Staking claim underneath east Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jane Corbin - (Analysis) January 18, 2010 - 1:00am

It has been called the 'volcanic core' of the conflict and if there is ever to be peace between Palestinians and Israelis it will have to be made in the alleyways of this ancient city - holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Jerusalem was first divided into east and west in 1948 when the state of Israel was created and then the east of the city was annexed by the Israelis in 1967 following war with its Arab neighbours.

UN warns Israeli blockade puts Gazans' health at risk
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
January 20, 2010 - 1:00am

The blockade of the Gaza Strip is putting residents' health at risk, the UN and aid groups have warned. Medical facilities and equipment are in disrepair, many damaged in Israel's military operation a year ago have not been rebuilt, they said. Some 27 patients died last year waiting to be referred out of Gaza, they said. Israel and Egypt deny entry to all but basic humanitarian supplies, in order to prevent Gaza's Hamas rulers firing rockets at Israel, they say.

The occupation poses problems for Israel's bid to join the OECD. Palestinian rights groups press for investigations into Gaza war conduct. The PLO is pushing for a temporary settlement freeze in occupied East Jerusalem. Israel is withholding work permits for NGO employees in the occupied territories. A Ha'aretz commentary says the GOP victory in Massachusetts is a gain for PM Netanyahu. The Israeli government accredits Ariel University in the occupied West Bank. The Vatican says the occupation foments conflict. Fatah members complain that PM Fayyad's policies are weakening their party. Gershon Baskin says Israel's generosity in Haiti contrasts with callousness towards the Palestinians. The UN says the siege of Gaza is creating health risks. The BBC profiles the struggle over occupied East Jerusalem. Israel's press freedom ranking plummets due to Gaza policies. Osama Al Sharif says FM Lieberman is the future of Israeli politics.

Why Has Israel's Press Freedom Ranking Taken a Crash Dive?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Benjamin Joffe-Walt - (Opinion) January 18, 2010 - 1:00am

For decades it has been a source of honor and dignity for Israel's defenders: the nascent democracy has consistently been ranked well above all other Middle Eastern nations in its level of press freedom. Israel's free press status, confirmed each year by a number of international organizations from the US-based Freedom House to Reporters Without Borders, has withstood a number of wars, political revolts and Palestinian Intifadas.

Futile Missions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Faisal Al Rfouh - (Opinion) January 20, 2010 - 1:00am

The upcoming visit of US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, is unlikely to yield fruitful results because of the differing attitudes of the concerned parties. The Mitchell mission was set up by President Barack Obama just two days after his inauguration in January last year, to facilitate negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The US concern for the Middle East crisis seemingly became serious in the aftermath of September 11, as can be witnessed from the number of “special envoys” appointed since then.

Obama's year-one: low marks for all
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) January 20, 2010 - 1:00am

The first anniversary of Barack Obama’s presidency is a good time to review his performance in the Middle East, and the Middle East’s performance vis-à-vis the United States. The exercise is depressing, but useful, especially when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict that remains the central destabilizing factor in the wider region. It is unfair only to measure Obama’s performance, and ignore the Israeli and Arab principal players in this prolonged drama of stalemate and stagnation.

Encountering Peace: Israel - a leader among the community of nations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) January 18, 2010 - 1:00am

Humanitarian disasters around the world bring out the best in Israel and in Israelis. The horrific devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti and the scenes of unbearable human suffering brought about an immediate enlistment of both civilian and public efforts to come to the aid of the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere.

The ugly face of israeli politics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Osama Al-Sharif - (Opinion) January 20, 2010 - 1:00am

In the world of Israel’s extreme politics, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman comes out as a true representative of a new breed of politicians, whose ideological bigotry is augmented by their blind faith in brutal military force. Lieberman is the ugly face of Israel; an evil man more often than not acting as thug than a politician, a mobster who threatens “enemies” with destruction and annihilation and continues to underline Israel’s impunity status.

Fayyad is attempting to make Fatah weak, movement's officials say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - January 20, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's government has been working to weaken Fatah by drying up its financial resources and isolating it in the political and security fields, Fatah officials said on Tuesday. The latest allegation came as members of the Fatah Revolutionary Council continued their deliberations for the sixth consecutive day in Ramallah to discuss the faction's financial status and the crisis with Hamas.

PA pushing for short e. Jerusalem freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - January 20, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority is pushing Israel to agree to a total construction freeze, in both the settlements and east Jerusalem, of between three to six months, something senior Israeli officials said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will not agree to, The Jerusalem Post has learned. This is one idea that US Middle East envoy George Mitchell is expected to raise during talks with Netanyahu on Thursday. Mitchell, who has not been to the region since early November, is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday and stay through Saturday.

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