December 30th

Israel approves new building plan for West Bank settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
December 30, 2009 - 1:00am

In an unusual step, the state announced on Tuesday its plan to promote planning and construction in the northern West Bank settlement of Kiryat Netafim, Army Radio reported Wednesday. Left wing human rights group Peace Now petitioned the High Court of Justice recently against the construction of 14 structures that were illegally built, some of them on Palestinian land without any authorization, according to the petition. In response to the petition, the Defense Ministry approved the Kiryat Netafim construction plans, to legalize the construction of the 14 structures in question.

Israel and Egypt eye movement on peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher, Liam Stack - December 29, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Cairo Tuesday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in talks aimed at bringing Egyptian pressure on the Palestinians ahead of a flurry of diplomatic activity expected next week, including a visit from US Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

'Footnotes in Gaza' by Joe Sacco
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by David L. Ulin - (Book Review) December 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Joe Sacco's "Footnotes in Gaza" is not a sequel to his 1996 book " Palestine," although it's tempting to read it as such. Both are works of comic-book journalism that take place in the occupied territories, and both offer a ground's-eye-view of situations that seem too big, too incomprehensible for us to wrap our minds around. But while "Palestine" is a portrait of its moment, an account of Sacco's visit to the West Bank and Gaza during the early 1990s, "Footnotes in Gaza" is a more expansive effort.

White House decries Israel's plan to build homes in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - December 29, 2009 - 1:00am

An Israeli government plan to build nearly 700 homes for Jewish families in Palestinian-dominated East Jerusalem drew fire Monday from the Obama administration, which called the plan a hindrance to relaunching peace talks. "The United States opposes new Israeli construction in East Jerusalem," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, calling on Israelis and Palestinians to return to U.S.-brokered talks. "Neither party should engage in efforts or take actions that could unilaterally preempt, or appear to preempt, negotiations."

Protesters Gather in Cairo for March to Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mona El-Naggar - December 29, 2009 - 1:00am

More than 1,000 people from around the world were gathered here on Tuesday for a solidarity march into Gaza despite Egypt’s insistence that the Gaza border crossing that it controls would remain closed to the vast majority of them.

Israeli Segregated Road Ruled Down
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - December 29, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a major access highway to Jerusalem running through the occupied West Bank could no longer be closed to most Palestinian traffic. In a 2-to-1 decision, the court said the military overstepped its authority when it closed the road to non-Israeli cars in 2002, at the height of the second Palestinian uprising. The justices gave the military five months to come up with another means of ensuring the security of Israelis that permitted broad Palestinian use of the road.

December 26th

Tough Military Stance Stirs Little Debate in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - December 24, 2009 - 1:00am

In the year since Israel launched its devastating military offensive against Hamas in Gaza, the country’s political and military leaders have faced intense international condemnation and accusations of possible war crimes. But Israel seems to have few qualms. Officials and experts familiar with the country’s military doctrine say that given the growing threats from Iranian-backed militant organizations both in Gaza and in Lebanon, Israel will probably find itself fighting another, similar kind of war. Only next time, some here suggest, Israel will apply more force.

Israel Kills Six Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Allyn Fisher-Ilan - December 26, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli soldiers killed six Palestinians on Saturday in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the bloodiest violent outbreak in months. Three of those killed belonged to a militant group within the Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement Israel accused of perpetrating a roadside shooting that killed a Jewish settler two days earlier. An official in Abbas's government accused Israel of a "grave escalation." A militant leader threatened revenge, charging Israel would now "open the gates of hell."

December 24th

Israeli Consensus Cracks over Shalit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Rachelle Kliger - December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Every day for the past three and a half years, campaigners have sat at a makeshift tent outside the official prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem in protest, cajoling passersby to sign a petition urging the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit. At first, the campaigners were loud and aggressive. People who passed the tent without signing would get called back, stickers and fliers thrown into their faces. Not signing, the campaigners explained, was simply not an option.

Peace high on Gazans’ Christmas wish list
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - December 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Father Jorge Hernandez was busy and distracted. Yesterday was the third day he had spent composing his Christmas sermon, and he hadn’t finished it yet. “Good intentions are the foundation for hope,” the Latin Catholic priest said his message would be. “Hope is something we have to pray for in Gaza, where we celebrate Christmas with mixed feelings, remembering the war last year.” Father Jorge, an Argentinian, was appointed in May to lead Gaza’s small Catholic congregation of a few hundred and was not here during the war. But he can still see, he said, the “psychological impact”.

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