Israel strikes Gaza after militant mortar attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
December 9, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip on Thursday, hours after a mortar shell fired by militants wounded an Israeli man at an agricultural community close to the border between the two territories, the army said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the strikes were aimed at three separate targets in the Gaza Strip, two of which militants confirmed were sites they used for training. No casualties were reported.

Study: Bribery rampant in Palestinian territories
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 9, 2010 - 1:00am

One person in four worldwide paid a bribe during the past year, according to a study released Thursday to mark International Anti-Corruption Day. The study, by the Berlin-based non-governmental agency Transparency International, focuses on small-scale bribery and was put together from polls conducted among more than 91,000 people in 86 countries and territories. In the past 12 months, one in four paid a bribe to one of nine institutions, such as health, education or tax authorities, according to the 2010 Global Corruption Barometer.

Abbas: No talks with Israel in shadow of settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 9, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday stood firm on his demand for a halt to settlement building before talks with Israel can resume, as US officials scrambled to rescue the collapsing peace process. "We will not accept negotiations as long as settlements continue," Abbas told reporters in Cairo after more than one hour of talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. "We have made this clear to the Americans: without a halt to settlements, no negotiations."

Still not too late to change course
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Blog) December 6, 2010 - 1:00am

In these early days of December, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took time off from his seemingly endless negotiations with both the Obama administration and his own coalition over the terms for a renewed settlement-construction freeze. Netanyahu was totally immersed in Israel's biggest-ever natural disaster, a mega-fire on Mt. Carmel. Friends, neighbors, even semi-enemies--countries as diverse as the Palestinian Authority, Turkey and the United States--all gallantly helped Israel fight the fire.

Giving up is not an option
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Ziad Asali - (Opinion) December 9, 2010 - 1:00am

The Administration has mercifully, and honestly, admitted that the time has come to abandon its policy of seeking a settlement freeze as a path to negotiations. It will pay a political price and will be blamed and endure the gloating of its critics. However, at the end of the day, the US government will be the one that everyone else will look to for providing answers and driving policy. The two-state solution is the unchanging American policy because it is in our own national strategic interest.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators fault US focus on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - December 9, 2010 - 1:00am

The US decision to give up on securing an Israeli settlement freeze has left Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas disappointed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a momentary victory, and observers criticizing the Obama administration's peacemaking strategy. Indeed, analysts and seasoned negotiators see Tuesday's announcement as the end of a mishandled chapter in Arab-Israeli diplomacy, in which Washington's overriding focus on settlements ultimately failed.

Mitchell will proceed with Mideast talks despite breakdown
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
December 9, 2010 - 1:00am

U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell will head back to the region next week after Obama administration officials vowed Wednesday to continue the push for peace despite a breakdown in direct negotiations.

WEST BANK: Palestinian reaction to U.S. reversal on settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - December 9, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian politicians and analysts said Wednesday that they were not surprised that the U.S. government had failed to get Israel to agree to a temporary settlement freeze as a precondition for resuming Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations. To them, It had only been a matter of time before U.S. officials acknowledged failure.

Obama's double-or-nothing moment in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Jackson Diehl - December 9, 2010 - 1:00am

The latest collapse of the Middle East peace process has underlined a reality that the Obama administration has resisted since it took office -- that neither the current Israeli government nor the Palestinian Authority shares its passion for moving quickly toward a two-state settlement. And it has left President Obama with a tough choice: quietly shift one of his prized foreign policy priorities to a back burner -- or launch a risky redoubling of U.S. efforts.

U.S. hurting peace chances by giving up on Israeli settlement freeze, analysts say
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Janine Zacharia - December 9, 2010 - 1:00am

The Obama administration's decision to stop seeking a new Israeli settlement freeze as a way back into talks with the Palestinians has diminished prospects of achieving a peace accord within a year and eroded U.S. credibility in the region, analysts said Wednesday. The decision also represented a belated recognition that even if they had persuaded Israel to renew a construction moratorium in the West Bank for three months, U.S. officials would have faced an even more difficult problem after that expired.

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