Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: The head of a new study of Israeli and Palestinian textbooks, Yale professor Bruce Wexler, says the Israeli government is clinging onto "a propaganda point they know to be false." PM Fayyad and MK Herzog warn of the potential financial collapse of the PA. The Syrian regime reportedly finds its options highly limited after an Israeli military strike, and the attack complicates the crisis in the country. The destruction of a Palestinian protest encampment by Israeli occupation forces was outside of their area of jurisdiction. Saudi Arabia announces a housing project in Gaza. Hamas leader Mishaal categorically denies reports that he endorsed a two-state solution. Palestinian women are opening more businesses in the occupied West Bank. The Bulgarian government is expected to blame Hezbollah and Iran for the bombing of an Israeli tour bus. Outgoing settler leader Danny Dayan declares a Palestinian state is "farther away than ever." The planned Palestinian housing community Rawabi is near completion. COMMENTARY: The New York Times says there is a more honest discussion about Israel and Israeli policies in Israel than in the United States. Xinhua interviews PA Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Adnan al-Husseini. Richard Cohen highly praises the new Israeli film, "The Gatekeepers." Chemi Shalev says the film is a harsh condemnation of willful denial. Michael McGough says it makes no sense to try to protect students at Brooklyn College, or any other university, from controversial speech. The CSM says a new study of Israeli and Palestinian textbooks shows the need to better educate students on both sides for peace. Tristram Hunt says maps that distort reality are an ancient phenomenon. Saeb Erekat says the UNHRC report on Israeli settlement activity should be enforced by the international community. Gershon Baskin says the coming months are critical in the quest for peace. Abeer Ayyoub says Hamas is pushing "Islamization" in Gaza. Omar Shaban outlines the social and political consequences of the PA's inability to meet salaries.

Dissenters on Panel Blast Study Claiming Palestinian Textbooks Don't Vilify Jews
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Controversy quickly engulfed a new study that said Palestinian textbooks do not incite hatred for Jews with Israel blasting the report — with some members of the report’s advisory panel claiming they were blindsided by its release.

Herzog, Fayyad meet, warn of PA collapse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
February 5, 2013 - 1:00am

Labor MK Isaac Herzog met with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah on Monday and warned that the collapse of the PA would be "catastrophic" for Israel. Fayyad told Herzog that Israel's continual withholding of tax revenues to the PA and the failure of donor states to transfer promised aid to the West Bank had the Palestinian Authority  on the brink of collapse.

In Israel raid, Syria options severely constrained
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Zeina Karam - February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Syria's defense minister signaled Monday that his country won't hit back at Israel over an airstrike inside Syria, claiming the Israeli raid was actually in retaliation for his regime's offensive against rebels he called "tools" of the Jewish state.

Israeli airstrike complicates Syria's crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 5, 2013 - 1:00am

Israel's recent airstrike on a Syrian military research center has complicated the Syria crisis that has been protracted for nearly two years with no signs of an end in sight. On Monday, Syrian Defense Minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij said Israel launched the Wednesday airstrike in cooperation with armed Syrian rebels fighting government forces on the ground.

Israeli army demolishes Palestinian protest camp out of its jurisdiction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 5, 2013 - 1:00am

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) demolished a Palestinian protest camp over the weekend although it was out of its jurisdiction, the Ha'aretz daily reported Monday. Israeli security forces on Saturday evacuated the camp in the Burin village near Nablus in the West Bank, where 150 Palestinian activists protested against Israel's expansion of its settlements. Clashes erupted following the eviction between the Palestinian activists, security forces and settlers living nearby.

Saudi Arabia opens housing project in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 5, 2013 - 1:00am

A Saudi delegation on Monday opened the biggest housing project in the Gaza Strip and pledged further funding to support Palestinian refugees. Saudi Arabia financed the 752-home neighborhood in Rafah for families whose homes were destroyed by the Israeli army. It features four schools, a market, a mosque, a clinic and a community center.

Mashaal says his reported 'two-state' comments are false
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 5, 2013 - 1:00am

Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal told Jordanian state TV on Saturday that media reports suggesting he accepts the two-state solution are false. Last week, the Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq reported that Mashaal asked Jordan's King Abdullah to inform US President Barack Obama that Hamas will accept two states for Israel and Palestine. But Mashaal tried to dampen the comments in a TV interview, saying the movement would not "all of a sudden accept a Palestinian state with interim borders."

Bright spot in Palestinian economy: more women opening businesses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Christa Case Bryant - February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

It's a rainy day in the West Bank village of Ajoul, and when the kids get out of school a few dart into Myassar Issa's mini-market to buy sweets before running home up the muddy hills leading out of the valley.

