November 16th

Washington Committed to Middle East Peace Process- US Officials
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Mina Al-Oraibi - (Opinion) November 16, 2009 - 1:00am

Many questions are being asked whether it is possible to resume peace negotiations in the Middle East that can achieve real and concrete results after the peace process has been faltering over the past few months. A total of 10 months have passed since US President Barack Obama announced his determination to bring peace to the Middle East on his first day in the White House. However, there have been no indications that such a peace would be reached.

Watchdogs target left-wing Israeli university scholars
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - (Opinion) November 16, 2009 - 1:00am

Right-wing groups in Israel want to create a climate of fear among left-wing scholars at Israeli universities by emulating the “witch-hunt” tactics of the US academic monitoring group Campus Watch, Israeli professors warn. The watchdog groups IsraCampus and Israel Academia Monitor are believed to be stepping up campaigns after the recent publication in a US newspaper of an Israeli professor’s call to boycott Israel.

Plans for new Palestinian city in West Bank raise hopes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Dina Kraft - November 16, 2009 - 1:00am

Dusk has fallen on a terraced hillside and workers clearing the red earth hurry to finish planting trees in the twilight, their labor the initial step in the construction of the first-ever planned Palestinian city. The city, with a construction price tag of some $350 million, already has its city limits registered, a name -- Rawabi, Arabic for hills -- and funding from the government of Qatar. It’s located about five miles north of Ramallah.

Palestinian push for an independent state causes Israeli alarm
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - (Interview) November 16, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian leaders from President Mahmoud Abbas down have alarmed Israeli ministers by swinging their weight behind a planned effort to secure UN backing for a unilaterally declared independent state in the West Bank and Gaza. In an innovative strategy which would not depend on the success of currently stalled negotiations with Israel, the leaders are preparing a push to secure formal UN Security Council support for a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders as a crucial first step towards the formation of a state.

Israel 'personally attacking human rights group' after Gaza war criticism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Chris McGreal - November 16, 2009 - 1:00am

America's leading human rights organisation has accused Israel and its supporters of an "organised campaign" of false allegations and misinformation, including "extremely personal attacks" on its staff, in an attempt to discredit the group over its reports of war crimes in Gaza.

Press split on Palestinian statehood move
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
November 16, 2009 - 1:00am

Arab and Israeli press commentators are divided over a possible move by Palestinian leaders to ask the UN to recognise an independent Palestinian state. They have also been considering the warning issued by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israeli countermeasures. Some in the Arab world feel that the Palestinians have been left with little alternative, since Middle East peace talks have "gone astray" and "reached gridlock".

PA confirms PLO to take over parliament
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - November 16, 2009 - 1:00am

Political maneuver against Hamas: Salim Zanoun, chairman of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), confirmed Sunday evening that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was planning to take over the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The plan was first revealed by Ynet on Saturday. Zanoun, who spoke to Palestinian trade unions in the West Bank city of Nablus, confirmed that the PNC would decide in its meeting next month to transfer the authorities of the PLC to the PLO's Central Council.

Erekat: Determined to declare state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - November 16, 2009 - 1:00am

The Palestinians are making it clear that they will not hesitate to take their fate into their own hands: Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Sunday said the Palestinians are determined to obtain the international support necessary to approach the UN Security Council with the demand to declare a Palestinian state in the borders of June 1967.

IDF Chief Rabbi: Troops who show mercy to enemy will be 'damned'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - November 16, 2009 - 1:00am

The Israel Defense Forces' chief rabbi told students in a pre-army yeshiva program last week that soldiers who "show mercy" toward the enemy in wartime will be "damned." Brig. Gen. Avichai Rontzki also told the yeshiva students that religious individuals made better combat troops.

Netanyahu: If Palestinians act unilaterally, so will Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
November 16, 2009 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Israel would respond to any unilateral Palestinian steps - particularly declarations of statehood - with one-sided steps of its own. This was the prime minister's first response to a Palestinian initiative to ask the United Nations Security Council to endorse a Palestinian state, seen as an appeal for international backing.

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