A Minimum Strategic Goal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Daoub Kuttab - (Opinion) October 24, 2007 - 2:45pm

In all previous attempts at negotiations with Israel, Palestinians have never made any real breakthrough. Progress has only been made on procedural or superficial issues, even if expectations were always raised unreasonably high, which in turn created exaggerated hopes for the peace process. This has been the case since the Madrid peace conference and was true of the Oslo process. Throughout, the Palestinian position was in permanent retreat and concessions were offered Israel at no cost.

Clarity From Experienced Public Servants
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) October 24, 2007 - 2:44pm

It is very refreshing when law, international responsibility and human courage converge in the remarks or actions of a single person. This occurred earlier this month in New Zealand in a talk by Karen Abuzayd, commissioner general of UNRWA, the United Nations agency that provides humanitarian aid and basic social services to Palestinian refugees. She made a few points that are noteworthy precisely because international officials rarely speak with such clarity, moral force and political urgency. I quote her at length for the pertinence of her remarks:

Reflections On A Common Heritage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by El Hassan Bin Talal - October 24, 2007 - 2:42pm

In many societies, religious festivals and set periods of spiritual reflection have been commandeered by commercial interests and misrepresented by ideologues. Their message of spiritual reflection and communion with God has lost out to the temporal imperatives of greed, acquisition and triumphalism. In our region, this process has been accelerated by very worldly conflicts and man-made sectarian hatred.

At Last, Consensus In The Middle East: All Agree These Talks Are Bound To Fail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jonathan Freedland - (Opinion) October 24, 2007 - 2:33pm

It takes a special kind of genius to unite the warring parties of the Israel-Palestine conflict, but George Bush may just have pulled it off. His proposal for what the US administration calls a "meeting", rather than a peace conference, in Annapolis, Maryland, before the end of the year has elicited a unanimity unheard of in the Middle East. From the hardmen of Hamas to the hawks of Likud, there is a rare consensus: Annapolis is doomed to failure.

Hamas And Fatah Both Accused Of Torturing Their Opponents
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald Macintyre - October 24, 2007 - 2:29pm

Gross and illegal abuses against political opponents – including torture or ill treatment of arbitrarily held detainees – have been repeatedly committed by both Fatah and Hamas since last June, according to Amnesty International.

Feud 'hurting Palestinian Rights'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
October 24, 2007 - 2:27pm

Amnesty International says illegal detentions and torture have become commonplace in both Hamas-controlled Gaza and Fatah's West Bank stronghold. It notes that the situation in Gaza has deteriorated sharply since June when Hamas seized control by force. The UK-based group is calling for an independent investigation. According to Amnesty, arbitrary detentions and the torture of opposition supporters have become widespread in the Gaza Strip where there have also been attacks on demonstrators and journalists covering such incidents.

U.s. Wants Progress Ahead Of Annapolis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - October 24, 2007 - 2:25pm

It's an insistent counterpoint audible beneath the U.S. march toward confrontation with Iran: While pledging to stop the Islamic Republic from going nuclear, the Bush administration is determined to walk Israel toward peace with the Palestinians. A battery of Israeli officials, in Israel and visiting the United States, heard the same message from an array of Bush administration officials: The United States stands with Israel on Iran, but expects some progress on Israel-Palestinian talks.

In Raid's Wake, Syria Turns Defensive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Julien Barnes-dacey - October 24, 2007 - 2:23pm

The peace overtures were nuanced and often veiled. But in the months before Israeli jets struck a Syrian military facility in the northeast of the country, Syria had expressed some interest in sitting down with its enemy to the south, Israel, to strike a deal on the status of the disputed Golan Heights. Rime Allaf of Chatham House, a London-based strategic think tank, points to secret negotiations, reported to have been backed by both governments, that became public in January.

Internal Divisions Make It A Bad Time For Israeli-palestinian Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Baltimore Sun
by Suheir Abu Oksa Daoud - (Opinion) October 24, 2007 - 2:20pm

While Israeli and Palestinian teams seek to iron out conditions for renewed peace talks in Annapolis this fall, deep divisions among the Palestinian and Israeli political leaderships doom any Middle East peace summit to failure.

Israel Draws Up Plan To Cut Gaza Energy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Laurie Copans - October 24, 2007 - 2:18pm

Israeli military experts have formulated a plan to gradually cut off electricity and fuel to the Gaza Strip in response to ongoing rocket fire from the Palestinian area, defense officials said Wednesday. Israel provides more than half of Gaza's electricity, and any power cutoff is sure to make life more difficult for residents of the already impoverished territory. The move is also certain to draw harsh international condemnation.

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