Sobering up on Arab-Israeli Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Aaron David Miller - (Analysis) January 7, 2010 - 1:00am

Big decisions should never be made after a night of hard drinking or on the basis of wishful thinking. Almost a year into his presidency, Barack Obama has begun to sober up. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the administration's policy on the Arab-Israeli issue, where a series of tactical mistakes (none fatal) have left the president and his team battered but wiser when it comes to what's possible and what's not.

Defending Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
by Abdel-Moneim Said - (Opinion) January 8, 2010 - 1:00am

No Egyptian should disagree with defending Egypt against all threats, whether from home or abroad. This is why every official charged with safeguarding the country's welfare, from the president and government ministers to representatives in the People's Assembly and the Shura Council take an oath of office in which they pledge not only to promote the interests of the people and uphold the constitution but also to defend the nation and "safeguard the integrity of its territory".

Steel wall not meant to starve Gazans, says Egyptian envoy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Analysis) January 8, 2010 - 1:00am

RIYADH: The Egyptian ambassador to Saudi Arabia has dismissed allegations that a steel underground wall being built by his country on its border with the Gaza Strip is aimed at starving local Palestinian people or forcing them to support any resumption of peace talks with Israel. Mahmoud Ouf issued the denial at the launch of the new Egyptian Cultural Center in Riyadh on Wednesday night. “Forced starvation is not possible because 95 percent of Gaza’s food, medicine and electricity do not come through these tunnels, but via crossing points along the border with Israel,” he said.

Editorial: ‘Iron Dome’ system
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) January 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel says it is about to initiate a major “strategic” shift in its battle with the Palestinians. It has conducted a successful test of a short-range rocket interceptor that will now be rolled out along its border with Gaza in the coming six months. The “Iron Dome” system will, it is said, defend against rockets fired by militant Palestinians into Israel and also against mortar rounds. At a later date, the rocket shield will be deployed along the border with Lebanon.

Bone of contention
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) January 8, 2010 - 1:00am

The 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls have become a serious bone of contention between Jordan, the Palestinians and Israel after the latter seized them in the wake of its occupation of the West Bank in 1967. The legal squabble over which country has jurisdiction over the artefacts, which were recently on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, threatens to mushroom into a political controversy where the Canadian government could end up taking centre stage.

J'lem rejects 2-year peace deadline
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh, Hilary Leila Krieger - (Analysis) January 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel doesn't want to see deadlines imposed on the negotiating process with the Palestinians, even as the US is endorsing the idea of a two-year time frame. "In the past, attempts to impose time frameworks have not proved either realizable or helpful," Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren told The Jerusalem Post. Oren talked to the Post hours before US Middle East envoy George Mitchell said Wednesday night that "we think that the negotiation should last no more than two years. Once begun we think it can be done within that period of time."

Dahlan: Talks to resume in coming weeks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) January 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Fatah Central Committee member and former security commander Muhammad Dahlan is optimistic that peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel will resume in the coming weeks, according to an interview with Al-Hayat published on Friday. Dahlan revealed that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have been holding intense contacts with the Quartet (representing the US, the UN Secretariat, the EU and Russia) in efforts to formulate a unified position regarding the resumption of peace talks.

Pro-Gaza activists under siege - imposed by Egypt and Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Analysis) January 8, 2010 - 1:00am

The departure from Ramses Street in Cairo, in about 20 buses, was set for the morning of Monday, December 28. However, the organizers of the Gaza Freedom March knew the buses would not arrive. Just as on Sunday night, the buses hired by a group of French activists never made it to their starting point - Cairo's Charles de Gaulle Street, near the French Embassy and across from the zoo.

6 weeks into settlement freeze, Barak eases restrictions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Analysis) January 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided on Thursday to ease the temporary construction freeze in the West Bank settlements, announced in November by Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayhau, granting local settlement municipalities the authority to hand out building permits to be implemented immediately after the freeze expires. Netanyahu issued the freeze orders on November 26 in efforts to jumpstart stalled peace talks with the Palestinians, who have demanded that Israel cease all construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem before negotiations could resume.

Israeli jets attack targets across Gaza, killing 3
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Editorial) January 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli warplanes carried out a series of raids on sites throughout the Gaza Strip late Thursday night, witnesses said and Israel's military confirmed. Three citizens were killed and two others injured in the Israeli raids that targeted a tunnel near Rafah crossing south of Gaza. Medical sources in Abu Yousif An-Najjar hospital identified the dead as Barakat Abu Shalouf, Odai Abu Heesh, 15, and Naser Al-Mahmum, 22. Muawiya Hassanein, the Gaza Health Ministry's director of ambulance and emergency services said the jets struck four areas in total.

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