November 24th

New layer of doubt cast over Middle East peace drive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Crispian Balmer - (Analysis) November 24, 2010 - 1:00am

The path to Middle East peace, already strewn with an array of daunting obstacles, has now got one more hurdle to overcome. Israel's right-leaning coalition government this week passed a law that will probably force a referendum on any peace deal that involves withdrawing from land annexed by Israel, including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, captured from Syria. Palestinians and Syrians have howled in protest, saying that Israel was obliged by international law to return land seized in a 1967 war and had no right to put the matter to a public vote.

Hamas: Free our man and Fatah officials can leave
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 24, 2010 - 1:00am

The Gaza government said Wednesday it is willing to reverse a decision to bar seven Fatah officials from leaving the Gaza Strip if Fatah-allied security forces release a Hamas member arrested in the West Bank city of Nablus. The seven members of Fatah's Revolutionary Council prevented by Hamas security forces from leaving through the Erez crossing point on Tuesday.

Abbas: PLO will reopen Jerusalem office
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 24, 2010 - 1:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas opened the new headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Ramallah on Tuesday, but said it was temporary and would be moved to Jerusalem. The president recalled visiting the PLO headquarters in Jerusalem in 1964, and said the body would return to the city "one day." The PLO often faced difficulties as the sole legal representative of Palestinians to the international community, Abbas said.

Israel razes Palestinian home in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 24, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli police on Wednesday razed a Palestinian house in occupied East Jerusalem, shortly before the owner arrived home with a court order halting the demolition. Scores of police and a single bulldozer were involved in the operation, which leveled the small house in the Al-Tur neighbourhood near the Mount of Olives. House owner Abed Zablah, a father of five, showed Agence France-Presse a letter issued early Wednesday by the Jerusalem District Court ordering a halt to the demolition. But by the time he got home with the letter, the house was already flattened, he said.

Palestinian courts scuffle over land sale to Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - November 24, 2010 - 1:00am

In a struggle for Palestinian statehood in which every acre of land is a precious commodity, should selling West Bank property to an Israeli -- something viewed by many Palestinians as treason -- be punishable by death? That’s the question now facing the Palestinian Authority and the budding Palestinian courts system as they attempt to rebuff the rising trend of Israeli buyers, often right-wing settler groups, offering exorbitant prices for West Bank land in an effort to strengthen Israel’s claim on the occupied territory.

Law that would require public vote to surrender land stirs ire in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - November 24, 2010 - 1:00am

A new measure potentially requiring Israel to receive public approval before surrendering land in any Middle East peace deal came under fire Tuesday for setting a legal precedent that could undermine the government and further complicate negotiations.

Eviction of Palestinian Family, After a Legal Battle, Underlines Tensions Over Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - November 24, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli police officers evicted a Palestinian family from their home in a predominantly Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, and a group of Jewish settlers moved into the property at night. The episode struck one of the more sensitive nerves in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship at a time of increasing tension and as the Obama administration is working to restart stalled peace negotiations. Such evictions have drawn international condemnation in the past.

Palestinian officials fund schools, fill potholes in E. Jerusalem. Are they building a state?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - November 24, 2010 - 1:00am

Officially, Israel considers the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem as part of its "undivided and eternal" capital. But in practice, there's been an erosion of Israeli sovereignty on Jerusalem's eastern outskirts in recent months as the Palestinian Authority (PA) steps up a quiet campaign to fill a vacuum of municipal services – building new schools, filling potholes, and maintaining public order.

Palestinians' other fight in the Middle East – for green development
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Salam Fayyad - (Opinion) November 24, 2010 - 1:00am

Everyday in Palestine we address economic and social conditions, physical restrictions, and political contests that challenge both the present and the future as we attempt to build a viable and independent Palestinian state. Related: Obama can let Palestinians seek state recognition at the UN These difficulties are well-known to the Palestinian people and those around the world. But another challenge that we must face, far less frequently discussed in the context of Palestine, is climate change. This is not only for Palestine but for the whole of the Middle East.

November 23rd

Fortifying Palestinian state-building
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Blog) November 22, 2010 - 1:00am

In the eyes of many knowledgeable Israeli observers, improved security in the West Bank and the role played therein by Palestinian security forces is the most important aspect of the Palestinian Authority's successful state-building program of recent years. We pay far less attention to the other aspects: creating judicial, financial and administrative institutions that work and are relatively uncorrupt. We don't particularly care whether the Palestinians have a national bar code system. Only a few Israelis have become involved in the renascent West Bank economy.

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