ATFP Reiterates the Centrality of Jerusalem to Negotiations
Press Release - Contact Information: Hussein Ibish - November 25, 2009 - 1:00am

Nov. 25, Washington, DC – The American Task Force on Palestine today reiterated its long-standing support for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian permanent status negotiations on the basis outlined by President Barack Obama in his speech before the UN General Assembly addressing, “the permanent-status issues: security for Israelis and Palestinians; borders, refugees and Jerusalem.”

Today's news again focuses on a possible Hamas-Israel prisoner swap, and the LA Times argues that an agreement would harm Pres. Abbas. Xinhua claims that Israel is rejecting the release of 40 prisoners, while Asharq Al-Awsat says the deal now hinges on a single prisoner. Hamas leaders say the next 24 hours are crucial and accuse Israel of manipulating the process. Speculation grows that the deal might include senior Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti. Mideast Envoy George Mitchell reportedly visits an Israeli settlement, and Libya is planning to introduce a Security Council resolution on the settlements. Abbas reiterates complaints that the US is not doing enough to promote peace. A commentary in the Guardian says Israeli-Syrian peace talks are a distraction. The Financial Times argues that Obama still has leverage over Israel, while Al-Hayat claims he has been outmaneuvered by "neoconservatives." The New York Times reviews a controversial new book on Jewish history by Israeli professor Shlomo Sand. An original ATFP translation of an Al-Ayyam article by Hassan Al-Batal analyzes Israeli reactions to the PA government state building plan.

Abbas: Obama doing nothing for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
November 25, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accused US President Barack Obama of doing "nothing" to achieve peace in the Middle East. Speaking to Argentinian newspaper Clarin, Abbas said he hoped that Obama would "take a more important role in the future." He went on to say that the Palestinian people were awaiting US pressure on Israel, "so that it respects international law and takes up the Road Map," stressing that the peace process could not be restarted without a halt to settlement construction.

Israel's pro-settlement soldiers worry leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
November 25, 2009 - 1:00am

In Israel, most men and women do military service. As a result, the public's attitude towards their military is rather familial and criticism is mostly expressed in private. But, suddenly, an increasing number of soldiers are openly protesting against their involvement in the evacuation of Jewish settlement outposts in the West Bank, reports the BBC's Katya Adler.

Netanyahu's Syrian distraction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Chris Phillips - November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

A glimmer of hope in the moribund Middle East peace process surfaced in Paris recently when Nicolas Sarkozy separately hosted both the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. Reports suggested that Netanyahu passed on a message to his Syrian counterpart about reopening peace negotiations. Though both leaders were quick to play down any talk of detente, recent announcements in both Tel Aviv and Damascus suggest that talks "without preconditions" may not be far off.

Obama still has leverage over Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by David Gardner - (Analysis) November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Has Barack Obama made a hash of his Middle East peace diplomacy? That seems to be the verdict of international commentators and – more to the point – of Palestinian leaders in despair at ever getting their own state and an Israeli government exulting that it made the US president blink first. Yet, it is worth stepping outside the hothouse for a minute to examine whether it is that simple: whether Mr Obama will be content to see his ambitious strategy of reconciliation with the Arab and Muslim worlds held hostage by the obdurate obstruction of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Inside Israeli jails, the real victims of a cry for justice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jesse Rosenfeld - (Opinion) November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Amid the growing media fever over a possible prisoner swap involving the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held by Hamas, another young captive has a less visible public profile – but personifies Israel’s chokehold on Palestinian self-expression.

As the enemy sees us
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ayyam
by Hassan Al-Battal - November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Who is this man, this “dour official leading a revolutionary cultural change?” Salam Fayyad is not always formal, though mostly to be seen wearing a necktie. He did, however, wear shorts and ran in the handicap marathon in Nablus. And what are these “revolutionary cultural changes” as perceived by certain deep Israeli analyses, but dismissed as irrelevant by other Israeli analysts? According to Dr. Einat Wilf of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, Israel would do itself a favor if it took Mr. Fayyad seriously. Why?

Prisoner Swap Deal Stalled Over One Detainee
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Saleh Al-Naeimi, Nazar Majli - November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

The prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and Israel hinges upon one prisoner that Hamas insists is added to the hundreds of other Palestinian prisoners who will be released in exchange for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Asharq Al Awsat has learned.

Hamas leaders in Syria for '24 critical hours'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
November 25, 2009 - 1:00am

The next 24 hours will be critical in terms of the prisoner exchange deal with Israel, senior Hamas sources told Arab media on Wednesday morning. The organization's leaders, who left Cairo on Tuesday evening, are meeting in the offices of Hamas' political bureau in Damascus to decide whether to accept Jerusalem's latest offer.

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