Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Syria sends a letter to the UN asserting its right of self-defense against Israel. Israel may be considering another attack inside Syria. Israeli warplanes reportedly overfly southern Lebanon. Incoming Secretary of State Kerry is expected to move cautiously on Israeli-Palestinian peace. Palestinians in Gaza denounce chronic power shortages after a family is killed in a tragic fire. Israeli authorities claim to have disrupted a Hamas cell in the occupied West Bank planning to seize an Israeli soldier. The PLO is reportedly considering plans to join more multilateral agencies. An independent Palestinian politician claims Pres. Abbas is planning to convene a PLO "reform summit." The senior IDF officer in the West Bank tells occupation commanders to show "restraint" in dealing with Palestinians. Israel approves 364 new settlement housing units in the occupied West Bank. The head of the PA security services denounces an anti-corruption commission report as biased and "self-serving." COMMENTARY: The UN Human Rights Council issues a damning report on Israeli settlement activity. Barak Ravid says the new UN human rights report on Israel paves the way for more isolation and possible sanctions. Michael Doran says, despite invocations by Secretary of Defense-designate Hagel, the Suez crisis is no model for US-Israel relations. Rebecca Vilkomerson thinks the Hagel appointment is a sign of healthier US-Israel relations. Louis Fishman says Israeli-Turkish relations should be a priority. Talal Salman says Lebanon can learn from Israel's domestic policies. Ben Capsit explains what he thinks is the logic of the Syrian attack for PM Netanyahu. The National says neither Israel nor Syria stand to benefit from an expanded conflict. The Daily Star says both Israel and Syria have no shame. Leonard Fein says the rise of Israel's new political star, Yair Lapid, could end very quickly. Amal Al-Hazzani complains that Israelis are familiar with Arab culture while Arabs are almost entirely ignorant about Israel. George Hishmeh says Israel is creating Palestinian ghettos. Akiva Eldar says Israel is about to lose its long-standing narrative about Palestinian textbooks, given the findings of a new study. Geoffrey Aronson thinks Hamas is in a good position to take over the PLO. Rami Khouri doesn't think the Israeli electorate has shifted to the center. Matt Hill says a two-state solution is actually within reach if Israelis and Palestinians still want it.

Syria Says It Has Right to Counterattack Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Jodi Rudoren - February 1, 2013 - 1:00am

Tensions over the Israeli airstrike on Syrian territory appeared to increase on Thursday as Syria delivered a letter to the 

Israel may feel need to strike Syria again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Josef Federman - January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

An Israeli air attack staged in 

Official: Israeli warplanes fly over Lebanon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Bassem Mroue - February 1, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli warplanes flew over southern Lebanon Friday, two days after the Jewish state launched

Kerry likely to move cautiously on Middle East peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Arshad Mohammed - (Analysis) January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

The United States has hinted it might try Middle East peace-making once again, but Secretary of State-designate John Kerry is likely to move cautiously, in contrast to U.S.

Gazans decry chronic blackouts at fire victims' funeral
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 1, 2013 - 1:00am

Outrage and grief prevailed at the funeral of six family members killed at home by fire predawn Thursday in eastern Gaza City in a fatal accident that occurred due to chronic blackouts.

Israel busts Hamas cell in West Bank plotting abduction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
(Analysis) February 1, 2013 - 1:00am


PA studying plans to join international agencies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority foreign minister said Thursday that the government was studying the steps toward joining more international organizations and agreements.  Riyad al-Malki said officials were hopeful to initiate applications "as soon as possible" now that Palestine is recognized as a state and can theoretically join dozens of UN and international agencies. 

Official: Abbas to convene PLO reform summit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- An independent politician said Thursday that President Abbas will convene a summit of the PLO reform committee next Friday in Cairo. The leadership of Hamas and Islamic Jihad will participate in the summit along with other parties, Yasser al-Wadiyeh, head of a coalition of independents, he said. The committee to restructure the PLO was formed in the wake of a May 2011 reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas that was never implemented.

Senior IDF officer tells West Bank commanders to show restraint in dealing with Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - (Analysis) February 1, 2013 - 1:00am

  The head of the Israel Defense Force's Central Command, Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, has instructed commanders of units stationed in the West Bank to act with restraint and moderation when dealing with the civilian population.

Barak approves 346 new Gush Etzion housing units
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - (Analysis) February 1, 2013 - 1:00am

  The Defense Ministry has advanced plans to build 346 housing units in the West Bank’s Gush Etzion region, area council head Davidi Perl reported on Thursday.

PA security official slams anti-corruption report as 'self-serving'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The spokesman of the Palestinian Authority security services Adnan Dmeiri on Thursday accused an international anti-corruption group of bias after it published a report on defense spending across the world. Transparency International issued the Government Defense Anti-Corruption Index this week, ranking Palestine in the third-highest band of risk of corruption, out of seven gradings.

Israeli settlements symbolise the acute lack of justice experienced by the Palestinian people
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Nations
January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

  The International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory today published its findings on the implications Israeli settlements have upon the human rights of the Palestinian people. The report states that a multitude of the human rights of the Palestinians are violated in various forms and ways due to the existence of the settlements.

