December 20th

Israel orders evacuation of Nablus village
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 20, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli forces have ordered residents of Khirbet Tana, a tiny Palestinian village to the east of Nablus in the northern West Bank, to evacuate their homes and depart the village within the next 24 hours. Israeli forces threatened to confiscate property, including sheep, once the deadline passed. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority officer following settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that Israeli authorities informed residents that their properties would be confiscated if they stayed after warning.

Disillusioned Palestinians seeking new path
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Philippe Agret - December 19, 2010 - 1:00am

Disillusioned by the collapse of talks and disappointed by the US administration, the PLO is turning away from negotiations and seeking international recognition for a Palestinian state. In the days since the US administration acknowledged it had failed to chart a path back to direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, senior Palestinian officials have made clear that they think negotiations are dead. "The peace process is in a deep coma," PLO negotiator Nabil Sha'ath told journalists Saturday night. "I don't think anyone wants to continue this negotiation."

In Israel, a rabbi who argues that anti-Arab measures are un-Jewish
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ben Lynfield - December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

At first glance, Arik Ascherman seems more like a soft-spoken university lecturer than a combative crusader for the rights of the “other,” be they Palestinian or African refugee. Yet the American-born rabbi is embroiled in two of Israel’s main conflicts today: the struggle with Palestinians over the West Bank and, within Israel, a rising tide of anti-Arab and anti-foreigner sentiment. The latter is starkly illustrated by an unprecedented rabbinical edict calling on Jews not to rent or sell property to non-Jews.

Palestinian Leader Has 60 Israelis to Lunch
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - December 19, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, hosted a two-hour meeting with about 60 Israeli politicians, public figures and activists at his headquarters here on Sunday in an effort to reach out to the Israeli public at a time when the official peace process is at a standstill. Enlarge This Image Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times President Mahmoud Abbas. “In the end, we want to make peace between the people, the Israeli and Palestinian people,” Mr. Abbas said, not just the governments.

Building a Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Global Post
by Fredy Gareis - December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — It was a couple of minutes after 10 on a Saturday morning when the Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, stepped onto a rainy stage in Bethlehem and voiced his support for the enemy. Fayyad urged the people not to hold all Israelis responsible for the actions of some fanatical settlers. The day before some of them had burned down a Palestinian olive grove. The audience at the Olive Harvest Festival clapped their hands cautiously. Maybe they were expecting something else: rallying cries, slogans, boasting. But their prime minister is not the inciting type.

December 17th

The situation in Gaza is improving, but Israel is nervous. The US searches for plan B on peace, and will test the parties on core issues. Aaron David Miller says the administration should not overreach. Hamas says time is on its side. Israel shoots down a balloon near its nuclear reactor. An Israeli expert says it cannot defeat Hezbollah. The PA presses for authority in more of the West Bank. Despite a court order, Israel seizes Palestinian land for a new train line. The PA is investigating whether Mohammed Dahlan is forming a militia in the West Bank. Steven Klein says unilateral Palestinian independence is the best option. The Jerusalem Post publishes a leaked cable on US Middle East policy. Larry Derfner and George Hishmeh both praise Latin American recognition of Palestine. Hussein Agha and Robert Malley, as well as Hassan Haidar, say peace may no longer be possible. AIPAC considered itself targeted by a government espionage investigation. Rami Khouri says the US needs a bold new approach.

One way out for the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

President Barack Obama described the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections last month as a “shellacking”; he was praised for his outright admission of his shocking defeat. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave him (and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) an unprecedented slap in the face by refusing to freeze his colonial expansion into occupied Palestinian territory, which now houses some 500,000 Israelis; the American head of state remained speechless, seemingly bowing his head down.

US mediation faces its biggest test
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

The American government’s decision to change its approach to mediating an Arab-Israeli comprehensive peace agreement, by dropping its insistence on an Israeli freeze in settlement construction as a prerequisite for moving ahead, confirms several important things. It proves that the US can be decisive, persistent, realistic, patient, pragmatic and humble - all admirable and important qualities in a mediator. The problem is that the US has proved again that the most important attribute for a mediator is the one it has never mastered in recent years: success.

The Illusion of Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Hassan Haidar - (Opinion) December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

Ever since Obama arrived at the White House, Israel has exerted every effort possible to convince him that the priority of his foreign policy should be the Iranian issue and preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, either through intensified sanctions or through military action, and that he would easily find solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if the nuclear threat from Iran were to cease and Tehran’s influence in Gaza, Lebanon and other places were to be reduced.

Dropping Goal of Direct Talks, U.S. Will Now Test Both Sides on Core Issues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly promised that he will “surprise the critics and the skeptics” with his willingness to demonstrate flexibility and to compromise in order to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. Now, with Washington adopting a new approach toward Middle East peacemaking, Netanyahu’s willingness is about to be put to the test.

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