ATFP Expresses Deep Concern over Israeli Plans to Build 900 Units in Jerusalem
Press Release - Contact Information: Ghaith al-Omari - November 17, 2009 - 1:00am

Washington, DC, Nov. 17 -- ATFP expressed deep concern over Israeli plans to build 900 additional housing units in East Jerusalem. These plans contradict the United States’ policy of seeking a freeze on settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and gravely complicate the efforts to resume peace negotiations.

Most news reports and commentaries today focus on possible moves by the Palestinian leadership to declare statehood, although in an interview with IPS, lead Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says that the PLO is considering asking for recognition of Palestinian sovereignty in the occupied territories by the UN. Both the US and EU say that such moves are premature, and it has been angrily rejected by Hamas. Israel has responded by threatening to annex parts of the West Bank. The Washington Post highlights the holy places in Jerusalem as a persistent flashpoint. Roger Cohen argues that Israeli-Palestinian peace is presently unachievable and a truce would be the best option. The LA Times suggests the spirit of the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane is growing on the Israeli right. Mideast envoy George Mitchell reiterates US demands for a halt to settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem. The Daily Star examines Hamas' strategic thinking. Time asks what the future of the new Palestinian security forces would be in the event of a resignation by Pres. Abbas.

Recognize Palestinian statehood now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - November 17, 2009 - 1:00am

The failure of the Obama administration to launch a serious negotiating process between the PLO and Israel has led to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, announcing that he will not seek re-election. He cited Washington's inability to ensure an Israeli settlement construction freeze as well as American bias toward Israel as the main reasons.

Hamas rejects PA’s UN move for statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by HIsham Abu Taha - November 17, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas rejected Monday a Palestinian suggestion to seek UN Security Council support for unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Such a declaration would have no meaning and was merely an attempt by the rival Palestinian camp of President Mahmoud Abbas to pretend it had an alternative to faltering peace negotiations, other than armed struggle, said Hamas, which is ruling Gaza.

Why is Hamas keeping a low profile in the West Bank?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Omran Risheq - (Opinion) November 17, 2009 - 1:00am

A question one hears frequently among Palestinians these days is why Hamas Movement, a group some view with suspicion and others with sympathy, has become nearly invisible in the West Bank. Certainly Hamas has suffered a series of security blows in the last few years. Israel arrested roughly a thousand Hamas members, including elected delegates of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), following the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006.

Dilemma of the peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Hassan Barari - (Opinion) November 17, 2009 - 1:00am

Now, in the absence of a peace process in the Middle East, one feels compelled to discuss two main obstacles to conciliation that have been debated time and again to no avail. First, Israel will not proceed towards peace if the Americans are not on board. This explains the explicit demand, mainly voiced by the Arabs, that a third party intervention be secured if we really aspire to a quick fix to the seemingly intractable conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

Peace can be made despite Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) November 16, 2009 - 1:00am

It might be tempting to dismiss as diplomatic bluster the statement by Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinians, that the Palestinian Liberation Organisation would declare statehood unilaterally in the near future. Certainly it would not be a novel analysis given how rife the peace process is with grandstanding and brinkmanship on both sides. The PLO tried it twice before under Yasser Arafat, who backed down both times in return for concessions and reassurances. But this time is different.

Palestinian threat to declare statehood seeks to put onus on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - November 16, 2009 - 1:00am

Frustrated by a lack of progress toward statehood, the Palestinians are considering taking their case to the United Nations. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had hopes a more Muslim-friendly U.S. administration would press Israel into a peace deal on terms favorable to the Palestinians. When this failed to materialize, Abbas announced plans to resign. Now he is following up with a threat to go to the U.N. Security Council to ask for recognition of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Donald Macintyre: Palestinians throw down challenge to Obama and UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - (Analysis) November 17, 2009 - 1:00am

As so often in the Middle East, we have been here before. The latest suggestion – that a frustrated Palestinian leadership would unilaterally declare a state and invite international recognition for it – is not new. It was made a decade ago by Yasser Arafat when Benjamin Netanyahu, then as now, was Prime Minister. It was made again after the collapse of the Camp David talks a year later, when then Prime Minister Ehud Barak, like some of Mr Netanyahu's more hawkish ministers now, threatened to annex the most populous settlements in the West Bank in retaliation.

Will settlers become illegal residents of Palestine?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Daniel Edelson - November 17, 2009 - 1:00am

Legal experts told Ynet Monday that if the Palestinians go through with their plan of unilaterally declaring a state in the West Bank, the settlers there could find their status changed to that of illegal residents. The dean of Bar Ilan University's faculty of law, Professor Yaffa Zilbershatz, told Ynet that in the case of Palestinian statehood, "the settlers would become a minority that an enlightened state must respect".

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