UN human rights report on Israel paves way for sanctions, further isolation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - (Opinion) January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

   If anyone needed a reminder of Israel's deteriorating standing on the international stage, they got one on Thursday in the report by the UN Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission on the settlements. While Israel's coalition talks are focusing on the state budget and drafting ultra-Orthodox men into the military, every future member of the next cabinet should be disturbed by the report.

Hagel’s misreading of how to treat an ally
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Michael Doran - (Opinion) January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

Chuck Hagel likes Ike. That much has been apparent for some time.

The fall and rise of Chuck Hagel: a good sign for US-Israel relations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Rebecca Vilkomerson - (Opinion) January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

With today's Senate confirmation hearing for Chuck Hagel as US secretary of Defense, it is worth taking a moment to review the fall and rise of Mr. Hagel’s nomination. It is a welcome, if overdue, sign that “daylight” between American and Israeli policies may be becoming more politically acceptable in Washington.

Cheering then cursing: Israel and Turkey's volatile relations should be priority
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Louis Fishman - (Opinion) January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

   Last week, in the midst of the Israeli election results, the Turkish media briefly switched its attention because of a major fire that took place at Istanbul's famous Galatasaray University campus, where a five hundred-year-old building caught ablaze, burning the architectural marvel. However, by morning time, all eyes were back on Israel, questioning if these results would lead to a government that would renew its ties with Turkey.

Learn from Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Talal Salman - (Opinion) February 1, 2013 - 1:00am

I assume many people throughout the Arab world were glued to their television sets as the results of the Israeli elections were being reported and analyzed the "democratic process" that unfolded. In my opinion, the event underscored the dismal situation of the Arab nations compared to the "Jewish ethnic groups" that gathered from all over the world to establish a Jewish state on Palestinian land.

Why the attack on Syria suits Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ben Caspit - (Opinion) February 1, 2013 - 1:00am

On the calendar, a little more than five years separate the attack on the Syrian nuclear reactor in July 2007 and the strike on Syria this week (according to foreign reporters, of course). In reality, the two episodes are light years away. At the time of that first attack, there was complete quiet here. Syria was calm, too, Israel was licking its wounds from the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah was in his bunker, the borders were quiet. You could hear a pin drop, if it dropped.

Neither Syria nor Israel benefits in broader conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) February 1, 2013 - 1:00am

The exact details are still sketchy, but the series of deliberate leaks are enough to confirm the Israeli air strike inside Syrian borders on Wednesday. Syrian regime officials insist that it was only a weapons-research facility that was hit, while US officials are saying that an arms convoy headed for Lebanon (and perhaps for Hizbollah) was also targeted.

A bounty of empty threats
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) February 1, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel has no shame when it comes to attacking whatever it claims is a threat to its security, whether these targets are civilians or military in nature, wherever it wants around the Middle East. Syria, meanwhile, has no shame in claiming in the wake of every such attack that it will choose the “time and place” of its response to violations of its national sovereignty.

Israel's Shooting Star Yair Lapid May Quickly Crash Back to Earth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Leonard Fein - (Opinion) January 29, 2013 - 1:00am

Is there a future for Yesh Atid (There Is A Future), the party that was the surprise star of the recent Israeli elections?

The Israel We Do Not Know
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Amal Al-Hazzami - (Opinion) January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

Being something of an exception in the Middle East, the Israeli elections are often great fun and full of surprises. This time we saw the emergence of politician Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party that has won the admiration even of its political rivals after gaining 19 seats in the Israeli Knesset.

Palestinian ghettos
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

After Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, was dealt a political lynching in this month’s national election that overthrew many of his supporters, he is walking on a tightrope in search of new partners. But some of his likely new colleagues, who have just surfaced, some gloriously, do not seem very keen on sticking their necks out for the mercurial Israeli prime minister whose days in the premiership are believed to be numbered.

Israeli Textbooks Under Scrutiny
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

Israeli public diplomacy is about to lose one of its trump cards — the argument that "Palestinian" textbooks are fraught with incitement and delegitimize the other side. This card is always played after the "there-is-no-Palestinian-partner" joker. A new US-government-funded study undermines this argument, to great uproar in Israel.

Will Hamas Make Bid For PLO Leadership?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Geoffrey Aronson - (Opinion) January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

Khaled Meshaal has come a long way from the days when he would sit on a lonely hilltop next to his village of Silwad doing his grammer school homework. There is no solitude on that summit today. The Israeli settlement of Amona is a jumble of prefabricated dwellings surrounding a modern children's playground with a million-dollar view east to Jordan. Silwad sits in the shadow of the small settlement.

Consolidating Israeli centre or its criminality?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) January 31, 2013 - 1:00am

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

Hope for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine is not the preserve of thoughtless optimists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Matt Hill - (Opinion) February 1, 2013 - 1:00am

Surprising as it may sound, William Hague is turning out to be the most vocally pro-Palestinian British foreign secretary of recent times.

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