ATFP Welcomes the Appointment of Senator George Mitchell as Middle East Special Envoy
Press Release - Contact Information: Ghaith al-Omari - January 22, 2009 - 1:00am

ATFP welcomes the appointment of former Senator George Mitchell as Middle East Special Envoy, and views this appointment as a clear signal of President Obama's strong commitment to an early, energetic engagement in peace making in the Middle East.

In the aftermath of the war in Gaza control of the strip is a subject of debate (1). Reports that the IDF used phosphorous arms on Gaza prompt an international outcry (2). In an op-ed for The New York Times Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi promotes the one-state solution (4). As the Arab League meets this week in Kuwait, all talk is focused on Gaza (5). President Barack Obama is reportedly set to appoint George Mitchell as his Mideast envoy (6). Israel warns that they may renew their military strike if Hamas reopens its network of underground tunnels (7). Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is the recipient of Obama’s first phone call in office (11).

The One-State Solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Muammar Qaddafi - (Opinion) January 21, 2009 - 1:00am

THE shocking level of the last wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence, which ended with this weekend’s cease-fire, reminds us why a final resolution to the so-called Middle East crisis is so important. It is vital not just to break this cycle of destruction and injustice, but also to deny the religious extremists in the region who feed on the conflict an excuse to advance their own causes.

Israeli envoy in Egypt to discuss lasting Gaza truce
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
January 22, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli envoy Amos Gilad was in Cairo on Thursday for Egyptian-mediated talks on clinching a lasting truce with Hamas expected to focus on stemming arms smuggling across the porous Gaza-Egypt border. Gilad arrived "for a short visit to meet with senior officials to discuss consolidating the ceasefire in Gaza," Egypt's state MENA news agency said. Egypt invited Hamas to Cairo for separate talks on Thursday on shoring up the fragile ceasefire that took effect on January 18, but the Islamists will only send a delegation to Cairo on Sunday, the foreign ministry said.

Outcry Erupts Over Reports That Israel Used Phosphorus Arms on Gazans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - January 21, 2009 - 1:00am

In early January, a week into Israel’s war in Gaza, the home of Sabah Abu Halima was hit by an Israeli shell. Ms. Abu Halima, the matriarch of a farming family in the northern Gaza area of Beit Lahiya, was caught in an inferno that burned her husband and four of their nine children to death.

After Gaza war, Israel sees Hamas prisoner swap
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Dan Williams - January 22, 2009 - 1:00am

After pummeling Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Israel now hopes to push through a prisoner swap to retrieve a soldier held by the Palestinians since 2006, Israeli officials said on Thursday. They said Israel was conditioning any lifting of its Gaza blockade on immediate progress in Egyptian efforts to free Gilad Shalit, and would be willing to relax its objections to a list of Palestinian prisoners which Hamas wants released in exchange.

Gaza ruins pose questions for Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
by Quil Lawrence - January 21, 2009 - 1:00am

Standing on a newly formed hillside of rubble in the destroyed Jabaliya refugee camp, five young men all claim to be resistance fighters. "All of Gaza are mujahideen," they said. But when asked which of them had actually fired a gun in the three week-long battle with Israel, none gave a convincing answer. And as armed Hamas policemen return to Gaza's street-corners and traffic-lights, many in Gaza are wondering where they were when it came to fighting the Israeli Army. Hamas still has enough power and influence here that few will criticise the Islamist movement openly.

Obama to pick George Mitchell as his Mideast envoy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
by Mark Lander - January 22, 2009 - 1:00am

President Barack Obama moved swiftly to engage on the Middle East, calling Israeli and Arab leaders on his first morning in office and preparing to appoint a seasoned peace negotiator and former senator, George Mitchell, as his special emissary to the region. Obama did not announce any new initiatives Wednesday, although he promised deeper U.S. involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than was evident during the Bush administration, which steered clear of the peace process in its early days.

Control Of Gaza Subject Of Debate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Craig Whitlock - January 21, 2009 - 1:00am

As Palestinians begin thinking about how to rebuild the bombarded Gaza Strip, the biggest hurdle quickly became apparent: Who will be in charge? European countries, oil-rich Arab kingdoms and the United Nations have all pledged money or aid since Israel declared a cease-fire Sunday in the military offensive it launched Dec. 27. But none of the donors wants to deal with Hamas, the Islamist movement that still controls Gaza but is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the European Union and the United States.

As Constraints on Gaza Ease, New Reports of Misery
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Jonathan Finer, Craig Whitlock - January 22, 2009 - 1:00am

Khaled Abed Rabbo returned Wednesday to what was left of his five-story home in a village that bears his family's name, and spoke softly of his three young daughters. Sowad, 7, and Amal, 2, died in a hail of Israeli gunfire during what was supposed to be a cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid in the early days of the conflict, he said. His middle daughter, Samar, is now paralyzed with bullet wounds.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017