December 28th

Olmert, Abbas Try To Revive Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
December 28, 2007 - 4:31pm

Palestinian and Israeli leaders have pledged to press on with peace talks despite a continuing row about Jewish settlement activity. Mahmoud Abbas urged Ehud Olmert to stop building homes for Jews in occupied East Jerusalem, officials said. Israel has said the hundreds of new homes in the Har Homa settlement are within existing boundaries. Follow-up peace efforts since the US-sponsored Annapolis summit last month have been paralysed by the issue.

Building Roadblocks To Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
(Editorial) December 28, 2007 - 4:27pm

More roadblocks have sprung up on the Middle East road map to peace since the grand reunion organized by U.S. President George W. Bush at Annapolis just a few weeks ago, and where Israeli and Palestinian leaders promised to work toward a peaceful settlement of the 60-year conflict.

Challenges 2007-2008: Gates Led Realist Resurgence In ‘07
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jim Lobe - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 4:26pm

2007 will likely go down in U.S. history as the year in which the balance of power in the long-running struggle between hawks and realists in the administration of President George W. Bush shifted decisively in favour of the latter.

Soft Drink Fizz Goes Flat In Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Tim Mcgirk - December 28, 2007 - 4:25pm

Every closed factory has its own kind of unbearable silence. The Yazegi Group's soft-drink plant in Gaza, with its maze of metal tubes and conveyor belts all switched off, has the hush of a futuristic mausoleum. Marketing manager Ammar Yazegi pauses beside empty 7Up bottles stacked in perfect emerald-green cubes up to the rafters and says, "I miss the music of the machines and workers. It's a beautiful noise. This silence drives me crazy."

Gop Leader Calls For Revisions To Fatah Movement’s Outdated Charter
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - December 28, 2007 - 4:23pm

A push by right-wing American Jewish activists to change the constitution of the governing Palestinian party is gaining momentum in Congress, even as Israelis are dismissing the document as “irrelevant,” and the umbrella body of American Jewish organizations has voted against taking up the issue.

Israeli And Palestinian Leaders Meet To Ease Tensions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Steven Erlanger - December 28, 2007 - 4:19pm

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, met here on Thursday to try to dispel the tensions of recent days, and they recommitted themselves to refrain from acts that would prejudice a final peace treaty while they try to negotiate one, officials from both sides said.

Olmert Seeks To Tighten Grip On West Bank Building
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ari Rabinovitch - December 28, 2007 - 4:15pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has ordered the Housing Ministry not to unilaterally issue any additional building permits on occupied land in the West Bank, Israeli officials said on Friday. Olmert was caught off guard by a series of Housing Ministry announcements on settlements that have opened a rift in month-old peace talks with the Palestinians, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

The Right To Explode In Anger
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - December 28, 2007 - 4:01pm

The negotiations over the future of our land, from the sea to the river, and the two peoples living in it, are proceeding along two parallel channels. It has been that way since the Madrid and Oslo talks for 17 years now. One channel is between the Palestinians and Israelis - such as Tuesday's meeting in Jerusalem between chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. The other is being conducted between the Israelis and themselves. Will the only genuine point of contact between these two channels be another explosion of blood, as occurred in 1996 and 2000?

Declaration Of Fatigue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yonatan Yavin - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 3:59pm

Many decades from now, when Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs, will be living side by side, our grandchildren and great grandchildren will be comforting each other over their fathers’ folly and stubbornness. When the cursed regional “situation” will stabilize, and a Jew will sit down for coffee with his Arab neighbor, both of them will rub their eyes with amazement and ask: What was the commotion all about?

Settlements Have To Go
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Miftah
by Joharah Baker - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 3:56pm

Unsurprisingly, the newly resumed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians stalled yet again, this time over the highly-charged issue of Israeli settlements, which despite past commitments, Israel has continued to expand. On December 24, the two sides met for the second time since the Annapolis peace conference in November, but came out of the meeting empty handed, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat describing the meeting as “very difficult.”

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