Abbas: to meet Olmert October 27, counterpart made positive remarks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
October 19, 2008 - 8:00pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday evening remarked he is to meet Israeli counterpart Ehud Olmert October 27 and added the latter made positive remarks on several issues recently. Abbas told a host of Palestinian columnists Olmert spoke of returning "almost all of the West Bank" and "almost all Jerusalem neighborhoods," adding, however, he was not sure what his counterpart meant exactly by "almost.

Half of Palestinians Want Combined Election
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Angus Reid Global Monitor
October 19, 2008 - 8:00pm

Many adults in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would like to hold the presidential and legislative ballots at the same time, according to a poll by the Jerusalem Media & Communication Center. 51.4 per cent of respondents support having simultaneous elections.

Hamas could halt talks on Israeli soldier: official
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - October 19, 2008 - 8:00pm

Hamas could halt talks on the release of an Israeli soldier seized in a cross-border raid and now being held in the Gaza Strip if Egypt does not free one of its leaders, a Hamas official said. Soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted by militants from an Israeli army base in June 2006. In exchange for his release, Hamas has demanded that Israel sets free hundreds of prisoners it holds. It also wants Egypt to release Ayman Nofal, a senior Hamas military operative arrested in Egypt on suspicion he was planning to attack targets there. Egypt has been trying to mediate a prisoner swap.

Israel slams assaults on Palestinian olive harvest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
October 19, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak condemned on Monday "assaults by hooligans" disrupting Palestinian olive picking in the occupied West Bank, but said Israeli security could not protect the harvesters everywhere. Israel has deployed forces in a "supreme effort" to let the harvest proceed despite attacks by Jewish settlers in some olive groves this month, Barak told Israel's Army Radio.

Israel's Livni gets more time to form government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jeffrey Heller - October 19, 2008 - 8:00pm

Tzipi Livni will have another two weeks to try to form a government and become Israel's prime minister after receiving on Monday an extension to an original 28-day presidential mandate to put together a coalition. Foreign Minister Livni, elected leader of the centrist Kadima party last month, would take over as prime minister from Ehud Olmert, who resigned in a corruption scandal but remains in office until a new government is established.

Hamas grip on Gaza is complete
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
October 19, 2008 - 8:00pm

Hamas' control of the Gaza Strip is now virtually complete. Since the summer, the Islamic militants have sil-enced and disarmed their remaining opponents, filled the bureaucracy with their supporters, and kept Gaza's economy afloat, even if just barely, despite a 16-month-old international embargo and border blockades by Israel and Egypt. With nothing in sight to weaken Hamas' grip, the political split between Gaza and the West Bank -the two territories meant to make up a future Palestinian state - looks increasingly irreversible.

Israel reopens Saudi peace plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Aron Heller - October 19, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli leaders are seriously considering a dormant Saudi plan offering a comprehensive peace between Israel and the Arab world in exchange for lands captured during the 1967 war, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said yesterday. Barak said it may be time to pursue an overall peace deal for the region since individual negotiations with Syria and the Palestinians have made little progress. Barak said he has discussed the Saudi plan with Prime Minister-designate Tzipi Livni, who is in the process of forming a new Israeli government, and that Israel is considering a response.

Mixed emotions on Hebron tour
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Heather Sharp - October 16, 2008 - 8:00pm

"It's another world," says Israeli student Gilad Shalom, 29, as he follows a tour guide around the Israeli-controlled part of the divided West Bank town of Hebron. Craning his neck to see over tall, sniper-proof concrete slabs, he is partly talking about the jumble of Palestinian houses on the other side. But he is also referring to the town's Jewish settlers, known by reputation as some of the most hardline of the roughly 270,000 Israelis who live in the West Bank, not including East Jerusalem.

Olive harvest attacks anger Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
October 19, 2008 - 8:00pm

There have been several reports of attacks in recent days, a week into the yearly olive harvest. But settlers have accused Palestinians of burning their own olive groves and then blaming them. Mr Abbas criticised Israel for failing to stop the attacks, but the army says it is working to protect Palestinians. Millions of olive trees across the West Bank provide a livelihood to many Palestinians.

Symbol of Peace Stands at Divide Between Troubled Jerusalem’s East and West
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - October 16, 2008 - 8:00pm

One recent autumn evening, under a full moon, a monument to tolerance was unveiled on a ridge high above this revered and contested city, sacred to Muslims, Christians and Jews. A soaring bronze column split down the middle, with a spindly, gilded olive tree reaching up through the chasm, it seemed to encapsulate both the promise and the fragility of peace in a city increasingly on edge.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017