Israel hardens stance on U.N. Gaza report
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
October 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel hardened its opposition Tuesday to international calls for an independent inquiry into its offensive in the Gaza Strip last winter, saying it would urge the United States to stop the issue from advancing at the United Nations. The decision came at a cabinet meeting called to discuss a U.N. report that has accused both sides of committing war crimes during the three-week operation. The report, which was adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council last week, recommends war crimes proceedings if Israel and the Palestinians do not conduct credible internal investigations.

Senior Shin Bet official: Hamas completely lost Gaza war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - October 21, 2009 - 12:00am

A senior official in the Shin Bet security service argues that Hamas failed militarily during Operation Cast Lead and did not achieve any of its aims. According to the official, the group's battle doctrine was proved hollow and failed to cause any real damage to Israel. This is the first assessment of its type published by a senior Shin Bet official since the end of the Gaza offensive nine months ago. The report was published on the Web site of a major research institute based in the United States.

Goods Flood Gaza’s Tunnels, Turning Border Area Into a Shopping Mecca
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Rafah Journal
by Taghreed El-Khodary - October 21, 2009 - 12:00am

RAFAH, Gaza — Dusty sacks filled with cans of Coca-Cola were being loaded onto trucks by young boys, headed for supermarkets in Gaza City. Thousands of motorcycles were lined up on display in a nearby stadium, ranging in price from $2,000 to $10,000.

Palestinian president to set Jan. election date
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
October 20, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian president said Tuesday he will set Jan. 24 as the date for presidential and legislative elections, despite objections from his rivals in the Hamas militant group. Mahmoud Abbas told journalists in Cairo he will set the date in a presidential decree Sunday. Hamas, which wants the voting delayed, dismissed Abbas' announcement as an attempt to pressure the group into an agreement to end a bitter two-year division between the two sides that has interfered with peace talks with Israel and hampered reconstruction of war damage in Gaza.

Hamas Demands Guarantees before Reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Saleh Al-Naeimi - October 20, 2009 - 12:00am

The Hamas movement has stressed that it needs guarantees for implementing any agreement reached with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas. Ismail Radwan, a leading movement figure, asserted that the countries sponsoring the reconciliation should offer such guarantees so that any future agreement would not have the same fate as that of agreements reached in the past between the two movements. He stressed at the same time that reconciliation is the movement's strategic option and that it is committed to its success.

Political struggle over West Bank town
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Heather Sharp - October 19, 2009 - 12:00am

"The decision was purely political," says Wajih Qawas, fiddling with a string of prayer beads as he explains how he lost his job. Until a month ago, the softly-spoken management systems graduate was the mayor of the West Bank town of Qalqilya, although he has spent much of that time in Israeli prisons. The town of 40,000 was one of several major West Bank towns in which Hamas won control of municipal councils in elections in 2004 and 2005. Locals and outsiders alike wondered how a group known for suicide bombings would handle fixing potholes and sewage pipes.

Two Palestinian Causes… or More
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Husam Itani - October 19, 2009 - 12:00am

The path taken by the Palestinian reconciliation suggests that the current situation between the struggling parties requires much more than reconciliation. Indeed, the difficulties that obstruct ratifying the Egyptian agreement are only a sample of how deeply rooted and difficult the disagreement is between the components of Palestinian political society.

Painful Mideast Truth: Force Trumps Diplomacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - October 19, 2009 - 12:00am

As the Obama administration tries to broker a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is a dark truth lurking: force has produced clearer results in this dispute than talk. The results of the violence may prove short-lived — and possibly counterproductive; condemnation of Israel and Hamas is likely to grow after the United Nations Human Rights Council voted Friday to endorse a report detailing evidence of war crimes in Gaza.

Don't count Abbas out, Palestinian pollster says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - October 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has suffered a serious blow to his standing versus Hamas in recent weeks, but he should be able to recover that ground, according to a top Palestinian pollster. Recently reported surveys show Abbas having lost support to Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh, with them each now commanding about 16 percent of the Palestinian public as opposed to a month earlier when Abbas pulled twice that figure.

Obama's Mistakes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) October 19, 2009 - 12:00am

There are plenty of reasons why the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has not yet been restarted through American mediation. Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu's manipulations and his coalition are one; the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and PLO under Mahmoud Abbas are another. The moderate Arab states have done precious little to help. But right now US President Barack Obama's mistakes are the most glaring.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017