Hamas to block elections in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 27, 2009 - 11:00pm

The Hamas-controlled Ministry of the Interior announced on Wednesday that it will not allow elections to go ahead in the Gaza Strip as decreed by President Mahmoud Abbas. The call for elections "came from someone who does not have the right to declare it," a ministry statement said in reference to Abbas. The ministry reiterated Hamas’ objection that the elections were called without a national unity agreement in place. The statement said furthermore that the ministry will "bring to account anyone who deals with these elections."

Fatah leader: Abbas will not run in elections unless asked
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 27, 2009 - 11:00pm

The Palestinian President will not run for office in the 24 January elections, a Fatah leader announced on Tuesday. Fatah leader Abdullah Abu Samhadaneh issued a statement saying Abbas “is eager to rest from this long and arduous trip, which began with the revolution and continues to this day,” as part of a paper urging Hamas to sign the Egyptian unity proposal so unified elections can go forward. He also noted, however, that if Abbas is "instructed by the command [Palestinian leaders] he will accept the commission."

U.S. leaning toward indirect Mideast peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - October 27, 2009 - 11:00pm

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive in Israel on Saturday night for her first official visit since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government was sworn in. Clinton's visit underscores the goal of reaching a compromise that could see the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. In light of the ever-wide gaps between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, voices are growing within the Obama administration to shift strategy and suffice with indirect - rather than direct - negotiations.

Avi Issacharoff / Obama demands may leave Abbas feeling betrayed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - October 27, 2009 - 11:00pm

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive on Sunday for a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority during which she will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas. George Mitchell, the U.S. Middle East envoy, will be in Israel Thursday to lay the groundwork for the secretary of state's visit. Clinton and Mitchell will attempt to persuade Abbas to reopen negotiations with Israel on a final peace agreement.

Hamas vows to prevent Palestinian elections in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
October 27, 2009 - 11:00pm

The Islamic Hamas movement which rules the Gaza Strip said Wednesday it would not allow presidential or parliamentary elections to take place in the salient on January 24, as called for by Ramallah-based President Mahmoud Abbas. A statement by the Hamas ministry of the interior said the ban was because the election had been called "by figures who do not have the right to declare it" and because the polling would take place without a reconciliation deal between Hamas and Abbas' Fatah movement. Abbas announced Friday that elections would be held on January 24,

Abbas Says Might Not Run In Poll
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
October 26, 2009 - 11:00pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told U.S. President Barack Obama he would not run for re-election unless Israel dropped its refusal to freeze settlements, Palestinian officials said on Tuesday. "Abu Mazen (Abbas) told him that he would not be a candidate in the presidential election (in January) unless Israel abided by the peace requirement," said one of the officials, who are briefed regularly by Abbas and spoke on condition of anonymity.

In Gaza, Hamas Finds Popularity Waning
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from National Public Radio (NPR)
by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro - October 26, 2009 - 11:00pm

It has been more than two years since the militant Palestinian group Hamas took over the Gaza Strip after a short but bloody war with the rival Fatah movement, which rules the West Bank. Since then, Hamas has been consolidating its political power. But the recent conflict with Israel and Gaza's continuing isolation are taking a toll on the group's popularity on the streets.

Salafism: A New Threat to Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Dan Williams - October 26, 2009 - 11:00pm

On the streets of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, clusters of men wear long tunics over baggy trousers, a costume common in Pakistan but virtually unknown among Palestinians — until recently. It is an emblem of Salafism, a branch of Islam that advocates restoring a Muslim empire across the Middle East and into Spain. Some Salafis preach violence, even killing Muslims deemed not pious enough. While historically a fringe group in the southeastern Mediterranean, Salafis have sought inroads in Lebanon and Jordan and are battling Hamas in Gaza.

Palestinian elections may pose risk to unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - October 25, 2009 - 11:00pm

It was widely expected, but the presidential decree issued on Friday calling for presidential and parliamentary elections will nevertheless put into sharp focus Palestinian divisions and represents something of a gamble. Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, president of the Palestinian Authority and leader of Fatah, probably did not have much of a choice. Unity negotiations with Hamas are long-stalled and Egyptian efforts to reconcile Hamas and Fatah with a compromise agreement also seem to have failed.

Biting Fingers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Abdullah Iskandar - (Opinion) October 25, 2009 - 11:00pm

It is as if President Mahmoud Abbas was telling the Hamas movement: “Alright, you took over the Gaza Strip by force of arms and ruled it. You expelled the Fatah movement and all the figures of the Palestinian Authority from it by force of arms. You never committed to any of the previous agreements of appeasement. You declare your fierce opposition to the Oslo Accords and what they have resulted in. Yet you hold truces with Israel when it wages military operations against Gaza. You hold against the PA its relations with the United States.

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