Bibi, Barak at odds on priorities map
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is looking into possible amendments to the designation of national priority regions in Israel, while one of his main coalition partners, the Labor Party, is expressing its displeasure with the scheme. The PM is looking into various proposals presented to him, the PM's Office said Thursday evening in the wake of harsh criticism of the plan. The national priority designation, which includes the settlements, has irked the Labor party, with Defense Minister Ehud Barak announcing that he will attempt to delay a government discussion of the issue.

U.S. not opposed to Israel pumping more funds into settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Mazal Mualem, Barak Ravid - December 11, 2009 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to seek cabinet approval for a new map of "national priority" zones does not contradict Israel's declaration of a 10-month construction freeze in West Bank settlements, the prime minister's bureau assured senior United States administration officials late Thursday. The new map would enable another 110,000 settlers - most of whom live outside the major settlement blocs - the economic benefits conferred on residents of zones already included on Israel's list.

Likud minister: Settler population could grow by 10,000 in next year
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
December 11, 2009 - 1:00am

The population of Israeli settlements in the West Bank could grow by 10,000 in the coming year despite a declared temporary freeze on Israeli building in the territory, Likud Minister Benny Begin has said. Begin told a conference on Thursday night that the moratorium would be painful but was not a full construction "freeze" in the accepted sense of the word. He noted that 3,000 homes already started would be completed regardless of the freeze, and said about 10,000 more settlers would move in, according to reports by Israel Israeli media.

Abbas: West Bank mosque torching is despicable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
December 11, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday said that Israel must rein in settlers' provocative actions, after assailants vandalized a mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf, torching furniture and spraying Nazi slogans in Hebrew on the premises. "The torching of the mosque in Yasuf is a despicable crime, and the settlers are behaving with brutality," said Abbas, who called the act a violation of religious freedom. "The settlers' unruly behavior must be stopped," Abbas added after meeting on Friday with United Arab List-Ta'al chairman Ahmed Tibi in Amman.

Full text: 'A moment of truth'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 11, 2009 - 1:00am

A moment of truth: A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering Introduction

Palestinian Christians to declare occupation 'a sin'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 11, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian Christians from all denominations were in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday to demand sanctions on Israel and to jointly reject Christian Zionism. Clergy have termed their movement the Palestine Kairos Initiative, modeled after black South Africa's 1985 Kairos Document, a theological statement that called on churches to join the fight against apartheid.

Clashes after settlers torch mosque
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 11, 2009 - 1:00am

Six Palestinians fainted after inhaling tear gas fired by the Israeli military during a protest east of Salfit on Friday. Yasouf village's mayor, Abed Ar-Rahim Musleh, said the injured were hospitalized in Salfit. He described their injuries as light. Residents took to the streets in the northern West Bank village after Israeli settlers set fire to a mosque the same day. Soldiers opened fire when the crowd arrived near the illegal Tapouh settlement, which was built on Yasouf village lands.

To the Arab world, Obama's Nobel leaves something to be desired
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Scott MacLeod - (Opinion) December 9, 2009 - 1:00am

The Nobel Peace Prize that President Obama receives in Oslo on Thursday seems to many in the Middle East like a cruel hoax. In June, Egyptians cheered him for pledging an intense personal effort to resolve the region's problems through negotiations rather than force, and his outreach to the Muslim world was surely on the mind of the Nobel committee when it made the award. In the last three months, however, the Obama administration has steadily undone the president's initial positive moves by seriously mishandling one of the Middle East's central issues: the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

Graphic Glimpses of West Bank Struggle on YouTube
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Robert Mackey - (Blog) December 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel announced plans last week to use the Web to improve its image abroad in two ways: by setting up a new unit of the Israel Defense Forces devoted to fighting criticism on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and through what the Israeli newspaper Haaretz described as “an initiative by the Information and Diaspora Ministry to train people to represent Israel independently on the Internet.”

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