Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Time Magazine examines the challenges facing Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank of town Hebron (1) where they were active this weekend (3). The chief Palestinian negotiator announces that there will be no peace agreement this year (2). Britain urges Israel to freeze settlement activity (4). Palestine takes steps to reduce their energy dependence on Israel (5). Israel’s Knesset tentatively agrees on February 10th elections (6). Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says he favors restricting right-wing extremists from the West Bank (9).





Palestinian Forces in the Hebron Minefield
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Tim McGirk - October 27, 2008 - 7:00pm


When Palestinian security forces moved into the lawless West Bank towns of Jenin and Nablus, all they had to worry about were the armed criminal gangs who had been shaking down shopkeepers and stealing cars — it didn't take long to wrest control from the thugs. But Hebron, where 600 Palestinian forces rolled up over the weekend in shiny new white pick-up trucks, is far more dangerous, because it is a stronghold of Hamas and also the base of an extremist Jewish settler community.


No peace deal with Israel this year - Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
October 26, 2008 - 7:00pm


Israel and the Palestinians will not be able to reach a peace agreement this year, the Palestinian chief negotiator in U.S.-sponsored peace talks with the Jewish state said on Monday. "I don't think that we will be able to reach an agreement this year," Ahmed Qurie told a group of former Israeli security officials at a conference near Tel Aviv on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.


Palestinian forces conduct first raid in Hebron
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
October 27, 2008 - 7:00pm


Newly deployed Palestinian security forces smashed down doors, raided homes and rounded up wanted fugitives early Monday, carrying out their first crackdown since taking up positions around this volatile city over the weekend. Hundreds of men belonging to different Palestinian security forces divided into groups throughout the nearby village of Samoua, holding lists of suspected criminals and loyalists of Hamas. Dressed in civilian clothing or clad in blue, black, green and khaki uniforms, they barged through the doors of the wanted Palestinians and searched their homes.


Britain urges Israel to halt settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
October 27, 2008 - 7:00pm


Britain urged Israel on Tuesday to freeze settlement activities in the occupied territories, warning that they threaten the creation of an independent Palestinian state. "Continued settlement construction threatens the goal of a two-state solution to which the Israeli government itself is committed," British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Bill Rammell told reporters in Amman.


Palestinian Electricity Pact to 'Reduce Dependence on Israel'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
October 27, 2008 - 7:00pm


The Palestinian Authority has joined a seven-fold electric power grid, which would allow it to become less dependent on Israeli supply of electricity within four years. The announcement was made during a meeting of ministers of electricity and energy in the network member countries. An interconnected electricity network, which includes Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Lebanon, decided earlier this week to incorporate the Palestinian electricity system.


MKs agree: Elections to be held on Feb. 10
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Amnon Meranda - October 27, 2008 - 7:00pm


Kadima faction chairman, Knesset Member Yoel Hasson, announced Tuesday that his party would push to hold elections within 111 days from Monday, the day President Shimon Peres informed Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik of his decision to call general elections. According to this announcement, and as per Israeli law, elections are set to fall on February 10.


'Plan to end Hamas-Fatah rift reached'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - October 26, 2008 - 7:00pm


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced Monday that he has reached an agreement with Egypt on ways of ending the Hamas-Fatah power struggle and achieving reconciliation among all Palestinian factions. However, Abbas did not give details about the agreement. He is scheduled to fly to Saudi Arabia to brief the Saudi leaders on the latest developments surrounding the crisis with Hamas and the political turmoil in Israel following Tzipi Livni's decision to call early elections.


Bimkom: Israel strangles Area C development
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Dan Izenberg - October 26, 2008 - 7:00pm


The Civil Administration in the West Bank is using a deliberately restrictive planning policy to strangle Palestinian development in Area C and preserve as much land as possible for settlements, the human rights organization Bimkom charged in a new report due to be released this morning. The report, entitled "The Forbidden Zone," accuses the military authorities in the West Bank of severely violating Palestinian human rights.


Barak wants to ban violent extremists from West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Nadav Shragai - October 27, 2008 - 7:00pm


Defense Minister Ehud Barak favors barring right-wing extremists who attack soldiers or policemen from entering the West Bank, and in extreme cases, even putting them in administrative detention. On Tuesday, he plans to discuss the issue of law enforcement in the West Bank with senior army, police and legal officials, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said.





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