November 25th

Report: US officials survey settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 25, 2009 - 1:00am

US officials, some of them aides to special envoy George Mitchell, have been visiting illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank as a part of an investigation, the Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Wednesday. In the first such visit on Monday, officials from the US consulate in Jerusalem and Mitchell’s team visited the settlement of Efrat, southwest of Bethlehem, the newspaper said. The officials were reportedly comparing the boundaries and number of buildings in the settlement with earlier maps to see whether settlements are expanding.

Israel rejects to free 40 Palestinians, delaying prisoner exchange: source
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel refuses to release 40 Palestinians whom the Islamic Hamas movement demands for freedom in a prisoner exchange deal a well-informed Palestinian source said on Tuesday. The Israeli reservations on the 40 names delayed the prisoner swap deal, which German and Egyptian mediators have tried to broker, the source told Xinhua. "Accomplishing the swap within one week is unexpected, it is almost impossible," the source said.

Hamas: Israel continues to manipulate swap talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 25, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel has exaggerated the progress of recent prisoner swap talks and manipulated the hopes and expectations of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, Hamas leaders proclaimed late Tuesday. The proclamation followed days of reports from Palestinian and Israeli media heralding the immanent release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for an Israeli soldier captured in 2006. Talks have been proceeding with German mediation following the release of a video tape showing the Israeli soldier in good health.

Mash'al to decide on prisoner deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 25, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas’ senior-most leader Khalid Mash’al is expected to make a decision about a proposed prisoner exchange with Israel on Wednesday. A delegation of senior Hamas leaders were reported to be in Damascus Tuesday night, where Mash’al and other top Hamas figures in exile are based. They are reportedly discussing whether to go forward with a deal in which resistance groups in Gaza would release an Israeli soldier held in the Strip in return for some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Mideast's big loser
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
(Editorial) November 25, 2009 - 1:00am

There are reports of a deal to exchange hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for captured Israeli Sgt. Gilad Shalit. This is welcome news because the Islamic militant group Hamas has held the 23-year-old soldier as a human pawn, virtually incommunicado, since his capture on the Gaza Strip border in June 2006.

Book Calls Jewish People an ‘Invention’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Patricia Cohen - November 25, 2009 - 1:00am

Despite the fragmented and incomplete historical record, experts pretty much agree that some popular beliefs about Jewish history simply don’t hold up: there was no sudden expulsion of all Jews from Jerusalem in A.D. 70, for instance. What’s more, modern Jews owe their ancestry as much to converts from the first millennium and early Middle Ages as to the Jews of antiquity. Other theories, like the notion that many of today’s Palestinians can legitimately claim to be descended from the ancient Jews, are familiar and serious subjects of study, even if no definitive answer yet exists.

November 24th

News reports today are dominated by speculation about a potential prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas involving captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and Ha'aretz examines who the winners and losers would be in the event of an agreement. Fox news interviews PM Fayyad. IPS reports that Palestinian children in the occupied territories face daily attacks from Israeli settlers. Two Hamas fighters are killed in an explosion in Gaza, and Yasser Abed Rabbo says Hamas would form a pact with the devil to weaken the PLO. Pres. Abbas says there will be no third intifada. A Palestinian student in Israel appears to have been rejected from university program because of his ethnicity. The BBC profiles life in divided and occupied Jerusalem. Gershon Baskin considers the merits of the PA government state building plan. In Bitter Lemons, Yossi Alpher and Ghassan Khatib debate how to move forward given the present impasse. In the New York Times blog, Daniel Gordis, Daoud Kuttab and David Makovsky debate the prospect of a Hamas-Israel prisoner exchange.

Israel’s Gamble in a Prisoner Swap
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Blog) November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group in control of Gaza, appeared to be nearing a deal on Monday to exchange an Israeli soldier, Sgt. Gilad Shalit, seized three years ago for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, with potentially significant implications for the stalled peace talks. The deal could include Marwan Barghouti, a popular Palestinian leader, officials said.

Life in Jerusalem's city of three faiths
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Heather Sharp - (Analysis) November 21, 2009 - 1:00am

Jerusalem's Old City is a district containing a number of holy sites venerated by Muslims, Christians and Jews. The BBC's Heather Sharp, who moved into a home within its walls last year, reports on daily life in a dense tangle of narrow, winding alleyways. Our first night was a disaster. We had finally got the keys to our new home. A wiry teenager had wheeled our bed on a handcart through the narrow, carless streets. But as we turned out the light, Arabic pop music, cheers and whistles blasted in through the window of our new flat as neighbours celebrated a wedding.

Palestinian 'community center' contests shutting down order
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Aviad Glickman - November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Employees of the Nadiel Center in Jerusalem's Old City filed a petition with the High Court of Justice Monday against the police, who closed down the center in July on the grounds that it was serving as meeting point for terrorists belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The petition says the establishment serves as a community center which gives health tips to civilians and support to teens, and that it is funded by European donations.

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