Barghouti fate key to Schalit deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - January 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas said on Thursday that although it has reservations about the latest Israeli prisoner exchange proposal, its leaders will continue the negotiations. The announcement came as sources close to Hamas talked about divisions in the movement over the proposed prisoner swap agreement. The sources said that Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip appeared to be more flexible, while the movement's senior leadership in Syria was refusing to make any concessions.

Mosque arson: Suspect released
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Efrat Weiss - January 1, 2010 - 1:00am

The youth suspected of torching the mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf was released on bail Thursday evening, after the police verified his alibi. Nevertheless, the minor's involvement in the case is still investigated. The youth, who is a relative of Kach founder Rabbi Meir Kahane, was arrested in the morning hours and interrogated for several hours. Attorney Yehuda Shushan, representing the suspect told Ynet that his client has no criminal record and that he adamantly denies all the allegations against him, adding that he was "traumatized by the arrest."

Netanyahu proposes peace summit with Abbas this month
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later this month in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, government sources said Thursday. "There is a possibility of a breakthrough surrounding the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority," senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office said earlier Thursday. The Egyptian administration began efforts to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table following Netanyahu's recent visit in Cairo, the officials said.

Settlers can stay, but only as citizens of Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Alexander Yakobson - (Opinion) January 1, 2010 - 1:00am

The time has come to say to the settler leaders: Okay - you've convinced us. It seems that a mass evacuation of settlers is an impractical idea. You showed us clearly that you're prepared to turn such a removal into a national trauma. It's doubtful that any Israeli politician would chance it.

Construction in West Bank settlements booming despite declared freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - January 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Despite the construction freeze, dozens of settlements in the West Bank are experiencing a building boom, even on the eve of another visit to the region by U.S. envoy George Mitchell to try to restart talks for a final settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians. Construction is being carried out mostly to the east of the separation fence; it began shortly after warrants were issued on November 26 freezing construction.

US market brief expects several growth sectors in Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Bethlehem - Ma’an - Growth in several Palestinian sectors including energy and telecommunications is expected over the next few years, a report by the US Commercial Service published Tuesday. The Service, a division of the US Department of Commerce, highlights opportunities for American investors in emerging market.

Abbas: Gaza's suffering is our suffering
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 1, 2010 - 1:00am

Bethlehem – Ma’an – President Mahmoud Abbas vowed on Thursday to spare no effort in supporting Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip. “Your suffering is ours – we will continue supporting you. We will offer every possible means of support,” he said, speaking at a ceremony in Ramallah marking the 45th anniversary of the founding of his Fatah movement. He touted the role of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) in supporting Gazans. He said the PA still pays the salaries of 77,000 employees in Gaza, devoting 55% of its budget to the territory.

Gaza war anniversary: How one group helps victims overcome trauma
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - December 28, 2009 - 1:00am

Jerusalem — Rawya Hamam was watching her son deteriorate. Hisham wouldn't sleep, clung to her incessantly, and said he wanted to go back into her belly so he'd be safe. "Grandma is lucky she died so she doesn't have to live here now," the boy told his mother.

In reversal, Egypt allows some foreign activists to enter Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
December 31, 2009 - 1:00am

Cairo, Egypt — Egypt has allowed 84 pro-Palestinian foreign activists to march to Gaza, which is under an Israeli-led blockade, an Egyptian official in the North Sinai governorate said. Some 1,400 activists from 43 countries had gathered in Cairo since Sunday to mark the first anniversary of the Israeli three-week offensive on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Egypt said 100 activists would be allowed to pass through.

In sharp contrast with Gaza, casualties decline in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider, Samuel Sockol - January 1, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM -- The first year in a decade without a suicide bombing, as well as an expanded Palestinian security force, resulted in a decline in the number of Israeli and Palestinian casualties in the occupied West Bank in 2009 -- a contrast to the hundreds of Palestinian lives claimed by last winter's war in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

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