January 26th

New Israeli search method at West Bank checkpoint worries Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - January 25, 2012 - 1:00am

Israel Police have begun implementing a new method of searching Palestinian vehicles through use of nausea-inducing chemicals at a Bethlehem checkpoint, international aid workers have reported. Since December, Israeli police officers have introduced what they call a sophisticated method of tracking explosive materials.

Palestinian politicians doubt elections will take place
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Several Palestinian officials expressed doubt on Wednesday that elections scheduled for May would take place. Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan told Ma'an that "the pre-date is nearing.... elections can not be held under two governments as the national unity government has not been formed." He added: "Occupation may be a reason, but we have to overcome any obstacles that may be preventing elections." Fatah leader Thiab al-Loh told Ma’an that elections need to be prepared for in advance and at the moment "we are at the beginning (...) now we are not ready."

Barghouti sent to isolation after Israel comments
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti was sent to solitary confinement on Wednesday after making critical comments about Israel to journalists. After testifying in a Jerusalem court on Wednesday the Fatah leader briefly spoke to reporters. Upon returning to Hadarim prison in Israel, Barghouti was not allowed back into his regular cell and was instead put in isolation, the Palestinian Prisoners' Society said Thursday. Detainees in the prison protested the move and asked prison authorities to explain their decision. Israeli authorities have not responded.

News Analysis: Palestinians seek alternatives after halting exploratory talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
(Analysis) January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian leadership is preparing itself to look for alternatives after six meetings of exploratory talks with Israel in Jordan, which was expected to push for the resumption of direct Mideast peace talks, came out in vain. A well-informed Palestinian official source said that chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat reiterated during his meeting on Wednesday in Amman with his Israeli counterpart Yitzhak Mulkho that the Palestinians would not extend the exploratory meetings in Jordan.

Ashrawi: Israel 'thwarting' all efforts to resume peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said Wednesday that peace talks with Israel were futile as long as it continues its illegal policies against Palestinians.

EU working on Israeli incentives package for PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - January 25, 2012 - 1:00am

Israeli envoy Attorney Yitzhak Molcho met with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat for the fifth time in Amman on Wednesday. Palestinian sources said at the end of the meeting that as far as they’re concerned the talks can be declared a failure.

Palestinians: Peace negotiations with Israel have ended
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

The time frame that the Palestinians have allowed for talks with Israel in Amman under Jordanian auspices expires on Thursday. According to diplomatic sources associated with the Middle East Quartet - the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia - last-minute efforts are underway to head off the talks' collapse, but the prospects seem slim.

EU still sees chance for Israel-Palestinian talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Dale Gavlak - January 26, 2012 - 1:00am

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A low-level dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians is not at a dead end, the European Union's foreign policy chief said Thursday, hoping that contacts to get "real negotiations under way" will continue. "I don't think there's an impasse," Ashton told reporters following talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Jordanian capital. Her remarks come a day after Abbas said informal talks between Israelis and Palestinians about the border of a future Palestinian state ended without any breakthrough.

Palestinians and Israelis Don’t Agree on New Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - January 25, 2012 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said Wednesday that a round of exploratory discussions with Israel under Jordanian auspices had ended. But he left open the possibility of a resumption of contacts under certain conditions and after consultations with Arab League representatives on Feb. 4. Jordan played host to five meetings this month between Israeli and Palestinian envoys as part of an international effort to get the sides back to formal peace negotiations after a break of more than a year.

January 25th

Reexamining the Arab Peace Initiative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Huffington Post
by Michael Sharnoff - (Opinion) January 25, 2012 - 1:00am

The series of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians which began in Amman on January 3 are scheduled to end on January 26. While the Middle East Quartet may extend this deadline to continue negotiations, it appears this would have little effect in formulating any comprehensive agreement. Neither side genuinely believes a breakthrough will occur. The PLO has threatened that if Israel does not halt all settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, it would not only abandon diplomacy, but it would pursue "harsh" unilateral measures to gain statehood and recognition.

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