December 17th

AIPAC viewed U.S. gov’t as targeting pro-Israel groups during espionage probe
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

It was a case that transfixed the pro-Israel community: the arrest in August 2005 on espionage charges of two senior officials at the most influential pro-Israel group in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Before the government dropped the case in May 2009 amid questions of whether the officials actually committed a crime by talking to Israeli officials about classified information one of them had received alleging an Iranian plot against Israelis stationed in Iraq, AIPAC fired the two men: foreign policy chief Steve Rosen and Iran analyst Keith Weissman.

These concrete constraints have quashed any hope of peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Hussein Agha, Robert Malley - (Opinion) December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

After weeks of fruitless endeavour, the United States has finally – and wisely – given up on its efforts to secure a renewed freeze on Israeli settlement construction in order to relaunch direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Yet, amid speculation over how Israelis and Palestinians might now resume their talks, a reality is taking hold: the point is fast approaching where negotiations between the two will be, for all practical purposes and for the foreseeable future, over. As emissaries are dispatched and ideas explored, discussions could well carry on.

Rattling The Cage: Goodbye Obama, hello world
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Recognition by Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay is a welcome gesture of impatience at Israel’s denial of Palestinians’ right to statehood in pre-1967 borders. Thank you, Argentina. Thank you, Brazil. Thank you, Uruguay. No, these countries didn’t help fight the Carmel Forest fire, but they just aided Israel in another way by recognizing the state of Palestine. Of course, not all Israelis see it like this. Most, rather, see these countries’ recognition of Palestine as a hostile, anti-Israeli, “delegitimizing” act.

WikaLikes: US ME policy recalibration, Dec. 2010
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Horovitz - (Opinion) December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

Secretary of state: This cable sets out amended assessments, priorities for relevant interactions on Israeli-Palestinian Issues. Friday, 10 December 2010, 15:25 S E C R E T STATE NOFORN DECL: 11/18/2035 SUBJECT: (S) REORIENTATION OF POLICY PRIORITIES: ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT 1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: This cable sets out amended assessments, priorities for relevant interactions on Israeli-Palestinian Issues (paragraph 2-end) by Department personnel and other Country Team members.

Forget the negotiating table
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Steven Klein - (Opinion) December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, frustrated perhaps by the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, declared last week that it is time to grapple with the "core issues of the conflict," adding that the United States recognizes "that a Palestinian state achieved through negotiations is inevitable." How do I break this to you, Ms. Secretary of State? If you haven't heard the news, the settling of ethno-political conflicts by negotiations is anything but inevitable.

PA suspects former Fatah strongman in Gaza recruiting for new armed militia
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority security forces recently questioned Fatah activists on suspicion they had been recruited to form an armed militia, sources in the Fatah movement said. The PA indicated Fatah Central Committee member Mohammed Dahlan had done the recruiting for the militia, which he also intended to command. The suspects were summoned for questioning about their ties to Dahlan and whether they received instructions or funds from him in connection with the purchase of weapons. They were then released.

Despite court ruling, IDF took Arab land for train line
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

Former Civil Administration head, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, signed an order expropriating 50 dunams from a West Bank village for the rail line connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, just two days before stepping down from his post on November 3. According to the document, Mordechai was convinced the expropriation was done for public good and that the user of the land would be in a position to compensate the property owners.

Palestinians want control of more West Bank parts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Karin Laub - December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

Children's chairs pulled out of a pile of rubble are all that's left of a schoolhouse that served 17 children of Palestinian herders in this encampment on a wind-swept West Bank plateau. The school was razed by Israeli troops last week for the third time in six years as Israel asserted control over the area — part of the 62 percent of the West Bank that remains exclusively in Israeli hands, much of it set aside for Jewish settlements and military zones. The rest — where most Palestinians live — are disconnected territorial islands administered by the Palestinian Authority.

Israel can't defeat Hezbollah - Israeli expert
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Dan Williams - December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel cannot defeat Hezbollah in a direct engagement and the Lebanese guerrilla group would inflict heavy damage on the Israeli home front if war broke out, a former Israeli national security adviser said on Thursday. Though outnumbered and outgunned, Hezbollah held off Israel's advanced armed forces in a 2006 war and fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israeli territory. The group has a domestic political base and has since bolstered an arsenal that Israel describes as a strategic threat.

Israel downs balloon near Dimona reactor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ari Rabinovitch - December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

An Israeli warplane on Thursday shot down an apparently unmanned balloon that flew over Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor, a security official said. "It definitely flew over Dimona, although we are still trying to determine what that entailed and the military is now handling the matter," the official said. A military spokeswoman said an Israeli warplane "shot down a suspicious flying object, probably a balloon, in southern Israel". Israeli media reports said the balloon was unmanned but powered by an engine.

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