January 6th

Gaza premier plays down talks with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

TUNIS, Tunisia — The prime minister of the Gaza government said Thursday the first meeting between Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators in more than a year was "a futile gesture" that will lead nowhere. Ismail Haniyeh of the Palestinian faction Hamas received a hero's welcome at Tunisia's airport where he was greeted by thousands of people chanting their support for the Palestinian cause. He also met with Tunisia's new prime minister, Hamadi Jebali.

US: Israeli, Palestinian envoys to meet Monday
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
January 6, 2012 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators will hold their second round of face-to-face talks within a week on Monday in Amman, a US State Department spokeswoman said on Thursday. "We are encouraged that they are both coming to the table, they are talking directly," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in her daily briefing. The two sides held their first high-level talks in more than a year in Amman on Tuesday, a gathering sponsored by the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators -- the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States.

Mashaal makes surprise visit to Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 6, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A delegation of Hamas officials headed by party chief Khalid Mashaal arrived in Cairo Thursday in a visit that had not been officially announced, Egyptian media reported. Mashaal, who heads Hamas' politburo in Damascus, will meet Friday with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi, director of the Palestine Studies center in Cairo Ibrahim al-Darawi told Egyptian reporters. The Hamas chief will discuss internal and external developments with al-Arabi, al-Darawi said.

Saudi hacker steps up campaign against Israel, calls it payback
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Batsheva Sobelman - (Blog) January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

REPORTING FROM JERUSALEM -- Earlier this week, a computer hacker broke into an Israeli sports website and redirected viewers to a page linking to a file claiming to contain personal and credit card details of 400,000 Israelis. Credit card companies said the lists actually compromised about 15,000 valid credit cards, and the Bank of Israel announced the situation was under control. But authorities considered it a wake-up call. And Tuesday's assault on credit card numbers may be just the tip of the iceberg.

Israel Will Join U.S. in Missile Drill
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

The Israeli and American militaries are gearing up for a major missile defense exercise, the largest joint drill between the two countries, the Israeli military said Thursday. The drill, intended to improve defense systems and cooperation between the United States and Israeli forces, follows a 10-day Iranian naval exercise near the Strait of Hormuz. Israel’s military said the drill was planned long ago and was not tied to recent tensions with Iran.

January 5th

Jordan King Abdullah's Christmas Eve initiative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - (Blog) January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

Last week, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh arrived in Bethlehem for the traditional Christmas Eve mass in the Church of the Nativity. Just before services began, Judeh met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and updated him on the recent push by Jordan and the Quartet on the Middle East – which includes the United States, Russia, the EU, and the UN – to organize a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian representatives in Amman.

The U.N. Should Accept Palestine as a Full Member State
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Slate
by Katy Waldman - (Opinion) January 4, 2012 - 1:00am

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi is gentle and soft-spoken, as befits a Palestinian leader known for his commitment to nonviolence. Currently Barghouthi, a medical doctor, serves as the general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, a political party based in the West Bank that seeks to provide moderate Palestinians with an alternative to what many consider Fatah’s corruption and Hamas’ extremism. “Politics can drive you to wrong decisions and wrong feelings, sometimes,” he told me during our phone conversation last week.

The Granddaddy of Dumb Ideas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Slate
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

It can’t, won’t, and shouldn’t happen. Such are the sad prospects of the Palestinian plan to achieve statehood through membership in the U.N.

Rick Santorum’s claim that ‘no Palestinian’ lives in the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - (Blog) January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

“All the people that live in the West Bank are Israelis. They are not Palestinians. There is no Palestinian. This is Israeli land.” — Former senator Rick Santorum, Nov. 21. 2011 A blog on The Jewish Week Web site highlighted this statement on Monday, which was also captured on tape and posted on YouTube. (See clip at the end of the column.) The statement is somewhat reminiscent of former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s comment that the Palestinians are an “invented people.”

Hillel Neuer: The UN must recognize that Gaza is no longer an occupied territory
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from National Post
by Hillel Neuer - (Opinion) January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

GENEVA — The UN’s continued labelling of the Gaza Strip as an “occupied” territory — even after a Hamas leader stated that it’s not — is no longer tenable. Mahmoud Zahhar, the co-founder of Hamas, confirmed that Gaza is not under Israeli occupation, in comments reported Tuesday by the Palestinian news agency Ma’an. Zahhar was casting doubt on whether Hamas would organize anti-Israel marches in Gaza, in conjunction with similar protests that the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority are organizing in the West Bank.

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