February 4th

Barkat says will seal Beit Yehonatan, 200 Arab homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ronen Medzini - February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has informed State Prosecutor Moshe Lador that he plans to implement the sealing order for Beit Yehonatan in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, which was built without a permit in 2004 and which houses Jewish residents. However, Barkat added that he would also implement orders against 200 illegal structures built by Arabs in the area, so as not to act in a discriminatory manner.

U.S.: Easing Gaza siege would help counter Goldstone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

The United States has suggested to Israel that easing the Gaza blockade would help counter the fallout from the Goldstone report on alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead a year ago. Friday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is expected to present a report to the General Assembly on the implementation of the report's recommendations by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu hopes for talks with Palestinians in weeks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he had reason to hope stalled peace talks with the Palestinians could resume within weeks. "I have a basis to hope, in a realistic way, that in the coming weeks we will renew the peace process with the Palestinians," Netanyahu said at a keynote national security conference in Herzilya, near Tel Aviv. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asked in Washington about the prospect of talks, said the United States hoped to relaunch talks as soon as possible.

At Burlesconi meeting, Abbas says peace plans in works
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

While Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi displayed mixed political messages during his visit to Israel and the West Bank on Wednesday, host President Mahmoud Abbas announced his determination to move forward with peace talks. Palestinian leaders must move ahead with the peace process, Abbas told reporters at a news conference with Berlusconi, noting steps were being made with "Arab brothers and friends." He told the conference Palestinians should expect an official announcement in the coming weeks.

All factions meet in Gaza for talks on unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Representatives of all Palestinian factions met in Gaza City late Wednesday at the headquarters of the independents, Yasser Al-Wadiyeh said Thursday morning. The announcement came hours after the arrival of Fatah leader Nabil Sha'ath to Gaza, where he was welcomed by several of the independent personalities. Al-Wadiyeh said political leaders sat and discussed recent developments in the Palestinian arena, mainly internal reconciliation and efforts around achieving unity. All partners agreed that the current status of talks must be overcome and unity achieved.

Israel satire show sees no end of material
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - (Interview) February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

The camera zooms in on the face of an actor portraying a captive Israeli soldier as he reads a prepared statement. "My captors are treating me well," says the anxious young man, who is meant to remind viewers of Gilad Shalit, a soldier held by Islamist militants for more than three years. "They are letting me drink and giving me food." A rifle barrel slowly peeks into the picture frame, and he quickly adds, "Kosher food."

February 3rd

ATFP President Ziad Asali explains the Palestinian state and institution building program. At a major conference in Israel, PM Fayyad demands an end to the occupation, and DM Barak says without peace, Israel will be an apartheid state. Hamas says it may broaden the conflict with Israel. Israel is still considering options on a prisoner exchange. Hamas submits its response to the Goldstone report. A senior Fatah leader makes a goodwill visit to Gaza. A third "barrel bomb" washes up on an Israeli beach, and Israel bombs a Gaza smuggling tunnel in response. Dubai warns Israel, Hamas. A Ha'aretz commentary says fear of peace will be the death of Israel. Israeli officers and international experts say the Israeli military violated the rules of war by placing soldiers lives ahead of civilians. Special Envoy Mitchell reportedly urges Europeans to push for renewed negotiations.

Mitchell Urges Europe to Pressure Abbas Back to Negotiations- French Sources
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Michel Abu Najm - February 2, 2010 - 1:00am

Well-informed official French sources have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that US Envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, has called for French and European officials to pressure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table with the Israelis.

Israel hits Gaza tunnels in response to barrel bombs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel destroyed two Gaza smuggling tunnels in response to Hamas' attempt to attack Israeli targets in the Mediterranean Sea. Israel's Air Force on Tuesday night struck the tunnels used by Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip, according to the Israel Defense Forces. On Wednesday, a third explosives-laden barrel released by Palestinian terrorists washed up on the beach at Palmachim, in central Israel.

Michael Sfard: Laws of conflict do not allow for killing civilians in this way
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Michael Sfard - (Opinion) February 3, 2010 - 1:00am

If this commander's quote represents the rules of engagement as they were applied during Operation Cast Lead, then it is a smoking gun because it proves the case that Israel was charged with. It proves the main revelations in the Breaking the Silence report. When I read the testimonies in that report – some of which were difficult to read – what was common to them was a change to rules of engagement so that either there were no rules, or they allowed soldiers to shoot anything that moved in the vicinity.

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