Aviva Shalit: Netanyahu said decision would be made in coming hours
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jack Khoury, Jonathan Lis, Barak Ravid - December 21, 2009 - 1:00am

The mother of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Monday said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told her that ministers would make a decision in the "coming hours" on a deal with Hamas for her son's release. "They hope the decision will be made this evening, and if not ? then tomorrow morning," Aviva Shalit told reporters in Jerusalem, where she was waiting in a protest tent opposite Netanyahu's office. Her comments came as top cabinet members met for a fifth meeting consecutive meeting on the proposed prisoner exchange with Hamas.

Abbas pessimistic about peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 21, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed despair about the Middle East peace process in an interview that appeared on Sundaay. “I found all ways blocked, then I decided not to rerun for another term, and that is not fleeing responsibility,” he told the pan-Arab newspaper Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat. “I am not optimistic and I do not want to have illusions,” he also said. He also revealed that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered him a proposal for a peace agreement that, with land swaps, would give Palestinians land equal to 100% of the territory of the West Bank.

Israel jails anti-wall campaign leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 20, 2009 - 1:00am

The Stop the Wall Campaign announced on Sunday that its coordinator, Jamal Juma, has been imprisoned by Israel since 16 December. Juma’s arrest follows what activists say is a military-legal crackdown on popular expressions of rejection of Israeli occupation. Dozens of protest leaders, boycott campaigners, and other civil society advocates have been arrested in recent weeks.

Israel settlements: rabbis say soldiers' loyalty to God trumps army orders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

In Israel, a standoff is escalating between the Israeli defense establishment and religious nationalists over the possible evacuation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. On Thursday, a group of rabbis published a letter saying a soldiers' loyalty to the divine takes precedence over their commanders.

Israel: American-style college for Palestinians hopes students stay
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Danielle Cheslow - (Blog) December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

On a crisp November morning, six Palestinian men and women read passages aloud in halting English about a Mexican-American boy struggling with his Hispanic identity. Their professor, Rebecca Granato, pushes them: “What does this metaphor mean? What’s going on here?”

Steps to create an Israel-Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Jonathan Kuttab - (Opinion) December 20, 2009 - 1:00am

For a while, it seemed that a two-state solution might actually be achievable and that a sovereign Palestinian state would be created in the West Bank and Gaza, allowing Jews and Palestinians at last to go their separate ways. But these days, that looks less and less likely.

ISRAEL: Gilad Shalit talks said to be at key juncture -- again, or still
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - (Blog) December 19, 2009 - 1:00am

Talks to secure a deal to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit have advanced, sputtered and stalled many times during his three years of captivity in the Gaza Strip. Israel is now on its second prime minister since Shalit was dragged from an army post in a cross-border attack in 2006 -- and its second special coordinator to the indirect negotiations with Hamas that had been brokered by Egypt. The last time things seemed within reach, Israeli elections interfered. Things began moving when the German mediator stepped in a while ago and talks are again reported at that make it-or-break it stage.

Egypt's barrier along Gaza border called 'wall of shame'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Jeffrey Fleishman, Amro Hassan - December 21, 2009 - 1:00am

An underground barrier to prevent tunneling by smugglers along Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip has been dubbed a "wall of shame" by Arab writers and politicians who charge that Cairo is siding with Israel in isolating the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the seaside enclave.

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