Israel denies US request for settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
October 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel denied a request by the United States on Thursday to temporarily freeze settlement construction in order to promote peace talks with the Palestinians. In a meeting with Interior Minister Eli Yishai, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro requested the freeze - a repeated Palestinian precondition for negotiations - in order to bolster political goodwill as the US tries to counter Palestinian efforts to seek full UN membership. Shapiro promised that the United States would veto such efforts regardless of Israel's decision on settlements.

U.S. warns Israel: New Jerusalem construction will aid Palestinian bid at UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - October 27, 2011 - 12:00am

The United States urged Israel on Wednesday to halt a plan that would approve new construction in a contentious Jerusalem neighborhood, saying that such a move would harm U.S. efforts to thwart the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations. The Jerusalem District Planning Committee announced late last month that it would approve the construction of 1,100 new housing units in Gilo, despite past U.S. objections concerning any work that would expand the neighborhoof further beyond the Green Line.

Saudi cleric offers cash for Israel soldier kidnap
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
October 26, 2011 - 12:00am

DUBAI, Oct 26 (Reuters) - A prominent Saudi cleric has offered to pay $100,000 to any Palestinian who kidnaps an Israeli soldier, according to his Facebook page. Awad al-Qarni said he had made the offer in response to a similar reward promised by an Israeli family for anyone who catches the person who killed one of its members in 1998, following the exchange this month of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Palestine faces US 'pressure' ahead of UNESCO vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 27, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Palestinians are in battle with the United States in two United Nations bodies, the Palestinian Authority foreign minister said Wednesday ahead of a vote in Paris. Riyad al-Malki said the vote to admit Palestine as a member of UNESCO was a "small battle leading to the big battle in the Security Council", which will soon vote on Palestine's statehood bid. "We are working hard to counter American pressure on poor countries to discourage them from voting for us”, al-Malki explained in an interview. He hoped more powerful countries would back the smaller ones.

Rocket fired from Gaza explodes in southern Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
October 26, 2011 - 12:00am

A Grad rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip and exploded near Ashdod late on Wednesday. There were no reports of injuries, but a number of people were treated for shock. Sirens went off in Rehovot, Rishon Letzion and other cities in the area and the residents were told to take shelter. Earlier this month, An Israeli air strike wounded three Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the air strike targeted a militant squad that was preparing to launch rockets across the border into Israel.

Israeli war planes raid Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 27, 2011 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli war planes launched four airstrikes in central and southern Gaza early Thursday morning, witnesses and the army said. No injuries were reported. Locals told Ma'an that Israeli fighter jets shelled three open areas and a site used by Hamas' armed wing the al-Qassam Brigades in Khan Younis in the south and Deir al-Balah in central Gaza. The Israeli army said its forces targeted "three terror activity sites" in central Gaza and a weapons storage facility in the southern Gaza Strip. "Direct hits were confirmed," the military said in a statement.

Palestinian statehood bid adds urgency for Israeli-Palestinian peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Christa Case Bryant, Joshua Mitnick - October 26, 2011 - 12:00am

Tel Aviv and Washington Quartet envoy Tony Blair held talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah today to convince Israelis and Palestinians to resume negotiations, a mission given added urgency by a looming vote on Palestinian membership in the United Nations. Amid widespread pessimism that the two sides aren't even interested in coming back to the table, the quartet of Middle East peace mediators – the US, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations – fears that the Palestinian bid could further unravel the peace process and isolate Israel.

Palestinian leaders to meet in Cairo to revive reconciliation deal, official says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
October 27, 2011 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM — A Palestinian official says the Palestinian president will meet with the leader of the militant Hamas movement next month to discuss uniting dueling governments in the West Bank and Gaza. The meeting will be the first between President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas’ Khaled Mashaal since they signed a surprise reconciliation agreement in May. Amin Makboul, a senior official with Abbas’ Fatah movement, said on Thursday the two will meet in Cairo. He gave no specific date.

Mideast 'quartet' tries new approach with Israel, Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - (Interview) October 25, 2011 - 12:00am

Reporting from Jerusalem— Frustrated in its bid to restart peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the international group known as the Mideast quartet is pushing both sides to submit detailed proposals for borders of a Palestinian state and measures to ensure Israel's long-term security, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Tuesday. Blair, who serves as envoy for the quartet — consisting of the U.S., Russia, the European Union and United Nations — will discuss the latest approach during separate meetings Wednesday in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

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