Words matter: A new language for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by John V. Whitbeck - (Opinion) February 8, 2012 - 1:00am

The words people use, often unconsciously, can have a critical impact. Dangerously misleading terminology remains a major obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace. The current initiative by Palestine to upgrade its status at the United Nations from “observer entity” to member state or, temporarily failing that, “observer state” is commonly referred to, by both supporters and opponents of this initiative, as an effort to “achieve statehood” or “recognition of statehood” through the United Nations. It is nothing of the sort.

NEWS: A split within Hamas threatens the agreement with Fatah. Pres. Abbas says Palestinian national unity doesn't contradict negotiations with Israel. A Palestinian militant being held by Israel without charge or trial is entering his 55th day of hunger strike. Racism against Arabs plagues Israel's soccer league. The chairman of the Palestinian election commission says Hamas is obstructing its work in Gaza. Jewish settlers and Palestinian villagers plant trees together. Pro-Palestinian Presbyterians take down a Facebook page after complaints from supporters of Israel. The BDS movement is trying to mainstream itself on US campuses. Egypt's intelligence chief meets with Palestinian officials. COMMENTARY: Ari Shavit says the peace process is dead but must be quickly replaced by a new, realistic approach to resolving the conflict. Israel Harel says that in spite of constant criticism from outside, Israel has achieved a great deal of normalcy. Alex Fishman says Israel is becoming overwhelmed with paranoia. Eitan Haber says soon PM Netanyahu will have to show whether he has really moderated his views or remains a staunch right-winger. Douglas Bloomfield says the US is trying to persuade Israel that sanctions on Iran are working and need to be given more time. John Whitbeck says a new language for peace must be developed. J.J. Goldberg says this time Palestinian unity might actually be accomplished. Elias Harfoush says through their agreement Palestinians are trying to regain control of their destiny. Roger Hercz says Israel is trying to determine its response to the Palestinian agreement. Karl Vick says the agreement is helping Hamas mainstream itself.

The Mainstreaming of Hamas Continues as Palestinian Unity Gains Steam
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Karl Vick - (Analysis) February 6, 2012 - 1:00am

One of the least-noticed consequences of the Arab Spring might be called the “mainstreaming of Hamas.” The chief of the Palestinian party and militia, which the West knows chiefly for its suicide attacks on Israel, has declared repeatedly that it has decided to set aside violent resistance and, in the spirit of the Arab Spring, concentrate on demonstrations and other nonviolent methods.

Special from Israel: Officials mull path forward after historic Palestinian reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Egyptian Independent
by Roger Hercz - (Opinion) February 9, 2012 - 1:00am

Jaffa -- Mahmoud al-Zahar, the co-founder of Hamas, was clearly satisfied as he spoke to Israeli TV following the historic Palestinian reconciliation pact signing last week. “Your intelligence organizations are not so impressive after all,” he told Channel 10 News. Israeli leaders were certainly caught off guard when news broke that Fatah and Hamas had reached a deal to mend ties, four years after a schism erupted between the two Palestinian factions and Hamas security forcibly ousted Fatah personnel from the Gaza Strip. Al-Zahar was rubbing Israel’s lack of anticipation in its face.

The Palestinians Regain their Decision
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Elias Harfoush - (Opinion) February 9, 2012 - 1:00am

The Palestinian reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas should be placed in its right context, i.e. in the context of the transformations witnessed in the Arab region.

Palestinian Unity May Turn to Reality
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) February 9, 2012 - 1:00am

To understand the new unity agreement between the two Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, it helps to recall the story of the village beggar and his cake. It happened once that the village beggar asked the rabbi for a ruble to buy some food. An hour later the rabbi saw the beggar in the market, eating a slice of cake. Incensed, the rabbi rushed to rebuke him: “When I give you a ruble you should eat a meal, not cake!” “Excuse me,” the beggar replied. “Yesterday I had no money, so I couldn’t eat cake. Today I have money, but I shouldn’t eat cake. Tell me, rabbi, when can I eat cake?”

Banging the war drums
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) February 8, 2012 - 1:00am

The Obama administration has taken some unusual steps to discourage an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities in the coming months. After diplomatic, intelligence and military leaders failed to get the message across in private, they went public. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, through columnist David Ignatius, said his biggest worry is the strong likelihood of an Israeli attack before summer.

Is Netanyahu pretending?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Eitan Haber - (Opinion) February 8, 2012 - 1:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu was the big winner of the recent Likud primaries. However, he too realizes that the party that sent him to the Prime Minister’s Office is slipping through his fingers. Likud is distancing from him. However, some politicians will respond to the above with a chuckle. For years they have been saying that Netanyahu has not changed at all, and that Likud is not distancing from him at all. Bibi is just like Moshe Feiglin, with a softer veneer, they say. The primaries’ results will force Netanyahu to rip the mask off his face.

Israel overcome by paranoia
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Alex Fishman - (Opinion) February 8, 2012 - 1:00am

At first glance, one is shocked. The images one recalls of the pastoral desert border between Israel and Egypt have been erased. The landscape is cut by a grey, towering metal fence. At the top of it one sees not only barbed wire, but also sharp knives. Alongside this menacing fence lies more barbed wire, affixed to the earth, with a patrol road nearby.

In praise of Israel's abnormality
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Israel Harel - (Opinion) February 9, 2012 - 1:00am

It is indeed true that Israel does not have, and quite possibly could not have, an "umbrella definition of a Hebrew nation that, from a political and legal standpoint, is supposed to embrace us in all our factions and variations, including religious and ethnic ones, while separating religion and state," as Doron Rosenblum wrote (Haaretz, February 3 ). Such lamentations over the lack of "Israeliness," and therefore, of "normalcy," date back many years, and represent the feelings of a nontrivial segment of Israeli society.

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