December 2nd

Obama mulls ex-ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer, as special Mideast envoy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - December 1, 2008 - 8:00pm

President-elect Barack Obama is considering the appointment of Daniel Kurtzer, former American Ambassador to Egypt (1997-2001) and Israel (2001-2005), to become his administration's presidential envoy to the Middle East, a senior Israeli diplomatic source said this week. Obama's decision to appoint a special envoy reporting to him directly, rather than to the secretary of state, indicates that the president-elect attaches special importance to the regional peace process. Reportedly, several of Obama's advisers recommended the appointment.

Haaretz journalist Amira Hass arrested for illegal stay in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Tomer Zarchin - November 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

Haaretz correspondent Amira Hass was detained by Sderot police last night for having entered the Gaza Strip without a permit. By order of the army, Israeli journalists have been barred from entering Gaza since the abduction of soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006. Hass was stopped by soldiers at the Erez Checkpoint, on the Gaza-Israel border, as she was returning to Israel from the Strip. Upon discovering that she had no permit to be in Gaza, the soldiers transferred her to the Sderot police.

Israel: Economic surge in W. Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - November 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

Unprecedented military coordination and a sincere effort by the Palestinian Authority to crack down on Hamas has led to a unique economic surge in the West Bank in the past year, according to an internal Defense Ministry report obtained on Monday by The Jerusalem Post. Prepared by the IDF's Civil Administration, the report cites a three percent drop to 16% in Palestinian unemployment since the beginning of the year. In addition, the report cites a 24% increase in Palestinian average daily wages, up from NIS 70 in 2007 to NIS 86.9.

Israeli strike kills 2 in Gaza after mortars fired
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
December 1, 2008 - 8:00pm

An Israeli air strike killed two Palestinians on Tuesday in the southern Gaza Strip, where mortar bombs were fired at Israel earlier, witnesses and hospital officials said. The Israeli army confirmed the air strike in the town of Rafah, which wounded two people, and said militants had launched six mortar bombs across the border. Witnesses and hospital officials said two Palestinians were killed in the Israeli attack. Relatives said both were civilians and one was aged 15. Hamas, an Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, said one of its members was wounded in the incident.

Israeli forces kill Palestinian in Nablus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
November 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man during a raid in the West Bank city of Nablus on Monday, the Israeli army said. Such killings have become less frequent in the Israeli-occupied West Bank since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas launched a security campaign with U.S. backing. An Israeli army spokesman said troops entered Nablus to arrest what he described as a "wanted man". When the man attempted to get away, the troops fired warning shots and then fired at his lower body, the spokesman said.

Two Palestinians killed in IAF strike on southern Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 1, 2008 - 8:00pm

An Israel Air Force strike in the southern Gaza Strip killed two Palestinians Tuesday, dealing a new blow to efforts to restore a fraying cease-fire. The army said it attacked a group of militants who had fired mortar shells at Israel Defense Forces troops from the area. But Palestinian medical officials said the dead were civilians - a pair of teenage brothers who were struck outside their house. The identities of four people wounded were not immediately known. The ruling Hamas militant group said its fighters had used the area to fire shells at Israeli targets earlier Tuesday.

UN accuses Israel of punishing aid workers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Anne Penketh - November 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

The UN official responsible for the welfare of 4.6 million Palestinian refugees has accused Israel of extending its punishment of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip to include international humanitarian staff. Karen AbuZayd, who is based in Gaza City, said that Israeli authorities have within the past month stopped UN staff based in Gaza from using the diplomatic pouch. They gave no reason for the move, which is a clear breach of international law.

Try Tough Love, Hillary
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - November 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

Imagine Ehud Olmert, the outgoing Israeli prime minister, saying this to Barack Obama:

December 1st

Hebron settlers ask public for concrete info on IDF eviction plans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nadav Sharagi - November 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

Supporters of settlers who refuse to vacate a disputed house in the West Bank city of Hebron are calling on the public to disclose "any information" possible regarding concrete Israel Defense Forces' plans to evacuate the premises. "In light of media reports regarding the intentions of the defense minister to evacuate the house under strictly secret methods, we have decided to call out to lovers of the Land of Israel for their help and alertness in gathering information on plans for the evacuation, which could take place any day now - heaven forbid," reads the public notice.

Israel alarmed by EU bid to reopen Orient House as part of peace plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - November 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli officials are deeply concerned over an internal European Union document outlining the EU's plans for advancing an Israeli-Palestinian deal in 2009. Inter alia, it calls for increased pressure on Israel to reopen Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem, including Orient House, which formerly served as the Palestinian Authority's headquarters in the city. The document, a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz, was written by the French Foreign Ministry, as France currently occupies the EU's rotating presidency.

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