December 17th

Abbas: Palestinians Close To 'catastrophe'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Telegraph
by Richard Holt - December 17, 2007 - 1:23pm

Mahmoud Abbas has urged the international community to increase support for the Palestinians or risk a "total catastrophe" in the occupied territories. The Palestinian president used a donor conference in Paris to appeal for $5.6bn (£2.8bn) in aid by 2010 to help work towards setting up a viable Palestinian state. "Without this support, without the payment of aid that will allow the Palestinian treasury to fulfill its role, we will be facing a total catastrophe in the West Bank and Gaza," Mr Abbas told delegates.

Blair Presses Donors To Bankroll Middle East Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Adam Sage - December 17, 2007 - 1:22pm

Tony Blair was seeking to persuade world leaders to provide $5.6 billion (£2.75 billion) in aid to shore up the Palestinian economy and breath life into the revived Middle East peace process at an international donors' conference in Paris today. Britain's former prime minister is joint chairman of the conference, which was billed as a make-or-break event by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President.

Saudis' $1.4bn Support For Palestinians Now In Doubt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald Macintyre - December 17, 2007 - 1:20pm

Saudi Arabia has so far refused to commit to budget support for the emergency government set up by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a political move casting a shadow over Monday's international donors' conference in Paris.

International Donors Are Cautiously Optimistic On Eve Of Palestinian Aid Meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Howard Lafranchi - December 17, 2007 - 1:19pm

PARIS With Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seeking a large increase in aid for his would-be country, the international community gathers at a donors' conference here Monday to grapple with how to turn the billions of dollars the Palestinians receive into a tool for peace.

Donors Pledge Aid For Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - December 17, 2007 - 1:18pm

The world rallied to the support of the embattled Palestinian government Monday, and the co-chairman of a donors' conference said he was confident they could meet a $5.6 billion target in aid. World leaders at the conference also urged Israel to ease restrictions on movement in the West Bank and Gaza to make a recovery of the Palestinian economy possible. Some 90 countries and international organizations came together in Paris for the biggest pledging conference in more than a decade.

The Right Wing's Jerusalem Gambit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Gregory Levey - December 17, 2007 - 1:18pm

On Nov. 26, the U.S. State Department got hit with an unexpected barrage of phone calls. The Coordinating Council on Jerusalem, a new coalition of American groups with hard-line views on Israel, was on the line -- all of the lines. Or so the group said two days later in a press release, proudly proclaiming that with 10,000 calls in less than 48 hours it had managed to overload the State Department's voice-mail system.

Sealed Off By Israel, Gaza Reduced To Beggary
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Scott Wilson - December 17, 2007 - 1:16pm

The batteries are the size of a button on a man's shirt, small silvery dots that power hearing aids for several hundred Palestinian students taught by the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children in Gaza City. Now the batteries, marketed by Radio Shack, are all but used up. The few that are left are losing power, turning voices into unintelligible echoes in the ears of Hala Abu Saif's 20 first-grade students.

December 13th

On America's Strength And Weakness
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shlomo Avineri - December 13, 2007 - 1:07pm

All that the participants in the Annapolis conference agreed upon was to begin negotiations on several parallel channels. It is clear the results will depend, to a large extent, on the United States' ability to navigate these moves. In this context, it is worth trying to recall where in the past the U.S. was successful in its diplomatic efforts in the Middle East, and where it failed. From the point of view of processes and events from past decades, the U.S. is successful in the Middle East if one of two scenarios is in place. When lacking, the U.S. fails.

World Bank: Pa Economy Depends On Mobility
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - December 13, 2007 - 1:06pm

A report released today by the World Bank warns that even if the donor countries meet all of the PA's demands for aid, the Palestinian economy will continue to deteriorate if Israel does not alter mobility and trade restrictions in the West Bank. The dire message comes ahead of the Pledging Conference to the Palestinian Authority next Monday in Paris.

No Peace Without Justice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
December 13, 2007 - 1:05pm

Negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis started yesterday under a cloud. Understandably, both sides preferred to keep their talks as low-key as possibly, choosing a secret location in Jerusalem rather than, as expected, the King David Hotel [where Jewish terrorists once killed British soldiers]. One suspects that this decision came at the behest of the Palestinian team who could hardly afford to be seen grinning and backslapping at that place while Palestinians were being killed in Gaza and yet more land is set to be confiscated in the West Bank.

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