Rattling the Cage: A taboo question for Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) December 31, 2009 - 1:00am

There's a question we Israelis won't ask ourselves about the Palestinians, especially not about Gaza. The question is taboo. Not only won't anyone ask it out loud, but very, very few people will dare ask it in the privacy of their own minds. However, I think it's time we start asking it, privately and in public. If we don't, I think there's going to be Operation Cast Lead II, then Operation Cast Lead III, and each one is going to be worse than the last, and the consequences for Palestinians and Israelis are going to be unimaginable.

Peace talks framework may bridge goals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - December 31, 2009 - 1:00am

When US Mideast envoy George Mitchell arrives here in early January he is expected to declare a framework for peace talks aimed at reconciling the Palestinian demand for a state based on the 1967 lines, with Israel's goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Journey to nowhere
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) December 31, 2009 - 1:00am

Well, here we are. A new year begins at midnight, and for the Middle East, 2010 will be a year of negotiations. Peace envoys are warming up at the starting line, document writers are polishing draft agreements for the envoys, advisers are coming up with their own phraseology, pundits are piling up verbiage, photographers are aiming their cameras, and diplomats are packing their bags and sharpening their tongues. George Mitchell will be here soon, Benjamin Netanyahu has already been to Cairo, Mahmoud Abbas is on his way. In the end there will be a summit.

Shin Bet: 2009 was quiet year
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - December 30, 2009 - 1:00am

The year 2009 saw a significant decline in the number of attacks both in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank compared with previous years, according to data released Wednesday by Israel's Shin Bet to mark the end of the year. At the same time, many attempts by terror groups from the Gaza Strip to plant booby traps inside Israel were thwarted by removing the devices from the Strip into the Sinai, and from there to Israel.

PCBS: 10.88 million Palestinians in the world, half in diaspora
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 31, 2009 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics released a report on the Palestinian population worldwide, noting a decrease in family size for the population living in Palestinian territories. The report counted a total of 10.9 million Palestinians worldwide by the end of 2009, with 2.5 million in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, 1.5million in the Gaza Strip and 1.25 million living in Israel. More than half of the world Palestinian population, the report noted, live in the diaspora.

Zahhar: Hamas still open to swap deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 31, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas has not ruled out a prisoner exchange with Israel, one of the movements top leaders said upon returning from talks on the issue in Damascus. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar told Ma’an, “Hamas did not close the door on the Shalit deal. Hamas is demanding that Israel release some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held in Gaza. Zahhar said Hamas is still holding internal consultations on the prisoner deal, and other issues, including reconciliation with Fatah, and the steel wall Egypt is building on the border with Gaza.

Israel's Right in the 'Disputed' Territories
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Danny Ayalon - December 30, 2009 - 1:00am

The recent statements by the European Union's new foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton criticizing Israel have once again brought international attention to Jerusalem and the settlements. However, little appears to be truly understood about Israel's rights to what are generally called the "occupied territories" but what really are "disputed territories."

Middle East quagmire had another good year
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Etgar Keret - (Opinion) December 29, 2009 - 1:00am

In 2002, at the height of the second Palestinian intifada, a new kind of illegal gambling sprang up in Israel: suicide-bombings roulette.

A Mideast Bond, Stitched of Pain and Healing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - December 30, 2009 - 1:00am

He can be impulsive. She has a touch of bossiness. Next-door neighbors for nearly a year, they talk, watch television and explore the world together, wandering into each other’s homes without a second thought. She likes his mother’s eggplant dish. He likes her father’s rice and lamb.

December 30th

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.

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