Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The UN Human Rights Council says Israel should face sanctions over its settlement activity. Hamas says media reports it accepts a two-state solution are inaccurate, since it does not. Some claim bigoted Jewish Israeli soccer fans reflect broader intolerance throughout their society. Israel's two largest political parties endorse PM Netanyahu for another term in office. The Syrian government claims Israel attacked a military research center near the Lebanon border. Lebanese authorities confirm there was no attack inside Lebanon. Hamas says it's going to try to teach more Gaza schoolchildren Hebrew, "the enemy language." A family of six in Gaza dies in a tragic fire. Netanyahu says only US military strike can stop Iran's nuclear program. COMMENTARY: The New York Times says Israel was unwise to boycott the review of its record by the UN Human Rights Council. Zvi Bar'el says Palestinians still don't see an Israeli partner for peace. Rachel Shabi says criticism of Israel is legitimate, but offensive cartoons are not. Alex Fishman says Israel's military action along the Lebanese-Syrian border was a calculated risk. Shlomo Ben-Ami says Israel's recent election took place inside a social and political bubble. Alon Ben David says Israeli investment in deterrence against Iran would be wise. Meir Javedanfar looks at Israel's and Iran's redlines on Syria. Peter Beinart asks why Arab parties are excluded from Israeli coalition talks. Time interviews Israeli political newcomer and power-broker Lapid. JNS interviews the controversial pro-Israel Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh. Bernard Gwertzman of CFR interviews David Makovsky of WINEP about the recent Israeli election.

UN inquiry calls for sanctions against Israel over West Bank settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Barak Ravid - January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

A UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission on Thursday released its harshest report over Israeli policy in the West Bank since 1967, urging governments and private corporations across the world to consider economic and political sanctions against Israel over its construction in the settlements. This is the first time such a call has been made from within the United Nations.

Hamas denies accepting two-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

Hamas on Wednesday said it does not accept the two-state solution, following reports the party had changed its position to accept the state of Israel. The Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq reported Wednesday that Hamas politburo chief Khalid Mashaal asked Jordan's King Abdullah to inform US President Barack Obama that Hamas accepted the two-state solution. Hamas said in a statement that the report was baseless and that Mashaal did not address the two-state solution in his meeting with the Jordanian king in Amman on Monday.

Some Fear a Soccer Team’s Racist Fans Hold a Mirror Up to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Jodi Rudoren - January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

The shouting match began long before kickoff, and many of the slogans had little to do with soccer. “The Temple Mount is in our hands,” chanted the notoriously aggressive fans of the home team, Beitar Jerusalem.

2 Israeli parties endorse Netanyahu for new term
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Aron Heller - January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel's two largest political parties endorsed Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister Wednesday, all but guaranteeing him a third term at the beginning of the post-election process of forming a new government.

Syria says Israel attacked military research centre
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by James Webb - January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli warplanes attacked a military research centre in Damascus province at dawn on Wednesday, Syria's military command said, denying reports that the planes had struck a convoy carrying weapons from Syria to Lebanon. Two people were killed and five wounded in the attack on the site in Jamraya, which it described as one of a number of "scientific research centres aimed at raising the level of resistance and self-defence". The building was destroyed, the military command said in a statement carried by state media.

No Israeli strike on Lebanon soil - Lebanese security source
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Oliver Holmes - January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

A Lebanese security source said on Wednesday that a reported attack by Israeli forces on a convoy near the Syrian-Lebanese border overnight had not occurred on Lebanese territory. A western diplomat and regional security sources said earlier that Israeli forces had hit a convoy in the border area, a few days after Israeli Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said that any sign that Syria's grip on its chemical weapons was slipping could trigger Israeli intervention. There were no details of precisely where the action had occurred.

Hamas plans more "enemy language" Hebrew in Gaza schools
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal al-Mughrabi - January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

Islamist Hamas authorities plan to expand Hebrew-language classes in the Gaza Strip's high schools to help Palestinians know their enemy in times of conflict with Israel. Far from a sign that peace will soon break out, Hamas's promotion of Hebrew learning in the Israeli-blockaded Mediterranean enclave aims to make linguistic skill a useful new front in the struggle against the Jewish state.

