Daily News Issue Date: 
October 1, 2008

Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s remarks on withdrawing from the West Bank and East Jerusalem continue to draw commentary (1). The behavior of Israeli settlers is questioned in articles by the Washington Post and the Christian Science Monitor (2) (3). Bahrain’s foreign minister proposes a Middle East Forum to address the regions problems (6). The UN finds that the number of Israeli road blocks in the West Bank is increasing (8).

Olmert's Lame-Duck Epiphany About Palestinian Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Scott MacLeod - September 29, 2008 - 8:00pm

He is a former leader in the rightist Likud Party who for decades staunchly believed that the West Bank and Gaza Strip belonged to the Jewish people and that the territories, along with the Golan Heights, should remain part of Greater Israel forever. Along with former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert gradually came to understand that this was a fantasy. They broke away from Likud and created the centrist Kadima ("Onward") Party three years ago.

Failure Written in West Bank Stone
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Gershom Gorenberg - September 29, 2008 - 8:00pm

The latest phone call came from a journalist in Denmark. Why, he asked, has Israeli settlement in the West Bank continued despite peace negotiations with the Palestinians?

Why Israeli settlers are lashing out
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - September 29, 2008 - 8:00pm

When Yaron Ezrahi was a young political science professor in 1983, his star student was Emil Grunzweig, who had just completed his thesis on free speech. Two days later, Mr. Grunzweig was killed at a peace rally here, when a right-wing activist threw a hand grenade into a crowd of people demonstrating against Israel's involvement in the war in Lebanon.

Israeli Rights Watchdog Sets Up Shop in Washington
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - September 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

A new and unusual player is joining the Israel advocacy scene in the nation?s capital. B?Tselem, Israel?s leading human rights watchdog organization, launched its Washington operation September 24, aiming to spread information regarding Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians to the crowd of Capitol Hill policymakers and Middle East think tanks, and to the American Jewish community.

Bahrain moots reconciliation body
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
September 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

Sheikh Khaled al-Khalifa's comments in a newspaper interview clarified his speech to the UN this week calling for a Mid-East body "without exception". Bahrain has no formal ties with Israel, but the sheikh said it did not matter. "Let them all sit together in one group... This is the only path to solve our problems," Sheikh Khaled said. "Why don't we all sit together even if we have differences and even if we don't recognise each other?" he was quoted saying by al-Hayat newspaper. Correspondents say few Arab governments are likely to accept a permanent regional forum with Israel.

Israel army buys self-destruct cluster bombs: radio
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
September 29, 2008 - 8:00pm

The Israeli army is equipping itself with self-destruct cluster bombs in order to lower the number of civilian victims of this type of weapon, used in the 2006 war in Lebanon, military radio said. The army has reduced its purchases of US made cluster bombs, instead buying Israel-made M-85 cluster bombs, which contain a mechanism to destroy themselves if they fail to explode immediately on impact, according to the report. Cluster munitions spread bomblets over a wide area from a single container.

Book ban ends rare Arab-Israeli cultural exchange
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Joseph Nasr - September 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

For 15 years Israeli Saleh Abbasi has traded books between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbours, fostering a rare cultural link. But in August Israeli authorities suddenly refused to renew his trading licence because he was trading with "enemy" states Lebanon and Syria, frustrating both Abbasi's business and the Arab and Israeli readers he has helped interest in each other's literary traditions. "How can the People of the Book be against books?" Abbasi asked, evoking the Jewish Bible as the first monotheistic holy text. "Books are a bridge to peace between cultures."

Israel's West Bank roadblocks increasing, says UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Wafa Amr - September 29, 2008 - 8:00pm

Closure of the West Bank for the Jewish New Year placed further restrictions on the movement of Palestinians marking the end of Ramadan on Tuesday. Despite pledges to ease travel restrictions, Israel has increased the number of roadblocks and checkpoints over the last six months in the occupied West Bank, according to a United Nations report made public this week. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says the Israeli army erected 19 new "obstacles" since April, raising the total to 630, including 93 checkpoints controlled by soldiers.

Khamenei: Iran will never abandon Hamas, its holy warrior Haniyeh
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Natasha Mozgovaya - September 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said his country will stand beside Gaza's Hamas rulers and that Israel is on the path to eventual destruction. According to Iranian state-run TV, Khamenei called Hamas' prime minister in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, a "mojahed," or soldier of holy war, saying the Iranian nation will "never let you be alone." It also quoted him as saying Israel's Zionist regime is moving toward weakness, destruction and defeat and that the current generation of Palestinians will see "that great day."

Dozens of Palestinians to resettle in Sweden
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
September 29, 2008 - 8:00pm

Thirty-nine Palestinians on Tuesday left for Hungary on board a plane en route to Sweden where they are resettling. The 39 are among nearly 160 Palestinians that Sweden has agreed to take from among hundreds of Palestinians who have been stranded in makeshift camps in Iraq. Earlier this month, 25 Palestinians left for Iceland and 117 went to Chile in January. Palestinians in Iraq have become a target for persecution in recent years because they are seen as having been favoured under Saddam Hussain's regime.

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