December 21st

Steps to create an Israel-Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Jonathan Kuttab - (Opinion) December 20, 2009 - 1:00am

For a while, it seemed that a two-state solution might actually be achievable and that a sovereign Palestinian state would be created in the West Bank and Gaza, allowing Jews and Palestinians at last to go their separate ways. But these days, that looks less and less likely.

ISRAEL: Gilad Shalit talks said to be at key juncture -- again, or still
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - (Blog) December 19, 2009 - 1:00am

Talks to secure a deal to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit have advanced, sputtered and stalled many times during his three years of captivity in the Gaza Strip. Israel is now on its second prime minister since Shalit was dragged from an army post in a cross-border attack in 2006 -- and its second special coordinator to the indirect negotiations with Hamas that had been brokered by Egypt. The last time things seemed within reach, Israeli elections interfered. Things began moving when the German mediator stepped in a while ago and talks are again reported at that make it-or-break it stage.

Egypt's barrier along Gaza border called 'wall of shame'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Jeffrey Fleishman, Amro Hassan - December 21, 2009 - 1:00am

An underground barrier to prevent tunneling by smugglers along Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip has been dubbed a "wall of shame" by Arab writers and politicians who charge that Cairo is siding with Israel in isolating the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the seaside enclave.

December 18th

Israeli police seek to detain the organizers of a Palestinian cultural event in occupied East Jerusalem, and Pres. Abbas warns that Israel is seeking to expel Palestinians from the city. A UN official warns that there is a race against time on Middle East peace and confirms that the settlement moratorium fall short of what is required from Israel. Israeli troops claim they were fired on near Hebron in the occupied West Bank, and Egyptians claim to have been fired on from Gaza. Israeli FM Lieberman vows Israel will resume settlement building "in full force" after 10 months. A Ha'aretz editorial says Israel should pick up where PM Olmert left off on peace. Reports suggest Israel will give its latest response on a prisoner exchange with Hamas on Sunday. Israeli settlers used dogs to keep Palestinians from their own properties. The Guardian reports that CIA operatives are working with Palestinian police accused of abuses. The Forward reports that the United States is helping Israel keep a qualitative military edge over any potential adversaries. Several commentaries examine ways forward on peace talks, and Martin Indyk suggests an Israeli withdrawal to pre-intifada lines to facilitate Palestinian state building.

Dealing with Mr. Yes and No
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) December 14, 2009 - 1:00am

Back in the days of Binyamin Netanyahu's first term as prime minister, more than ten years ago, he was satirized as Mr. Yes and No. For every "yes" he delivered to US President Bill Clinton or PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, there was also a "no" or, if you like, a "yes" to the settlers and other opponents of the peace process. That appears to be where we are today, once again.

'Back to crisis management'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Dina Ezzat - December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

Egyptian officials have expressed unreserved concern over the slow pace of development on the Palestinian scene, especially with regards to Gaza. Egypt's main concern, they privately admit, is not borne of sympathy with the Palestinians but concerns the consequences of the current stalemate on Egyptian interests.

Use the 'road map' out of the peace mud
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Martin Indyk - (Opinion) December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

How can President Barack Obama drag the Middle East peace wagon out of the mud? He can’t – at least not until the region’s leaders feel enough of a sense of urgency to take the risks necessary to achieve breakthroughs. Right now, Arab and Israeli leaders are convinced that Obama is in more of a hurry than they are, so they are content to have him do the heavy lifting.

Why the road to peace may run through Damascus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Mohamad Bazzi - (Opinion) December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

Is peace possible between Syria and Israel? That question has taken on new urgency after the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to negotiate with the Syrian president Bashar Assad “anytime, anywhere” – and Mr Assad rebuffed the approach.

U.S.-Israeli Arms Cooperation Quietly Growing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - December 16, 2009 - 1:00am

Leaders in Washington and Jerusalem have publicly locked horns over the issue of West Bank settlements. And Israeli public opinion has largely viewed America’s new administration as unfriendly. But behind the scenes, strategic security relations between the two countries are flourishing. Israeli officials have been singing the praises of President Obama for his willingness to address their defense concerns and for actions taken by his administration to bolster Israel’s qualitative military edge — an edge eroded, according to Israel, during the final year of the George W. Bush presidency.

CIA working with Palestinian security agents
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ian Cobain - December 17, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian security agents who have been detaining and allegedly torturing supporters of the Islamist organisation Hamas in the West Bank have been working closely with the CIA, the Guardian has learned. Less than a year after Barack Obama signed an executive order that prohibited torture and provided for the lawful interrogation of detainees in US custody, evidence is emerging the CIA is co-operating with security agents whose continuing use of torture has been widely documented by human rights groups.

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