December 22nd

Fatah cracks down on Hamas officials
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

Alarmed by the possibility that a prisoner exchange agreement with Israel will bolster Hamas's popularity among Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority has stepped up its measures against the movement's leading figures and members in the West Bank. Over the past 48 hours, PA security forces arrested 14 Palestinians in the West Bank on suspicion of being affiliated with Hamas, sources close to the movement said on Monday. The sources said the latest crackdown was clearly linked to reports that a prisoner exchange agreement will soon be reached between Hamas and Israel.

Talks in current climate a 'waste of time'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

Former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) dismissed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's declaration of a 10-month moratorium in the settlements as a "brazen ploy to buy time," rejecting a return to talks as a "waste of time" during a speech to a conference here on Monday.

Encountering Peace: Change in Gaza is possible
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

Thirty-nine young people from Gaza applied to attend a peace education workshop sponsored by the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information that was held this past weekend in a school in Beit Jala. Thirty-five of them were denied entry by the IDF and did not have the opportunity to join the 70 other Israelis and Palestinians who spent the weekend in dialogue, debate, disagreement and agreement, rejoicing in the mutual recognition that we all want peace and that peace is possible.

Sheikh Salah banned from Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - December 21, 2009 - 1:00am

GOC Homefront Command Major General Yair Golan issued an order Monday banning the head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, Sheikh Raed Salah, from entering Jerusalem for three weeks. The IDF Spokesperson's Office stated that the restraining order is aimed at keeping peace in the city, and that the army plans to have it extended to six months if Salah does not successfully appeal the order within seven days.

Israeli response: Deport 'heavy prisoners'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ron Ben- Yishai - December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

After days of fervent meetings of senior ministers, Israel's response to a prisoner exchange deal which would secure the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit is "Yes, but…". Israel gave a positive response to the general outline of the deal presented by the German mediator last week. The condition placed by Israel in its response refers to the names of "heavy prisoners" Israel demands are expelled to Gaza or abroad. According to Israel, these prisoners will not be allowed to return to the West Bank.

New study unit on pre-state fighters proves controversial
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Or Kashti - December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

The Education Ministry is introducing a study unit on the 12 underground fighters who were hanged or committed suicide in prison during the British Mandate in Palestine. The 12, known as "Olei Hagardom" ("those hanged on the gallows"), belonged to the pre-state militias Etzel and Lehi. The program, intended for eighth and ninth grades, will include lessons plus a national competition for essays, poems and drawings on subjects such as "an imaginary conversation I had with one of Olei Hagardom in his last moments in prison" or "the last letter of a condemned man to his family."

Report: German mediator in Shalit deal to arrive in Gaza on Wednesday
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff, Jonathan Lis, Barak Ravid - December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

A Hamas official said Tuesday that the German mediator brokering a deal for the release of Gilad Shalit - the Israeli soldier held by the Islamist group - will only arrive in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, as Israel is seeking to modify its response to the proposed prisoner swap. Hours earlier, the group confirmed that it had received Israel's position on the deal, but later said that Jerusalem wanted to make adjustments and asked the mediator, who has never been named, to postpone his visit.

PA to follow up on organ harvesting allegations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli organ harvesting, settlements, climate change and Christmas topped the agenda of the Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet meeting on Monday, in which ministers joined together in calling the Bethlehem Christmas tree a symbol of Palestinian unity and peace.

Abbas Says Palestinians Won't Rise Up, for Now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Charles Levinson - December 22, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said there won't be a new Palestinian uprising as long as he's in office, but warned the current calm might end once he steps down, as early as June. In a 60-minute interview, Mr. Abbas rebutted charges by Israel that he was responsible for holding up peace talks, saying he twice presented privately a compromise on settlements to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Mr. Abbas said Mr. Barak ignored the offer. Mr. Barak's office didn't respond to requests for comment.

December 21st

EUROPE: Cosy With Israel, Despite the Headlines
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by David Cronin - (Analysis) December 18, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel's relations with the European Union were tense for most of 2009 - if newspaper headlines are to be believed. In the past week, a British court drew fierce criticism from Israeli politicians after it issued an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister, following a complaint that she had authorised war crimes in Gaza.

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