Akiva Eldar / Israel may have frozen settlements, but does it want peace?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Analysis) December 8, 2009 - 1:00am

On the eve of signing the settlement construction freeze order, Avigdor Lieberman told reporters that the settlements had never been an obstacle to peace. The proof, the foreign minister explained, is that the Jewish settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria did not stop Egypt and Jordan from signing peace agreements with Israel.

Justice Minister: Jewish law should be binding law in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yair Ettinger - December 8, 2009 - 1:00am

Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman on Monday said he believes Jewish law (Halakha) should be the binding law in Israel, Army Radio reported. "Step by step, we will bestow upon the citizens of Israel the laws of the Torah and we will turn Halakha into the binding law of the nation," said Neeman at a Jewish law convention at the Regency hotel in Jerusalem, in the presence of many rabbis and rabbinical judges. "We must bring back the heritage of our fathers to the nation of Israel," Neeman said. "The Torah has the complete solution to all of the questions we are dealing with," he added.

Report: Netanyahu okays Israel-Egypt border wall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 8, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved the construction of a wall along the border between Israel and Egypt, Israeli media reported on Tuesday. The decision came, according to Israeli daily Ma’ariv, after consultations involving security, political, and financial officials in Israel. Netanyahu believes construction of a barrier will stop smuggling and the migration of Africans seeking work or asylum in Israel. The decision, according to Ma’ariv, was made as a result of an increase in the number of African immigrants crossing into Israel.

Hamas to reap prisoner swap reward
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck - December 8, 2009 - 1:00am

Less than a year ago, Hamas was cowering under an Israeli military onslaught that pulverised much of its political and military infrastructure. Now, in a reversal of fortune that must surprise even its leaders, Hamas is poised for a political triumph with the potential to transform its standing and Palestinian politics for years to come. The Islamist group, according to several officials, is closing in on a deal that would see hundreds of Palestinians released from Israeli jails.

Popular Fatah Leader Complicates Prisoner Swap
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Charles Levinson - December 8, 2009 - 1:00am

Marwan Barghouti, the popular imprisoned Palestinian leader, embodies the promise and the peril Israel faces as it negotiates with Hamas to trade hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for a long-held Israeli soldier. Islamist Hamas says Mr. Barghouti tops the list of approximately 1,000 prisoners it is demanding Israel free in exchange for Sgt. Gilad Shalit, who Hamas has held captive in Gaza for more than three years.

Edward Sanders dies at 87; advisor to President Carter on the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
December 7, 2009 - 1:00am

Edward Sanders, an attorney and leader in the Jewish community who served President Carter as a special advisor on Mideast policy, died Monday at his Los Angeles home. He was 87. The cause was cancer, according to his son-in-law, Stanley Witkow. Sanders gained prominence during the 1973 energy crisis when, as president of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, he challenged a letter from Standard Oil Co. to 300,000 stockholders that appeared to support a pro-Arab Mideast policy. He later became president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

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