December 24th

Israeli minister: Barghouthi must be freed with or without Shalit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel should release imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, with or with out a prisoner exchange deal, Israel’s Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said on Wednesday. “I call to release Marwan Barghouthi not in the deal with Hamas … these are two entirely different issues,” he told a news conference in East Jerusalem’s American Colony hotel. Ben-Eliezer has called for Barghouthi’s release in the past.

Prisoners' families say deportation better than nothing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Rumors of a prisoner release are notoriously hard on families of the detained. As the back-and-forth between Israel and Gaza factions continues at a heated pace, Ma’an spoke with the wives and children of some of Palestine’s most prominent detainees. Abla Sa’adat is the wife of one of the nine prisoners identified by Israeli media earlier in the week as one of the nine high-profile prisoners whose release the swap deal depends on.

Reports: Hamas flexible on prisoner expulsion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas is leaning toward accepting Israel’s demand to deport more than 100 prisoners in an exchange deal that would secure the release of a captured soldier, news reports said on Thursday. The Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal reported on Wednesday that Hamas would allow 123 prisoners to be deported in an exchange that would also see the release of some 1,000 Palestinians from Israeli prisons.

Postwar Gaza: Scars frozen, Mideast at an impasse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Karin Laub - December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Gaza's scars have been frozen in place since Israel waged war a year ago to subdue Hamas and stop rockets from hitting its towns. Entire neighborhoods still lie in rubble, and traumatized residents can't rebuild their lives. A man who lost two daughters and his home can't visit his surviving 4-year-old girl in a Belgian hospital because Gaza's borders remain sealed. A 15-year-old struggles to walk on her artificial limbs, while dozens of other war amputees still await prostheses.

ISRAEL: Good neighbors make fences
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - (Blog) December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

While Egypt's steel barricade draws both ire and fire from Gaza, it isn't the only neighbor fencing in its property. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to build a fence along the country's border with Egypt. The border sprawls about 143 miles through sand-land and mountainous terrain, and with the exception of the official crossing at Taba, it is wide open. It is largely a peaceful area, but in recent years it has become increasingly exploited by a wide range of factors that are evolving into a real threat.

December 23rd

Palestinians say Israelis are cutting off Bethlehem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Telegraph
by Adrian Blomfield - December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

West Bank Palestinian officials say they have been blocked from benefiting from a record 1.4 million foreign visitors to the occupied West Bank’s most important tourist attraction. They claim Israeli tour guides play on the fear of the tourists by warning them they face danger as soon as they enter the area. Thousands of foreign tourists and pilgrims visit each day to see the Church of the Nativity, held by some Christians to mark the exact spot where Christ was born.

ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Tim Franks - December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

It should be a time of unalloyed joy for Tim Brown. The director of one of Britain's most well-regarded choirs is beginning a six-concert tour of Israel this week. The choir of Clare College, Cambridge, will be singing Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the Israel Camerata Orchestra. But the singers have not, as a choir, been able to perform in East Jerusalem or Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, after a Palestinian protest against the choir's tour of Israel. The choir has been caught in the passionate arguments over whether Israel should be boycotted.

A crucial but problematic triangle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) December 21, 2009 - 1:00am

For good but different reasons, their respective relations with the United States are of central and utmost importance to both Palestinians and Israelis. As the US is the world's leading power, it is the most influential potential mediator between them. Israel is completely dependent for its overwhelming superiority on the near unquestioned military, economic and diplomatic support it receives from the US. The Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, is dependent on international support and international diplomacy, both shaped by the US.

Obama the Just
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Mostafa Zein - (Opinion) December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

In 1996, or a year after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worked to sabotage the peace process, both at the time, and at present. The Clinton administration responded, threatening to reduce military assistance. He got angry. He rejected the pressure. He said, “If the Americans think they can buy us with this assistance, I have a plan to do without it in five years’ time.”

A Conversation with President Mahmud Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali El-saleh, Nazar Majli - (Interview) December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

As it has been the custom for years, there was no specific date, not to mention hour, for the interview with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (Abu-Mazin), which has been conducted every year since the time of late President Yasser Arafat. When you ask for an interview with the president, you cannot hope for more than an agreement in principle, and they would ask you to come to the city in which the president is located, which normally is Ramallah.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017