NEWS: PM Fayyad says the PA will cut spending and raise taxes to try to address a financial crisis. Israeli authorities charge 5 settlers in connection with an attack on a military base in the occupied territories. FM Lieberman repeats that he would like to remove some Arab villages from Israel in any peace deal. Jordan reportedly seizes the assets of Muhammad Dahlan and his brother. Palestinian reconciliation talks appear to be faltering as Fatah and Hamas exchange bitter accusations. The Palestinian version of "Sesame Street" loses funding for its next season due to a cut off in US aid. Israeli experts say they expect a large cyber attack sometime in the future. Palestinians are skeptical about prospects for renewed negotiations with Israel. Israel arrests four Palestinian men allegedly carrying weapons. COMMENTARY: Dennis Ross says the only way forward is for Israel to change realities on the ground to strengthen Palestinian leaders like Pres. Abbas and Fayyad who believe in peace and nonviolence. Phyllis Bennis says Pres. Obama's real problem with Israel is its policies towards the Palestinians. Carlo Strenger says secular Israelis and Palestinians should find enclaves from religious fanatics. Jeff Barak says Israel is probably headed for an early election. Susan Hattis Rolef looks at four possible scenarios between Israel and the Palestinians. Harriet Sherwood says splits in Hamas are becoming more obvious. Uri Avnery says Hamas' recent moves are making another war in Gaza less likely. Yossi Alpher says Israelis and Palestinians are too far apart for meaningful negotiations. Shaul Arieli says Israel desperately needs new leadership that believes in a two-state solution. The Chicago Tribune looks at the effects of the Arab uprisings on Hamas' policies and prospects.

Springtime for Hamas?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Chicago Tribune
(Analysis) January 8, 2012 - 1:00am

Three items for the "Potentially Important if True" file: • A few weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hamas leaders are quietly fleeing their home base of Syria for the more moderate climes of Qatar and Egypt. Why? Syrian leaders and their terror-supporting allies in Iran funnel money and weapons to Hamas. But the slaughter of thousands of protesters by Syrian President Bashar Assad's military thugs — and pressure on Hamas from Egypt, Turkey and Qatar to leave his rogue state — finally persuaded Hamas to bolt Damascus, the paper reported.

If the extremists get their way
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shaul Arieli - (Opinion) January 9, 2012 - 1:00am

One recent high-profile solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the establishment of a binational state instead of two states. Its logic is comparable to an effort to put two people who couldn't agree on the placement of their two separate beds into one bed. The idea has been put forth by people who see no hope for peace. It has also been advocated by proponents of a "state of all its citizens," but particularly by those who subscribe to the concept that they must "possess the land which the Lord your God giveth you."

Why They Aren't at the 'Damn Table'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) January 9, 2012 - 1:00am

The past 18 years of failed attempts to guide Israelis and Palestinians to a two-state solution have produced memorable clichés and even curses on the part of frustrated third-party officials. One of my favorites is, “The outlines of an agreement are known to all,” which I usually attribute to Tony Blair, though there are other contenders. Another is, “Sign, you dog,” — Hosni Mubarak, through clenched teeth, trying to get Yasser Arafat to sign the second Oslo agreement. And there is Yitzhak Rabin’s “There are no sacred deadlines.”

How Hamas steals a war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - (Opinion) January 8, 2012 - 1:00am

There seems to be no limit to the villainy of the Palestinian resistance movement. This week, they did something quite unforgivable. They stole a war. For some weeks now, our almost new Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has been announcing at every possible opportunity that a new war against the Gaza Strip is inevitable. Several commanders of the troops around the Strip have been repeating this dire forecast, as have their camp-followers, a.k.a. military commentators.

Arab spring uprisings reveal rift in Hamas over conflict tactics
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - (Opinion) January 6, 2012 - 1:00am

Tensions are mounting between the Hamas leadership based in Gaza and its exiled chief over the organisation's future strategy in the wake of the popular – and largely non-violent – Arab spring revolutions and the success of Islamist parties in elections. Khaled Meshaal, the Islamist party's leader in Damascus, has indicated in recent weeks that Hamas is making a strategic turn away from armed struggle to popular non-violent resistance.

How will it all end?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Susan Hattis Rolef - (Opinion) January 8, 2012 - 1:00am

In recent months the press has been flooded with articles by left-wing writers, including former Knesset Speaker Avrum Burg and author A.B. Yehoshua, who have argued that long-=standing Israeli settlement policy in the Territories has rendered a two-state solution irrelevant. The only remaining option, they say, is a single state west of the Jordan River.

Reality Check: All signs point to early elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jeff Barak - (Opinion) January 8, 2012 - 1:00am

Despite his proud boast that the current government is the most stable in Israel’s history, there’s no avoiding the impression that Prime Minister Netanyahu is starting to gear up for early elections. The first hint came with his surprise decision to move up the date for the Likud leadership elections to the end of this month. With general elections not scheduled until October 2013, why the hurry for new leadership elections, which traditionally are held during the six months or so before polling day?

Give Israel's secular liberals their own state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) January 9, 2012 - 1:00am

The two-state solution is history, and I was both sad and happy to see that A.B. Yehoshua has come to the same conclusion. Now we need to think ahead: How will the piece of land west of the Jordan River become a place that enables its population to live decent lives?

Obama's real Israel problem -- and it isn't Bibi
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Phyllis Bennis - (Opinion) January 9, 2012 - 1:00am

Aaron David Miller is right: President Obama does have an Israel problem. But Miller is wrong about the roots of the problem. The problem isn't Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or his Likud Party, or even Israel's current extreme right-wing government. Israel's fundamental policy toward the Palestinians is the problem, and that policy has hardly changed, despite the seemingly diverse sequence of left, right and center parties that have been in power.

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