February 23rd

Israel plans new Jerusalem-area settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli authorities have approved a plan to build 549 new homes for settlers on land across the Green Line in south Jerusalem, an advocacy group said on Monday. Ahmad Laban, an official with the Israeli-led group Ir Amim said a regional planning body in the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem Municipality approved the plan, which still needs to take further bureaucratic strides before it is finalized. The regional committee of organizing and building in the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem had approved to present a new settlement plan to build 549 housing units.

Israel renews ban on key West Bank bus line
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
February 23, 2010 - 1:00am

A month after Israel rescinded a ban on foreign nationals using a main Bethlehem bus line, travelers say authorities are again pulling internationals off buses en route to Jerusalem. Mid-December, for reasons that remain unclear, tourists leaving the central West Bank city were banned from line 21, a route used predominantly by Palestinian holders of East Jerusalem residency cards.

From Israel, a plan to win friends and influence people by working on its image
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

Acknowledging that Israel's image in the world these days is perhaps not at its apex, the Israeli government is asking its citizens to be more proactive in shaping the image of the Jewish state around the globe. The government is launching a media campaign to get Israelis to "change the picture" of how they are portrayed through the global media, and dozens of workshops on how to conduct one-on-one discussions with people they meet when they travel abroad.

Journalist describes strange twists of 'German' suspect in Dubai hit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - (Blog) February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

In Israel, much has been said and much more not disclosed about the fake European passports used by the assassins in Dubai. On Monday, Ronen Bergman, an Israeli journalist specializing in intelligence issues, shed some light on the one passport that has so far been found to be genuinely issued, a German passport allegedly used by one of the suspected assassins. Part of the details had previously been published in Der Spiegel. In an interview to Army Radio on Monday morning, Bergman says this is how it went:

Israel relies on a deadly specialty
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

When Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman faced questions Monday from European diplomats over Israel's suspected role in the Dubai assassination of a Hamas militant, he responded with familiar indignation: Why is Israel always the first to be blamed, he asked.

February 22nd

Israel's designation of two sites in Hebron, deep in the occupied West Bank, as National Heritage sites sparks EU, UN condemnation, clashes with Palestinians. More fallout from the Mabhouh assassination: EU condemns the killing; the UK offers help to identity theft victims; Dubai police say other Hamas officials played a crucial role and that Hamas must launch an internal probe; Hamas retracts accusations against the PA, rejects any internal probe and demands proof of Palestinian involvement; and the Times publishes a detailed account of the hit. PM Fayyad calls on the US to take urgent measures to stop Israeli raids, settlement activity. The PLO seeks further clarifications, assurances from the US on new talks, and Ghassan Khatib says clear terms of reference are essential. The EU is considering an initiative to recognize a Palestinian state in 18 months. Amira Hass says Israel is severing East Jerusalem from the West Bank. Ha'aretz interviews PM Netanyahu. Amir Oren says the US prefers to deal with Israeli military leaders rather than politicians. Donald Macintyre says better public relations won't improve Israel's image.

We shouldn't rush into negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Analysis) February 15, 2010 - 1:00am

In spite of the failure of US-led international efforts to secure the necessary conditions for a successful renewed peace process, pressure is increasing on the Palestinian side to accept going to negotiations anyway. This is in spite of continued Israeli settlement expansion and without any Israeli commitment to specific terms of reference such as previously signed agreements, the 2003 Quartet roadmap or relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Meir Dagan: the mastermind behind Mossad's secret war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Uzi Mahnaimi - February 21, 2010 - 1:00am

IN early January two black Audi A6 limousines drove up to the main gate of a building on a small hill in the northern suburbs of Tel Aviv: the headquarters of Mossad, the Israeli secret intelligence agency, known as the “midrasha”. Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, stepped out of his car and was greeted by Meir Dagan, the 64-year-old head of the agency. Dagan, who has walked with a stick since he was injured in action as a young man, led Netanyahu and a general to a briefing room.

Better public relations won't improve Israel's image abroad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - (Opinion) February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

The international furore over the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai has obscured a political event in Israel that might have otherwise made more headlines.

Killing blamed on Hamas traitor as passport showdown looms
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Ben Lynfield - February 22, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas last night vigorously denied that a renegade from its own ranks helped set up the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room last month, a shock claim made by Dubai's police chief, as echoes from the killing and its investigation continued to resound in the Middle East and Europe.

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