December 23rd

ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Tim Franks - December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

It should be a time of unalloyed joy for Tim Brown. The director of one of Britain's most well-regarded choirs is beginning a six-concert tour of Israel this week. The choir of Clare College, Cambridge, will be singing Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the Israel Camerata Orchestra. But the singers have not, as a choir, been able to perform in East Jerusalem or Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, after a Palestinian protest against the choir's tour of Israel. The choir has been caught in the passionate arguments over whether Israel should be boycotted.

A crucial but problematic triangle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) December 21, 2009 - 1:00am

For good but different reasons, their respective relations with the United States are of central and utmost importance to both Palestinians and Israelis. As the US is the world's leading power, it is the most influential potential mediator between them. Israel is completely dependent for its overwhelming superiority on the near unquestioned military, economic and diplomatic support it receives from the US. The Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, is dependent on international support and international diplomacy, both shaped by the US.

Obama the Just
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Mostafa Zein - (Opinion) December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

In 1996, or a year after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worked to sabotage the peace process, both at the time, and at present. The Clinton administration responded, threatening to reduce military assistance. He got angry. He rejected the pressure. He said, “If the Americans think they can buy us with this assistance, I have a plan to do without it in five years’ time.”

A Conversation with President Mahmud Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali El-saleh, Nazar Majli - (Interview) December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

As it has been the custom for years, there was no specific date, not to mention hour, for the interview with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (Abu-Mazin), which has been conducted every year since the time of late President Yasser Arafat. When you ask for an interview with the president, you cannot hope for more than an agreement in principle, and they would ask you to come to the city in which the president is located, which normally is Ramallah.

Report: Israel refuses release of 7 prisoners
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Western diplomatic sources told al-Hayat newspaper that Israel agreed to release 443 of the 450 prisoners Hamas has demanded be freed in the first phase of a prisoner exchange deal for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit. In addition, the sources said Israel has demanded that over 100 of the prisoners to be freed be banned from returning to the West Bank.

Danger: Popular struggle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

There is an internal document that has not been leaked, or perhaps has not even been written, but all the forces are acting according to its inspiration: the Shin Bet, Israel Defense Forces, Border Police, police, and civil and military judges. They have found the true enemy who refuses to whither away: The popular struggle against the occupation.

Row between Israeli defense officials jeopardizing Shalit talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Analysis) December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Just as negotiations reached their most crucial juncture yet, they seemed in danger of being sidelined by a daft, superfluous clash between Netanyahu's political adviser Uzi Arad, Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin Tuesday. Arad never hid his opposition to the deal, whose current format he considers a strategic error, but it now seems he could have been actively trying to undermine it.

IDF chief: Bringing Shalit back is a national mission
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yuval Azoulay, Avi Issacharoff, Jonathan Lis, Barak Ravid - December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

The Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, reiterated on Wednesday that securing the release of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas captivity was of the utmost importance to Israel. "Bringing back Gilad Shalit is a national mission, and both covert and overt actions are being carried out to bring him back," Ashkenazi told a gathering in Ashdod.

Bil'in protest leader indicted over spent tear gas canisters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli prosecutors filed an indictment in a military court against Abdullah Abu Rahmah on Monday, a leader of popular demonstrations against the Israeli separation wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in.

West of the wall, settlement building continues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinians in the Qalqiliya district, where Israel's separation wall extends 22 kilometers into the West Bank, have watched rapid construction in the settlement of Oranit continue despite the call for a partial freeze on building. A spokesman from Israel's Civil Administration confirms officials are "familiar with the issue and are working to resolve it."

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