Jailed Fatah chief emerges as Palestinian presidential contender
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Ben Lynfield - December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Marwan Barghouti, the senior Fatah leader who could be set free in a prisoner swap with Israel, appears to be already testing the waters for a possible bid to succeed the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas. In an interview yesterday in al-Quds newspaper, the charismatic leader criticised his rival for relying on negotiations alone in dealing with the Jewish state and said he is considering standing as a candidate if an agreement is reached to hold presidential elections.

Divided loyalties in Nablus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Alan Johnston - December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The deep division between the Hamas and Fatah parties is not only confined to the Palestinian political arena. It often comes much closer to home, dividing families. Ahmad and Hamid know how that feels. They are brothers, and both rising figures in their local political scene. But one is climbing the ranks of Fatah, and the other, Hamas. The great Palestinian party political fault line runs through the home they share.

EU warns Israel not to divide bloc over Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The European Union says Israel must not play "divide and rule" with the 27-member bloc over a recent resolution calling for Jerusalem to become the shared capital of Israel and a future Palestinian state following negotiations. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, said Thursday the bloc was united and would not "remain shy" on so crucial an issue.

Poll: More Israelis like Obama, but don't feel he supports them
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

U.S. President Barack Obama has a higher approval rating among Israelis than is widely believed, undercutting arguments he has lost Israeli public support for new peace efforts, a poll said on Thursday. The poll by the Washington-based New America Foundation found that 41 percent of Israelis had a favorable rating of Obama against 37 percent who rated him unfavorably.

Defense officials: Palestinians trying to coerce Israel into accepting statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Defense establishment officials said Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority is orchestrating a diplomatic campaign with the international community to coerce Israel into accepting a political arrangement which would pave the way for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin, Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin and other top defense officials told ministers during a briefing at the political-security cabinet that the Palestinian Authority is trying to push Israel into a settlement "from above" by drawing in the international community.

Swedish consul: EU statement not changed from draft
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Sweden’s Consul General in Jerusalem dismissed reports on Wednesday that the language of an EU statement on the Middle East had changed significantly from its original text which his country authored. “There are very little substantive differences between the two,” Consul General Nils Eliasson said during an interview at Ma’an’s Bethlehem television studio. “I feel that it has been used as an excuse to avoid some of the main items of the conclusion yesterday to argue that it was weak compared to the original draft,” he added.

Israeli forces disrupt UNRWA chief's farewell
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli police ordered outgoing UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd to leave an East Jerusalem home on Thursday during her last official visit as the head of the relief agency. Ma’an’s reporter on the scene said AbuZayd left after police gave her five minutes to evacuate the premises of the house of the Al-Kurd family, as a Palestinian woman yelled "We want our homes and our lands. We have no alternative."

Israel seizes Bil'in anti-wall protest leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli forces seized Abdullah Abu Rahmah, a member of the Popular Committee against the Wall ofthe village of Bil’in early on Thursday, according to Palestinian Authority police. PA police said Abu Rahmah was seized from a house in the At-Tira neighborhood in Ramallah. Iyad Burnat, the head of Bil'in's Popular Committee confirmed that the arrest took place at around 2:30am. He said Abu Rahmah was likely taken to the military prison in the settlement of Ofer, on the outskirts of Ramallah. Abu Rahmah is a high school teacher in the Latin Patriarchate school in Birzeit near Ramallah.

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