February 23rd

Accountability beyond rhetoric
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Ziad Asali - (Opinion) February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

The recent uprisings in the Arab world, including some regime changes, call for a meaningful reassessment of current policy. One would expect the usual demands for democracy, human rights, freedom of expression and regularly scheduled elections as well as a heightened commitment to the people of the region, that their rights and aspirations will be reflected in this new vision. Furthermore, it would not be surprising if all these were packaged as part of an initiative to address the Palestine/Israel conflict and a commitment to the establishment of a state of Palestine.

Pete McCloskey says the US veto of a UN resolution on settlements was “cowardly;” the Jerusalem Post claims the PA is using it to bolster its image; the JTA says it shows the US is not ready to pressure Israel at the UN; Palestinians in Lebanon protest. PM Fayyad uses social media to seek popular input on ministerial appointments. 11 Palestinians are injured by Israeli shelling in Gaza. Israel blocks red cross aid to homeless Bedouins. Palestinian Amb. Areikat says a two-state solution is still possible. A Palestinian home is surround by settlement units. Gazans hope Egypt will end the blockade. Aluf Benn says DM Barak is PM Netanyahu’s best friend and worst enemy. Dan Shapiro will be the next US ambassador to Israel. Israel’s foreign ministry will insist that all new recruits are taken to Hebron. FM Malki says Palestinians hope for statehood by September. Raed Salah is arrested for arson. Kenneth Bandler says plans to push Arabs out of Israel are unacceptable. Pres. Peres says peace talks are urgently needed. The BBC asks if Arab protests will spread to Palestine.

Ayalon: Diplomats will tour Hebron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon announced Wednesday that all new Israeli ambassadors and Foreign Ministry cadets will be forced to visit "Jewish heritage sites" in the West Bank, including the Cave of Patriarchs. Ayalon's message came just a few days after Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar announced a new plan for school trips to Hebron, also including a visit to the sacred Jewish site.

Palestinian FM: Statehood by September
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Felice Friedson - (Interview) February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

In an interview conducted on eve of UN Security Council vote on a resolution condemning settlement construction, Dr. Riyad Al-Malki, the foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority, spoke to The Media Line about Iranian backing for Hamas, Palestinian statehood on-track for a September declaration and growing international support. The Media Line: Yasser Abed-Rabo said to me the other day that Mahmoud Abbas will not run for president. So, who will?

Obama expected to appoint Dan Shapiro Ambassador to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

U.S. President Barack Obama intends to appoint his adviser Dan Shapiro to the position of U.S. Ambassador to Israel, according to the website Politico. Shapiro, considered to be the White House point person for Israel, has served as the main go-between for the U.S. government and Prime Minister Netanyahu. A White House source told Haaretz on Monday, "I cannot confirm the report, but neither can I disclaim it."

Netanyahu's new best friend and his greatest enemy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Editorial) February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

When I was in the army I learned that assignment interviews with the commanders end in one of two ways. When you bend the system, they send you off with your assignment order with neither a blessing nor a hug; they just want you gone. When the system screws you the interview summary always concludes with the words, “I wished the soldier success on his chosen path.”

Sheikh Raed Salah arrested for arson
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yair Altman - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, Sheikh Raed Salah, is in hot water once again: Salah was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly damaging and setting fire to a Eucalyptus forest in Southern Israel two weeks ago. Jerusalem police, which arrested Salah on Highway 1, suspec he took part in the arson in protest of the Jewish National Fund project's taking place in the area. Salah was released from the Ayalon Prison in Ramla last December after spending five months behind bars for attacking a policeman.

Gazans hope new Egypt regime will end blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak - February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

A rare euphoric mood is sweeping through the Gaza Strip, where people are hoping the downfall of Hosni Mubarak will give the coastal territory a chance to get out from under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has stifled the economy. Throughout the Middle East, the Egyptian president's ouster Feb. 11 has been greeted as a sign of hope — mostly by pro-democracy activists trying to topple their authoritarian rulers. But in Gaza it's seen as a chance to ease the widespread unemployment and international isolation residents believe is caused by the blockade that began in 2007.

On My Mind: Population swap conundrum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Kenneth Bandler - (Opinion) February 22, 2011 - 1:00am

Umm el-Fahm was not originally part of Israel. Jordan consented to include the strategically located community – then a town of 4,500 – on the Israeli side of the 1949 armistice line established after theWar of Independence. But some Israeli Jews want to reverse that decision of 62 years ago. Reducing the number Arab citizens, now 20 percent of the population, they believe, would benefit the country’s future. Umm el-Fahm, its largest Arab city, with a population of 43,000, is therefore a target.

Palestinian house inside cage in Jewish settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ben Hubbard - February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

The al-Ghirayib family lives in one of the stranger manifestations of Israel's 43-year occupation of the West Bank: a Palestinian house inside a metal cage inside an Israeli settlement. The family's 10 members, four of them children, can only reach the house via a 40-yard (meter) passageway connecting them to the Arab village of Beit Ijza farther down a hill. The passageway passes over a road used by Israeli army jeeps and is lined on both sides with a 24-foot-high (8-meter) heavy-duty metal fence.

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