Israeli Army, A National Melting Pot, Faces New Challenges In Training Officers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Steven Erlanger - December 31, 2007 - 6:36pm

The young officer candidates, in uniforms and old American helmets, their M-16s slung over their shoulders, were blowing up balloons. Lilac, blue and red balloons. Then they attached them to targets. The balloons were “hostages,” they said. The point was to hit the target but not a hostage. Of course, since some of these young men and women were training for office jobs, their skills were not always so acute. They did not kill any hostages, but sometimes they did not hit the target, either, their bullets piercing the desert hills.

About That Peace Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) December 31, 2007 - 6:35pm

It didn’t take long for the glow of the Annapolis peace conference to wear off. Israelis and Palestinians have quickly fallen back into predictable destructive patterns. Arab countries have not done anywhere near enough to support the negotiations. Even the United States is behind on its pledges: because of bureaucratic wrangling and Israeli doubts, it has yet to establish a promised “mechanism” to monitor the two sides’ behavior and pressure them into meeting their commitments.

Olmert Curbs West Bank Building
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Adam Entous - December 31, 2007 - 6:35pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has barred new construction work, building planning and occupancy tenders at West Bank settlements without his approval, documents show. The move is meant to bolster U.S.-backed peace talks, soured by disputes over Jewish settlement construction, ahead of a visit by President George W. Bush early next month.

Israel, Palestinians Seek Elusive Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Steven Gutkin - December 31, 2007 - 6:34pm

In the afterglow of a high-profile peace conference, Israeli and Palestinian leaders will try in the coming year to resolve issues that have defied solutions for decades. For peace to work, Israel will have to give up most of the West Bank, Palestinians must agree to resettle refugees inside their own state and the two sides must share the holy city of Jerusalem. None of that will come easily _ and prospects for peace are hurt by the growing power of extremists and the weakness of leaders on both sides.

December 28th

2008, When We Need To Start Keeping Our Promises
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Kimche - December 28, 2007 - 4:46pm

Ring out the old, ring in the new," wrote the renowned British poet, Lord Tennyson. "Ring, happy bells, across the snow; The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true... Ring out the thousand wars of old, ring in the thousand years of Peace."

What's The Hurry?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn And Shmuel Rosner - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 4:45pm

The Annapolis summit and the efforts to revive the peace process have exacerbated the tension that already existed between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Olmert's personal charm doesn't work on Rice, and the Prime Minister's Office is anxious about her tendency to push ahead too quickly with political contacts.

Reconciliation Begins In Prison
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 4:43pm

"I came here today to extend a hand in peace to the Palestinian people and to our neighboring Arab states," the prime minister declared at the start of his speech at Annapolis on November 27. "I have no doubt that the reality created in our region in 1967 will change significantly," Ehud Olmert promised. He knows that "it will be as hard as Hell for some of those among us," but assured his listeners that "we are ready for it."

The View From Bethlehem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Jonathan Power - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 4:41pm

Perhaps the biggest single irony of Western history is best understood by standing in the town square of Bethlehem, allowing one’s gaze to pass over the rooftop of the church that covers the stable where Jesus was supposedly born, and let one’s eye drift into the blue sky beyond and thinking: how on earth could it be that the Christians, whose belief in the divine centre around Jesus’ crucifixion carried out by Roman soldiers but done at the behest of the Jewish populace, could turn round nearly two millennia later and say to the Jews in effect: we buy the argument that yo

Backward, Christian Soldiers, Marching As To Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Miftah
by Daoud Kuttub - December 28, 2007 - 4:40pm

During the run-up to the 1998 Christmas celebrations, U.S. president Bill Clinton, along with his wife, Hillary, and daughter, Chelsea, visited the Palestinian town of Bethlehem to light up the Christmas tree in Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity. With that symbolic visit, and the understanding that Mr. Clinton was showing to the needs of the region, Palestinians of all faiths had high hopes that the decades-long Arab-Israeli conflict might soon end. It didn't.

West Bank Houses "killing Peace Process"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Sheera Frenkel - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 4:33pm

A meeting between Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, failed yesterday to resolve a growing crisis over the construction of Jewish settlements that has stalled peace negotiations since the Annapolis summit last month. The meeting at Mr Olmert’s Jerusalem residence was the first between the two leaders since the talks in Maryland, where they set the goal of reaching a statehood agreement before President Bush leaves office in January 2009.

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