January 27th

Israel plans to repatriate ‘lost Jewish tribe’ in India
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - January 26, 2010 - 1:00am

The Israeli government is reported to have quietly approved the fast-track immigration of 7,000 members of a supposedly “lost Jewish” tribe, known as the Bnei Menashe, currently living in a remote area of India. Under the plan, the “lost Jews” would be brought to Israel over the next two years by right-wing and religious organisations who, critics are concerned, will seek to place them in West Bank settlements in a bid to foil Israel’s partial agreement to a temporary freeze of settlement growth.

Rabbi arrested, suspected in West Bank mosque arson
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
January 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli police have arrested a rabbi on suspicion of involvement in an arson attack on a mosque last month. Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, the head of a Jewish seminary in the settlement of Yitzhar, was arrested after he refused to co-operate, police said. Mr Shapira denies any involvement in the attack, his lawyer was quoted in the Israeli media as saying. Attackers burned the mosque's carpet and a shelf of Qurans, and wrote slogans in Hebrew on the floor.

UN impatient as blockade stalls Gaza building
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Tim Franks - January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

There is a place of strange quiet in the cramped and crowded Gaza Strip. It looks, from the roof of a nearby United Nations school, like a film set, or perhaps an army's urban warfare training ground. Ranged across the sandy earth of Khan Younis is a large housing estate: 151 apartments, with space for a further 450. Most are three-quarters complete. All are uninhabited.

Israel and Palestinians prepare for battle over UN report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck, Harvey Morris - January 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel and the Palestinian Authority are preparing for a fresh diplomatic battle over the controversial United Nations report alleging that Israel and the Islamist Hamas group committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip. Both sides are under pressure to show they are implementing the report's recommendations before February 5, when Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, is due to issue a progress report on the issue to the UN General Assembly. Israel, in particular, is bracing itself for further condemnation in a forum that Israeli diplomats have long regarded as hostile to their country.

Mitchell to engage in 'shuttle diplomacy'?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has offered to shuttle between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger did in the 1970s while mediating in the peace talks between Israel and Egypt, a the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper reported Wednesday, quoting a senior Palestinian official. According to the Palestinian source, Mitchell suggested to the parties that his trips would also include Syria and Lebanon and that he would hold discussions on a possible regional peace agreement.

Barak, Mubarak talks to focus on coaxing Abbas to negotiating table
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel, Barak Ravid - January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak will leave for Sharm el-Sheik Wednesday morning, to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The visit is expected to be dedicated mainly to efforts to renew talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, negotiations for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit and security cooperation between Israel and Egypt.

U.S. lawmakers to Obama: Press Israel to ease Gaza siege
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - January 26, 2010 - 1:00am

Fifty-four members of the U.S. Congress have signed a letter asking President Barack Obama to put pressure on Israel to ease the siege of the Gaza Strip. The letter was the initiative of Representatives Jim McDermott from Washington and Keith Ellison from Minnesota, both of whom are Democrats. Ellison is the first American Muslim to ever win election to Congress.

PA cabinet expresses 'regret' for not holding elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

Ramallah - Ma'an - During its weekly cabinet meeting, chaired by caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad held on Monday, members said that elections could be held in June, if the Egyptian document is signed immediately.

Settlers attack Palestinians in retaliation for outpost demolition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Several dozen Israeli settler youths attacked the village of Beit Ilu on Tuesday, north of Ramallah, in response to Israeli forces razing the Gush Talmonim outpost, Israeli media reported. The attack was coordinated by text message, the Israeli daily Haaretz said, and the settlers began chanting "The police destroy nothing that belongs to Arabs." "The rule of evil is persecuting the settlements." "In 24 hours, we will set this place up anew." "We will not be broken."

Fayyad to Paris: EU has opportunity to strengthen chance for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 27, 2010 - 1:00am

Caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told his French counterpart he was concerned about the impending failure of peace talks, during an official visit on Tuesday. Speaking with French Prime Minister France François Fillon, Fayyad stressed his efforts to build the institutions of a Palestinian state, and asked that Fillon help by urging the international community to demand Israel stick to its international obligations.

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