December 21st

The two-wheel guide to a troubled land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Lauren Booth - (Opinion) December 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Fifteen minutes' ride into the hills above the West Bank city of Nablus, our convoy of European and Palestinian cyclists takes an unplanned breather beside an Israeli army roadblock. Nearby, a Palestinian farming family shelters beneath twisted olive trees, enjoying a simple iftar (breakfast) of bread, water and dates. Visitors to the West Bank soon become familiar with its blend of ancient culture and modern occupation. Welcome to Palestine, 2009.

Gaza must be rebuilt now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jimmy Carter - (Opinion) December 19, 2009 - 1:00am

It is generally recognised that the Middle East peace process is in the doldrums, almost moribund. Israeli settlement expansion within Palestine continues, and PLO leaders refuse to join in renewed peace talks without a settlement freeze, knowing that no Arab or Islamic nation will accept any comprehensive agreement while Israel retains control of East Jerusalem.

The conflict awaits Obama's program
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ophir Paz-Pines - (Opinion) December 20, 2009 - 1:00am

The peace train between Israel and the Palestinians has been derailed for some time. World leaders are at a loss and have perhaps given up altogether; both sides in the conflict are busy explaining why the other is the real peace "refuser," while real negotiations over a peace agreement are replaced by endless internal discussions.

Despair in Ramallah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Uri Misgav - (Opinion) December 19, 2009 - 1:00am

I recently committed a criminal act. I cannot even plead ignorance. A large red sign at the roadblock near the Qalandiya refugee camp made it clear. Israelis are forbidden from entering Area A in the West Bank. It may be a security constraint, but it also has a symbolic significance. The moderate and quiet capital of the Palestinian Authority is located a few minutes away from Jerusalem, yet visiting it is a crime.

Talk about 1967 borders, not settlement blocs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) December 21, 2009 - 1:00am

These days, it's tough to find a used car with a bumper sticker that reads "Peace is better than a Greater Israel." Nowadays, everyone seems to favor the latest formula: two states for two peoples. A few people on the right-hand margins are sticking to the belief that there's no difference between Yitzhar and Herzliya, but turbulent debates about the "heritage of the fathers" have given way to a consensus over "dividing the land." Instead of talking about the country's "narrow hips," we are erecting a fence that approximates the route of the Green Line.

Aviva Shalit: Netanyahu said decision would be made in coming hours
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury, Jonathan Lis, Barak Ravid - December 21, 2009 - 1:00am

The mother of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Monday said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told her that ministers would make a decision in the "coming hours" on a deal with Hamas for her son's release. "They hope the decision will be made this evening, and if not ? then tomorrow morning," Aviva Shalit told reporters in Jerusalem, where she was waiting in a protest tent opposite Netanyahu's office. Her comments came as top cabinet members met for a fifth meeting consecutive meeting on the proposed prisoner exchange with Hamas.

Abbas pessimistic about peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 21, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed despair about the Middle East peace process in an interview that appeared on Sundaay. “I found all ways blocked, then I decided not to rerun for another term, and that is not fleeing responsibility,” he told the pan-Arab newspaper Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat. “I am not optimistic and I do not want to have illusions,” he also said. He also revealed that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered him a proposal for a peace agreement that, with land swaps, would give Palestinians land equal to 100% of the territory of the West Bank.

Israel jails anti-wall campaign leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 20, 2009 - 1:00am

The Stop the Wall Campaign announced on Sunday that its coordinator, Jamal Juma, has been imprisoned by Israel since 16 December. Juma’s arrest follows what activists say is a military-legal crackdown on popular expressions of rejection of Israeli occupation. Dozens of protest leaders, boycott campaigners, and other civil society advocates have been arrested in recent weeks.

Israel settlements: rabbis say soldiers' loyalty to God trumps army orders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

In Israel, a standoff is escalating between the Israeli defense establishment and religious nationalists over the possible evacuation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. On Thursday, a group of rabbis published a letter saying a soldiers' loyalty to the divine takes precedence over their commanders.

Israel: American-style college for Palestinians hopes students stay
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Danielle Cheslow - (Blog) December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

On a crisp November morning, six Palestinian men and women read passages aloud in halting English about a Mexican-American boy struggling with his Hispanic identity. Their professor, Rebecca Granato, pushes them: “What does this metaphor mean? What’s going on here?”

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