Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israel has reportedly decided to make a single transfer of $100 million in Palestinian tax revenues to the PA. The PA complains the transfer is partial, and neither complete nor regular. Palestinians are facing a growing food crisis. Israel becomes the first country to boycott a review of its record by the UN Human Rights Council. The Lebanese military says Israeli warplanes have violated its airspace multiple times in the past day. The aircraft reportedly hit a target on the Lebanese-Syrian border. Palestinian factional fringe leader Said Musa Maragha dies at 86. Stanley Fischer says he is resigning as Governor of the Bank of Israel for "personal reasons." A Palestinian man is arrested for stabbing an Israeli youth in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians hope their narrative will spread with the Oscar nomination of the film "5 Broken Cameras." Palestinian police release suspects due to lack of evidence in arson attacks against alcohol-serving restaurants in the occupied West Bank. The PA says efforts by a university in Gaza to impose an "Islamic" dress code on female students are illegal. COMMENTARY: George Bisharat thinks the Palestinians should try to file charges against Israel at the ICC. Carlo Strenger says PM Netanyahu must watch the film "The Gatekeepers." Leon Hadar says a more forthcoming Israeli government would find a friend in the White House, especially if it included political newcomer Lapid. Former PM Olmert says, even though he's a long-standing supporter, he won't be attending Beitar games from now on because of the bigotry of its fans. The Jerusalem Post interviews new Palestinian MK Esawi Freige. Eddy Portnoy says Jewish activists should be careful about misapplying the term anti-Semitism. Peter Beinart looks at the debate about Israel in South Africa. Neri Zilber says many observers are underestimating Lapid. Jeffrey Goldberg says he has concluded Netanyahu won't make peace with the Palestinians. Matthew Norman says it's strange that many cannot differentiate between anti-Semitism and criticisms of Israeli policies and politicians. Shlomo Avineri says the new Israeli government should reengage with the peace process but with more modest aims than finding a two-state solution. Daniel Levy says Israel will only reengage with the peace process when the status quo becomes untenable, and this provides an opportunity for the second Obama administration.

Israel to Transfer Tax Funds to Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel has decided to transfer tax and customs revenues collected last month on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to help ease the economic crisis there, a senior Israeli government official said on Wednesday.

PNA criticizes Israel for limited release of tax revenues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Wednesday criticized Israel's decision to release only parts of withheld Palestinian tax revenues. "The decision is incomplete because it only transfers the funds of one month out of four," said an official from Palestinian Ministry of Finance, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official added that the released amount, estimated around 100 million U.S. dollars, would help ease the PNA's financial crisis, which deepened in the past two years due to a drop in international aid.

Palestinians face growing food crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

Fluctuating prices, poverty and border restrictions mean growing numbers of Palestinians are facing food insecurity this year -- one of the key priorities in the humanitarian community’s annual appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory. This year’s Consolidated Appeal Process is for $401.6 million, a slight decrease on last year’s $416.7 million, only 68 percent of which was financed. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which helped coordinate the CAP, estimates that 1.3 million Palestinians do not have enough food.

Israel Skips U.N. Review on Rights, a New Move
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Nick Cumming-Bruce - January 29, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel became the first country to withhold cooperation from a United Nations review of its human rights practices on Tuesday, shunning efforts by the United States and others to encourage it to partic

Israel jets increase activity in Lebanese airspace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Zeina Karam - January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

The Lebanese military said Wednesday that Israeli warplanes have sharply increased their activity over Lebanon in the past week, including at least 12 sorties in less than 24 hours in the country's south.

Israel hits target in Syria border area
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Oliver Holmes - January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli forces attacked a convoy on the Syrian-Lebanese border overnight, a Western diplomat and regional security sources said on Wednesday, as concern has grown in the Jewish state over the fate of Syrian chemical and advanced conventional weapons. The sources, four in total, all of whom declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, had no further information about what the vehicles may have been carrying, what forces were used or where precisely the attack happened.

Palestinian fighter, rebel dies in Damascus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Albert Aji - January 29, 2013 - 1:00am

A hard-line Palestinian military commander who rebelled against leader Yasser Arafat to form his own rival party died in Damascus on Tuesday, according to his representatives and hospital officials. Said Musa Maragha, better known by his nom de guerre, "Abu Musa," was 86. They said Maragha died of cancer. Maragha, a Jordanian of Palestinian descent, defected from the Jordanian army in 1970 over tensions between the military and Palestinian fighters who were using the kingdom as a base to carry out attacks against Israel.

Bank of Israel governor says "personal reasons" behind departure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

Outgoing governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer said on Wednesday that he is leaving office mainly due to "personal" rather than professional reasons. In a a press conference held here, Fischer said he believes that he has achieved the goals he set for himself. "Eight years is a long time. I believe I am leaving the bank in good shape, much better than what it was before I entered office," Fischer said. Fischer announced on Tuesday that he will retire from his position in June and will not complete his term which is to end in 2015.

Palestinian apprehended for stabbing Israeli youth in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 29, 2013 - 1:00am

A 23-year-old Palestinian was apprehended by soldiers after allegedly stabbing a Jewish young man at the Tapuach junction in the West Bank on Tuesday. The 17-year-old victim from Jerusalem's surroundings suffered light to moderate wounds and was evacuated by medical emergency services to the Bellinson Hospital in Petach Tikva, near Tel Aviv, the Walla! news website reported. Police spokesperson Mickey Rosenfeld confirmed to Xinhua that the suspected perpetrator was arrested by the Judea and Samaria police department.

