Middle East News: World Press Roundup

ATFP President Dr. Ziad Asali is interviewed by NPR regarding the American Charities for Palestine (1). The Israeli government expels a UN human rights investigator, for his allegedly hostile position towards Israel (2). The Christian Science Monitor examines the recent public relations push by the Palestinian Authority (3). An article in The Times of London praises the work of the Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank (5). Israel’s Supreme Court votes to restrict the path of the West Bank separation barrier (7). Palestinians celebrate Israel’s release of 224 prisoners (9).

Palestinian Charity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from WBUR
by Robin Young - December 15, 2008 - 1:00am

American Charities for Palestine founder Dr. Ziad Asali was interviewed by host Robin Young on WBUR’s “Here and Now” program, December 15, 2008.

U.N. Rights Investigator Expelled by Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - December 16, 2008 - 1:00am

Israeli authorities on Monday expelled Richard Falk, a United Nations investigator of human rights in the Palestinian territories, saying he was unwelcome because of what the government has regarded as his hostile position toward Israel. Mr. Falk, an American, arrived in Israel on Sunday. He was held at the airport and placed on the first available flight back to Geneva, his point of departure. A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said that Mr. Falk had been informed in advance that his entry would be barred. Mr. Falk was not immediately available for comment.

In new ads, Palestinians try to sway Israeli public on peace plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - December 16, 2008 - 1:00am

Along Route 2, which follows the Mediterranean coastline, motorists are seeing an unusual sight: a Palestinian flag next to an Israeli one. Below the image appearing on billboards is a message in Hebrew: There's a viable peace initiative on offer from Arab states. Reach a land-for-peace deal with Palestinians, and we will recognize you. The signature? The flags of 57 Arab and Muslim states – all except Iran.

Egyptian intellectuals pay price for curiosity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Jeffrey Fleishman - December 16, 2008 - 1:00am

It has been a tough peace for Ali Salem. His plays don't have a stage. Intellectuals shun him; the writers union refuses to pay his pension. He sits in a cafe window, typing on his laptop and defending his choice long ago to cross the border into Israel and make friends. Egypt and Israel made peace in 1979, but that treaty remains as agitating to Egyptian artists and intellectuals as a sliver of glass beneath the skin. Most of them don't accept it, and those who do are often vilified, their artistic voices muffled by condemnation.

New face of law and order in the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Mick Hume - December 16, 2008 - 1:00am

The traffic policeman doing Michael Jackson-esque moves outside the Stars and Bucks café in busy Ramallah attracts a lot of attention. To many however, the sight of any Palestinian uniform in the West Bank is still a novelty. The dancing policeman is the face of a new force — trained in Jordan with US and European support — in an attempt to establish Palestinian law and order in the West Bank.

Wanted: an Israeli peace initiative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Tony Klug - (Opinion) December 16, 2008 - 1:00am

As any serious observer of the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy can testify, partisan enthusiasts of either side are very good at telling everyone else what they should think, where they are wrong and how they should behave. The Israeli ambassador to London, Ron Prosor is, to be fair, not alone in ploughing this path. I counted a total of 11 such imperatives in his brief article for the Guardian last week.

Israeli high court restricts barrier
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - December 16, 2008 - 1:00am

Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank cannot run in wide loops around Israeli settlements to allow for their expansion, the country's Supreme Court ruled yesterday in an order hailed by a lawyer for Palestinian villagers as a precedent-setting victory. Israeli officials say the barrier, two-thirds complete, is designed to keep out Palestinian attackers, including suicide bombers.

Rice cites Mideast peace moves
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 16, 2008 - 1:00am

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said at a farewell UN appearance Monday that Israel and the Palestinians had moved much further along the path to peace since US President George W. Bush brought their leaders together a year ago, though they won't clinch an agreement by the end of the year.

Palestinians celebrate release from Israeli jails
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ali Sawafta - December 16, 2008 - 1:00am

Israel released 224 prisoners in a goodwill gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, prompting joyous family reunions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Families sang and danced as prison buses rolled up full of newly freed men, shouting and waving from the windows, and mothers wept as they embraced their children. Abbas greeted them individually with kisses on the cheeks at his office in Ramallah, the seat of his government, but said Israel should release all Palestinians it was holding.

Bethlehem gears up for a busy Christmas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
December 16, 2008 - 1:00am

The traditional birthplace of Jesus is preparing to welcome a record number of tourists in its first year of relative calm in the West Bank since 2000, Bethlehem's mayor said on Monday. Victor Batarseh said at his annual news conference ahead of Christmas and the New Year celebration that there has been a "clear improvement in the situation of tourism since the beginning of the year." He said the West Bank town where Christians believe Jesus was born was expecting to host more than a million tourists and pilgrims "from now until the end of the year."

‘Obama should address Mideast conflict to improve US reputation’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Mohammad Ben Hussein - December 16, 2008 - 1:00am

Around 77 per cent of Jordan’s public believe US president-elect Barack Obama should tackle the Arab-Israeli conflict and end the American occupation of Iraq if he wishes to improve his country’s image in the region, a study revealed on Monday. Meanwhile, 10 per cent said that changing the current American policy related to the “war on terror” would subsequently change the US’ image in the region, according to the findings of a poll conducted by the Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS) at the University of Jordan.

Q&A with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Ali al-Saleh - December 16, 2008 - 1:00am

In this in-depth interview, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas talks to Asharq Al-Awsat on a range of issues including the recent inter-Palestinian talks held in Cairo, Hamas, the Israeli blockade, the Bush administration and the future of the Arab-Israeli peace process. Q) Let us begin with the inter-Palestinian talks in Cairo; did Hamas boycott the talks because some of its members were imprisoned in the West Bank?

Extend the truce
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Opinion) December 16, 2008 - 1:00am

On Friday, the Gaza cease-fire will officially expire. On the face of it, there should be no doubt about it - the lull has in any case evaporated. Despite the launching of Qassam rockets and mortar rounds, or maybe even because of it, the question of whether to extend the truce or declaratively disavow it arises in full force.

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