Middle East News: World Press Roundup

News reports today are dominated by speculation about a potential prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas involving captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and Ha'aretz examines who the winners and losers would be in the event of an agreement. Fox news interviews PM Fayyad. IPS reports that Palestinian children in the occupied territories face daily attacks from Israeli settlers. Two Hamas fighters are killed in an explosion in Gaza, and Yasser Abed Rabbo says Hamas would form a pact with the devil to weaken the PLO. Pres. Abbas says there will be no third intifada. A Palestinian student in Israel appears to have been rejected from university program because of his ethnicity. The BBC profiles life in divided and occupied Jerusalem. Gershon Baskin considers the merits of the PA government state building plan. In Bitter Lemons, Yossi Alpher and Ghassan Khatib debate how to move forward given the present impasse. In the New York Times blog, Daniel Gordis, Daoud Kuttab and David Makovsky debate the prospect of a Hamas-Israel prisoner exchange.

Netanyahu Says Swap of Prisoners Is Uncertain
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner, Isabel Kershner - November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought Tuesday to temper expectations about a deal to exchange a captured Israeli soldier for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, saying “There is still no deal, and I do not know if there will be one.” Addressing the fears of some Israelis that a swap would boost the standing of Hamas, Mr. Netanyahu said the authorities would “not be sparing with a public discussion. We will not do it as a fait accompli,” news reports said.

Gilad Shalit release: Hamas, Israel prisoner swap said to be imminent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Jerusalem Israel and Hamas appear to be moving closer to a prisoner swap in which Israel would release up to 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Exclusive Sit-Down with Palestinian P.M.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Fox News
by Michael Tobin - (Blog) November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

The proposals of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salem Fayyad seem simple and obvious from a Western Perspective; build the institutions of a working Palestinian government first, make the move for statehood second. However, coming from a population that has focused for decades on the conflict with Israel, his proposals are radical.

Palestinian Children Face Daily Settler Attacks Getting to School
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Mel Frykberg - November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Being able to travel to school in relative safety is something children all over the world take for granted. But, for Palestinian children living in the shadow of the ubiquitous and illegal Israeli settlements dotting the West Bank, simply walking to school can be a terrifying experience. "It is really scary walking to school. We never know when the settlers will attack us and beat us," says Rima Ali, 10, from the village of Tuba in the southern West Bank, about two hours drive south of Jerusalem.

Fayyad: Israeli stubbornness impeding peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the Israeli refusal to bring settlement construction and activity to a complete standstill as the central reason for the stall in peace talks, during a news conference on Tuesday alongside German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. During their meeting in Ramallah, Fayyad and Westerwelle discussed the peace process and what is needed to overcome the obstacles in front of it. Fayyad highlighted his own efforts to prepare for the establishment of a Palestinian state capable of serving the Palestinian people.

Two Hamas fighters killed in explosion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Two Palestinian operatives affiliated to Hamas’ armed Al-Qassam Brigades were killed and four others injured in a home-explosion near the Karni border crossing with Israel on Tuesday, local sources reported. The home, in the Ash-Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City, was destroyed, though it was unclear what caused the explosion. The two killed were identified as Ahmad Abu Ghaniyya and Muhammad Nawati, according to the director of the ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, Muawiyah Hassanein.

Abed Rabbo: Hamas would form pact with Satan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Senior PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo assailed Hamas on Tuesday morning, accusing the group of plotting to “ally with the devil” in order to weaken the Palestinian Authority (PA). The criticism comes amid media reports that Hamas is poised to conclude a deal with Israel that would involve the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a soldier held by guerrillas in Gaza. Both Fatah and Hamas prisoners would be released.

Who wins and who loses in Shalit deal?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

1. Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried hard Monday to lower public and media expectations of an imminent deal for Gilad Shalit, via a statement issued by his bureau and remarks to the Likud Knesset faction. This is being conducted under a thick veil of secrecy, replete with psychological warfare and false media reports. It's hard to guess exactly how long it will take, but reports that Hamas officials will fly to Damascus after their meetings in Cairo mean it probably won't happen by this Friday.

