Report: Israel to notify Egypt on Shalit deal decision within 2 days
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

By Sunday Israel will notify Egypt of its decision regarding the release of 50 "heavy" prisoners that Hamas is unwilling to forego in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, sources close to the prisoner swap negotiations were quoted by London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi. According to the report, published Friday, Israel has opposed the release of these prisoners thus far. The sources said that Israel's decision will determine whether the swap deal will succeed or fail.

A basis for talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel has a supreme interest in achieving a peace agreement that would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state, delineate a border between the states and put an end to the mutual demands. Former prime minister Ehud Olmert's proposal for a final-status arrangement with the Palestinians, the details of which were revealed by Aluf Benn in Haaretz yesterday, can and should serve as a basis for resuming negotiations. There is no point in returning to "point zero" in the talks and ignoring previous offers and understandings.

Lieberman: We will be building again in 10 months
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday that the 10-month settlement freeze was simply a tactical move and not a real effort to stop settlement growth, Israeli media sources reported Friday. "It is clear to everyone that in 10 months, we will be building again [in] full force; anyone who understands anything knows this," he told gathered settlers at a meeting in the West Bank settlement town of Ariel as quoted in the Israeli daily Haaretz.

Abbas: Israel wants to expel Palestinians from Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 17, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel is attempting to expel Palestinians from East Jerusalem, President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday evening. Speaking at the closing event of the Al-Quds Capital of Arab Culture festival in Nablus, Abbas said, “Jerusalem is suffering an unprecedented settlement attack aimed at eliminating its identity, separating it from its surroundings and suffocating every activity in order to achieve one goal, which is expulsion, and this will not be allowed to happen.” “There is no Palestine without Jerusalem no one will accept this. Without Jerusalem there will be no peace,” he also said.

Israeli forces report coming under fire in Hebron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinians opened fire at Israeli forces at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron early Friday morning, an Israeli military spokesperson said. the troops were performing what was described as "a routine deployment" near the holy site when Palestinians opened fire, the spokesperson added. Other sources said a Palestinian car approached the group and fired three bullets, adding that the troops exchanged fire. The spokesperson did not comment on the exchange of fire. No one was injured in the incident, according to sources, and the car fled the scene.

Middle East peace efforts face race against time, UN envoy warns
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
December 17, 2009 - 1:00am

Efforts to forge a Middle East peace are "in a race against time" with both sides needing to do more -- Israel by fulfilling its commitments, including a settlement freeze, under an internationally endorsed plan for a two-State solution, and the Palestinians by resuming negotiations, a senior United Nations official warned here on Thursday.

Stand-off over Palestinian demo in Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
December 17, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli police surrounded the French cultural centre in mostly Arab east Jerusalem on Thursday, apparently to detain the organiser of a Palestinian cultural event, a French diplomat said. Around 50 people, including officials from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA), took part at an event at the centre in honour of Jerusalem's selection as the 2009 "capital of Arab culture" by UNESCO and the Arab League.

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