ATFP Original Translation: Saeed and a Happy New Year!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ayyam
by Hassan Khader - (Opinion) January 12, 2010 - 1:00am

The following is a quote from a Reuters article published in the London daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi on November 30:

ATFP offers condolences on the passing of Hasib Sabbagh
Press Release - Contact Information: Hussein Ibish - January 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Jan. 12, 2010, Washington, DC – The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) offers its condolences to the family and friends of noted businessman and philanthropist Hasib Sabbagh following the announcement today of his passing away. ATFP also offered condolences to the Palestinian people generally, in light of Mr. Sabbagh’s many important civic and philanthropic efforts over the years.

National Security Advisor Jones will visit the Middle East next week, and reports suggest the administration is considering letters of assurance to Israel and the Palestinians. Officials say there are no plans to cut aid to Israel. David Brooks says Israel's economic success may create greater differences with its neighbors. Work begins on the first Palestinian planned city. Israeli robotics are reshaping contemporary warfare. Fatah leaders review prospects for peace. PM Netanyahu vows Israel will never share Jerusalem, and a Ha'aretz commentary says he needs to prove his interest in peace. A Ynet commentary says Israel is turning into the new Sparta. The JTA asks whether last year's improvements in the West Bank can be maintained in 2010. Hamas struggles to prevent more extreme groups launching rocket attacks on southern Israel. Several commentaries say a new diplomatic framework and more US leadership are needed.

Settlements obstacle to peace, says Kingdom
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) January 12, 2010 - 1:00am

RIYADH: The Council of Ministers on Monday denounced the Israeli move to construct more Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, saying it would obstruct efforts to restart the Middle East peace process. The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, commended the European stand, which rejects Israel’s illegitimate settlement policy.

Fresh attempt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Hassan Barari - (Analysis) January 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Unlike the early attempt to resume the peace process that began a year ago with much fanfare and no results, this time the Obama administration is gearing up for yet another effort to relaunch the long-awaited peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.

Hamas cannot stop rockets into Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Erin Cunningham - (Analysis) January 12, 2010 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY // While Israel and the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah trade heated accusations over who is to blame for stalled US-led peace talks, Hamas’s inability to thwart fresh rocket attacks into Israel by other Gaza-based militant groups might also give Israel cause to delay steps to create a Palestinian state. Rebuffing comments made last week by the US peace envoy, George Mitchell, suggesting Israel was to blame for failed peace negotiations, Israeli officials instead claimed that continued rocket fire from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip aimed to provoke Israel.

With Palestinians painted into a corner, peace talks hinge on US guidance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - (Analysis) January 12, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH // With pressure mounting on the Palestinians to return to negotiations with Israel even without a full settlement construction freeze in occupied territory, the onus has very much shifted on to US diplomatic efforts to ensure that talks are renewed. Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, continues to resist the pressure, which is now coming from Arab countries as well as Washington, insisting that Israel must completely end construction work in settlements before he will return to talks.

Can West Bank improvements hold in 2010?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - (Analysis) January 11, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM (JTA) – In Israel and the West Bank, 2009 was the year that ended without a bang -- and people were grateful for it. For the first time in a decade, Israel experienced a year without a suicide bombing. According to official Israeli figures, five Israelis were killed in incidents in or with attackers originating from the West Bank (In all, 15 Israelis were killed in 2009 by terrorism, including nine during the Israel-Hamas war last January). By comparison, 17 Israelis were killed by West Bank terrorism in 2008 and 429 in 2002, at the height of the second Palestinian intifada.

Critical Currents: Disproving skepticism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Naomi Chazan - (Opinion) January 10, 2010 - 1:00am

Yet another process is brewing. George Mitchell's visit to the region is designed to iron out the provisions for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian discussions on all outstanding issues - starting with borders - within a two-year time frame. Should an understanding be reached on the terms of reference, and this is still a big question mark, then this will be the last chance for a two-state solution by agreement.

The new Sparta
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Eitan Haber - (Opinion) January 12, 2010 - 1:00am

The first instinctive Israeli response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration that the whole of Israel needs to be surrounded by a fence is as follows: Oy vey, that’s the last thing we need. Such response would be completely understandable. Every Israeli child, and even every Jewish child anywhere in the world, has been born with images of fences. These are the fences of the death camps in World War II.

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