Israel arrests a leader of nonviolent opposition to the settlement barrier in the occupied West Bank, and disrupts the farewell ceremony for UNRWA's outgoing chief. Swedish officials say the EU resolution on Jerusalem is very close to their original proposal. Israeli military officials say Palestinians are trying to coerce Israel into accepting Palestinian statehood. More Israelis approve of Pres. Obama, but still do not feel that he supports Israel. The BBC looks at divisions between Fatah and Hamas in Nablus. Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti is profiled by the Independent. PM Salam Fayyad says Palestinians will not issue a unilateral Declaration of Independence. Gideon Levy says Israel is a "semi-theocracy." Michael Jansen says the Arabs should take advantage of the recent EU declaration on Jerusalem, and the Swedish ambassador to Jordan reaffirms European concerns about human rights in the occupied territories. Israeli FM Lieberman expresses sympathy with extremist settlers. In Bitter Lemons, Ghassan Khatib says Israeli pressure must be resisted, and Daniel Seidemann says the EU resolution is neither revolutionary nor trivial.

Gideon Levy / Let's face the facts, Israel is a semi-theocracy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The storm over remarks made by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman is in many respects a tempest in a teapot, which has for a long time taken on holier aspects than it seems. Neeman wants Torah law, or in other words, he wants Israel to be a country governed by Jewish religious law, halakha. In any event, Israel is already a semi-theocracy. The Israelis who were frightened by the minister's remarks and who love viewing their country as liberal, Western and secular are forgetting that our life here is more religious, traditional and halakhic than we are prepared to admit.

Neither revolutionary nor trivial
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Daniel Seidemann - (Opinion) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The current episode in the never-ending saga of Jerusalem-related controversies relates to a leaked draft resolution implying that the Council of the European Union expects East Jerusalem to become the capital of a future Palestinian state. Banner headlines highlighted Israel's shock and dismay over this diplomatic "outrage". At this writing, PM Binyamin Netanyahu is pulling out all the diplomatic stops to convince the Europeans to retract the offending words; it is still not known if he will succeed.

A timely wake-up call
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
(Interview) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

an interview with Mahdi Abdul Hadi bitterlemons: What do you make of the reported Swedish draft resolution on Jerusalem? Abdul Hadi: There are several elements to this issue. First of all, in presenting this resolution to European countries, Sweden is merely stating what Europe's position has always been, whether in public or private, which is within the framework of United Nations resolutions. bitterlemons: So there is nothing new in the resolution?

Israeli pressure must be resisted
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The council of European foreign ministers is currently debating a draft resolution drawn up by Sweden, holder of the rotating EU presidency, which is supposed to specify EU positions on different aspects of the Middle East conflict. The draft posits positions, including on the issue of Jerusalem, that have caused fierce debate in European policy-making circles. Such debate indicates that there is a growing feeling among Europeans in general as well as their governments that Israeli actions in Jerusalem are exceeding all acceptable limits and are in clear violation of international law.

Israeli minister says settlers' resistance 'natural'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

As Jewish settlers step up their resistance to a temporary and partial settlement construction freeze ordered last month by the Israeli government, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, yesterday said the opposition was “legitimate” and “natural”.

Next step regarding Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Forty-two years is a long time. Israel somehow thinks that with passing of time, and by passing unilateral laws, it can dictate history. This week, the Israeli arrogance in going against international will, which has been going on for so many years, seems to be facing a reality check. The next logical step is then for European Union countries to refuse to recognise any products produced in industrial zones created in East Jerusalem as coming from Israel.

Building on achievements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Charlotta Sparre - (Opinion) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Today is the international day of human rights, marking the anniversary of the United Nations adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Over the years, a whole system of human rights instruments and mechanisms has been developed to ensure the supremacy of human rights and to tackle human rights violations, wherever they may take place.

'A major EU interest'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Jansen - (Opinion) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Deliberations on a statement on Palestine at this week’s European Union gathering of foreign ministers followed a familiar pattern. The bloc’s current Swedish presidency presented a text approved by the Palestinians and Arabs, and Israel did its best to weaken the document.

Fayyad rejects unilateral statehood declaration
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority prime minister in a meeting with Jewish Council for Public Affairs leaders said he opposed a Palestinian unilateral declaration of statehood. Salam Fayyad told a group of 15 JCPA leaders visiting Israel this week that he did support Palestinians unliaterally building infrastructure and political institutions in preparation for future statehood, and compared those efforts to the work of the founders of Israel before its statehood in 1948. The JCPA group also has met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders on the weeklong trip.

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