December 17th

Forget the negotiating table
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Steven Klein - (Opinion) December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, frustrated perhaps by the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, declared last week that it is time to grapple with the "core issues of the conflict," adding that the United States recognizes "that a Palestinian state achieved through negotiations is inevitable." How do I break this to you, Ms. Secretary of State? If you haven't heard the news, the settling of ethno-political conflicts by negotiations is anything but inevitable.

PA suspects former Fatah strongman in Gaza recruiting for new armed militia
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority security forces recently questioned Fatah activists on suspicion they had been recruited to form an armed militia, sources in the Fatah movement said. The PA indicated Fatah Central Committee member Mohammed Dahlan had done the recruiting for the militia, which he also intended to command. The suspects were summoned for questioning about their ties to Dahlan and whether they received instructions or funds from him in connection with the purchase of weapons. They were then released.

Despite court ruling, IDF took Arab land for train line
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

Former Civil Administration head, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, signed an order expropriating 50 dunams from a West Bank village for the rail line connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, just two days before stepping down from his post on November 3. According to the document, Mordechai was convinced the expropriation was done for public good and that the user of the land would be in a position to compensate the property owners.

Palestinians want control of more West Bank parts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Karin Laub - December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

Children's chairs pulled out of a pile of rubble are all that's left of a schoolhouse that served 17 children of Palestinian herders in this encampment on a wind-swept West Bank plateau. The school was razed by Israeli troops last week for the third time in six years as Israel asserted control over the area — part of the 62 percent of the West Bank that remains exclusively in Israeli hands, much of it set aside for Jewish settlements and military zones. The rest — where most Palestinians live — are disconnected territorial islands administered by the Palestinian Authority.

Israel can't defeat Hezbollah - Israeli expert
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Dan Williams - December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel cannot defeat Hezbollah in a direct engagement and the Lebanese guerrilla group would inflict heavy damage on the Israeli home front if war broke out, a former Israeli national security adviser said on Thursday. Though outnumbered and outgunned, Hezbollah held off Israel's advanced armed forces in a 2006 war and fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israeli territory. The group has a domestic political base and has since bolstered an arsenal that Israel describes as a strategic threat.

Israel downs balloon near Dimona reactor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ari Rabinovitch - December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

An Israeli warplane on Thursday shot down an apparently unmanned balloon that flew over Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor, a security official said. "It definitely flew over Dimona, although we are still trying to determine what that entailed and the military is now handling the matter," the official said. A military spokeswoman said an Israeli warplane "shot down a suspicious flying object, probably a balloon, in southern Israel". Israeli media reports said the balloon was unmanned but powered by an engine.

Hamas leader: Time on our side
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
by Sara Hussein - December 17, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinians have time in their fight for a state, and a victory will come through nation-building rather than military confrontation with Israel, a senior Hamas leader said. "We are not in a hurry to buy or to sell our national interest because this is not the proper market," Mahmud Zahar told AFP during a wide-ranging interview conducted in the expansive living room of his Gaza City home. Zahar derided peace talks as a waste of time, heaping scorn on Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for engaging in negotiations, and ruled out recognition of Israel.

U.S. can't make Mideast leaders want peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

The Obama administration needs to chill — and stop being so hard on itself when it comes to Arab-Israeli peace making. No sooner has one approach to the peace process failed than the administration gets busy launching another. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week outlined one more new approach to broker an Israeli-Palestinian framework agreement — by tackling borders and security first. And the tenacious Amb. George Mitchell is now in the region promoting it.

With Mideast peace talks adrift, the US searches for Plan B
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

Soon after the US announced last week it would abandon an 18-month demand for an Israeli settlement freeze to advance peace talks with the Palestinians, state department spokesperson PJ Crowley insisted that the US would not start over with a blank slate. But after US envoy George Mitchell wrapped up a regional trip with little to show for it, the Obama administration's engagement with the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations appears rudderless. Palestinians say trust in the US mediation is running out.

Gaza Mends, but Israelis See Signs of Trouble
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - December 16, 2010 - 1:00am

The shops are full of Israeli food and clothes but most people here can barely afford them. Construction projects — sewage treatment plants, schools — are getting started but far fewer than needed. The border with Egypt, once sealed, is open but few people cross because security clearance is hard to get. And rockets and mortar shells fly daily from here into Israel, as Israeli troops carry out brief raids.

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