December 22nd

Lift the Gaza blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Nick Clegg - (Opinion) December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

On 27 December last year, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, an overwhelming exercise of military force aimed at silencing the Hamas rockets which had terrorised Israeli towns and villages. The immediate effects of the invasion are well known: 1,400 Palestinians dead, mostly civilians, with many more wounded or displaced; 10 Israeli soldiers and three civilians killed, dozens more injured; and thousands of families in southern Israel forced to flee to other parts of the country. The rocketfire from Gaza into Israel has slowed but has not entirely ceased. Hamas is still in power.

Israel's doctors must allay torture fears
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Antony Lerman - (Opinion) December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

One of the disturbing features of the persistent use of torture by many countries in conflict situations around the world is the role some doctors play in condoning it. The World Medical Association (WMA), which "promot[es] the highest possible standards of medical ethics, [and] provides ethical guidance to physicians", is crystal clear on this practice.

The separation wall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Austen Ivereigh - (Opinion) December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

Within spitting distance of the very spot Jesus Christ was born is one of the world's great monstrosities, "a symbol of everything wrong with the human heart" as the Archbishop of Canterbury described it when he saw it for himself.

Jerusalem Diary: Choir caught in disharmony
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Tim Franks - (Blog) December 22, 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.

World 'failed Gaza over Israeli blockade' - aid groups
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Tim Franks - December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

Aid agencies have strongly criticised the international community for failing to help bring an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza. The charities made the accusation in a report published just ahead of the anniversary of Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip. The aid agencies condemn not just Israel, but the world community. In the words of Oxfam's director, Jeremy Hobbs, "world powers have failed and betrayed Gaza's ordinary citizens". The charities call for more pressure to be exerted on Israel to end what they describe as its illegal collective punishment of Gazans.

Fatah cracks down on Hamas officials
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

Alarmed by the possibility that a prisoner exchange agreement with Israel will bolster Hamas's popularity among Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority has stepped up its measures against the movement's leading figures and members in the West Bank. Over the past 48 hours, PA security forces arrested 14 Palestinians in the West Bank on suspicion of being affiliated with Hamas, sources close to the movement said on Monday. The sources said the latest crackdown was clearly linked to reports that a prisoner exchange agreement will soon be reached between Hamas and Israel.

Talks in current climate a 'waste of time'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

Former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) dismissed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's declaration of a 10-month moratorium in the settlements as a "brazen ploy to buy time," rejecting a return to talks as a "waste of time" during a speech to a conference here on Monday.

Encountering Peace: Change in Gaza is possible
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

Thirty-nine young people from Gaza applied to attend a peace education workshop sponsored by the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information that was held this past weekend in a school in Beit Jala. Thirty-five of them were denied entry by the IDF and did not have the opportunity to join the 70 other Israelis and Palestinians who spent the weekend in dialogue, debate, disagreement and agreement, rejoicing in the mutual recognition that we all want peace and that peace is possible.

Sheikh Salah banned from Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - December 21, 2009 - 1:00am

GOC Homefront Command Major General Yair Golan issued an order Monday banning the head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, Sheikh Raed Salah, from entering Jerusalem for three weeks. The IDF Spokesperson's Office stated that the restraining order is aimed at keeping peace in the city, and that the army plans to have it extended to six months if Salah does not successfully appeal the order within seven days.

Israeli response: Deport 'heavy prisoners'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ron Ben- Yishai - December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

After days of fervent meetings of senior ministers, Israel's response to a prisoner exchange deal which would secure the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit is "Yes, but…". Israel gave a positive response to the general outline of the deal presented by the German mediator last week. The condition placed by Israel in its response refers to the names of "heavy prisoners" Israel demands are expelled to Gaza or abroad. According to Israel, these prisoners will not be allowed to return to the West Bank.

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