Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israeli occupation forces raid three Palestinian NGOs in the West Bank. Gaza tunnel smuggling is recovering from the recent conflict. FM Lieberman strongly attacks European criticism of Israel's settlement expansion plans. Extremists target a Jerusalem monastery and Palestinian cars in "price tag" attacks. Jordan says it plans to hold Israeli-Palestinian talks in February. Israel says it plans to withhold Palestinian revenues until at least March. In yet another reversal, a Hamas official insists Mishaal will not run for reelection as Politburo chief. The US plans to give Israel thousands of "bunker buster" bombs. Jordan's Prince Hassan is accused of "normalization" with Israel. The incoming Congress will be without several key members who were both supporters of Israel and advocates of peace. Pres. Abbas is visiting Turkey. Palestinians say they may consider international legal action if Israel persists with settlement expansion plans. Israeli occupation forces are preparing for an anticipated upsurge of violence in the West Bank. COMMENTARY: Harriet Sherwood says, despite Hamas' rhetoric and political gains, there is little to celebrate for the long-suffering people of Gaza. Natasha Mozgovaya says Jewish-American groups are divided on defending Israel's settlement plans. Ha'aretz says too many Israeli election laws invalidate Arab parties and candidates. Sefi Rachlevsky says the "messianic racist revolution that swallowed up Israeli Orthodoxy has now swallowed Likud." Amira Hass says Europe has a final opportunity to impact the course of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yitzhak Benhorin says Israel's policies are alienating increasing numbers of Jewish Americans. Elias Harfoush says Mishaal's Gaza speech should be regarded as popular pandering, and Hamas needs a real strategy to move forward. Raphael Ahren says Palestinians will play a huge role in determining whether or not they develop an independent state.

West Bank: Israeli Military Raids 3 Palestinian Organizations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Israeli soldiers raided three Palestinian nongovernmental organizations in Ramallah before dawn on Tuesday, seizing computers and other equipment from two of them: Addameer, which supports Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees.

Gaza's tunnels rebound from Israeli offensive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Rafah's biggest industry is back in business: Gazans are rebuilding the network of underground smuggling tunnels crisscrossing the Egyptian border that were pummeled in a recent Israeli offensive, restoring the illicit conduit for consumer goods and weapons so crucial to Hamas rule.

Israeli FM further slams EU critique over settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman continued Wednesday to slam the European Union's critique on Israel's construction in the settlements.

Vandals target Jerusalem monastery, Palestinian cars in price tag attacks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Two price tag attacks occurred overnight as vandals sprayed hate slogans on a monastery in Jerusalem and torched and spray painted a car in Ramallah, local news outlets reported Wednesday.

Report: Jordan to host peace talks in February
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian and Israeli officials will meet in Jordan in February in efforts to support the peace process, King Abdullah II of Jordan was quoted as saying by Al-Hayat newspaper on Wednesday. Officials from both sides will meet under the auspices of the European Union and United States, the Jordanian King said while visiting the United Kingdom on Tuesday, Al-Hayat reported.

Israel to withhold Palestinian funds until March, at least
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel will withhold tax revenues from President Mahmoud Abbas's administration until March at least in response to his statehood campaign at the United Nations, Israel's foreign minister said. Under interim peace deals, Israel collects some $100 million a month in duties on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank -- money that is badly needed to pay public sector salaries.

Hamas official: Mashaal will not run for re-election
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hamas' chief-in-exile Khaled Mashaal will not run for re-election as leader of the Islamist movement, a group official said Wednesday, reiterating a position outlined several months ago.

US to give Israel thousands of 'bunker-buster' bombs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

The Pentagon has appealed to Congress in a bid to increase the United States' military aid to Israel by $647 million, Ynet learned Tuesday.

Jordan Prince Scorned For Participating In Jewish Event
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Adam Nicky - December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

AMMAN: Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan found himself in hot water this week after his participation in a Jewish charity event in the UK last month was exposed in local media.

New Congress will be missing some of its longtime pro-Israel pillars
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- When the new Congress convenes in January, it will be missing several longtime pillars of support for Israel on Capitol Hill.

Abbas visits Turkey to map out Israel strategy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Thomas Seibert - December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

ISTANBUL // Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's visit to Ankara yesterday highlighted Turkey's two-pronged Middle East policy that seeks to balance strong support for the Palestinian cause and unyielding criticism of Israel with a pragmatism that includes fresh talks with Tel Aviv.

Palestinians to consider ICC if Israel pursues settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Foreign Press
December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

ANKARA/OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that Palestine could pursue Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it pushes ahead with plans to build thousands of new settler housing units in East Jerusalem.

IDF Prepares for More West Bank Violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Amir Rappaport - December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

The attack of the masses on a Nahal Brigade infantry patrol in Hebron ahead of last weekend is not just another warning sign of the possibility that Judea and Samaria will soon start to burn: It is another manifestation of the fact that years of almost total quiet are reaching their end.

Gaza: 'My child was killed and nothing has changed'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - (Opinion) December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

The morning ritual goes like this: three-year-old Ali Misharawi wakes up and reaches for his father's mobile phone. He kisses and strokes the face of his baby brother, Omar, on its small screen. Then he starts asking questions. Why is Omar in paradise? Why did you put my brother into the ground? Why can't I play with him any more?

Making Israeli settlements 'hasbarable'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - (Opinion) December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Last week, at the Friends of the IDF event in Los Angeles (yes yes, the same one that Stevie Wonder decided to bow out from), guests enjoyed the event, but some activists complained to reporters that it wasn't easy to get people out to it. Many were busy, and others just simply find excuses to skip any possible controversy. Some things are just not "hasbarable".

Distortion of 'defensive democracy'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

It's a recurring pre-election ritual: The Central Elections Committee invalidates the candidacies of Arab parties and candidates, and the Supreme Court voids the disqualifications. Since 1965, not a single Arab party has been disqualified from running for the Knesset.

Feiglin and his donkeys
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Sefi Rachlevsky - (Opinion) December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

Where were you on January 22? That question will be asked long after this election, which may be the last one in Israel. As we sit at the edge of the volcano, small personal details are being covered as if they were the main issues. Perhaps repression is natural in the face of such a dramatic revolution.

Almost the last call
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

It is difficult to compete with the phallus that the Hamas movement displayed publicly during its celebrations in Gaza at the end of last week, especially when those dragged into the competition were nondescript functionaries in ties, the remnants of the fatigued Palestine Liberation Organization's leadership. In this competition, European countries waver between the role of observer from the sidelines and that of the functionary's prompter.

We're losing America's Jews
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - (Opinion) December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON - As we deal with our daily existential war in Israel and find it difficult to focus on processes that are more long term, America's Jews are gradually abandoning us. They are not doing it by shouting and threatening, so it is hard to measure the leak in the dam. They simply move aside and go about their business. It's not a PR issue.

Talk about Reconciliation Following Meshaal’s Visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Hayat
by Elias Harfoush - (Opinion) December 11, 2012 - 1:00am

If this is the road to the Palestinian reconciliation, as promised by the head of Hamas’ politburo Khaled Meshaal, then this will most certainly be a difficult road ridden with conflicting positions and campaigns.

Is Palestine a state? That may depend on the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times of Israel
by Raphael Ahren - (Opinion) December 12, 2012 - 1:00am

On the morning after the vote that upgraded Palestine to a nonmember observer state, United Nations officials were perplexed when they looked at the Palestinian delegation’s bench in the General Assembly Hall. A sign that used to say “Palestine” had been replaced with a sign reading “State of Palestine” — even though the special machine that usually produces these signs at the UN was temporarily out of order.

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