Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel appears to be preparing for potential fallout from the conflict in Syria. Palestinian refugees are fleeing Syria in growing numbers. Pres. Abbas says he asked Israel to allow Palestinian refugees to be relocated to the occupied West Bank. A human rights group says Israel has frequently used excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators and violated its own rules of engagement. Israeli soccer fans object to their club adding Muslim players to the squad. The Israeli cabinet approves a plan for regulating Bedouin lands. Abbas addresses a summit of the African Union. Occupation forces arrest two Palestinians in the West Bank. Hamas says it will release a group of journalists it has been holding in Gaza. Hamas leader Mishaal will reportedly meet Jordan's King. Al-Aqsa University in Gaza says it will enforce an "Islamic" dress code on women so they "avoid attracting male desire”. Israel admits for the first time to having given Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth control injections without their knowledge or consent. Israel's withholding of Palestinian tax revenues is undermining Palestinian security services. Reports suggest Hamas is maintaining links to Iran despite differences over Syria. COMMENTARY: The Daily Beast interviews outgoing DM Barak, who suggests the US has military plans regarding Iran. Ha'aretz says Israeli soccer fans' bigotry is a reflection of broader Israeli society today. Ilan Baruch says Europe must recommit itself to the peace process. Adrian Daniels says Israelis who hope for a breakthrough on peace from their next government should prepare for disappointment. Smadar Peri says Palestinian officials are taking a keen interest in who will be the next Israeli FM. Elias Harfoush says Israel's election shows a society in denial. Michael Koplow argues the elections really showed Israel continuing to drift towards the right, and Rami Khouri agrees. Nasser Chararah says Hezbollah is pleased with the results of the Israeli election.

Israel Girds for Attacks as Syria Falls Apart
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Anne Barnard, Jodi Rudoren - January 28, 2013 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — At least one Iron Dome missile defense battery was deployed Sunday in northern Israel amid reports of intense security consultations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding Syria and the possibility of chemical weapons falling into the hands of Islamist rebels or being transferred to the militant group Hezbollah.

Refugees again, Palestinians flee Syria's war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Barbara Surk - January 28, 2013 - 1:00am

EIN EL-HILWEH, Lebanon — When Syrian warplanes bombed a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus last December, Umm Sami rounded up her three sons, shut the windows and locked the doors so they could neither hear nor heed the call to arms by rebels and pro-government gunmen fighting in the streets.

Abbas asks Israel to let in Palestinians fleeing Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Noah Browning - January 25, 2013 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tried to get Israel to let 150,000 Palestinians fleeing war in Syria resettle in the West Bank, but dropped the request after the Jewish state demanded they first give up their right of return, he said. Syria is home to around 500,000 Palestinian refugees, some of whom have been fleeing the country because of civil war between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and fighters seeking to topple his government.

Group says Israel abused crowd-control methods
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 28, 2013 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — An Israeli human rights group on Monday accused the military of "extensively and systematically" violating its own rules of engagement in suppressing Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank, contributing to dozens of deaths in recent years. According to a report by the B'Tselem group, a total of 56 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with the Israeli military since 2005. The vast majority — 46 of them — were killed when live ammunition was fired at stone throwers.

Israeli soccer club's fans object to adding Muslim players
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ori Lewis - January 27, 2013 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Jan 27 (Reuters) - An Israeli soccer club notorious for the anti-Arab chants of its fans plans to recruit two Muslim players, fuelling protests in the stands that a senior cabinet minister condemned as shocking and racist. At a Premier League game on Saturday, Beitar Jerusalem supporters held a banner reading "Beitar will always remain pure". Other signs hoisted by fans also protested against its owner's intention to have two Muslim Chechen players join.

Israeli cabinet approves plan regulating Bedouin lands
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 28, 2013 - 1:00am

The Israeli cabinet approved on Sunday a controversial plan regulating Bedouin lands in the southern Negev Desert, local media reported. The plan, which was approved in principle by cabinet in September 2011, aimed at resolving the issue of unrecognized Bedouin communities and their ownership of lands before the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The plan recommends allocation of NIS 1.2 billion (about 300 million U.S. dollars) to expand current Bedouin communities and build new ones.

Mahmoud Abbas attends AU summit, reiterates position on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 27, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli security forces nab suspected Palestinian militants in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 27, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli security forces arrested on Sunday morning two Palestinians suspected of plotting to carry out an armed attack, Army Radio reported. The two were detained at the Hawara checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus. A search of their belongings yielded improvised grenades, petrol bombs and knives. Bomb squad officers disarmed the grenades and security forces were scouring the area, according to the report. The suspects, whom police estimated were members of a local militant cell, carried a letter which indicated their intention to commit suicide, the report said.

Official: Gaza security to release detained journalists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 28, 2013 - 1:00am

The public freedoms committee, a body set up to implement national reconciliation, has secured an agreement from Gaza's security services to free journalists recently detained in the coastal strip, a representative said Monday. The detention of six reporters in Gaza over two days last week raised concerns about a setback in the reconciliation process. As part of the 2011 deal, Hamas in Gaza and the Fatah-led government in the West Bank agreed to stop media harassment and politically-motivated arrests.

