NEWS: The Hamas-Israel prisoner swap begins. The deal shows Hamas under heavy pressure to seek political gains. Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails end a hunger strike. Quartet envoys will meet separately with Israeli and Palestinian officials. The Israeli military tells its soldiers to prevent capture at all costs. Mossad is now a part of an unfolding British political scandal. The first deadline for resumed talks has already passed. The Palestinian envoy in Ottawa is embroiled in a controversy over a Twitter message. APN interviews Yossi Alpher on the prisoner swap. COMMENTARY: Tom Perry says the prisoner exchange may press Pres. Abbas to go further with UN efforts. Ha'aretz says the swap bolsters Hamas at Fatah's expense. Akiva Eldar says Hamas has shown it knows what makes Israel tick. Bassam Nasser says more than a prisoner exchange, Palestinians need an end to the blockade of Gaza. David Newman says the swap shows informal talks work well. Ian Black says it shows Egypt's central role in Mideast affairs. Linda Heard says it's a win-win for Israel and Hamas. Uri Avnery says Israelis need to be shocked, either positively or negatively, out of their national complacency.

Israel needs a shock: Positive or negative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - (Opinion) October 16, 2011 - 12:00am

On Yom Kippur eve last week, when real Jews were praying for their lives, I sat on the seashore of Tel Aviv, thinking about the State of Israel. Will it endure? Will it be here in another 100 years? Or is it a passing episode, a historic fluke?

Shalit deal win-win situation for all
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Linda S. Heard - (Opinion) October 18, 2011 - 12:00am

Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier abducted by Palestinian fighters on the Israeli side of Israel's border with Gaza over five years ago, is scheduled to be released today as part of a prisoner-swap deal between Hamas and the Israeli government brokered by Egypt. His parents Noam and Aviva, who have been camping out in occupied Jerusalem for a year have left their protest tent to spruce up their home in the tiny northern Israeli village of Mitzpe Hila for their son's homecoming.

Gilad Shalit exchange: Egypt emerges again as lynchpin in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ian Black - (Analysis) October 18, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has completed the first stage on his journey home to Mizpe Hila, northern Israel, beginning a prisoner swap deal in which hundreds of Palestinian inmates are to be freed in return for the armoured sergeant who was captured in 2006. According to an Israeli military spokesman, Shalit is undergoing assessment at Kerem Shalom, close to the Egyptian-Israeli border, before making his way to the Tel Nof airbase in central Israel, where he will be reunited with his parents and meet the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu.

Gilad Schalit and the peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Newman - (Opinion) October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

In an era when there is little real optimism about the possibility of meaningful conflict resolution between Israel and the Palestinians, the negotiations between Israel and Hamas that led to the Gilad Schalit deal can be instructive for the future of the peace process.

Gaza awaits the ships’ whistle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Bassam Nasser - (Opinion) October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

With the new deal between Israel and Hamas to release captive soldier Gilad Schalit in return for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners – the majority of whom are serving multiple life sentences for their participation in acts described as terrorist attacks against Israeli targets – there is a need for greater Israeli understanding of what these prisoners mean to Palestinian society.

With Shalit deal, Hamas schooled Fatah on what makes Israel tick
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

It is easy to guess what will go through the minds of the members of the family of a Fatah prisoner when they watch Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (and Sara? ) having the honor of the first embrace with Gilad Shalit (why not the parents? ), and hear the cries of joy of the neighbors whose son, a Hamas prisoner, has returned home: "Why, instead of traveling the world and spending time in hotels, don't the nerds from the Muqata [the Palestinian Authority headquarters] kidnap an Israeli soldier and exchange him for our son?

A boon to Hamas, at Fatah's expense
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) October 18, 2011 - 12:00am

At a time when the Shalit deal is raising the stock of Hamas in the eyes of Palestinians in the territories, the Netanyahu government is making an effort to depict Fatah, committed to reaching a negotiated agreement with Israel, as devoid of purpose. Not a week goes by without news of a new building project in the territories or in East Jerusalem.

Hamas success may push Abbas further down UN path
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Tom Perry - (Analysis) October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

The huge Palestinian prisoner release won by Hamas in exchange for a lone Israeli soldier has drawn praise from those in the Middle East who believe violence is the only way to deal with Israel, unsettling President Mahmoud Abbas' camp and chipping away at what faith is left in his strategy of negotiating peace. To shore up his domestic credibility, Abbas may now feel he has to escalate the diplomatic offensive he is waging for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, raising the prospect of more tension with the United States and Israel.

Hard Questions and Tough Answers with Yossi Alphe
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Americans For Peace Now
(Interview) October 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Q. Israel and Hamas have agreed to exchange more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit? Why now, after more than five years of negotiating?

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