October 28th

The Palestinian Authority's state-first mistake
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Samih Khalidi - (Opinion) October 28, 2009 - 12:00am

As President Obama seeks to jumpstart the Middle East peace process with increasingly disappointing results, a new approach has begun to emerge from within the upper circles of the Palestinian Authority. In essence, this approach puts "statehood first" – without waiting for negotiations to resume, or for a full final status agreement with Israel. From this point of view, and in a kind of Zionism in reverse, unilateral actions on the ground can lay the foundations for an independent Palestinian state, irrespective of Israel's demands or strategy.

Grassroots group aims to break deadlock over Israeli settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - October 28, 2009 - 12:00am

There are few more pressing issues for the Palestinians of Salfit, living deep in the rocky hills of the occupied West Bank, than the remarkable expansion of the Israeli settlements around them. Sitting along a broad hilltop range above them is Ariel, one of the largest and oldest settlements in the West Bank, and one that Israel is intent on retaining in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians. Dotted on the nearby hills are more settlements carving a deep swath through the area that reaches nearly 15 miles into the territory.

Arabs to Abbas: Renew talks with Israel without freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - October 28, 2009 - 12:00am

As Israel and the Palestinians exchange blame for the failure to get peace talks off the ground, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is reportedly under pressure from the Arab camp to renew negotiations. Palestinian sources told Ynet that Arab officials have passed on messages to Abbas prodding him to agree to renewed peace talks without conditioning them on a total freeze of building in West Bank settlements.

Hamas vows to prevent Palestinian elections in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
October 28, 2009 - 12:00am

The Islamic Hamas movement which rules the Gaza Strip said Wednesday it would not allow presidential or parliamentary elections to take place in the salient on January 24, as called for by Ramallah-based President Mahmoud Abbas. A statement by the Hamas ministry of the interior said the ban was because the election had been called "by figures who do not have the right to declare it" and because the polling would take place without a reconciliation deal between Hamas and Abbas' Fatah movement. Abbas announced Friday that elections would be held on January 24,

Avi Issacharoff / Obama demands may leave Abbas feeling betrayed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - October 28, 2009 - 12:00am

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive on Sunday for a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority during which she will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas. George Mitchell, the U.S. Middle East envoy, will be in Israel Thursday to lay the groundwork for the secretary of state's visit. Clinton and Mitchell will attempt to persuade Abbas to reopen negotiations with Israel on a final peace agreement.

U.S. leaning toward indirect Mideast peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - October 28, 2009 - 12:00am

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive in Israel on Saturday night for her first official visit since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government was sworn in. Clinton's visit underscores the goal of reaching a compromise that could see the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. In light of the ever-wide gaps between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, voices are growing within the Obama administration to shift strategy and suffice with indirect - rather than direct - negotiations.

US: Israel discriminates against non-Jews
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 26, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel continues to discriminate against its religious minorities legally, financially and culturally, according to a US State Department review on worldwide religious freedom released on Monday. In its 2009 International Religious Freedom Report, the foreign service said that despite past documentation of prejudice against minorities, the status of respect for religious freedoms by Israel "was unchanged during the reporting period."

Fatah leader: Abbas will not run in elections unless asked
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 28, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian President will not run for office in the 24 January elections, a Fatah leader announced on Tuesday. Fatah leader Abdullah Abu Samhadaneh issued a statement saying Abbas “is eager to rest from this long and arduous trip, which began with the revolution and continues to this day,” as part of a paper urging Hamas to sign the Egyptian unity proposal so unified elections can go forward. He also noted, however, that if Abbas is "instructed by the command [Palestinian leaders] he will accept the commission."

Hamas to block elections in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 28, 2009 - 12:00am

The Hamas-controlled Ministry of the Interior announced on Wednesday that it will not allow elections to go ahead in the Gaza Strip as decreed by President Mahmoud Abbas. The call for elections "came from someone who does not have the right to declare it," a ministry statement said in reference to Abbas. The ministry reiterated Hamas’ objection that the elections were called without a national unity agreement in place. The statement said furthermore that the ministry will "bring to account anyone who deals with these elections."

Does J Street arrival signal a split in America's Israel lobby?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - October 27, 2009 - 12:00am

Since the 1950s the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has been the mainstream voice of the Jewish-American community and its efforts to strengthen support for Israel in Washington. Along comes J Street, a young upstart founded last year, in part as an answer to AIPAC – perceived by many progressive American Jews to have a clear right-wing tilt, and hardly representative of those want to see a much more aggressive push towards a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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