Israel lets farmers in Gaza send flowers to Europe
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
February 12, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel temporarily eased its blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip Thursday to allow Palestinian flower growers to export 25,000 blooms to Europe ahead of Valentine's Day. The amount of carnations allowed out of the Gaza Strip was only a fraction of what farmers produce. Many farmers say they have no choice but to feed the crop to sheep. Israel tightened its blockade of the Gaza Strip after Hamas Islamists wrested control of the territory from President Mahmoud Abbas's secular Fatah faction in 2007. Israel allows in aid, but exports are banned with few exceptions.

Arabs Make Gains in New Israeli Parliament
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
February 12, 2009 - 1:00am

Arab parties have increased their representation in Israel's newly elected parliament, juxtaposed against a notable increase in support for Jewish right-wing parties. According to the votes counted so far, the new Knesset (Israel's parliament) will have one extra Arab member in the 18th assembly, compared to the previous parliament, and possibly an additional seat on top of that, after all the votes are counted.

IDF strikes Hamas post in south Gaza, after day of mortar fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
February 12, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli warplanes on late Wednesday night struck a Hamas post in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis. An Israel Defense Forces spokesman said that the strike before dawn Thursday came in response to mortar fire Wednesday on the western Negev. There were no reports of casualties in the attack. "As the sole authority in the Gaza Strip, Hamas bears full responsibility for all terror activities originating within its area of control," the IDF said.

Final count leaves Israel with election headache
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Douglas Hamilton, Jeffrey Heller - February 12, 2009 - 1:00am

Final results of Israel's parliamentary election confirmed on Thursday that the centrist party of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni won the contest by a single seat over right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud. The end count did nothing to change the confusing political picture that emerged on Tuesday night, or resolve a potentially paralyzing dispute between the two main parties over who should rightfully head the next government.

Yesha Council revels in Lieberman's success
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Erfat Weiss - February 12, 2009 - 1:00am

Yesha Council revels in Lieberman's success 'Elections proved consensus regarding two-state solution nothing more than corrupt spin,' settler leader says, adding Yisrael Beiteinu chairman 'will be one of the strongest supporters of the settlement enterprise' Efrat Weiss Despite the inconclusive results of Tuesday's general elections, it is clear that the political Right will have a majority in the 18th Knesset, leading Yesha Council head Danny Dayan to say that Israeli voters made "an obvious and unequivocal ideological decision."

Scrambled Electoral Eggs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Aaron David Miller - February 11, 2009 - 1:00am

Would-be peacemakers might want to wait before they start popping champagne corks in the wake of Kadima’s election victory. The outcome of the Israeli election has further complicated an already-muddled outlook for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Israeli Uncertainty Buys Obama Time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - February 11, 2009 - 1:00am

Publicly, the administration of President Obama has pledged to “hit the ground running” in reviving Middle East diplomacy. But the indecisive results of Israel’s elections have provided the White House with breathing room it actually welcomes.

Today on the Hill
Media Mention of Ziad Asali In The Washington Post - February 12, 2009 - 1:00am

Today on the Hill Today marks the 200th anniversary of former President Abraham Lincoln's birth and a celebration in Lincon's honor will commence in the Capitol Rotunda this morning. President Obama is expected to join lawmakers around 11:30 a.m. to observe the ceremony.

ATFP Calls for Urgent Aid to Gaza, Settlement Freeze at Congressional Hearing
Press Release - Contact Information: Hussein Ibish - February 12, 2009 - 1:00am

Washington, DC, Feb.12 – While urgent humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is immediately required, the long-term consequences of the recent Gaza war depend on advancements in the peace process and a settlement freeze, Dr. Ziad J. Asali, President of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) told a congressional hearing today.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017