Report: Bulgaria expected to blame Hezbollah, Iran for Burgas bombing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 5, 2013 - 1:00am

The Bulgarian government is expected to blame Hezbollah and its ally Iran for the terrorist attack last July that killed five Israeli tourists. The investigative report on the bombing in the Black Sea resort city of Burgas is likely to be released on Tuesday. Citing U.S. and Middle East officials, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Bulgaria is expected to announce that Hezbollah carried out the attack and that Tehran was involved in the operation.

Dayan: Palestinian state further away than ever
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Dayan chastised the settlers that he charged drove former MK Bennie Begin (Likud) out of the Knesset. He also criticized Migron residents for breaking the council’s 2008 agreement with the government, a move that he said led to the outpost’s relocation last summer. The 57-year-old secular hitech businessman took over the council in July 2007, when it was demoralized in the aftermath of the 2005 disengagement and the violent clashes between settlers and border police during the demolition of nine homes in the Amona outpost in 2006.

The Vision of Rawabi Nears Fruition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Felice Friedson - February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

The American businessmen and women appeared transfixed as they listened to the man behind the first Palestinian planned city depict his journey from vision to reality.

Litmus Tests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) February 5, 2013 - 1:00am

One dispiriting lesson from Chuck Hagel’s nomination for defense secretary is the extent to which the political space for discussing Israel forthrightly is shrinking. Republicans focused on Israel more than anything during his confirmation hearing, but they weren’t seeking to understand his views. All they cared about was bullying him into a rigid position on Israel policy.

Interview: Palestinian official slams Israel for settlement expansion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
(Interview) February 5, 2013 - 1:00am

A senior Palestinian official on Monday accused Israel of continuing settlement construction and " Judaizing" the holy city of Jerusalem, warning that it would endanger the Palestinians' presence in East Jerusalem.

Israel’s ‘Gatekeepers’ break their silence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Richard Cohen - (Film Review) February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Imagine six former directors of the CIA talking with a distinguished filmmaker and confessing to the murder of two terrorism suspects, ordering the assassination of others, alleging a lack of real leadership by the president and stating to the camera and the entire world that the war in Afghanistan is an unconscionable botch — a bloody, daily slog without end or justification. This, of course, could never happen in the United States. It did, though, in Israel.

‘The Gatekeepers’ is a harsh portrayal of life outside the ghetto of self-denial
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chemi Shalev - (Film Review) February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

The Gatekeepers is a very Israeli film. It is a film by Israelis, for Israelis and about Israelis. Even if it wins an Oscar. Even if you read the English subtitles. Even if you’ve heard that it mainly deals with the occupation, which it does, it is still essentially and exclusively Israeli.

A free-speech controversy grows in Brooklyn
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Michael McGough - (Opinion) February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

“That’s a nice college you’ve got there.

Need for textbook examples of peace in Israeli-Palestinian conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
(Editorial) February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

When two peoples are in conflict, one path to peace is to write textbooks that don’t further hate of the other. For today’s school-age Palestinians and Israeli Jews, there’s now some hope of that becoming true. On Monday, a group of scholars released a three-year analysis of 94 Palestinian and 74 Israeli textbooks that found few characterizations that demonize or dehumanize the other side. And most of the schoolbooks were factually accurate. This is encouraging.

Israel, Palestine and the mapping of power
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Tristram Hunt - February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

'It's almost comical. The idea of maps is to represent reality; here it represents fantasy." So Professor Bruce Wexler of Yale University comments on how the vast majority of maps in Palestinian and Israeli schoolbooks omit the existence of the other entity.

Enforce the UNHRC settlements report to push Israel out of its state of denial
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Saeb Erakat - (Opinion) February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

It is time for Israel to relinquish its current state of denial and confront reality. It is clear to everyone, including Micronesia and the Marshall Islands (two of the few countries who voted against Palestine’s recognition as a state by the UN General Assembly), that Israeli settlements are illegal and that Israel should withdraw to the 1967 border.

Encountering Peace: Opportunities for US peace initiative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

Is there a renewed opportunity for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking after the Israeli elections? That is exactly what US Secretary of State John Kerry will be seeking to determine on his first swing through the Middle East over the next couple of weeks.

Hamas Pushes Islamization of Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Abeer Ayyoub - (Opinion) February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

When Muhammad, who refused to give his family name out of security concerns, asked the DJ at his brother’s wedding in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, to play music for slow dancing, the DJ refused on the grounds that he would be punished by the authorities. Bemused, Muhammad warned the DJ that the family wouldn't continue the wedding if he didn’t play the song. The DJ shrugged off the threat and stood by his refusal. “We were really angry, because we were never informed that the slow dance wasn’t allowed,” Muhammad said.

Palestinian Authority Faces Crisis Over Salaries
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Omar Shaban - (Opinion) February 4, 2013 - 1:00am

The financial crisis facing the Palestinian Authority (PA), which has left it unable to pay its employees, has had negative consequences for Palestinian society. The crisis has affected the PA’s popularity and the stability of Palestinian society, and it has increased anger and tension between the PA and the people.

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