January 29th

Palestinians irate over new Jerusalem tram
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - January 29, 2010 - 1:00am

Jerusalem's first light rail starts test runs this spring, with its sleek silver cars gliding across the city and promising to relieve the perpetual congestion. But Palestinians see no reason to celebrate. They hope to derail the $1 billion tram because they fear it will further entrench Israeli control over east Jerusalem, the part of the city they want as a capital. They've asked a French court to force two French multinationals, Veolia and Alstom, out of the project and are urging Arab countries to cancel contracts with the two companies.

Hamas: Israel assassinated operative in Dubai
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Albert Aji - January 29, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas accused Israeli agents on Friday of assassinating a veteran operative of the Palestinian militant group, saying he was electrocuted last week in a Dubai hotel room. Hamas' top leader, Khaled Mashaal, vowed to retaliate. The militant group identified the man as Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas' military wing that has been responsible for hundreds of deadly attacks and suicide bombings targeting Israelis since the 1980s. It said he was 50 years old.

Best of 2009 unveiled in Ramallah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

Results of Ma'an Network's annual poll on leading figures and organizations were announced at a celebration attended by political, factional, social, public and media figures in Ramallah on Wednesday evening. Ma'an general director Raed Othman thanked attendees and those who voted. He said an estimated 32 percent of Internet users in the occupied Palestinian territories participated in the poll, the largest such survey ever conducted. Results

Obama: US backs Israel, sympathizes with Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 29, 2010 - 1:00am

US President Barack Obama said on Thursday that the United States would always ensure Israel's security but that Washington must also pay attention to the plight of the Palestinians. The president, speaking at a town-hall meeting on various issues, was responding to a question about why, if the US truly supports human rights, it has not called out Israel and Egypt for abuses against Palestinians, apparently in reference to the blockade of Gaza.

Hamas: PA must return to unity talks before Israel peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 29, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas warned of "dangerous consequences" if Palestinian Authority officials return to peace talks with Israel, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told reporters Friday. President Mahmoud Abbas was the explicit target of the warning, and was told of the danger of returning to peace talks with Israel before Palestinian unity is achieved, as US pressure to return to negotiations mounts. Hamas distributed the statement to journalists on Friday, saying the party considered negotiations with Israel as a dangerous confiscation of Palestinian rights and a denial of justice for the people.

Why Hamas is denying it targeted civilians in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Erin Cunningham - January 28, 2010 - 1:00am

Ahead of a looming deadline for Israel and Hamas to respond to war crimes charges in the UN-sponsored Goldstone report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) hit back today at a claim made by Hamas earlier this week that its fighters did not commit war crimes in its three-week war with Israel last winter. Instead, said Hamas, its fighters struck civilian areas in Israel “by mistake” when launching rockets at the country’s military installations.

'Avatar' and the Palestinian blues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - (Blog) January 28, 2010 - 1:00am

"Avatar" may be rocking the box office, but it's rocking the casbah too, getting people to ask who's who with the blues and who exactly are the meanies in Israel. This week, a screening of "Avatar" erupted into a small ruckus in a suburb when one moviegoer loudly announced that the Palestinians should learn from this movie what to do to the Jews, causing a commotion and angering others in the audience.

Israel Signals Tougher Line on West Bank Protests
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - January 28, 2010 - 1:00am

For more than a year, this village has been a focus of weekly protests against the Israeli security barrier, which cuts through its lands. Now, the village appears to be at the center of an intensifying Israeli arrest campaign. Apparently concerned that the protests could spread, the Israeli Army and security forces have recently begun clamping down, arresting scores of local organizers and activists here and conducting nighttime raids on the homes of others.

Palestinians working with Mitchell toward talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
January 28, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad says conditions aren't yet right to return to peace talks with Israel but that the Palestinians are working with U.S. envoy George Mitchell on ways to break the deadlock. Fayyad, in an interview with The Associated Press at the World Economic Forum, said Mitchell and the Palestinians "are working on trying to get talks restarted."

January 28th

The Upsides of the Siege for Hamas: An Honest Assessment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Hani Almadhoun - (Blog) January 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Spending more than four months in Gaza with not much to do but observe the situation on the ground, I interacted with the Palestinian people in Gaza, listened to Israeli jets fly over, noticed minimal Israeli military campaigns against Hamas, and did not see nor hear news of any significant homemade rockets. One cannot help but conclude that there is a sort of unspoken ceasefire between Hamas, the local ruling party, and the Israelis.

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