Fire burns Gaza family of six to death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

A Palestinian family of six died Thursday when a fire broke out in their home in eastern Gaza City, a hospital official said. Hamas police announced an investigation into the incident, in which the father, mother and all their four children, aged between three to six, were burnt to death. Sources said the fire was likely to have been caused by a candle the family lit in their house after midnight. The Gaza Strip suffers from a shortage in electricity due to frequent disruption in fuel supplies to its only power plant.

Israeli PM says only U.S. military strike can halt Iran's nuke program
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that while American military action can eliminate Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program, an Israeli strike will only temporarily set it back, local media reported Wednesday.

Israel Ducks on Human Rights
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel has increasingly isolated itself from the world with its hard-line policies on West Bank settlements, the Gaza embargo and other issues. This week, it unwisely set itself further apart with a decision to withhold cooperation from a United Nations Human Rights Council review of its human rights practices.

Despite results of Israeli elections, Palestinians still don’t see a partner for peace in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - (Opinion) January 25, 2013 - 1:00am

Hamas knows that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lost big in the recent elections, but it also knows that whatever government emerges from coalition-building talks in Jerusalem is not going to be any more open to negotiating with the Palestinians.

Criticize Israel – but without the vile and offensive cartoons
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Rachel Shabi - (Opinion) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

It’s a rare event for me to be in agreement with the U.K. Jewish Chronicle's editor, Stephen Pollard, but that is what happened after the publication of a cartoon by Gerald Scarfe in last weekend's London Sunday Times, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Calculated risk
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Alex Fishman - (Opinion) January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel, according to the foreign press, attacked at dawn Wednesday a Hezbollah weapons convoy along the Lebanon-Syria border. If an attack did in fact take place, was it a prelude to a broad military conflict on the northern front? We should look for the answer to this question, first of all, in the IDF's General Staff.

Israel’s election in a bubble
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Shlomo Ben-Ami - (Opinion) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

Forty-five years into Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, and four years after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government became the undertaker of the two-state solution, an electoral campaign run in utter denial of Israel’s Palestinian conundrum has just ended with yet another Netanyahu government in office.

Israel Must Invest to Deter Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Alon Ben David - (Opinion) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

It’s a safe bet that investing in building military capabilities vis-à-vis Iran will continue in the next government, regardless of its composition.

Iran, Israel and Their Red Lines Over Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Meir Javendanfar - (Opinion) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

On Saturday [Jan. 26] the government of Iran drew a red line around Syria.

Why Arab Parties Are Excluded From Israeli Coalitions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
(Opinion) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

The media reports out of Israel these days are all about coalition-wrangling. Will Benjamin Netanyahu reach the magical 61 Knesset seats necessary to form a government by combining his 31 Likud-Beiteinu seats and the 19 from Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid with those of ultra-Orthodox parties like Shas (11 seats) and United Torah Judaism (7), which might create new opportunities to advance the peace process but could stymie efforts to force ultra-Orthodox Jews to serve in the military?

Yair Lapid: An Interview with Israel’s New Power Broker
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Karl Vick - (Interview) January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

Yair Lapid is the Israeli anchorman and columnist who stunned Israel’s political world by finishing second in Jan.

Khaled Abu Toameh, Journalist Forges On As Lonely Dissenting Arab Voice On PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Baltimore Jewish Times
by Alex Trainman - (Opinion) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

In an environment where criticism of Israel is not only common, but also encouraged, Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh is a lonely voice of dissent on issues relating to the Palestinian Authority (PA).  “I believe that a journalist should be loyal to the truth, as opposed to a president or a prime minister,” Abu Toameh said. “I do not wish to be a mouthpiece for any leader, an organ of any structure or a coverup agent for anybody. A journalist should be free to criticize anyone as long as he is telling the truth.”

Political Pivot in Israel?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Council On Foreign Relations
by Bernard Gwertzman - (Interview) January 30, 2013 - 1:00am

In the wake of the January 22 Israeli parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking the largest coalition government he can secure, says expert David Makovsky, because "the biggest government means no one faction can hold him by the throat." He says that U.S. officials were pleased by the surge of votes toward the center and the likelihood that newspaper columnist and radio host Yair Lapid is destined to play a major role in the new government.

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