December 22nd

Hamas adjusts to Arab Spring
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Buoyed by the success of Islamist movements in countries swept by the Arab Spring, Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, is showing signs of pragmatism as its sense of isolation fades. The organization is jockeying to reposition itself amid shifting terrain in the Arab world. It is reported to be scaling down its presence in Syria, where its long-time patron, President Bashar al-Assad, is facing a popular uprising. At the same time, it is seeking to strengthen ties with Arab countries where moderate Islamists have made political gains.

Israel Accuses 4 Countries of Meddling in Its Affairs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — In a highly unusual response to criticism from European nations on the Security Council, the Israeli Foreign Ministry bluntly accused the countries of “interfering with Israel’s domestic affairs” and warned that they risked making themselves “irrelevant.”

December 21st

Palestine Melts Iceland
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Weekly Standard
by Elliott Abrams - (Blog) December 16, 2011 - 1:00am

On November 29th the Icelandic parliament voted to recognize Palestine as a state. Yesterday, a ceremony was held in Reykjavik in the presence of the Icelandic and PLO foreign ministers. Here is the text of the resolution adopted by Althingi, the Icelandic parliament:

NEWS: Hamas officials say six steps towards reconciliation have been agreed and that Palestinians have formed a committee to oversee new elections. Israel faces strong criticism for settlement activities from UN security council members. The PA has signed a free trade agreement with the South American trading bloc Mercosur. Israel pledges to release 1 billion cubic feet of water to restore the Jordan River. The Israeli government's watchdog agency says the country is ill-prepared for war. Egypt shuts the Gaza border crossing after a dispute with Hamas. Pres. Assad reportedly refuses to meet with Hamas leaders and Iran has cut funding to Gaza. Major Jewish-American donors are reportedly sticking with Pres. Obama. The BBC profiles the 'Iranian Schindler' who saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis during World War II. A war of words is escalating between the Israeli government and the New York Times. COMMENTARY: Zvi Bar'el says only the Israeli military can convince the public of the dangers of Jewish terrorism. Amira Hass says Palestinians are heros for resisting the occupation. Moshe Ronen says its simply a fact that Israeli law and law enforcement favors Jews. Ron Kampeas says Vaclav Havel will be remembered as a friend of Jews and Israel. Scott Bobb says the peace process is totally deadlocked. Victor Kotsev critiques Israel's response to the Arab uprisings. BrandeisNOW interviews Khalil Shikaki. Leonard Fein looks at a growing "distancing" between younger Jewish Americans and Israel. Elliott Abrams criticizes Iceland's resolution recognizing Palestine.

Fein: Distancing?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Sun Sentinel
by Leonard Fein - (Opinion) December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

"Distancing" is the current favored word to describe the reaction of many American Jews, especially young Jews, to the ongoing situation in Israel. (Curiously, Peter Beinart's essay in the New York Review of Books in May of 2010, which catalyzed much of the conversation, nowhere uses the word.) But "distancing" is inadequate to describe the range of response to diverse alarming events in Israel. Herewith, two examples of that range, and a suggestion of how we might productively proceed.

Arab Spring overshadowing Israeli-Palestinian conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Brandeis NOW
by Charles Radin - (Interview) December 19, 2011 - 1:00am

Khalil Shikaki is the world’s foremost pollster and interpreter of Palestinian public opinion. A senior fellow of Brandeis’ Crown Center for Middle East Research, he has directed the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research since 2000, and has conducted more than 150 polls among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1993.

Stalemate Marks Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process in 2011
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Voice of America
by Scott Bobb - (Opinion) December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

2011 was a year of stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. International mediators tried to revive direct peace talks amid political uncertainties caused by rifts in the Palestinian leadership and popular uprisings in several Arab nations. The Palestinian Authority, frustrated over the stalled peace talks, applied for full membership in the United Nations. Its case is pending, though it faces stiff U.S. opposition. But the Palestinians successfully gained admission to the United Nations cultural organization UNESCO, angering Israel and the United States.

For Jews, Vaclav Havel wasn’t just a friend but a champion of freedom
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - (Opinion) December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Vaclav Havel was a friend of the Jews and of Israel, but prominent Jews who mourned his passing this week said the Czech leader’s greatest legacy was his universal message of freedom. “Vaclav Havel was one of the few islands of intellectual freedom in the sea of totalitarian rule,” Natan Sharansky told JTA, speaking of the late 1960s and the 1970s, when both he and Havel were struggling against communist rule -- Havel in the former Czechoslovakia and Sharansky in the former Soviet Union.

Our laws favor Jews
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Moshe Ronen - (Opinion) December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

One cannot argue with the facts. Serious, in-depth examinations undertaken many years ago already proved that there are no equal laws for Jews and Arabs in the territories conquered by Israel in 1967. Then-Deputy Attorney General Yehudit Karp was appointed to look into this exact question in 1982 and found that clear bias exists in favor of Jewish suspects. The Shamgar Committee established in 1994 in the wake of the murder of Muslim worshippers by Dr. Baruch Goldstein confirmed Attorney Karp’s conclusions, and added that nothing has changed since.

Palestinians are heroes, braving Israeli dictatorship
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

The Palestinians are heroes, and that's the only fact that's relevant after the slight shock of the hilltop thugs. The hands are the hands of thugs, and the head? The head is the head of the hostile regime under which the Palestinians live and which harasses them every moment of every day, week after week for decades. To live this way and remain sane - that's heroism. "And who says we're sane?" Palestinians answer me. Well, here's the proof: self-irony.

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