ATFP Welcomes, Supports Congressional Letter to Administration on Gaza
Press Release - Contact Information: Hussein Ibish - January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

Jan. 27, 2010, Washington DC -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) formally supported and welcomes a letter sent by 54 members of Congress to the administration urging immediate action to ease humanitarian suffering in Gaza. The dear colleague letter was circulated in Congress by Reps. Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) and supported by ATFP along with numerous other organizations. The full text of the letter follows and it can also be viewed in its original form here.

PA cabinet expresses 'regret' for not holding elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

During its weekly cabinet meeting, chaired by caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad held on Monday, members said that elections could be held in June, if the Egyptian document is signed immediately. Cabinet members expressed regret for not holding presidential and legislative elections on the constitutionally set date. Members called for a swift national reconciliation that would allow for elections to be conducted, in accordance with the constitution as well as the Egyptian proposal, considering it the guarantee for protecting the Palestinian democratic system and national achievements.

The PA issues a major new state and institution building document. The Obama administration scales back expectations on Middle East peace, but along with Israel and Egypt continues to pressure Palestinians to return to talks. Israel's partial settlement moratorium impacts Palestinian laborers. The term of the Palestinian parliament expires. PM Fayyad says Europe should be more engaged. Settlers attack Palestinians in retaliation for the demolition of an outpost settlement. The PA cabinet regrets the lack of elections. 54 House members urge the Obama administration to seek the end of the siege of Gaza. Special Envoy Mitchell may engage in "shuttle diplomacy." Another diplomatic dispute is brewing over the Goldstone report. The UN expresses frustration on Gaza rebuilding. A settler rabbi is arrested in connection to a mosque arson in the occupied West Bank. Israel plans to absorb 7,000 Indian villagers purportedly from a "lost Jewish tribe" near Myanmar. The Daily Star says anger at Israel's actions is understandable.

It's only human to rage at Israeli crimes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

The upcoming trip by an Israeli-Arab member of the Knesset to Auschwitz is the latest chapter in the saga of seeing accusations of anti-Semitism used to smear the Arab and Muslim world. Mohammad Barakeh of the influential party Hadash will make the trek as part of an Israeli parliamentary delegation, which has predictably angered hardline Zionists who reject the idea of an Arab being allowed to participate in an official ceremony at a place with such symbolic meaning for Jews.

Israel plans to repatriate ‘lost Jewish tribe’ in India
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - January 26, 2010 - 1:00am

The Israeli government is reported to have quietly approved the fast-track immigration of 7,000 members of a supposedly “lost Jewish” tribe, known as the Bnei Menashe, currently living in a remote area of India. Under the plan, the “lost Jews” would be brought to Israel over the next two years by right-wing and religious organisations who, critics are concerned, will seek to place them in West Bank settlements in a bid to foil Israel’s partial agreement to a temporary freeze of settlement growth.

Rabbi arrested, suspected in West Bank mosque arson
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
January 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli police have arrested a rabbi on suspicion of involvement in an arson attack on a mosque last month. Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, the head of a Jewish seminary in the settlement of Yitzhar, was arrested after he refused to co-operate, police said. Mr Shapira denies any involvement in the attack, his lawyer was quoted in the Israeli media as saying. Attackers burned the mosque's carpet and a shelf of Qurans, and wrote slogans in Hebrew on the floor.

UN impatient as blockade stalls Gaza building
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Tim Franks - January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

There is a place of strange quiet in the cramped and crowded Gaza Strip. It looks, from the roof of a nearby United Nations school, like a film set, or perhaps an army's urban warfare training ground. Ranged across the sandy earth of Khan Younis is a large housing estate: 151 apartments, with space for a further 450. Most are three-quarters complete. All are uninhabited.

Israel and Palestinians prepare for battle over UN report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck, Harvey Morris - January 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel and the Palestinian Authority are preparing for a fresh diplomatic battle over the controversial United Nations report alleging that Israel and the Islamist Hamas group committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip. Both sides are under pressure to show they are implementing the report's recommendations before February 5, when Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, is due to issue a progress report on the issue to the UN General Assembly. Israel, in particular, is bracing itself for further condemnation in a forum that Israeli diplomats have long regarded as hostile to their country.

Mitchell to engage in 'shuttle diplomacy'?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has offered to shuttle between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger did in the 1970s while mediating in the peace talks between Israel and Egypt, a the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper reported Wednesday, quoting a senior Palestinian official. According to the Palestinian source, Mitchell suggested to the parties that his trips would also include Syria and Lebanon and that he would hold discussions on a possible regional peace agreement.

Barak, Mubarak talks to focus on coaxing Abbas to negotiating table
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel, Barak Ravid - January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak will leave for Sharm el-Sheik Wednesday morning, to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The visit is expected to be dedicated mainly to efforts to renew talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, negotiations for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit and security cooperation between Israel and Egypt.

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