Abbas: Palestinians won't launch new intifada, despite frustration
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinians will not launch a new uprising against Israel despite their frustration at the deadlock in U.S.-sponsored peace efforts, President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday. Israel has rejected U.S. calls to freeze settlements in the West Bank where Palestinians seek statehood, and Abbas - eyeing the internal challenge from his Islamist Hamas rivals - has refused to yield on this core demand and revive negotiations.

Report: Next 2 days crucial for deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

After Ynet reported on Monday that aides close to Tanzim official Marwan Barghouti and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Ahmed Saadat received in formation that they will be released as part of a prisoner exchange deal for the released of Gilad Shalit, Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom was quick to deny the reports. But on Tuesday, London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat published a similar report, and quoted Palestinian sources as saying that unprecedented progress has been made in talks, and that Israel has agreed to release both Saadat and Barghouti.

University mentor program rejects Arab student
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yaheli Moran Zelikovich - November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

An Arab student who wanted to enroll in a university mentoring program told Ynet Monday that he had been rejected by the program's sponsors because of his race. Perach leaders told the student, M., that he would not be able to mentor Jewish children eligible for assistance because this would constitute a "violation of protocol". M., a student at Beersheba's Ben Gurion University, decided to enroll in the program early in the academic year, but upon attempting to do so he was informed that all positions in the Arab sector had been filled.

Palestinian 'community center' contests shutting down order
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Aviad Glickman - November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Employees of the Nadiel Center in Jerusalem's Old City filed a petition with the High Court of Justice Monday against the police, who closed down the center in July on the grounds that it was serving as meeting point for terrorists belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The petition says the establishment serves as a community center which gives health tips to civilians and support to teens, and that it is funded by European donations.

Life in Jerusalem's city of three faiths
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Heather Sharp - (Analysis) November 21, 2009 - 1:00am

Jerusalem's Old City is a district containing a number of holy sites venerated by Muslims, Christians and Jews. The BBC's Heather Sharp, who moved into a home within its walls last year, reports on daily life in a dense tangle of narrow, winding alleyways. Our first night was a disaster. We had finally got the keys to our new home. A wiry teenager had wheeled our bed on a handcart through the narrow, carless streets. But as we turned out the light, Arabic pop music, cheers and whistles blasted in through the window of our new flat as neighbours celebrated a wedding.

Encountering Peace: Getting serious about 'economic peace'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

More than 10 months have passed since President Barack Obama entered the White House and seven months since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took over the reins in Jerusalem and there is still no peace process worth mentioning. Netanyahu campaigned on the slogan of "economic peace" and boasted that he would help the Palestinians build their state from the bottom up by strengthening their economy and thereby "giving them something to lose," so that they will not revert back to violence.

Dancing with Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Ghassan Charbel - (Opinion) November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu is waging a draining war against Barack Obama. He is attempting to take him on before agreeing with him on a vision for peace. It is a very dangerous game that provokes the feelings of one billion Muslims. It is what President Hosni Moubarak said to Shimon Perez. This implies undermining the opportunity for peace and drowning Israel in isolation due to its excessive embarrassment in front of its friends. The warning came from former President Bill Clinton. Netanyahu is acting like a blind warrior who refuses to read the regional and international situations.

Two alternative paths
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Editorial) November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

I continue to believe that a bilaterally negotiated two-state solution between Israel and the PLO is the optimal outcome and is possible. But not under the leadership currently in power in all the relevant capitals: Jerusalem, Ramallah, Gaza, Cairo and last but not least (on the basis of its first 10 months' performance) Washington. In the absence of credible hope for a near-term solution, a number of alternative paths to progress present themselves. Two are reflected in evolving realities on the ground, hence appear to be the most pragmatic. They are not mutually exclusive.

Two alternatives: backward or forward
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) November 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian officials have always and consistently reiterated their commitment to the peace process. Bilateral negotiations are seen as the main strategy to achieve the legitimate Palestinian objectives of ending the Israeli occupation, achieving statehood and freedom as well as solving the issue of Palestinian refugees in accordance with UNGA Resolution 194.

Israel’s Gamble in a Prisoner Swap
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Blog) November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group in control of Gaza, appeared to be nearing a deal on Monday to exchange an Israeli soldier, Sgt. Gilad Shalit, seized three years ago for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, with potentially significant implications for the stalled peace talks. The deal could include Marwan Barghouti, a popular Palestinian leader, officials said.

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