December 21st

Major Jewish donors stick with Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama is enjoying a 50% approval rate, according to a Washington Post-ABC poll published on Tuesday. The president should also be satisfied as top-level Jewish fundraisers from his 2008 campaign are sticking with him in 2012, Jewish newspaper Forward reported. According to the paper, despite reports that Obama faces a loss of Jewish funders due to his Middle East policy, analysis of a list of elite bundlers from his 2008 race shows no defections among the president’s top Jewish supporters in 2012.

Assad refuses to meet with Mashaal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

The majority of Hamas leaders have left Damascus and the tensions between the Palestinian movement and the Syrian regime have reached their peak, London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported Wednesday, quoting an Islamic source. According to the source, Syrian President Bashar Assad has refused to meet with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal after the latter called for reforms in Syria following the oppression of opposition protestors. The source noted that apart from Mashaal, the movement's leaders have left Syria in favor of several countries.

Official: Israel unprepared for wartime
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — The Israeli government's watchdog agency says the country is short on bomb shelters and is ill-prepared to protect its citizens in case of war. The state comptroller's annual report, published in part on Tuesday, says Israel has not learned the lessons from the 2006 Lebanon war, when dozens of Israeli civilians were killed by Hezbollah rockets.

Israel to restore clean water to Jordan River
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

ALUMOT DAM, Israel — Israel has pledged to release about 1 billion cubic feet of water to restore the biblical Jordan River. Israel, Syria and Jordan have diverted nearly all of the river's fresh water. The trickle that remains is mostly raw sewage. Last year, Israel began building a $106 million complex to remove the sewage water and treat it for agricultural use. But that would have left the river dry. In a statement, Environment Minister Gilad Erdan promised to start replacing the sewage with clean water in 2013, saying it will "allow life to return to the river."

PA sign free trade agreement with Mercosur
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority signed a free trade agreement on Tuesday with South American trading bloc Mercosur. Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki signed the deal in Montevideo as Palestinian Authority representative and thanked Mercosur, composed of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, for recognizing Palestine as an independent nation, MercoPress reported. The free trade agreement has been negotiated for the past year and represents the first such deal between Palestine and a bloc of nations outside of the Middle East.

UN Security Council members criticize Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- Most members of the UN Security Council voiced deep concerns on Tuesday about the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and criticized Israel for pressing ahead with the construction of new settlements. Council members were reacting to a briefing by UN assistant secretary-general for political affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, who told them the search for peace "remained elusive in a context of tensions on the ground, deep mistrust between the parties and volatile regional dynamics."

Hamas: Factions agree on 6 reconciliation steps in Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
December 21, 2011 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Wednesday that Palestinian factions have reached agreement on six steps to be taken as part of ongoing reconciliation talks. In a statement received by Ma'an, Barhoum said that a committee composed of nine members has been formed to take charge of elections. The committee will be headed by Dr. Hanna Nasser, chairman of the Palestinian Authority's Central Elections Commission, and former president of Birzeit university.

December 20th

A Warning Call
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Ephraim Sneh - (Opinion) December 19, 2011 - 1:00am

In light of the damning IAEA report released in November, showing no equivocation regarding Iranian intentions for producing nuclear weapons, it is high time that the United States and Israel abandon their current policies and adopt a new joint strategy. Since 1993 I have been calling attention to the potential of a nuclear Iran, perhaps the most dangerous development in our region. Today we all understand that if Iran achieves nuclear military power, it is only a matter of time, a few years, before Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey will reach nuclear capacity as well.

Hamas on the move
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) December 20, 2011 - 1:00am

Hamas is on the move, both literally and figuratively, but how far it can and will go very much remains to be determined. Hamas is in an impossible position, given the regional realignments following from the Arab uprisings, and is frantically trying to adjust without paying too high a price.

Encountering Peace: Normalizing anti-normalization
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) December 19, 2011 - 1:00am

The Al Quds al Arabi newspaper, published in London, gave voice to senior Fatah member Hatem Abdel Qader Eid from Jerusalem announcing that Fatah has decided to boycott and prevent all meetings between Palestinians and Israelis, official and non-official. Being one of the leading Israeli advocates of such meetings and someone who has organized more than 2,000 of them over the past 24 years, many people have asked my opinion of the move.

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