NEWS: Israel releases the names of Palestinian prisoners to be released this week. The prisoner swap is extremely popular in Israel. Deported prisoners will go to Qatar, Turkey and other countries. Marwan Barghouti says he was not consulted about the deal. Israel and Hamas seem to be increasingly cooperating, and both leaderships gained from the deal. Turkey's role was quiet but crucial. Israel continues to expand settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem. The UN calls the plans “unacceptable.” Asharq Al-Awsat looks at the background to Pres. Abbas' historic UN speech. COMMENTARY: Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel say the real security implications of the swap will only become clear in time. Sefi Rachlevsky says PM Netanyahu is trying to appear as a “wise and fatherly” leader. Omar Shabaik says he and the other “Irvine 11” were treated unfairly. Faisal Al Qasim says it's humiliating to exchange so many Palestinians for one lone Israeli soldier. David Pollak says both Arabs and Israelis want peace, but the problem is with their political leaderships. David Makovsky looks at the costs of the prisoner exchange for Israel. Daniel Levy and David Makovsky debate the merits of relying on bilateral negotiations to achieve Middle East peace.

Middle East peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
by Gideon Lichfield - October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

"Insanity", goes a motto* much quoted by jaded Jerusalem-based diplomats on their second gin-and-tonic, "is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results." Next month marks the 20th anniversary of the first public Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Madrid. At each step since then—in Oslo, Wye River, Camp David, Taba, Sharm el-Sheikh and Washington, DC—the negotiators, like Achilles approaching the tortoise in Zeno's famous paradox, have seemed to close one more fraction of the gap between them. Yet a gap always remains.

The story behind Abbas’s historic speech to the UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali El-saleh - (Analysis) October 15, 2011 - 12:00am

This is the story of a speech that shook up the world; a speech that had been eagerly awaited by millions, at home and abroad; a speech that returned long-lost confidence to an entire people. I am, of course, talking about the historic speech delivered by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the United Nations [UN] General Assembly on 23 September, 2011, after he formally submitted an application for recognition to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Freeing Gilad Shalit: The Cost to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
by David Makovsky - October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

On Tuesday, Israel and Hamas announced a two-phase prisoner exchange that would secure the release of Sgt. Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier kidnapped in 2006 and held for more than five years in Gaza. In return, Israel would release 1,027 prisoners, including 280 who are serving life sentences for their involvement in terrorist acts. The deal was initially mediated by Gerhard Conrad, a senior German official with expertise in the Middle East who has overseen prisoner swaps between Israel and Hizballah since the 1990s. But it was Egyptian intelligence chief Maj. Gen.

UN: Israel's plan for new settler district 'unacceptable'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Analysis) October 15, 2011 - 12:00am

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized Israel on Friday over reports that it plans to build 2,600 more housing units in East Jerusalem, saying further settlement activity was "unacceptable." "The Secretary-General is deeply concerned at continued efforts to advance planning for new Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem," Ban's press office said in a statement.

Israel plan for new Jerusalem-area housing development is revived
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Analysis) October 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel is moving forward with another large housing project on territory it seized during the 1967 Mideast war, unveiling plans to build 2,610 units in what critics say would be the first entirely new development on disputed Jerusalem land in 14 years.

Arabs and Israelis both want peace; the problem is leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by David Pollock - October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Around half of Israelis, Palestinians, and some other key Arab publics, according to opinion polls taken in the past decade, support something like the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. Its basic concept is peace and Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel’s full withdrawal from the territories captured in the 1967 war. Similarly, around half of each one of these publics would also support other analogous proposals focused more narrowly on “land for peace,” such as the unofficial Palestinian-Israeli Geneva initiative of 2003.

Turkey aided effort to free Israeli soldier but relations still frosty
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Thomas Seibert - October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

The Turkish government helped secure the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit despite political tensions with Israel, officials from both countries said. But analysts warned yesterday that it was too early to tell whether Turkey's involvement in freeing the soldier could lead to improved ties with Israel.

Israel's Shalit eclipses Arab 'Shalloots'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Faisal Al Qasim - October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

At long last the famous Israeli captive Gilad Shalit has secured his freedom from his Palestinian captors. Hamas and Israel have come to a prisoner swap agreement at a very dubious time to release Shalit in exchange for over a thousand Palestinian detainees. I bet millions, the world over, have heard of the Israeli soldier, who was captured by Hamas a couple of years ago to the extent that he has become, by all accounts, an international figure. He has been in the news for months and months on end. All American and European media have written extensively about his case.

Unprecedented silencing of dissent at UC Irvine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Osama Shabaik - October 16, 2011 - 12:00am

I was the first student to protest Ambassador Michael Oren’s appearance at the University of California, Irvine in February, 2010. Minutes into the speech, I stood up and yelled, “Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech!”

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