December 20th

Palestinian Leader Has 60 Israelis to Lunch
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - December 19, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, hosted a two-hour meeting with about 60 Israeli politicians, public figures and activists at his headquarters here on Sunday in an effort to reach out to the Israeli public at a time when the official peace process is at a standstill. Enlarge This Image Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times President Mahmoud Abbas. “In the end, we want to make peace between the people, the Israeli and Palestinian people,” Mr. Abbas said, not just the governments.

Building a Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Global Post
by Fredy Gareis - December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — It was a couple of minutes after 10 on a Saturday morning when the Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, stepped onto a rainy stage in Bethlehem and voiced his support for the enemy. Fayyad urged the people not to hold all Israelis responsible for the actions of some fanatical settlers. The day before some of them had burned down a Palestinian olive grove. The audience at the Olive Harvest Festival clapped their hands cautiously. Maybe they were expecting something else: rallying cries, slogans, boasting. But their prime minister is not the inciting type.

December 17th

One way out for the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

President Barack Obama described the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections last month as a “shellacking”; he was praised for his outright admission of his shocking defeat. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave him (and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) an unprecedented slap in the face by refusing to freeze his colonial expansion into occupied Palestinian territory, which now houses some 500,000 Israelis; the American head of state remained speechless, seemingly bowing his head down.

US mediation faces its biggest test
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

The American government’s decision to change its approach to mediating an Arab-Israeli comprehensive peace agreement, by dropping its insistence on an Israeli freeze in settlement construction as a prerequisite for moving ahead, confirms several important things. It proves that the US can be decisive, persistent, realistic, patient, pragmatic and humble - all admirable and important qualities in a mediator. The problem is that the US has proved again that the most important attribute for a mediator is the one it has never mastered in recent years: success.

The Illusion of Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Hassan Haidar - (Opinion) December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

Ever since Obama arrived at the White House, Israel has exerted every effort possible to convince him that the priority of his foreign policy should be the Iranian issue and preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, either through intensified sanctions or through military action, and that he would easily find solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if the nuclear threat from Iran were to cease and Tehran’s influence in Gaza, Lebanon and other places were to be reduced.

Dropping Goal of Direct Talks, U.S. Will Now Test Both Sides on Core Issues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly promised that he will “surprise the critics and the skeptics” with his willingness to demonstrate flexibility and to compromise in order to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. Now, with Washington adopting a new approach toward Middle East peacemaking, Netanyahu’s willingness is about to be put to the test.

AIPAC viewed U.S. gov’t as targeting pro-Israel groups during espionage probe
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

It was a case that transfixed the pro-Israel community: the arrest in August 2005 on espionage charges of two senior officials at the most influential pro-Israel group in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Before the government dropped the case in May 2009 amid questions of whether the officials actually committed a crime by talking to Israeli officials about classified information one of them had received alleging an Iranian plot against Israelis stationed in Iraq, AIPAC fired the two men: foreign policy chief Steve Rosen and Iran analyst Keith Weissman.

These concrete constraints have quashed any hope of peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Hussein Agha, Robert Malley - (Opinion) December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

After weeks of fruitless endeavour, the United States has finally – and wisely – given up on its efforts to secure a renewed freeze on Israeli settlement construction in order to relaunch direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Yet, amid speculation over how Israelis and Palestinians might now resume their talks, a reality is taking hold: the point is fast approaching where negotiations between the two will be, for all practical purposes and for the foreseeable future, over. As emissaries are dispatched and ideas explored, discussions could well carry on.

Rattling The Cage: Goodbye Obama, hello world
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Opinion) December 15, 2010 - 1:00am

Recognition by Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay is a welcome gesture of impatience at Israel’s denial of Palestinians’ right to statehood in pre-1967 borders. Thank you, Argentina. Thank you, Brazil. Thank you, Uruguay. No, these countries didn’t help fight the Carmel Forest fire, but they just aided Israel in another way by recognizing the state of Palestine. Of course, not all Israelis see it like this. Most, rather, see these countries’ recognition of Palestine as a hostile, anti-Israeli, “delegitimizing” act.

WikaLikes: US ME policy recalibration, Dec. 2010
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by David Horovitz - (Opinion) December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

Secretary of state: This cable sets out amended assessments, priorities for relevant interactions on Israeli-Palestinian Issues. Friday, 10 December 2010, 15:25 S E C R E T STATE NOFORN DECL: 11/18/2035 SUBJECT: (S) REORIENTATION OF POLICY PRIORITIES: ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT 1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: This cable sets out amended assessments, priorities for relevant interactions on Israeli-Palestinian Issues (paragraph 2-end) by Department personnel and other Country Team members.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017