Gideon Levy / Let's face the facts, Israel is a semi-theocracy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The storm over remarks made by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman is in many respects a tempest in a teapot, which has for a long time taken on holier aspects than it seems. Neeman wants Torah law, or in other words, he wants Israel to be a country governed by Jewish religious law, halakha. In any event, Israel is already a semi-theocracy. The Israelis who were frightened by the minister's remarks and who love viewing their country as liberal, Western and secular are forgetting that our life here is more religious, traditional and halakhic than we are prepared to admit.

Neither revolutionary nor trivial
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Daniel Seidemann - (Opinion) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The current episode in the never-ending saga of Jerusalem-related controversies relates to a leaked draft resolution implying that the Council of the European Union expects East Jerusalem to become the capital of a future Palestinian state. Banner headlines highlighted Israel's shock and dismay over this diplomatic "outrage". At this writing, PM Binyamin Netanyahu is pulling out all the diplomatic stops to convince the Europeans to retract the offending words; it is still not known if he will succeed.

A timely wake-up call
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
(Interview) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

an interview with Mahdi Abdul Hadi bitterlemons: What do you make of the reported Swedish draft resolution on Jerusalem? Abdul Hadi: There are several elements to this issue. First of all, in presenting this resolution to European countries, Sweden is merely stating what Europe's position has always been, whether in public or private, which is within the framework of United Nations resolutions. bitterlemons: So there is nothing new in the resolution?

Israeli pressure must be resisted
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The council of European foreign ministers is currently debating a draft resolution drawn up by Sweden, holder of the rotating EU presidency, which is supposed to specify EU positions on different aspects of the Middle East conflict. The draft posits positions, including on the issue of Jerusalem, that have caused fierce debate in European policy-making circles. Such debate indicates that there is a growing feeling among Europeans in general as well as their governments that Israeli actions in Jerusalem are exceeding all acceptable limits and are in clear violation of international law.

Israeli minister says settlers' resistance 'natural'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

As Jewish settlers step up their resistance to a temporary and partial settlement construction freeze ordered last month by the Israeli government, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, yesterday said the opposition was “legitimate” and “natural”.

Next step regarding Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Forty-two years is a long time. Israel somehow thinks that with passing of time, and by passing unilateral laws, it can dictate history. This week, the Israeli arrogance in going against international will, which has been going on for so many years, seems to be facing a reality check. The next logical step is then for European Union countries to refuse to recognise any products produced in industrial zones created in East Jerusalem as coming from Israel.

Building on achievements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Charlotta Sparre - (Opinion) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Today is the international day of human rights, marking the anniversary of the United Nations adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Over the years, a whole system of human rights instruments and mechanisms has been developed to ensure the supremacy of human rights and to tackle human rights violations, wherever they may take place.

'A major EU interest'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Michael Jansen - (Opinion) December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Deliberations on a statement on Palestine at this week’s European Union gathering of foreign ministers followed a familiar pattern. The bloc’s current Swedish presidency presented a text approved by the Palestinians and Arabs, and Israel did its best to weaken the document.

Fayyad rejects unilateral statehood declaration
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority prime minister in a meeting with Jewish Council for Public Affairs leaders said he opposed a Palestinian unilateral declaration of statehood. Salam Fayyad told a group of 15 JCPA leaders visiting Israel this week that he did support Palestinians unliaterally building infrastructure and political institutions in preparation for future statehood, and compared those efforts to the work of the founders of Israel before its statehood in 1948. The JCPA group also has met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders on the weeklong trip.

Jailed Fatah chief emerges as Palestinian presidential contender
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Ben Lynfield - December 10, 2009 - 1:00am

Marwan Barghouti, the senior Fatah leader who could be set free in a prisoner swap with Israel, appears to be already testing the waters for a possible bid to succeed the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas. In an interview yesterday in al-Quds newspaper, the charismatic leader criticised his rival for relying on negotiations alone in dealing with the Jewish state and said he is considering standing as a candidate if an agreement is reached to hold presidential elections.

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