967 borders with land swaps by 2030. The state, however, won't necessarily be formally declared, and the issues of Jerusalem, refugees and the demilitarization of the West Bank might not be solved. The report predicts that with the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq and eventually Afghanistan, support for Israel will remain the last cause for Muslim anti-U.S. sentiments.

Israel's Netanyahu: World has double standards
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Josef Federman - December 10, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM —Israel's prime minister on Monday accused the international community of "deafening silence" in response to recent vows by the head of the Hamas militant group to fight on until the Jewish state is destroyed, and appeared unmoved by the gathering storm of global condemnation of his government's plans to continue settling the West Bank.

Netanyahu wards off criticism: Israeli settlement plans won't prevent Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by DPA - December 10, 2012 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday dismissed international criticism of Israel's recently announced plans to build in an area near Jerusalem, saying it's "simply not true" that the settlements are an obstacle to Palestinian statehood. "I don't understand how this will prevent territorially the establishment of a Palestinian state," Netanyahu said, referring to Israeli construction in the area east of Jerusalem and west of Ma'aleh Adumim - the so-called E-1 area.

Hamas chief ends Gaza visit with Palestinian unity call
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal al-Mughrabi - December 10, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal ended his first visit to the Gaza Strip on Monday with a pledge his Islamist movement would strive to heal political rifts with Palestinian rivals who hold sway in the occupied West Bank. His comments reinforced promises he and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the rival Fatah movement, made to each other in a telephone conversation a month ago, to forge ahead with a stalled unity deal opposed by Israel.

EU dismayed at Israeli settlements, takes no action
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Justyna Pawlak - December 10, 2012 - 1:00am

BRUSSELS, Dec 10 (Reuters) - The European Union expressed dismay on Monday over Israel's plans to build settlements in a highly sensitive part of the West Bank, but spelled out no punitive measures in response. After meeting in Brussels, foreign ministers of the 27 EU states said the Israeli plan would seriously undermine the prospects of successful peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

PLO calls on EU to 'reconsider' relations with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

The Palestine Liberation Organization called on the European Union on Tuesday to "reconsider" it's political and trade relations with Israel over what it called "provocations." The EU said on Monday that it was “deeply dismayed by and strongly opposes Israeli plans to expand settlements in the West Bank, including in east Jerusalem, and in particular plans to develop the E1 area,” and said all of its agreements with Israel only applied to the pre-1967 lines.

Hamas bans Israeli-provided internet service in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Hamas authorities on Tuesday ordered telecommunication companies, mobile stores and internet providers to stop offering services obtained from Israel. In a statement, the ministry said offering services from Israeli companies is banned, especially 3G and WiFi services. Hamas justified its decision that the Israeli internet providers allow access to pornographic websites, which local internet companies in Gaza blocked upon an earlier order from Hamas.

Half of Israeli Arabs not to vote in upcoming elections: poll
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 10, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- A new poll released Monday shows that half of Israeli Arabs would not vote in the Jan. 22 elections. The poll, aimed to check patterns of behavior related to the elections among Israeli Arabs, who constitute 20 percent of Israel 's population, was conducted by the Statnet Company for the Political Science department in the University of Haifa.

Israeli soldiers 'assault staff' at Bethlehem school
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Monday assaulted a headmaster and two teachers at a secondary school near Bethlehem, a Ma'an correspondent said. Three Israeli military jeeps arrived at the school in Tuqu village at midday, and several soldiers assaulted headmaster Salim Abu Mufarrih and teachers Nabil al-Tamamri and Mahmoud Zawahra after they tried to block the soldiers entering into school grounds. Locals said there were no confrontations or stone-throwing in the area at the time.

Israeli authorities 'to demolish West Bank road'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

SALFIT (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities on Monday notified Palestinian farmers in a northern West Bank village that a road connecting them to their fields will be demolished, locals told Ma'an. Residents of Qarawat Bani Hassan, near Salfit, said Israeli planning officers told them the al-Hurriya (Freedom) road will be demolished in two weeks. Farmers were told to avoid agricultural work in the area.

Israel's anti-Abbas campaign
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Itamar Eichner - December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

Israel is launching an international diplomatic campaign meant to portray Hamas' Khaled Mashaal and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as cohorts and peace refuseniks, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday.

