Israel's high court orders that a major road in the occupied West Bank be opened to Palestinian vehicles, and a Ha'aretz commentary calls it 28 km of "distilled apartheid." Israeli and Egyptian leaders meet. About 1,000 protesters from around the world gather in Egypt planning to march into the Gaza Strip. The United States sharply criticizes Israeli plans for 700 new settler buildings in occupied East Jerusalem, as plans are announced for more building in the northern West Bank as well. The LA Times reviews Joe Sacco's new graphic novel about an Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza in the 1950s. Hamas threatens to try to capture more Israeli soldiers if prisoner swap talks fail, and accuses Israel of refusing to release four key prisoners. A federal judge accuses the US government of hindering a lawsuit against the PA. Former PM Sharon advisor Dov Weissglas says Israel must continue working with the PA, especially on security. The Guardian says that in spite of its rhetoric of "resistance," Hamas has essentially abandoned the strategy of armed struggle. The National says both sides learned lessons from the Gaza war last year, and that most Israelis support the war but think it ended too soon. Rami Khouri says both sides lost. The Arab News says Israel's new settlement plans show it is not interested in peace.

Working with the PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Yedioth Ahronoth
by Dov Weissglass - (Opinion) December 29, 2009 - 1:00am

The heinous murder of Rabbi Meir Avshalom Hai called for speedy justice. Most likely the operational circumstances made it impossible to arrest the murderers and justified killing them. The many worrying indications of a resumption of terror acts in Judea and Samaria justified a swift, precise and forceful action, in order to deter properly those wishing to renew the acts of violence.

Cruel onslaught on Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Linda Heard - (Opinion) December 30, 2009 - 1:00am

Sunday, the 27th of December, marked one year since Israel’s military launched Operation Cast Lead that robbed the lives of more than 1,400 Palestinians including 318 children, leaving 5,300 wounded. The cruel onslaught on Gaza that relentlessly continued until Jan. 18, 2009, destroyed United Nations facilities, hospitals, schools, ministerial buildings and 3,500 houses, leaving 20,000 homeless.

Editorial: Israeli settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) December 30, 2009 - 1:00am

So Israel is to build a further 692 new houses in East Jerusalem, over and above the developments that Premier Benjamin Netanyahu insisted were simply “in-filling” and not brand new constructions as such. Given that a complete halt to all new settlement activity is the key condition for the resumption of Palestinian peace talks, the Israelis know perfectly well that even the plans for this new construction constitute a mighty barrier thrown across the path of any negotiated settlement.

The Gaza scorecard, one year later
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) December 29, 2009 - 1:00am

A year after the Israeli attack on Gaza, a scorecard of “winners and losers” suggests that nobody won anything, but Israel has probably suffered political losses that it could not have envisioned when it decided to invade Gaza. I count seven main aims that Israel had in mind when it launched its war a year ago and tightened its siege of Gaza; one of them was achievable without a war, and the six others have either remained unachieved or have turned things to Hamas’ and the Palestinians’ favor. Here is my review of where things stand a year after the Gaza war.

Gaza: many Israelis believe attack was justified, but ended too soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Vita Bekker - December 29, 2009 - 1:00am

Few Israelis today have qualms about the high death toll inflicted by their country’s assault on the Gaza Strip last year. But even though many Israelis still believe the 22-day onslaught, which ended on January 18, was justified in a bid to curb Hamas rocket fire on their country’s southern communities, some have begun to question whether the attack achieved its goals. They say the military campaign ended too early and warn that another offensive may be necessary to complete the job.

Gaza: both sides learned lessons for the next battle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - December 29, 2009 - 1:00am

Walid Abu Khalid is a cautious man. He agreed to meet only at a location and time of his choosing and then only in a car that he directed to keep moving in and out of the narrow alleys of the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza to no obvious destination. Abu Khalid, 27, a former journalism student is a field commander with the Izzedine al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. Although Israel’s assassination policy has all but ended since last year’s war, Abu Khalid, an assumed name, knows that one phone call from an informer could seal his fate.

Hamas's rhetoric of resistance masks new stance a year after Gaza war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - December 28, 2009 - 1:00am

When Hamas held its annual anniversary celebrations in the centre of Gaza City it looked like a defiant and celebratory show. There was a male choir in camouflage fatigues singing on the stage, a sea of green flags in the crowd and wave after wave of self-congratulatory chanting: "Far and wide, Hamas is shaking the ground." A year after Israel's devastating three-week war in Gaza, the Palestinian Islamist movement which controls the strip is still very much in charge and unbowed.

This is not humane. We need dignity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Sami Abdel-shafi - (Opinion) December 29, 2009 - 1:00am

On my way to visit a friend in the Abed Rabbo district, north of the Gaza Strip, the taxi driver handed me a small pack of biscuits for change. There are nearly no copper coins left here so cab drivers barter a half Israeli shekel for biscuits brought in from the tunnels between the southern city of Rafah and Egypt's northern Sinai. Some Gazans, who once earned a respectable living, resorted to melting coins and sold the copper for food supplies.

US administration delaying trial against PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - December 29, 2009 - 1:00am

A federal judge in Washington has criticized the American administration's refusal to take a stand on a damages claim filed against the Palestinian Authority over a terror attack which left an American citizen dead. Esh Kodesh Gilmore, 25, who worked as a security guard at the National Security Institute offices in east Jerusalem, was murdered in a terror attack which took place in the area in the year 2000. His friend Itay Swissa was seriously injured.

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