January 5th

PA seized 517 merchants for barred goods in 2011
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 3, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH (Maan) -- The consumer protection department of the Palestinian Authority referred 517 merchants to the general prosecution during 2011 for breaking laws regulating goods in the West Bank, officials said in a statement Tuesday. The unit confiscated 3 million shekels ($787,857) worth of products during the year, undersecretary in the ministry of national economy Abdul-Hafizh Nofal said. Officials are tasked with blocking products not fit for consumption, and those smuggled from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as well as regulating prices of basic food items.

Gaza PM arrives in Tunisia
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Tunisia on Thursday, as part of his first international tour since Israel tightened the siege on the coastal strip. The Hamas premier will spend two days in the country whose revolution sparked the Arab Spring, before returning to the Gaza Strip, Foreign Minister in Haniyeh's government Muhammad Awad told Ma'an. Haniyeh left Gaza last Sunday for the first time since Hamas seized power of the coastal enclave in 2007 and Israel tightened a land and sea blockade on the 1.7 million-strong population.

PA allots tax revenues to Gaza to ease cash crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinian tax revenues collected by Israel amounting to 150 million shekels ($39 million) will be transferred to Gaza upon their release in the next 24 hours, the head of the Palestinian Monetary Authority said on Thursday. The cash injection is intended to solve a critical shortage of currency in the blockaded Gaza Strip, PMA Governor Jihad al-Wazir said at an address to business students at the Islamic University in Gaza City.

Israel rethinking position on prisoner swaps
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel is rethinking its policy on prisoner swaps to avoid the kind of lopsided deals that saw Israel recently trade more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for a lone Israeli soldier. A government-appointed panel submitted its recommendations in a secret report Thursday and details were not divulged. But Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel has "no choice but to overhaul the rules" now that Sgt. Gilad Schalit has been freed after five years in captivity in Gaza. Barak told Israel Radio, "We have to get off the slippery slope we ventured on 25 years ago."

Former Israeli Leader Indicted on Bribery Charge
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - January 5, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Ehud Olmert, who resigned as prime minister of Israel in 2008 amid corruption charges, was indicted on Thursday for allegedly taking bribes in the construction of a huge residential complex while he was mayor of Jerusalem.

January 4th

Region changes but Israel won't stop land grabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) January 4, 2012 - 1:00am

Expectations were low yesterday as Palestinian and Israeli envoys prepared to meet in Amman, at the request of Jordan's King Abdullah, for their first face-to-face talks in 16 months. The well-intentioned Quartet (US, UN, EU and Russia) had asked the two sides to be prepared to discuss security arrangements and borders. But all sides seemed to expect only "talks about talks", a going-through-the-motions exercise rather than a real prelude to meatier negotiations any time soon.

Israel’s new enemy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Hussein Shobokshi - (Opinion) January 3, 2012 - 1:00am

The extremism that has shamefully started to appear now in some media outlets does not come from the Middle East, and does not come from countries inside the Islamic world; rather it comes from inside Israel itself. Today the voices of violence, domination and force are coming from the traditional orthodox Jews, who make up nearly 10 percent of the current Israeli population. They now have the loudest voices and are influencing the street more effectively.

Ghost of Israel’s Future
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) January 2, 2012 - 1:00am

We know that Avigdor Lieberman is following events in Russia closely. After the December 4 parliamentary elections there were tainted by ballot stuffing and other violations roundly condemned by Western election monitors, Lieberman offered his own assessment of whether democracy had been harmed: “The outcome of the elections reflects the mood in Russia,” he said. “Maybe there were some errors in several areas in Russia…but that is not different from what happens in Israel in various Arab and Druze villages.” In other words, no big deal.

Israel fails to create climate for peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
(Editorial) January 4, 2012 - 1:00am

The importance of yesterday's renewed direct contact between the Palestinians and the Israelis should not be overplayed. As Saeeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator, said before the talks, "the meeting would not constitute the resumption of negotiations, but rather is one that could lead to the resumption of negotiations".

Our World: Is Israeli society unraveling?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Caroline Glick - (Opinion) January 2, 2012 - 1:00am

On balance, Israeli society is extremely healthy. Unemployment is at record lows. At a time of global recession, the Israeli economy is growing steadily. Israeli Jewish women have the highest fertility rate in the Western world with an average of three children per woman. Education levels have risen dramatically across the board over the past decade with dozens of private colleges opening their doors to more and more sectors of the population.

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