Palestinians Hope to Tell Their Story Through the Oscars
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Diana Atallah - January 29, 2013 - 1:00am

Palestinians hope an Oscar-nominated documentary depicting a non-violent struggle against Israel will succeed in telling their story, even though some recent viewers who saw the film in Ramallah expressed reservations about Israeli involvement in the movie. 5 Broken Cameras is one of five candidates for the Oscar in the Best Documentary Feature category this year. Released in 2011 by Palestinian director Emad Burnat and Israeli director Guy Davidi, it has been screened in 50 countries and translated into several languages.

Alcohol serving restaurants set alight in Ramallah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Nasouh Nazzal - January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

The Palestinian security apparatus has released a number of Palestinians accused of setting alight two restaurants which serve alcohol in Beir Zeit, a town north of Ramallah, for lack of evidence. Palestinian crowds gathered in front of the adjacent restaurants last weekend and threw stones at their windows, doors and signboards. Others set the two restaurants on fire and the crowds remained at the scene, watching until the two restaurants were totally gutted.

PA official: Female dress code at Gaza university 'illegal'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 27, 2013 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority Minister of Higher Education on Sunday issued an official condemnation over a Gaza university's decision to implement an "Islamic" dress code for female students. Al-Aqsa University president Salam al-Agha told Ma'an Sunday that the code, which is set to be implemented when the new semester begins, 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.

Why Palestine Should Take Israel to Court in The Hague
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by George Bisharat - (Opinion) January 29, 2013 - 1:00am

LAST week, the Palestinian foreign minister, Riad Malki, declared that if Israel persisted in its plans to build settlements in the currently vacant area known as E-1, which lies between Palestinian E

Netanyahu must watch The Gatekeepers, if only to save his own legacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in an unenviable position. His next tenure is bound to be much more difficult than the one ending now, in which he could balance his various coalition partners against each other to do what he does best: stalling, evading and avoiding big decisions. Now he is faced with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, which stands in a formidable bargaining position and is intransigent on a number of its demands.

Obama is waiting for Israel's new star
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Leon Hader - (Opinion) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

Not that long ago, when someone would sharply criticize the performance of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the response would go something like this:

I won’t attend Beitar games
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ehud Olmert - (Opinion) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

I have been a Beitar Jerusalem fan for decades. As someone who was born in "Shuni" (formerly a secret base of The Irgun where my parents lived with dozens of other Beitar movement couples) and educated in the Beitar youth movement, it was only natural that I would become a Beitar Jerusalem supporter.

Meet the new MK: Esawi Freige
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ariel Ben Solomon - (Interview) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

Incoming Meretz MK Esawi Freige is the first Arab legislator for the party since the 15th Knesset and comes from the town of Kafr Kasim.

The Cartoon and Anti-Semitic 'Mission Creep'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Eddy Portnoy - (Opinion) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

When it comes to cartoons, it’s usually Muslim fundamentalists that throw hissy fits. But, in a turn of events, some of our storied communal defenders, Abraham Foxman and Marvin Hier among them, have taking the lead. Indiscriminately tossing around accusations of anti-Semitism, our fearless leaders have attacked at least three editorial cartoonists over the past few months on charges that they have defamed the Jewish people.

The Israel Debate In South Africa
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Peter Beinart - (Opinion) January 29, 2013 - 1:00am

South Africa is America on steroids. It’s even more sports-obsessed. It’s even more violent. Its state-sponsored racism was even more brutal. Its racial progress has been even more jaw-dropping. Its gulf between rich and poor is even more awful. South Africa’s debate over Israel is more extreme too. The right is further right; the left is further left. And the big reason is apartheid, which haunts South Africa’s Israel conversation at every turn.

Israel's New Kingmaker
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Neri Zilber - (Opinion) January 29, 2013 - 1:00am

Though one of Israel's best known public figures, Yair Lapid, the surprise star of the Jan. 22 election, is a mystery abroad. He now finds himself in the unexpected position of kingmaker, free to dictate terms to a badly weakened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu Will Not Make Peace With the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Jeffrey Goldberg - (Opinion) January 29, 2013 - 1:00am

We here at the Goldblog glass-enclosed nerve center are getting a lot of heat from our right about our assertion that not much has changed on the Israeli political landscape, especially in relation to issues concerning the Palestinians.

Rupert Murdoch links sympathy for Palestinians to anti-Semitism. The truth is more complex
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Matthew Norman - (Opinion) January 29, 2013 - 1:00am

In a futile bid to preempt the allegation that automatically follows an article of this nature, I begin with a clarification. It is lifted from the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where a man in a cinema queue berates Larry David as “a self-hating Jew” for whistling an aria from Wagner. I certainly do hate myself, is Larry’s reply, but it has absolutely nothing to do with being a Jew.

The Peace Process After the Election
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Affairs
by Shlomo Avineri - (Opinion) January 25, 2013 - 1:00am

Despite losing about a quarter of its seats in Tuesday's election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu will remain the largest faction in the next Knesset. And although he is weakened, Netanyahu will almost certainly retain the premiership. Nevertheless, in the days ahead, he will struggle to build a governing coalition -- the meteoric rise of Yesh Atid, the party led by the populist anchorman-turned-politician Yair Lapid, left the Knesset almost equally divided between a right-wing and a center-left bloc.

Time for the U.S. to disturb Israel's comfort zone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Daniel Levy - (Opinion) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

One way of interpreting last week’s election is that Israel just put up a big “Do Not Disturb” sign: We are rejigging domestic burden sharing until further notice. That, though, is of little interest to the outside world as long as Israel remains in the business of illegal occupation and pursues regional ambitions that impact developments in Iran and also Syria, Egypt and beyond.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017