'PA police who attack IDF 'shouldn't remain alive''
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

Palestinian policeman who strike IDF soldiers "should not remain alive," Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told Israel Radio on Tuesday. "I will not accept a situation in which an IDF soldier in Hebron gets punched by a Palestinian policeman and that policeman remains alive," Liberman said. "I don't accept that."

Unusual jobs highlight restricted choices of Gaza youth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Tim Whewell - December 10, 2012 - 1:00am

Newsnight's Tim Whewell talks to two young people's whose jobs highlight the peculiarities of life in the Gaza Strip - Muhammad, who works in the smuggling tunnels into Egypt, and Madeline, who is the only woman in a fishing fleet restricted to trawling the waters inside the Israeli blockade. It is not even dawn in Rafah, at the southern extremity of the Gaza Strip, when Busaina Ismail leans over her sleeping son Muhammad and tries, with difficulty, to rouse him.

Mishal likely to remain Hamas leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Kifah Zaboun - December 10, 2012 - 1:00am

Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat - It could only be a matter of time before Khalid Mishal retracts his decision to step down as leader of the Hamas political bureau, according to Palestinian sources affiliated with Mishal. According to the sources, Mishal’s retraction is being called for both inside Hamas and from Arab and regional states.

No Palestinian state has been created
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Alan Baker - (Opinion) December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

Even as the United Nations has returned to its routine, unproductive agenda, an atmosphere of expectation prevails following the General Assembly resolution granting the Palestinians the status of nonmember observer state. Some even anticipate charges in the International Criminal Court against Israeli leaders and military officers in the expectation that the ICC will accept "Palestine" as a state with the right to present claims.

The UN's best decision in 65 years
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Reuven Pedatzur - (Opinion) December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

Had Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu treated the UN General Assembly resolution rationally and coolly instead of waging a fruitless battle against it, he would have rushed to adopt it. After all, it was the organization's most positive resolution in 65 years.

Abbas and Netanyahu in Wonderland
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Charles Freilich - (Opinion) December 10, 2012 - 1:00am

Israel faces dire, historic decisions in the coming year. With his electoral victory virtually assured it is time for the premier to get his strategic priorities right. This is true for Abbas and the Palestinians as well, but then, they always prefer to live in Wonderland. The Middle East has always marched to its own drumbeat, lived in its own special reality, but Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are taking matters to a new level.

Mesha’al oils Israel’s propaganda machine with his statement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Linda Heard - (Opinion) December 10, 2012 - 1:00am

The first ever visit of Khalid Mesha’al, Chairman of Hamas’ Political Bureau, to Gaza was a historic moment eliciting high emotion not only for the man himself, but also for the hundreds of thousands who flooded into Gaza City’s Katiba Square to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hamas. This was their chance to see up-close-and-personal a person of stature who represents their interests on the world stage — his latest coup being the brokering of a ceasefire with Israel that was poised to launch a ground invasion.

The End Of Abbas's Game
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Janine Zacharia - (Opinion) December 10, 2012 - 1:00am

A few days before the November 6 American election, Mahmoud Abbas summoned roughly 15 Israelis, including former pro-peace politicians, ex-generals and ex-diplomats, to his presidential office in Ramallah for a chat about the future. Ophir Pines-Paz, the former Labor Knesset member—who, dismayed with the trajectory of his party, abruptly exited politics three years ago—was among those in attendance. According to Pines-Paz, the 77-year old Abbas told the group he would resign and dismantle the Palestinian Authority if there was no movement toward peace soon.

Keeping the Flame Alive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Frank Jacobs - (Opinion) December 10, 2012 - 1:00am

Recent developments have ruined one of Golda Meir's favorite jokes. The former Israeli prime minister was known to quip: "Know why Jews don't like Moses? For 40 years he leads them through the desert, and then he brings them to the only place in the Middle East without oil!"

Israel's leaders need to make smarter decisions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Miami Herald
by Frida Ghitis - (Opinion) December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

You have seen the headlines from the Middle East. Now imagine listening to the same stories as you stand in Israel, just a few miles from Syria, Egypt, Gaza, the West Bank. Considering the range of unhappy outcomes the Israeli people may have to face, it is stunning to see their political leaders create unnecessary problems for their country.

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