Mashaal to meet Jordan king, sources say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Hamas' chief-in-exile Khalid Mashaal will meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Monday, Jordanian sources said. Senior Hamas leader Izzat al-Rishiq told Ma'an Sunday that Mashaal had arrived in Amman for an official visit to Jordan, without providing further details. Jordanian sources told Ma'an that the Hamas chief is expected to discuss Palestinian reconciliation with the Jordanian king and other officials.

Gaza university introduces dress code for women
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 27, 2013 - 1:00am

A university in the Gaza Strip announced this week that female students must abide by an "Islamic" dress code, causing uproar from Palestinian groups and students themselves. Al-Aqsa University in Gaza City will implement the dress regulations when the new semester begins. University president Salam al-Agha clarified to Ma'an that the code does not require the jilbab (full-length coat) or niqab (face-veil), but rather what he termed dress befitting of the university. He said students would not be expelled for violations of the dress code.

Israel gave birth control to Ethiopian Jews without their consent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Faisal J. Abbas - January 27, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel has admitted for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent.

Israel's Decision To Withhold Tax Money From Palestinians May Impact Security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Ben Lynfield - January 26, 2013 - 1:00am

In August 2011, a report by the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee hailed the Palestinian Authority’s “comprehensive security coordination” with Israel in thwarting terrorist attacks — a judgment echoed in May 2012 by the chief of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency. “The security coordination with the P.A. is good,” Yoram Cohen told the same committee then.

Hamas Maintains Ties With Iran Despite Difference Over Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Abeer Ayyoub - January 25, 2013 - 1:00am

The positive outcomes of the Arab uprisings far outweighed the negatives for Gaza’s ruling Islamists, Hamas. The revolts led to the rise of fellow Islamists in Egypt and Tunisia, allowing Hamas to open up to the regional environment. But the ongoing uprising in Syria did not fit well for Hamas, which found itself caught between two hard options: siding with President Bashar al-Assad and thus losing popular support in other Arab countries, or showing solidarity with the Syrian people and losing Iran, Hamas' main financial backer.

Ehud Barak at Davos: U.S. Could Strike Iran to Block Nuclear Progress
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
(Interview) January 25, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is confident, he says, that the United States has plans for surgical strikes against Iran as a last-ditch measure if Tehran refuses to stop its development of a nuclear weapons capability.

Jerusalem soccer fans' racism is a microcosm of Israel 2013
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Elad Lipshitz - (Opinion) January 28, 2013 - 1:00am

The logic of Beitar Jerusalem is a reflection on Israel 2013. If Yair Lapid doesn’t count Balad MK Hanin Zuabi, then a Muslim cannot play on the capital’s soccer team. Some people in the eastern stands at Teddy Stadium are convinced that Muslims are born different and even develop differently in their mothers’ wombs. And we’re not talking about a few people - there are many of them, apparently thousands.

Europe needs to re-commit to the peace process now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ilan Baruch - (Opinion) January 28, 2013 - 1:00am

Hot on the heels of the 1979 Camp David Peace Accords, signed by the leaders of Egypt and Israel and under the watchful eyes of President Carter, the European Community formulated its own key statement of Middle East policy, the Venice Declaration, signed by the heads of the European Community on June 13th 1980.

Israelis who hoped for peace progress should expect to be disappointed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Adrian Daniels - (Opinion) January 28, 2013 - 1:00am

To the same degree that the campaign itself was lifeless and predictable, the results of Israel's general election have invigorated and excited Israel's center and Zionist Left.

Abbas waiting for Yair
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Smadar Peri - (Opinion) January 27, 2013 - 1:00am

The easiest thing to do is to recite "Abbas is not a partner" and talk about his interview over the weekend with a restless Lebanese interviewer who did all he could to get an anti-Israel headline out of the Palestinian leader.

Israel Closes Its Eyes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Hayat
by Elias Harfoush - (Opinion) January 25, 2013 - 1:00am

"Live in Israel as if you are living in Europe or the United States." This was the slogan that Yair Lapid used to lure Israeli voters, leading him to second place in the country's recent elections, becoming the kingmaker who will determine the rules of the game in Israel in the coming future.

No, Israel Did Not Just Vote for the Center
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Affairs
by Michael Koplow - (Opinion) January 23, 2013 - 1:00am

By the time Israeli voters went to the polls on Tuesday, the nearly universally accepted wisdom held that the right was ascendant. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's faction -- which comprises his own conservative Likud Party and Avigdor Lieberman's even-more-conservative Yisrael Beiteinu Party -- was poised to win almost twice as many seats as its closest challenger.

A shift to Israel’s center? Think again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) January 26, 2013 - 1:00am

All that can be said with certainty now about the Israeli election results is that the deck of political cards in the Knesset has been dramatically reshuffled: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition with Avigdor Lieberman won 31 seats (much less than expected, and down from the 41 seats it held before) and remains the single largest group; the extreme right Bayit Yehudi party of Naftali Bennett took 11 seats; and Yair Lapid’s new Yesh Atid party made the biggest splash with its 19 seats (m

Hezbollah Satisfied With Israeli Election Results
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Nasser Chararah - (Opinion) January 25, 2013 - 1:00am

Hezbollah has several departments that specialize in monitoring events in Israel. They monitor everything that happens in Israel, then analyze that information by cross-checking it with privately-collected information. Inside these departments is a unit whose roots in monitoring Israeli events go back the 1975-1981 era, when the Palestinian Fatah movement was a state within a state and had its various institutions stationed in Lebanon.

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