Yediot Aharonot notes that "Abu Mazen, President of the Observer State of Palestine," is in Rome today to thank Italian government leaders for voting in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution that accorded the Palestinian Authority the status of a non-member observer state, and strongly criticizes Rome for deciding to support the resolution at the last moment, after having led Israel to believe that it would abstain. The author suggests that Prime Minister Mario Monti wished to make a break with Silvio Berlusconi\’s image as a friend of Israel and to curry favor with Italian center-left leader Petr Luigi Bersani, "who leads in the polls and is likely to determine Monti\’s fate after the February elections." The paper fears that if the center-left wins the February elections, "Italy is liable to go back 30 years to the days in which the PLO operated in Rome as if it was at home."
Ma\’ariv discusses the Palestinian Authority\’s refusal to accede to Israel\’s demand that it recognize Israel as a Jewish state: "This is not an issue of character, but a very substantive matter regarding the very existence of the State of Israel. There is a huge difference between the negotiations that were conducted with Jordan and Egypt and the negotiations with the Palestinians. With Jordan and Egypt, the problem was territorial and the question of recognizing Egypt and Jordan as sovereign states was never an issue, just as they had no claim on the land of the State of Israel. With the Palestinians, the problem is the conflict over the same piece of ground, over their demand to bring Palestinian refugees back to Israel, over the Hamas and Fatah charters that claim ownership over the whole of the State of Israel, etc. There is a basic question at issue here: Are the \’moderate Palestinians\’ prepared to recognize the Jewish ! People\’s right to self-determination?" The author urges the Government to put Abu Mazen and the Palestinian Authority to the test by offering to re-start negotiations from where the Annapolis talks left off in 2007, with "the basis of the negotiations being two states for two peoples – the Palestinian people, according to its right to self-determination, and the Jewish people, according to its right to self-determination."
Yisrael Hayom calls on European Jews to seriously consider moving to Israel as an alternative to living with rising anti-Semitism in their current countries.
The Jerusalem Post equates the horrific massacre in Newtown to comparable occurrences in Israel, and states: “Whether such murderous acts are carried out in the name of some warped ideology – as they often are in Israel – or simply the action of a very disturbed young man, as the Newtown massacre appears to be, the grief is the same for the victims’ families and for the rest of the civilized world.”
Haaretz comments on the financial difficulties currently challenging Israeli media in general and the imminent collapse of TV Channel 10 in particular, and states that “A society without an independent, lively and varied press is what dark regimes are made of. A weakening of the free press in Israel will result in many subjects not being dealt with at all, while others will get tendentious coverage.” The editor opines: “With only two TV channels and the same number of daily newspapers there won\’t be a critical, competitive and biting press; it will be impossible to report freely or conduct courageous investigations, which are journalism\’s lifeblood,” and adds: “This is, therefore, a last call to the government: Prevent the closure of Channel 10.”
[Menachem Gantz, Amos Gilboa and Isi Leibler wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot, Ma\’ariv and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]