Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Reuters reports on the continuing complications that Israeli settlement activity is posing to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations (2.) The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs spotlights the ATFP second annual gala and the remarks of keynote speaker Undersecretary Nicholas Burns on Palestinian statehood (4.) The Jewish Telegraphic Agency examines the possibility of a prisoner exchange and ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas (7.) Inter Press Service looks at the uniquely challenging conditions facing Lebanon's undocumented Palestinian refugees (8.) The Independent (UK) reports on a good Christmas tourism season for Bethlehem (9.) A Gulf News (UAE) editorial is critical of Israel's new settlement expansion plans (12.) In Haaretz (Israel) Akiva Eldar examines efforts to resolve the Palestinian prisoner issue (13.) Also in Haaretz is an analysis of how the controversy over the Israeli settlement issue may not be settled until the visit to the region of President Bush in January 2008 (15.)

If I Forget Thee...’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) December 28, 2007 - 3:23pm

It always happens when Israel approaches a peace agreement with the Palestinians: Noisy voices of protest arise within the American Jewish community, arguing that Israel misjudges the Palestinians, doesn’t understand the terrain, doesn’t understand the Middle East as well as rabbis in Brooklyn or lawyers and electronics salesmen in Philadelphia. So it is today.

Palestinian Gas Project "is Wrecked By Israel"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Telegraph
by Tim Butcher - December 28, 2007 - 3:51pm

An offshore gas project in the Mediterranean, which could have earned desperately needed revenue for the Palestinian economy, is in ruins after negotiations to sell the fuel to Israel collapsed. Industry sources blamed Israel for the failure of negotiations with the British multinational BG Group after the Jewish state repeatedly reduced its offer price for the gas. "This meant that from the off the project would struggle to be economic," one source told The Daily Telegraph.

Settlements Have To Go
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Miftah
by Joharah Baker - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 3:56pm

Unsurprisingly, the newly resumed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians stalled yet again, this time over the highly-charged issue of Israeli settlements, which despite past commitments, Israel has continued to expand. On December 24, the two sides met for the second time since the Annapolis peace conference in November, but came out of the meeting empty handed, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat describing the meeting as “very difficult.”

Gop Leader Calls For Revisions To Fatah Movement’s Outdated Charter
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - December 28, 2007 - 4:23pm

A push by right-wing American Jewish activists to change the constitution of the governing Palestinian party is gaining momentum in Congress, even as Israelis are dismissing the document as “irrelevant,” and the umbrella body of American Jewish organizations has voted against taking up the issue.

Jewish Agency Gives Boardroom Clout To Ally Of Evangelicals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Anthony Weiss - December 31, 2007 - 6:37pm

About a decade ago, the head of the Jewish Agency for Israel refused to be photographed taking a check from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. This past week, the agency accepted a hefty donation from the evangelical-backed organization and offered Eckstein a seat on two of its most powerful committees.

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