Dealing with Mr. Yes and No
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) December 14, 2009 - 1:00am

Back in the days of Binyamin Netanyahu's first term as prime minister, more than ten years ago, he was satirized as Mr. Yes and No. For every "yes" he delivered to US President Bill Clinton or PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, there was also a "no" or, if you like, a "yes" to the settlers and other opponents of the peace process. That appears to be where we are today, once again.

'Back to crisis management'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Dina Ezzat - December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

Egyptian officials have expressed unreserved concern over the slow pace of development on the Palestinian scene, especially with regards to Gaza. Egypt's main concern, they privately admit, is not borne of sympathy with the Palestinians but concerns the consequences of the current stalemate on Egyptian interests.

Use the 'road map' out of the peace mud
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Martin Indyk - (Opinion) December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

How can President Barack Obama drag the Middle East peace wagon out of the mud? He can’t – at least not until the region’s leaders feel enough of a sense of urgency to take the risks necessary to achieve breakthroughs. Right now, Arab and Israeli leaders are convinced that Obama is in more of a hurry than they are, so they are content to have him do the heavy lifting.

Why the road to peace may run through Damascus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Mohamad Bazzi - (Opinion) December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

Is peace possible between Syria and Israel? That question has taken on new urgency after the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to negotiate with the Syrian president Bashar Assad “anytime, anywhere” – and Mr Assad rebuffed the approach.

U.S.-Israeli Arms Cooperation Quietly Growing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - December 16, 2009 - 1:00am

Leaders in Washington and Jerusalem have publicly locked horns over the issue of West Bank settlements. And Israeli public opinion has largely viewed America’s new administration as unfriendly. But behind the scenes, strategic security relations between the two countries are flourishing. Israeli officials have been singing the praises of President Obama for his willingness to address their defense concerns and for actions taken by his administration to bolster Israel’s qualitative military edge — an edge eroded, according to Israel, during the final year of the George W. Bush presidency.

CIA working with Palestinian security agents
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ian Cobain - December 17, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian security agents who have been detaining and allegedly torturing supporters of the Islamist organisation Hamas in the West Bank have been working closely with the CIA, the Guardian has learned. Less than a year after Barack Obama signed an executive order that prohibited torture and provided for the lawful interrogation of detainees in US custody, evidence is emerging the CIA is co-operating with security agents whose continuing use of torture has been widely documented by human rights groups.

Opening up the peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Petra Marquardt-Bigman - (Opinion) December 17, 2009 - 1:00am

In recent months, veteran Middle East experts such as Hussein Agha and Robert Malley or Aaron David Miller have done a good job explaining why peace between Israelis and Palestinians is likely a long way off. But it seems that the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, begs to differ: Haaretz reported that Abbas declared negotiations could be completed "within six months" if Israel halted all settlement construction.

Yesh Din: Ofra uses dogs to keep Palestinians off their own farmland
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Dan Izenberg - December 17, 2009 - 1:00am

Settlers in Ofra are using attack dogs to keep Palestinians from cultivating land they own near the settlement, the human rights organization Yesh Din charged in a petition filed in the High Court of Justice earlier this week. Yesh Din attorneys Michael Sfard, Shlomi Zachary and Avisar Lev filed the petition on behalf of the head of the Silwad village council, Nael Hamad, and three village residents.

Gazans fire at Egyptian workers in Rafah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - December 17, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a number of different occasions in recent days at Egyptian construction workers building a steel fence meant to separate Egypt from the Gaza Strip, Egyptian media reported on Thursday. According to reports, the shootings took place near Rafah crossing and led to the temporary suspension of works. There were no reports of injuries in the incidents, and Egypt has increased its forces along the border.

UN official: Settlement freeze falls short
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
December 17, 2009 - 1:00am

The situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate as neither Israel nor the Palestinians do enough to obtain peace, a senior UN official told the UN Security Council on Thursday. Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said Israel's announced 10-month suspension of settlement activity fell short of its commitments under the 2003 Road Map peace plan. He called on Palestinians to resume negotiations with Israel, which were suspended after military operations against Hamas left the Gaza strip in a state of calamity

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