An Israeli stirs controversy by making keffiyehs featuring the Star of David. Landmines are an ongoing problem in the occupied Golan Heights. PM Fayyad again demands an end to Israeli raids and settlement activity. A senior Fatah official says it will reopen its headquarters in Gaza. The PA says it will hold local and municipal elections in July, and reiterates terms for resuming negotiations, but Pres. Abbas says he is still waiting for clarification from the US. Hamas opposes elections and accuses the US of blocking peace and Palestinian reconciliation. The new Palestinian security forces continue to gain ground. Officials say settlers are unlikely to prevail in trying to hold onto a seized Palestinian house in occupied East Jerusalem. The National says Special Envoy Mitchell's approach may still pay off. Hassan Barari looks at the implications of a public handshake between senior Israeli and Saudi officials.

Israel is shooting itself in the foot
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jay Bushinsky - (Opinion) February 7, 2010 - 12:00am


No country could possibly be more obsessed about its image abroad than is Israel. Understandably, Israelis want to be liked and where appropriate, admired. But in recent years, especially since Operation Cast Lead – the poorly-planned and badly-executed assault on the Gaza Strip that began December 27, 2008 – they have been the butt of international criticism, much of it unwarranted.


Building a peaceful future
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Seth Freedman - (Opinion) February 8, 2010 - 12:00am


For all that Jerusalem is perpetually mired in clashes between rival groups of Arab and Jewish residents, there appears to be a glimmer of hope. Plans were announced recently for a fully integrated mixed neighbourhood on the outskirts of the city, in a move which could herald a change in the way Jews and Arabs coexist in the Holy City.


Mitchell’s model for peace can still apply
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) February 8, 2010 - 12:00am


The Middle East peace process is so broken that the parties cannot even talk to each other. The best that can be hoped for is “proximity talks”, in which the US special envoy George Mitchell shuttles between sides as a mediator. Before even that can happen, the Palestinians need assurances and clarifications from the United States – in effect, they’re talking about what they will be allowed to talk about.


What’s in a hand shake
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Hassan Barari - (Opinion) February 9, 2010 - 12:00am


Over the last few years, Israel has been working hard to lure Saudi Arabia to open communication channels and political contacts. Despite the continuous American demand that Saudi Arabia consider the Israeli demand, the Saudi declared position remained unchanged: no contacts whatsoever with Israel until the latter responds positively to the Arabs’ quest for peace.


Officials: Jewish bid for East Jerusalem home likely to fail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - February 9, 2010 - 12:00am


Interior Minister Eli Yishai resolved Monday to use his powers to thwart a court-ordered evacuation of an illegally built home erected by nationalist Jews in a predominantly Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The Shas chairman said he plans to raise the matter of legalizing the structure, known as "Beit Yonatan," during the next meeting of the ministry's district planning commission in Jerusalem. Yishai believes he will be able to void the evacuation orders which the municipality intends to distribute to the building's residents.


Abbas: Any decision on peace talks with Israel to wait
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
February 9, 2010 - 12:00am


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on a visit to Tokyo on Tuesday that any decision on returning to the negotiating table with Israel would not be made until clarification of certain points had been made by Washington. The leader, speaking at a Tokyo seminar, made the comments a day after his foreign minister Riyad al-Milki had said that any talks to take place with Israel should focus on border issues and have a time limit of three or four months.


Palestinian force makes gains in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Josef Federman - February 9, 2010 - 12:00am


The security men brandished their weapons and ordered the suspicious car to halt, forcing the occupants to get out and put their hands in their air. The suspects were quickly handcuffed, frisked and made to kneel on the ground as the vehicle was swept for explosives.


Palestinians set terms for talks as violence flares
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - February 8, 2010 - 12:00am


More than a dozen people were injured when Israeli police confronted Palestinian protesters in a refugee camp at the edge of Jerusalem on Monday, violence stoked by rising tensions over a stalemate in peace talks. The Palestinian cabinet "strongly condemned" what it called an Israeli incursion and its senior officials said negotiations with Israel could resume only if they focused on borders and other core conflict issues and set out a clear deadline.


Hamas leader says U.S. blocking Palestinian unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Steve Gutterman - February 8, 2010 - 12:00am


Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal on Monday accused the United States of undermining Palestinian unity efforts and said he saw no chance for peace in the Middle East under Israel's current leadership. Shunned in the West because his Islamist group refuses to recognise Israel -- a position he said stands -- Meshaal used a hospitable Russia as a platform to blame Washington and Israel's hardline government for a lack of progress. His remarks underscored barriers on the road to Palestinian reconciliation and to renewing Middle East peace talks.



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