NEWS: Qatar says it intends to open a diplomatic office in Gaza. Palestinians in Gaza ask the Egyptian government not to continue destroying smuggling tunnels. PLO officials say a vote on UN nonmember observer state status for Palestine will be “very soon,” and that their issue isn't going to go away even if it is being ignored by the US. Israeli authorities release two detained Hamas politicians in the occupied West Bank. American evangelical Christian TV broadcasters are programming out of Jerusalem. The Israeli-Palestinian group OneVoice is pushing for progress on peace. Electric companies claim some PA agencies haven't paid bills in over 2 years. The PA says it will cut fuel prices starting Oct. 1. The new poll finds most Palestinians enthusiastic about voting and strongly preferring Pres. Abbas over Hamas leader Hanniyeh. DM Barak strongly criticizes FM Lieberman's harsh comments about Abbas. Preparations are still underway for the potential exhumation of the body of the late Pres. Arafat. Jordan appoints a new ambassador to Israel. In its latest crackdown, Hamas is arresting Gaza teenagers wearing baggy pants and prominent underwear. The PA is trying to securitize $200 million in public debt in order to reduce borrowing from banks. COMMENTARY: GOP candidate Mitt Romney is strongly critical of Pres. Obama's Middle East policies. Aaron David Miller says Obama had good political reasons for refusing to meet with PM Netanyahu and Pres. Morsy last week. The Boston Globe says the PAs financial crisis is a problem for the US and Israel as well. Tamir Haddad says Hamas corruption is weighing heavily on Gaza's economy and society. Daniel Levy is harshly critical of Netanyahu's foreign and domestic policies. Rachel Corrie's mother describes the Israeli court verdict in their lawsuit as “deeply disturbing.” Norman Birnbaum decries what he calls “false prophecy” in the Middle East.

Hamas cracks down on saggy pants
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times of Israel
by Ilan Ben Zion - September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

Hamas is cracking down on a new threat to the well-being of the citizens of the Gaza Strip: low-riding pants. Several Gazan teenagers from Rafah were recently arrested by Hamas police because the clothes they wore were “foreign to Palestinian society, and contradicted the culture, values, and ethical code of the Strip’s residents,” the Hebrew daily Maariv reported on Sunday. The perpetrators had adopted “Western street fashion” and wore pants that rode so low as to show their underpants.

Palestinian authority aims to securitize $200 million of debt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Martin Dokoupil, Sylvia Westall - September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Palestinian authorities are aiming to securitize an initial $200 million of some $1.3 billion worth of government debt by the first quarter of 2013 to help reduce state borrowing from local banks, a top banker said on Sunday.

Jordan appoints new ambassador to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

(JTA) -- Jordan reportedly has appointed a new ambassador to Israel. The appointment late last week of career diplomat Walid Obeidat was reported by the French news service AFP and Ammon News. The position has been vacant since mid-2010, when Ali al-Ayed left to become the country's minister of media affairs. Jordan did not fill the position immediately, citing the lack of progress in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

Yasser Arafat's exhumation may answer questions over his death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Harriet Sherwood - October 30, 2012 - 12:00am

Within the guarded walls of the Palestinian presidential compound, known as the Muqata, the body of Yasser Arafat lies inside a gleaming limestone and glass mausoleum. It is here that political figures, dignitaries, devotees and tourists come to pay their respects to a man who was revered and reviled across the world as the face of the Palestinian struggle for decades.

Barak: Lieberman's comments on Abbas harm Israel's interests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak harshly criticized Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman over the weekend, for naming Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as “the biggest obstacle to peace.”

Poll: 72 percent plan to vote in October's local elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 29, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A new poll shows 72 percent of Palestinians plan to vote in elections taking place in three weeks, but supporters of Hamas are much less likely to participate in the vote, which is being boycotted by the party. In a poll published on Saturday by the Arab World for Research & Development, 85 percent said they support holding local elections, which will take place on Oct. 20 in the West Bank only.

PA finance ministry to cut fuel prices from Oct. 1
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Ministry of Finance announced Sunday that fuel prices are set to be reduced, a statement said. The price cuts, which will be implemented on Oct. 1, will see a liter of diesel reduced from 6.95 shekels ($1.77) to 6.70 ($1.70). A liter of benzene will now cost 7.60 shekels ($1.93), down from 7.98 shekels ($2), and a 12kg canister of domestic-use gas will be reduced to 64 shekels ($16), down from 65.

Electricity company: Govt bodies have not paid bills
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 1, 2012 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Some Palestinian Authority government institutions have not paid their electricity bills for more than two years, the head of the indebted Jerusalem electricity company has revealed. The company, which supplies power to Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jericho, still owes its Israeli supplier around 300 million shekels ($76 million), Director-General Hisham al-Umari told Ma'an on Sunday. The Israeli company has repeatedly postponed threats to cut power supplies.

Activists: Now, yes now, is the time for US to push for MidEast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Christian Science Monitor
by Ariel Zirulnick - September 28, 2012 - 12:00am

Cambridge, Mass. A major Israeli-Palestinian activist group is bucking conventional wisdom by arguing that now is the right time to engage Americans in the moribund Middle East peace process. The presidential campaign season is traditionally a terrible time to make any progress on foreign policy, especially during elections focused on pocketbook issues.

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