December 8th

Israel's West Bank system 'like apartheid'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
December 7, 2008 - 1:00am

ISRAEL'S discrimination between Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank is increasingly reminiscent of white South Africa's apartheid system, an Israeli human rights group said. Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territory "have created a situation of institutionalised discrimination and segregation,'' the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said.

Barack Obama's BlackBerry Subject: Israel-Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
December 4, 2008 - 1:00am

“THE big question is: do you want to end this conflict or just tamp it down? The arguments for the first are self-evident. Palestine fouls up our diplomacy: Israel is thrown at us whenever we ask Muslim allies for help. Unsolved, this conflict generates wars. The last administration was tripped up by the Israel-Hizbullah war in 2006. Another round in Lebanon—or a small war in Gaza, or a big one between Israel and Iran or Syria—is possible at any time.

From an Israeli Settlement, a Rabbi’s Unorthodox Plan for Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - December 5, 2008 - 1:00am

ABOUT two weeks ago Menachem Froman, the chief rabbi of this Jewish settlement perched on the edge of the Judean desert, had a dream. In the dream, he recounted in an interview this week, he was sitting with the late Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat “as we used to.” “It was like he was pushing me to continue in my efforts to make peace between our peoples,” he said.

New Tensions in Jerusalem’s Arab Neighborhoods
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - December 6, 2008 - 1:00am

A series of recent Israeli actions in the mainly Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem have raised tensions there, with Palestinian and Israeli critics contending that they are part of a wider plan to “Judaize” historically charged areas around the Old City.

In Gaza, No Cash for Holiday
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Linda Gradstein - December 8, 2008 - 1:00am

Every year, Ali Hussein, 35, looks forward to Eid al-Adha, the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice, which begins Monday. He works for the police force and earns a good salary by Gazan standards, about $800 a month. Along with some friends, he buys a sheep every year, slaughters it and donates the meat to the poor. He buys new clothes and special sweets for his four young sons, and he gives his mother, sisters, nephews and nieces gifts of cash.

Obama team's warring Middle East views
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Ben Smith - December 6, 2008 - 1:00am

President-elect Barack Obama and his presumptive secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, both pledged during the campaign to press for peace in the Middle East. But the Middle East conflict is, perhaps unsurprisingly, already playing out on a small scale within Obama’s own transition. Top policy jobs haven’t been filled — the org chart, insiders say, hasn’t even been drawn — but Middle East politics watchers, and Obama backers concerned with Israel, are carefully eyeing the interplay between two of his most important advisers on the Middle East.

December 5th

The Forward looks at possibilities for US-Syrian diplomacy under incoming President Obama (1). Haaretz interviews Prof. Rashid Khalidi (2). Israeli troops confront and evict settlers in Hebron (4, 5, 7, 10). The plight of Palestinians in Gaza continues to draw international attention (3, 9). The Middle East Times examines prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian Confederation (11).

UN ME envoy slams settler violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz, Tovah Lazaroff - December 4, 2008 - 1:00am

The United Nations Middle East envoy on Friday praised Israeli security forces for evacuating the Beit Hashalom house in Hebron, but condemned the violence which followed, and promised that the UN would "closely monitor" the developments.

Israelis fight Israelis on withdrawal plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Joshua Mitnick - December 5, 2008 - 1:00am

A bloody clash Thursday between Israeli settlers and Israeli police in Hebron could mark the beginning of violent Jewish resistance to a proposed Israeli withdrawal from much of the West Bank under a peace accord. ASSOCIATED PRESS Israeli police drag away a Jewish settler during an eviction Thursday of a disputed house in Hebron. Some of the 250 settlers who barricaded themselves inside hurled rocks at police in the first major West Bank eviction since a 2006 confrontation.

Tense Egypt-Hamas relations take a turn for the worse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
December 5, 2008 - 1:00am

CAIRO (AFP) - Already tense relations between Egypt and Hamas have soured after Cairo for the first time openly accused the Islamists of torpedoing Palestinian reconciliation talks. Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit was quoted as saying on Thursday that months of Egyptian-mediated talks between rivals Hamas and Fateh failed in November because of "Hamas' lack of enthusiasm towards reconciliation".

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