October 29th

Middle East challenges for next president
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Alistair Lyon - October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

Major foreign policy challenges await the next president in the Middle East. Here are some of the intertwined issues that Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain will inherit from President George W. Bush.

Hamas says W. Bank arrests could harm unity talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

Hamas said Tuesday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's security forces had arrested 170 of its members in the West Bank in the past four weeks in a campaign that could hamper Egyptian-sponsored unity talks. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said the detentions could "poison the atmosphere and block the way" toward reconciliation with Abbas's Fatah faction, which lost control of the Gaza Strip to the Islamist group in fighting in June 2007. The latest arrests, Abu Zuhri said, raised the number of Hamas members detained by forces loyal to Abbas to at least 400 in the past year.

So Easy for Israelis to Shoot to Kill
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Cherrie Heywood - October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli soldiers shot and killed three young Palestinians in the Ramallah district of the central West Bank last week. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) claimed the Palestinians were about to throw Molotov cocktails at soldiers and settlers in the Bet El settlement. But the circumstances in which the young men were shot, whether they actually did throw or attempt to throw firebombs, and if they actually threatened the lives of any soldiers or settlers, has been questioned.

Boat Arrives in Gaza to Protest Israeli Blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

A boat loaded with protesters has arrived in the Gaza Strip to bring attention to Israel's blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory. The 27 passengers include Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead McGuire. They are scheduled to remain in Gaza for four days. The boat chartered by the U.S.-based group called Free Gaza sailed from the nearby island of Cyprus on Tuesday and arrived in Gaza in pouring rain early Wednesday. Israel had said it would block the boat, but navy ships did not interfere.

Israel's multilateral option
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

The inability of Tzipi Livni to form a coalition government in Israel and her subsequent calling of elections has sadly obscured two unexpected peace proposals that emerged in her final weeks of horse-trading. The first was an examination by the foreign ministry into a possible non-aggression pact with Lebanon. The second comes after Labour leader Ehud Barak proposed a revival of Saudi Arabia's 2002 peace plan which offers Israel universal recognition in the Arab world were it to fully withdraw to its pre-1967 borders.

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.

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