Israel schedules early elections for February 10
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israel's political parties decided Tuesday to hold early elections on February 10, a decision that will leave US-backed Mideast peace talks on hold for months. "Following a meeting of the Knesset factions it was decided that the elections will be held on February 10," said Knesset spokesman Giora Pordes, adding that Parliament would adjourn on November 11. Both Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's centrist Kadima party and the right-wing Likud party of hard-line hawk former Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, the two frontrunners for prime minister, had pressed for elections as soon as possible.

Egypt, Jordan wary of partial Israeli-Palestinian deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
September 2, 2008 - 8:00pm

Egypt opposes an Israeli-Palestinian partial agreement because Cairo doesn't think such a deal would end the conflict in the region, and Jordan fears that such an agreement would force it to take in hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees. The Egyptian and Jordanian position is encouraging to the Palestinian Authority, which opposes an agreement in principle. In talks with the PA, Israel has suggested signing a partial agreement in a bid to realize the goal of reaching an Israeli-Palestinian deal by the end of this year. That goal was set at the Annapolis summit last November.

Olmert jeopardizing our future
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
(Editorial) September 2, 2008 - 8:00pm

How many goals can a player score against his own team at the end of a game? You should ask our prime minister, who knows something about soccer. How much damage will he be causing the team, that is, to us, in order to somehow turn into a star despite all? Has he decided to insist on finalizing an agreement with Mahmoud Abbas (another lowly bench player) this year just for the sake of being remembered as someone who did something? Is he trying to forcefully get a foothold in the annals of history, as the gates are closing?

Local priorities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Daoud Kuttub - (Opinion) August 31, 2008 - 8:00pm

Whether those supporting the moderate leadership of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas admit it or not, Hamas appears to have won. Now, before Islamists around the world start celebrating, it is important to note that the region, let alone the world, is far from embracing hard-line fundamentalists. Hamas, for the record, has made some important ideological and practical changes, the most important of which was the "tahdiya" (ceasefire-like quiet).

The evolving facts of life
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) September 2, 2008 - 8:00pm

A brief perusal of headlines in the regional media would appear to confirm that, of the two main Palestinian movements, Fateh and Hamas, the latter has recently been the object of the most attention from Israel's neighbors, particularly Egypt and Jordan.

Forcing the neighbors into play
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - September 2, 2008 - 12:00am

The Israeli strategy for dealing with the Palestinians has changed significantly since the first agreement was reached between the two sides in 1993. This change is forcing Jordan and Egypt, unwillingly, to adapt.

Olmert Grasps at Straws as Kadima Primary Heats Up
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
by Mel Frykberg - September 2, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is trying desperately to salvage what remains of his tattered reputation in a last ditch bid to achieve some success on the Palestinian-Israeli front before he steps down as premier in the next couple of weeks. Last week he underwent his seventh interrogation in the last few months by Israeli police on allegations of fraud and accepting bribes.

Palestinians study options if peace talks fail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Wafa Amr - September 2, 2008 - 8:00pm

Support among Palestinians for a binational state with Israel will grow should U.S.-brokered talks on creating an independent Palestine fail, a Palestinian think tank forecast in a new report released on Wednesday. Israel has long rejected the idea of becoming a binational country, in which Jews would lose their majority. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he remains committed to a two-state solution despite slow-moving negotiations.

Hamas: Talks to free Shalit frozen
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
September 2, 2008 - 8:00pm

Hamas's senior leader in the Gaza Strip says talks on exchanging captured soldier Gilad Shalit for Palestinian prisoners have frozen. Mahmoud al-Zahar says the Egyptian-mediated negotiations have broken down because Israel won't meet Hamas demands to release prisoners convicted of murdering Israelis. Zahar also said Wednesday that the talks have stalled because Israel and Egypt won't open their border crossings with Gaza. Both countries sealed the border after Hamas seized power in Gaza in June 2007.

Israeli troops shoot Palestinian
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
September 2, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank have shot and wounded a mentally disabled Palestinian man during a raid on his house, medical officials say. The incident happened late on Sunday in the village of Nilin. Awad Srur, 41, was hit in the face with three rubber-coated bullets, causing him to lose an eye, medics said. The Israeli military says Mr Srur attacked soldiers who were arresting his brother and tried to grab one of their rifles before he was shot. Mr Srur's son Muhammad said he tried to persuade the soldiers not to open fire because of his father's mental condition.

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