Hamas Leaders Evacuating Families From Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak - January 17, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Hamas officials say senior members of their exiled leadership will evacuate their families from the group's headquarters in Syria. Hamas, a militant Islamist Palestinian group, rules the Gaza Strip. The officials, speaking from Damascus, said Tuesday that the evacuations are in response to the deteriorating security situation in Syria, where President Bashar Assad has been resisting a 10-month uprising.

NEWS: Israeli forces kill two Palestinians in Gaza. Hamas leaders are evacuating their families from Syria. A gaming exercise suggests Israel could live with a nuclear Iran. Shiite worshipers say they were violently attacked by Hamas forces in Gaza over the weekend. DM Barak says Israel is preparing for “a period of uncertainty” in the occupied West Bank. MK Tibi is suspended from the Knesset for a week for reciting a risqué limerick about another MK who was suspended for a month for throwing water on a third MK. Hamas bans a TV singing contest as “indecent.” Pres. Obama thanks Jordan for facilitating peace talks. Hamas officials call reports that Khaled Meshaal will be giving up his leadership position “pure speculation.” The pro-Israel lobby is increasingly reaching out to African American students. COMMENTARY: Zvi Bar'el says political change in the Arab world is an opportunity Israel seems set to squander. Both The Independent and Carlo Strenger say Europe needs to make its objections to Israel's policies more clear. Amira Hass says Israel's mistreatment of Palestinian leaders like Pres. Abbas undermines public support for negotiations. Ray Hanania says the Assad regime is no friend to the Palestinians. Mark LeVine says it would be “national suicide” for Israel not to protect the rights of all people under its rule. Yossi Alpher says Israel has both a stake in, and legitimate concerns about, Palestinian reconciliation. Shlomo Brom says Israel should take a more positive attitude towards Palestinian reconciliation. Ghassan Khatib says Palestinians don't understand what bothers Israel about reconciliation under present conditions. Nathan Brown says Hamas is not "mellowing" its policies yet.

Playing for time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) January 16, 2012 - 1:00am

Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is currently managing two very different and in many ways contradictory negotiating tracks. Neither has produced any sort of substantive success thus far. If one does produce a breakthrough, the other will probably collapse. Meanwhile, the counterpoint between them is instructive.

Israel Needs a Positive Approach to Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Shlomo Brom - (Opinion) January 18, 2012 - 1:00am

The conventional wisdom in Israel holds that Hamas-Fateh reconciliation is detrimental to the peace process. The main argument is that Hamas is a spoiler of the negotiations process because it is a radical Islamic movement guided by a virulent anti-Israel ideology that preaches elimination of the state of Israel. Successful reconciliation would endow Hamas with veto power to block any attempt to achieve a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel's "national suicide"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
by Mark Levine - (Opinion) January 16, 2012 - 1:00am

Irvine, California - Say what you will about Israel's High Court of Justice, it knows how to name a decision. In titling last Wednesday's legal decision, upholding the controversial Citizenship Law that prevents Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens from living in Israel "Human rights are not a prescription for national suicide", the court's majority well summed up the existential predicament Israel faces today - indeed, has always faced - as it attempts to be both Jewish and democratic.

Israel Plays a Role
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Analysis) January 16, 2012 - 1:00am

There has always been a very strong correlation between internal Palestinian issues and Palestinian-Israeli relations. This is true because Israel is a key player in all aspects of Palestinian life. Israel's troops are on the ground in the West Bank, and occupy the Gaza Strip by air and sea. But Israel's occupation was never an issue of military or security control alone; it has interfered with Palestinian economic and political development for the four decades of its existence.

Yalla Peace: Falafel, fences and Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ray Hanania - (Opinion) January 17, 2012 - 1:00am

A day never passes without an Arab complaining about Israel. Of course, a day never passes without an Israeli complaining about the Arabs, either. The complaints vary widely, covering everything from food to violence. A common complaint is that Israel “stole” the falafel. Well, Israel has stolen Palestinian land, but can you really steal a food? I recently read an Israeli official’s counter to this claim: has Israel also “stolen” Italian food? To be fair, Israelis don’t go around bragging about their “Israeli spaghetti” the way they promote “Israeli falafel.”

Is Hamas Mellowing?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
by Nathan J. Brown - (Analysis) January 17, 2012 - 1:00am

Over the past few weeks, as Palestinian reconciliation efforts have inched forward, some of Hamas’s leaders have provoked interest by apparently staking out new positions. They have not only agreed to enter the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), thus participating in a body that signed the Oslo Accords with Israel, a pact the group has long opposed, but also committed themselves to “popular resistance,” an alternative to the armed activity through which the group gained international notoriety.

The VIPs' hush money
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) January 18, 2012 - 1:00am

Two people signed the entry permit into Israel that Mahmoud Abbas received from Israel's Civil Administration on January 1 (and which will be in force until March 1 ): 1st Lt. Noy Mitzrafi, commander of the permits office, and Lt. Col. Wissam Hamed, a department head in the Israel Defense Forces' operations directorate. It is this limited permit that Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president and PLO chairman, complained of receiving instead of his normal VIP permit during a closed meeting of his Fatah faction.

The Israel Lobby Finds a New Face: Black College Students
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Color Lines
by Seth Freed Wessler - January 18, 2012 - 1:00am

When Vincent Evans arrived as a bright-eyed first-year at Florida A&M, the country’s largest historically black university, he knew he wanted to get involved in politics. So when an older student leader approached him one afternoon after a student government meeting to ask if he wanted an all expenses paid trip to D.C., Evans jumped at the opportunity.

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