US mulls reviving indirect Middle East peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alternet
December 8, 2010 - 1:00am

The United States is weighing a return to indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace talks following its failure to revive direct negotiations because of disagreements over Israeli settlement construction, two U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said on Tuesday.

Israel allows Gaza to add flowers to farm exports
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alternet
December 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel has allowed the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip to export flowers through Israeli territory, in addition to strawberries it permitted earlier, officials said on Wednesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement Israel's security cabinet had approved an "additional easing of restrictions to permit and expansion of commercial exports from the Gaza Strip," without giving details.

Palestinians criticise U.S., peace process in crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alternet
by Tom Perry - December 8, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinians said on Wednesday "Israeli obstinacy" made Washington give up on efforts to freeze Jewish settlement and questioned whether the United States could ever help them attain independence. Senior Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo said that with its bid to revive direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations now at a dead-end, the United States was proposing a return to indirect talks to try to unstick a peace process in deep crisis.

Abbas says peace talks with Israel in crisis?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 8, 2010 - 1:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said peace talks with Israel were in crisis after Washington's decision to drop its demand for a new freeze on settlement building in the occupied West Bank. "There is no doubt that there is a crisis," Abbas said after his meeting with Prime Minister George Papandreou in Athens. Abbas said he hoped the European Union would get involved in relaunching the negotiations. "We hope that the time will soon come when the EU will play a role alongside the United States."

Medics: 3 injured by Israeli shelling in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli tank shelling injured three Palestinians Wednesday east of Gaza City, medics said. The three hurt in the incident, near the Karni crossing, were not identified. An Israeli military spokesman said that "an IDF force fired tank rounds toward a number of suspicious individuals who approached the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip. "The men were approaching the fence with the intention of planting explosive devices," he added. "The force confirmed that the suspects had been hit and there were no injuries to IDF soldiers."

UN concerned over closure of Gaza NGO
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 8, 2010 - 1:00am

The United Nations expressed concern Tuesday over Hamas authorities' closure of the Sharek Youth Forum, a large independent NGO in Gaza. "I am very concerned about the recent forced closing of Sharek Youth Forum in Gaza. Sharek is an important NGO partner of the United Nations in its work on behalf of children and the youth in Gaza," said Maxwell Gaylard, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the Palestinian territories.

US admits defeat on Israeli settlement freeze. Can it still broker peace?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - December 8, 2010 - 1:00am

The US admission that it has given up on securing an Israeli settlement freeze, coupled with Latin American's growing support for Palestinian statehood – with or without a peace deal – has pushed the faltering Israeli-Palestinian peace process to the brink. Late yesterday, a senior US diplomat said that the Obama administration, which had made a settlement freeze the kingpin of its peacemaking efforts, had dropped its bid to secure a second moratorium from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose right-wing coalition partners had strongly opposed such a measure.

U.S. abandons push for renewal of Israeli settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Karen Deyoung - December 8, 2010 - 1:00am

The Obama administration has abandoned its effort to persuade Israel to renew a settlement construction freeze, which U.S. diplomats had hoped would invigorate moribund peace talks with the Palestinians. With senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators scheduled to hold talks in Washington next week, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton due to deliver a major Middle East speech Friday, it was unclear what direction the administration's policy will now take.

U.S. Drops Bid to Sway Israel on Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - December 8, 2010 - 1:00am

After three weeks of fruitless haggling with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Obama administration has given up its effort to persuade the Israeli government to freeze construction of Jewish settlements for 90 days, a senior administration official said Tuesday. The decision leaves Middle East peace talks in flux, with the Palestinians refusing to resume direct negotiations absent a moratorium, and the United States struggling to find another formula to bring them back to the table. It is another setback in what has proved to be a star-crossed campaign by President Obama.

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