Palestinian textbooks debate reaches US campaign
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh, Karin Laub - December 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Do Palestinian school textbooks "teach terrorism," as Newt Gingrich claimed in a recent debate among U.S. Republican presidential hopefuls? His example - that Palestinians "have text books that say, `If there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left?'" - is not in any of the texts, researchers say. As for Gingrich's broader claim, the textbooks don't directly encourage anti-Israeli violence, but they also don't really teach peace, studies say.

Fatah and Hamas resume talks on Palestinian reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - December 19, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas and Fatah officials met in Cairo on Sunday in order to renew talks on Palestinian reconciliation. The two sides are due to meet on Tuesday to sign a reconciliation agreement, although its implementation is expected to be postponed since the parties decided to delay the discussion on the formation of a Fatah-Hamas unity government until after January 26. Until now, the two sides have only been discussing the makeup of the Palestinian election committee.

Hamas moves away from violence in deal with Palestinian Authority
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Phoebe Greenwood - December 18, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas has confirmed that it will shift tactics away from violent attacks on Israel as part of a rapprochement with the Palestinian Authority. A spokesman for the Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniya, told the Guardian that the Islamic party, which has controlled Gaza for the past five years, was shifting its emphasis from armed struggle to non-violent resistance.

Clashes in Lebanon refugee camp, one killed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
December 18, 2011 - 1:00am

AIN EL-HILWEH, Lebanon, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Sporadic clashes broke out between armed factions in Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp on Sunday after the bodyguard of an official there was killed, a witness and security officials said. Fighters supporting the mainstream Fatah party clashed with gunmen suspected of belonging to extremist Islamist parties, shooting at each other and firing rocket propelled grenades in Ain el-Hilweh in southern Lebanon. Armed clashes are common in the camp, which houses 50,000 refugees, and militant Islamists are known to operate there.

'Mashaal agreed to non-violence, pre-67 borders'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
December 17, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal agreed in the context of reconciliation with Fatah that resistance to Israel must be non-violent and a Palestinian state should be based on the1967 borders, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview with the Euronews international television network. Speaking in the interview aired Friday, Abbas said that Mashaal agreed to those two points, as well as to elections in May 2012 when the two met last month.

Israel court rules against evicting two East Jerusalem Palestinian families
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - December 19, 2011 - 1:00am

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court has rejected two separate lawsuits seeking the eviction of two Palestinian families from homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. In both cases, the plaintiff said the homes had been sold to new owners who wanted the Palestinian families out. Two judges rejected those claims Thursday. The lawsuits were filed by two groups closely linked to Elad, an organization supporting Jewish settlement in the area, and to Elad chairman David Be'eri, who is also the Israel representative of one of the groups seeking the eviction.

NEWS: Israel completes the second phase of the prisoner swap. Israel plans more than 1000 new settler housing units. The CSM profiles still-jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti. A new Israeli law funding museums in the occupied territories may be another sign of creeping annexation. At least one person is killed in clashes at a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. Hamas and Fatah leaders will meet again in Cairo on Thursday to discuss reconciliation. An Israeli court rules against evicting two Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem. Pres. Abbas says some Hamas leaders have committed to nonviolent resistance and a state based on the 1967 borders, and other Hamas officials confirm this to the Guardian but say it will not recognize Israel. AP says it cannot find any evidence for Newt Gingrich's claims about Palestinian textbooks. COMMENTARY: Former Sen. John E. Sununu says Gingrich has revealed his bigotry. Jeremy Ben-Ami says it's time to redefine what “pro-Israel” means. Victor Batarseh says the people of Bethlehem are celebrating hope this year. Akiva Eldar says Israel can be Jewish without being racist. Susan Hattis Rolef says young Israelis don't seem to understand the concepts behind democracy. Jeff Barak says Israeli democracy is under increasing attack from religious and settler extremists. Adel Safty says Gingrich has demonstrated extreme historical ignorance. Uri Avnery says with "friends" like some Republican presidential candidates, Israel doesn't need any enemies. Mkhaimar Abusada says a third party must intervene to break the diplomatic deadlock. Juliette Kayyem says Gingrich should pay attention to Israeli silence on some of his comments.

Israeli lawmakers move to annex West Bank, one museum at a time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ben Lynfield - December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

As Rachel Slonim shows a visitor around the modest, unheated archeological museum in this West Bank settlement, she becomes animated when she reaches a display case with artifacts from the biblical Israelite period. ''The Israelite period was the most beautiful period in the history of Samaria,'' says Ms. Slonim, referring to the 600-year era that she says climaxed with the reign of King Omri, who built his capital near the area where she lives today. ''Settlement is very important in our eyes and the eyes of the Holy One Blessed Be He, who gave us this land.''

Will an Obama tactic work for Gingrich?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
by Juliette Kayyem - (Opinion) December 19, 2011 - 1:00am

NEWT GINGRICH’S Palestinian-bashing is more than sheer pandering to the Jewish vote, a vote that is sophisticated enough to recognize the pandering of any politician. Though Gingrich may be getting flak for his claims that the Palestinians are an invented people, his desire to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a divided city whose control is a core dispute in the ongoing peace process — is equally controversial. Indeed, Gingrich’s policies that claim such fidelity to Israel can’t be validated by history tomes or some searching analysis of the Torah.

More involvement is required
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Mkhaimer Abu Sada - (Opinion) December 12, 2011 - 1:00am

The stalemate in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process has prompted the Quartet (made up of the United States, European Union, United Nations, and Russia) to ask both sides to present their positions on borders and security. There have been no direct peace negotiations between the Palestinian and Israelis since the Israeli war on Gaza in December 2008 and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's entry into office in March 2009, except for three weeks in September 2010 when direct negotiations collapsed at the end of a ten-month settlement freeze announced by Netanyahu a year earlier.

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