Israel Rejects Hamas Overture, And Presses Housing Construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - December 28, 2007 - 2:18pm

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel on Sunday rejected overtures by Hamas, the militant Islamic group that rules Gaza, for discussions about a temporary cease-fire. At the same time, Mr. Olmert’s government raised the ire of Palestinian representatives from the West Bank, with whom Israel is embarking on negotiations for a permanent peace, by seeking budget approval to build more housing for Jewish residents in areas that the Palestinians claim for their future state.

Settlement Dispute Stalls Mideast Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Adam Entous - December 28, 2007 - 2:16pm

Israel is considering easing criteria for freeing Palestinian prisoners, a move one Israeli official said on Monday could pave the way for the release of Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouthi. Israel's deputy defense minister, Matan Vilnai, said Barghouthi, a Palestinian uprising leader from Fatah and a possible successor to President Mahmoud Abbas, could be a candidate for release. Also on Monday, a second round of peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams were bogged down in a dispute over settlement building near Jerusalem.

Bethlehem Basks In Calm And Cheer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Dalia Nammari - December 28, 2007 - 2:15pm

Encouraged by renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Christian pilgrims from around the world converged on Jesus's traditional birthplace Monday to celebrate Christmas -- a palpable contrast to the sparse crowds of recent years. The diverse crowd included festive American tourists, clergymen in brown flowing robes and Palestinian scouts wearing kilts and playing bagpipes.

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