December 16th

Q&A-After Mitchell trip, what next for peace process?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Tom Perry - December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

The U.S. Middle East envoy held separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week during his first trip to the region since the United States called off efforts to revive direct negotiations. What happened to those negotiations, what has U.S. envoy George Mitchell said and done this week and what are the prospects of success for another round of indirect talks Washington now says it will pursue? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE NEGOTIATIONS?

Norway upgrades PLO mission, supports statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

OSLO, Norway (Ma'an) -- Norway's foreign ministry announced Wednesday that the status of the Palestinian representative's office in Oslo would be upgraded to a diplomatic mission as part of an effort of the scandanavian nation to support Palestinian efforts toward building a state. The announcement came while Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was in Oslo, where officials announced the coming international donors conference to take place in the city in April 2011. During the announcement the official said he hoped a Palestinian state could be established within the year.

Israel approves construction for Jerusalem yeshiva
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israel's Jerusalem Municipality approved for construction an additional 24 housing units near the ultra-Orthodox center Beit Orot in occupied East Jerusalem, Israel Radio reported Thursday. The organization's website confirmed the report, but said there were only 18 units under construction, all designed as "housing for married students and to enhance the development of the educational complex."

Arab FMs want 'serious offer' on Israel peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

CAIRO (AFP) - Arab foreign ministers on Wednesday rejected more Palestinian-Israeli peace talks without a "serious offer" and said they will seek a UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlement building. They announced their decision after meeting Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo and US Middle East envoy George Mitchell vowing "substantive" talks with Israel and the Palestinians to rescue the battered peace process.

Palestinian Authority cracks down on mosques to promote moderate Islam
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Janine Zacharia - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

EL BIREH, WEST BANK - Each week, Mahmoud Habbash, the Palestinian Authority's minister of religious affairs, sends an e-mail to mosques across the West Bank. It contains what amounts to a script for the Friday sermon that every imam is required to deliver. The practice, part of a broader crackdown on Muslim preachers considered too radical, shows the extreme steps the Palestinian Authority is taking to weaken Hamas, its Islamist rival, as it seeks to cement power and meet Israel's preconditions for peace talks.

December 15th

Tony Blair Urges Support for Palestinian State-Building at ATFP Event
Press Release - Contact Information: Ghaith al-Omari - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Washington, DC, Dec. 15 -- TRH Tony Blair, the Representative of the Middle East Quartet, called today for more international "support for [Palestinian] Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the state-building effort." He stressed that these efforts should continue and intensify in the context of seeking a negotiated two-state solution. Mr.

Controversy surrounds a planned Jerusalem marathon. The CSM praises the Obama administration for continuing intensive diplomacy. Pres. Abbas visits Egypt. Dennis Ross travels to Israel. The UN is concerned about Hamas' closure of a charity. Rock-throwing youths play cat and mouse with occupation forces in occupied East Jerusalem. Special Envoy Mitchell reiterates US commitment to Palestinian statehood and may have presented new ideas to the parties. PM Netanyahu says he's happy to discuss core issues. Hamas leaders say they will never recognize Israel. A soccer brawl highlights tensions between Jordanians and Palestinians. Pres. Peres says time is running out for peace. Israel is still seeking more F-35 fighter jets. The JTA looks at Jewish American tensions over Israel. Israeli policies stir debate at Brooklyn College. The long struggle of a Palestinian family chips away at Jewish-only housing policies in Israel. The Jordan Times says the diplomatic impasse may result in renewed violence.

Untenable status quo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Now it is out in the open that the US has given up trying to convince Israel to stop its settlement activities on Palestinian lands, including East Jerusalem. It is either because Israel is not listening or that the US administration does not want to be forceful enough. The end result is that the euphoria generated earlier by the resumption of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians is short-lived.

Arab family's home win blow to Israeli 'Jews only' policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

The pretty two-storey home with a red-tiled roof built by Adel and Iman Kaadan looks no different from the rows of other houses in Katzir, a small hilltop community in northern Israel close to the West Bank. But, unlike the other residents of Katzir, the Kaadans moved into their dream home this month only after a 12-year battle through the Israeli courts. The small victory for the Kaadans, who belong to Israel's Palestinian Arab minority, dealt a big blow to a state policy that for decades has reserved most of the country's land for Jews.

Anti-Israel Rhetoric Raises Alarms At Brooklyn College
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Week
by Doug Chandler - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

In a discomforting scene last month, three young Palestinians found themselves detained at an Israeli “checkpoint,” where an unsympathetic soldier ordered them to kneel on the pavement, hands behind their backs, and blindfolded them. As shouting began, both by the soldier and by the three detained Palestinians, the possibility of violence seemed to become a real possibility.

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