December 24th

Breaking Palestine's peaceful protest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Neve Gordon - (Opinion) December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

"Why," I have often been asked, "haven't the Palestinians established a peace movement like the Israeli Peace Now?" The question itself is problematic, being based on many erroneous assumptions, such as the notion that there is symmetry between the two sides and that Peace Now has been a politically effective movement. Most important, though, is the false supposition that Palestinians have indeed failed to create a pro-peace popular movement.

Bethlehem's modern nativity scene – crib, wise men and separation wall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

The shelves of Bethlehem's tourist shops this winter are filled with the gifts you might expect. There are countless carved olive-wood crucifixes, angels and last suppers. But there are also unexpected nativity scenes complete with Joseph, Mary, crib, wise men and large Israeli concrete wall with military watchtower.

Scars of conflict still raw in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck - December 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Until the day the soldiers came, Majed Abdullah al-Atamneh counted himself a fortunate man. He owned six houses on the eastern fringes of Abed Rabbo village in the northern Gaza Strip, three taxis and several acres of land planted with olive and lemon trees. All his sons and their families lived in the family compound, 56 men, women and children in total.

West Bank shepherds fear for their flocks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Bethany Bell - December 24, 2009 - 1:00am

According to the Christian tradition, shepherds were the first to visit the infant Christ. These days, about 12,000 families still rely on herding in the West Bank. The United Nations is warning that their livelihood is under threat, because of drought and Israeli restrictions on their movements. A flock of sheep and some scrawny goats huddle in a rough stone enclosure on a barren hillside south of Hebron. They belong to Mohammed Abu Ali and his wife Fatima, and their family. They live in a cave next to the sheep pen. Fatima says the animals are all they have.

Israel teenagers pledge 'no settlement evacuation'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
December 24, 2009 - 1:00am

About 200 Israeli teenagers have pledged to disobey any orders to evacuate Jewish settlements during their military service. The letter sent to Defence Minister Ehud Barak was signed by young people about to be drafted into the Israeli Defence Force. Jewish law as written in the Torah forbids the dismantling of Jewish-built homes, the letter said. The government has ordered a 10-month lull in building in the West Bank. "We consider utilizing the army for political ends and for warfare against Jews an existential danger and a destruction of the military," the letter said.

2 types of Zionism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Gadi Taub - (Opinion) December 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Based on recent reports, it appears that the IDF is preparing to enforce the construction freeze in Judea and Samaria as if it was dealing with a strike against Iran’s nuclear sites.

UN expert slams 'tragic' international failure in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

A UN human rights expert on Wednesday condemned a "tragic failure" by major powers to end Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip or probe alleged war crimes committed during a military offensive one year ago. In Geneva, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, urged Israel's European and North American allies to press for the immediate end of the blockade "backed up by a credible threat of economic sanctions."

Year after Gaza war, Hamas says ready to fight Israel again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
December 24, 2009 - 1:00am

One year after Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip, the spokesman for Hamas' armed wing said this week that the Islamist group would not shirk away from a new battle with Israel. "We do not wish for war. We wish for calm and peace for our people," Abu Ubaida, Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades spokesman told Reuters. "But if any battle is imposed on us, we are ready with all our manpower and equipment to confront any Zionist war, any crime and any attack regardless of scale," he added.

Netanyahu asks Livni, Kadima to join unity government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jonathan Lis, Mazal Mualem, Barak Ravid - December 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked opposition leader Tzipi Livni, the chairwoman of Kadima, on Thursday to join a unity government. Livni did not immediately reject the offer, and added that if the offer is real "I always said that it is up for discussion." Livni clarified that any decision regarding Kadima's moves will be taken by the party after thorough discussion and not by her alone. Netanyahu told Livni that Kadima's addition to the government was crucial in light of the local and global challenges facing Israel today.

Hamas likely to accept Israel offer on Shalit within days
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yuval Azoulay, Avi Issacharoff, Jack Khoury - December 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas announced on Wednesday that the German mediator involved in the talks to release kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit had delivered Israel's offer. Hamas' deputy political leader, Moussa Abu Marzouk, said that top officials in the group were studying Israel's offer and would respond to the German mediators within days. Media outlets in the Gaza Strip said that a Hamas delegation would head from Gaza to Cairo on Thursday, and then to Damascus, where they would meet with members of Hamas' political wing there to discuss their response to what Israel has put on the table.

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