Palestinians aim to join U.N. bodies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Tom Perry - October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The plan is likely to generate more criticism from the United States, which has pledged to veto a Palestinian request last month for full membership of the United Nations, if it comes to a vote in the Security Council. The Palestinians have been preparing their drive for membership of the U.N. agencies over the past two years as part of a plan to get ready for statehood, said Omar Awadallah, who heads the U.N. department at the foreign ministry.

U.S.: Israel move to legalize West Bank outposts 'unhelpful to peace efforts'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The U.S. State Department criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's newly launched attempt to legalize West Bank outposts on Wednesday, saying the move was "unhelpful" to Mideast peace efforts. On Tuesday, Netanyahu's office announced instructed Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to set up a task force to explore ways to legalize houses in the settlements that were built on private Palestinian land.

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian school amid fears for more violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Jewish settlers attacked on Thursday a Palestinian school, raising fears that conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians may increase when the U.N. Security Council was debating on a Palestinian bid for statehood, witnesses and security sources said. The witnesses said that several Jewish settlers threw stones and empty bottles at Kortoba females school in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Inside Israeli desert, standoff over land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Amy Teibel - October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Decades of fraught relations between the Israeli government and Bedouin Arabs living in the hardscrabble Negev desert are coming to a head over a state plan that would expel 30,000 of the nomads from unauthorized tent encampments and shantytowns and move them into some of the country's most destitute towns. The Israeli Cabinet recently approved the plan, reflecting growing anxiety that Bedouin are taking over more of the Negev, an inverted triangle in the country's south crisscrossed with rocky mountains and dry riverbeds and covering more than half of Israel's land mass.

Fatah official says meeting with Hamas chief 'positive'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad said Wednesday that his meeting in Cairo with Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal was "positive" and that reconciliation talks would restart "soon." Al-Ahmad, who heads the Fatah delegation in talks with Hamas, told reporters after the meeting that the talks had not been planned, but were arranged at the last minute as the officials happened to be in the Egyptian capital. During the meeting, Mashaal phoned President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and expressed his full supported the president's recent bid for full UN membership, al-Ahmad said.

Jubilation over planned Israeli-Palestinian prisoner swap dampens
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Edmund Sanders - October 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Initial jubilation over the impending prisoner swap between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas began to dampen Wednesday as people on both sides expressed concerns that their leaders may have given away too much at the negotiating table.

Israeli-Hamas Agreement to Trade Prisoners May Reshape Politics in Region
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - October 12, 2011 - 12:00am

The prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel that is expected to begin next week could reshape regional relationships, strengthening Egypt, Hamas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel while posing an acute challenge to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. One result might be a more confrontational — and Hamas-imbued — Palestinian movement that could, in the long run, increase Israel’s difficulties, drawing inspiration from and invigorating popular protests across the Middle East. It could also tighten the relationship between Hamas, Egypt and Turkey.

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