Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The New York Times says both Israel and the Palestinians have concluded the other side does not want a peace agreement. Right-wing Israelis express outrage at PM Netanyahu's partial settlement moratorium, but reports suggest that new housing is still being approved and that in reality construction will continue apace. Palestinians also reject the announcement. Reuters looks at the plight of Gaza's homeless. At least one Palestinian is killed in an Israeli airstrike on northern Gaza. Israel is to remove 90 Fatah members from its "wanted list." Speculation continues that any possible prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas will include jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti. Alex Fishman argues that Israel must move quickly to save the collapse of the PA in order to prevent chaos. Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat describes the Obama administration as "awful." The Jerusalem Post analyzes the political crisis facing Pres. Abbas. The National profiles a graffiti campaign between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza.

Half-Truths Dim Chances for Renewing Mideast Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - November 26, 2009 - 1:00am

In recent years, the international community has made one central demand of Israel and one of the Palestinians to create conditions for a two-state solution: Israel must stop building settlements on land the Palestinians want for their state, and the Palestinians must dismantle terrorist networks and end violent attacks on Israelis.

Israel settlement freeze: Benjamin Netanyahu promises 10-month halt, angering allies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - November 25, 2009 - 1:00am

In an attempt to jump-start Middle East peace talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Wednesday for a c. Israel's security cabinet, one of the gatekeeping bodies on major policy decisions, approved the freeze with an 11-1 vote.

For Gaza's homeless, holiday is time for despair
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
November 26, 2009 - 1:00am

In the days leading up to Eid al-Adha, Zaid Khadar would usually be buying new clothes for his children and stocking up on traditional foods to celebrate one of the most important dates on the Muslim calendar. Instead, he struggles to shield them from the winter rain dripping through the roof of the shelter that has housed his family since they were made homeless by Israel's three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip almost a year ago. "My children are saying: 'Why aren't you bringing us clothes? Why don't you get a sheep to slaughter?'" said Khadar.

Israel: One killed, others injured in airstrike on Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 27, 2009 - 1:00am

The Israeli military confirmed an air attack on the northern Gaza Strip Friday morning which it said killed one Palestinian. Palestinian sources were quoted in Israeli media as confirming that four men were injured, two seriously. Military sources said a group of Palestinians in the Jabaliya region of northern Gaza were preparing to launch projectiles on southern Israel. An army spokeswoman said the slain Palestinian was a member of a group called "Jaljalat" which she described as a Salafist group in Gaza with "ties to Al-Qaeda." The group is not known to operate in Gaza.

UPDATED list: Israel pardons 90 former Fatah fighters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
November 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel has agreed to remove 90 former Palestinian fighters from its list of “wanted” men on the eve of the Muslim Eid Al-Adha holiday, Palestinian sources said on Thursday. The sources indicated that on Wednesday night the Palestinian Authority (PA) handed Israeli officials a list of 93 people it wants removed from the wanted list during a meeting.

Israel okays 28 new settlement buildings, despite freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Chaim Levinson, Barak Ravid, Yanir Yagna - November 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday ordered the IDF to issue a temporary freeze order, but at the same time allowed the construction of 28 new public buildings in settlements. Meanwhile, Haaretz has learned that the state is expected to ask the Supreme Court for more time to evacuate illegal outposts. The State Attorney's Office is expected to update the Supreme Court by next week on three court rulings that have not been carried out, for the evacuation of outposts at Eli, Horsha, and Netiv Ha'avot, as well as six other locations in the West Bank.

Settlers have been working for months to undermine construction freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - (Analysis) November 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu owes much gratitude to the Yesha Council and the members of the rightist flank in Likud. Were it not for their public opposition over the past two days, someone might have suspected that the decision to freeze settlement construction permits for 10 months was an even smaller Israeli concession than it originally appeared to be.

Report: Israel will release Barghouti in Shalit deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff, Jack Khoury - November 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel will release Fatah strongman Marwan Barghouti as part of a deal to secure the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat quoted Palestinian sources as saying Thursday. Barghouti is currently serving five life sentences in Israel for his role in a series of deadly terrorist attacks during the second intifada.

Civil Administration distributes freeze orders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - November 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Officers of the Civil Administration began Friday to hand out orders to Judea and Samaria council heads commanding them to stop issuing construction permits in settlements, just two days after the cabinet decision on a 10-month settlement construction freeze. In addition, Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed reports that his ministry sent an aircraft to photograph West Bank settlements, in order to document the construction taking place there.

Minister Livnat: We are facing an awful administration
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ilana Curiel - November 27, 2009 - 1:00am

"I do not envy the prime minister. We are facing an awful administration," Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat said during a Likud convention in Beersheba Thursday, referring to US President Barack Obama's government.

The mission: Saving Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Alex Fishman - (Opinion) November 26, 2009 - 1:00am

The construction freeze in the settlements is yet another oxygen tank en route to reviving the “diplomatic horizon,” without which we shall see the Palestinian Authority increasingly disintegrating. This is not about getting sentimental with Abbas or a sudden love story between the Israeli government and the diplomatic process. Even the tough “ideologists” within the cabinet realized Wednesday that there is no other choice, and that every effort must be made in order to preserve regional stability, even for a limited time. The Palestinian Authority must not collapse.

Palestinian Affairs: Abbas's angst
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - November 26, 2009 - 1:00am

Amid reports of significant progress in mediation efforts to achieve a prisoner exchange agreement between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Authority convened a conference in Jericho earlier this week to highlight the case of Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Obviously, the PA leadership in the West Bank was hoping that the conference would divert attention from reports about an impending deal between Israel and Hamas. To achieve its goal, the PA dispatched Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to address the conference.

Hamas and Fatah wage rivalry on Gaza’s walls
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Erin Cunningham - November 26, 2009 - 1:00am

Mohammed Fouad’s eyes darted from place to place on the quiet Gaza City street. Puffing nervously on a cigarette, he began brisk strokes with an aerosol paint can and in just five minutes completed a near-perfect portrait of the late Fatah leader Yasser Arafat. “If they see me, I’ll go to jail,” Mr Fouad said, referring to the Hamas policemen who forbade him from writing or drawing any pro-Fatah graffiti on Gaza’s walls. “I’ve been to jail five times since the Hamas takeover because of my art.”

Prisoner Exchange Deal Expected Next Week – Palestinian Sources
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Saad Jarous - November 26, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian sources in Damascus revealed that the Israeli – Hamas prisoner exchange which is being negotiated with the aid of a German mediator will likely be concluded by next week. Palestinian sources close to the Hamas movement informed Asharq Al-Awsat that a Hamas delegation from the Gaza Strip led by Mahmoud al-Zahar, and also including Khalil al-Hayya and Nizar Awdallah met with the German mediator in Cairo.

Why Should Obama Do Anything for the Peace Process?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) November 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the US President "is not doing anything at the present time" to revive the Israeli – Palestinian negotiations for peace, adding that Obama "called for us to resume the peace process…and I hope that he plays a larger role in the future." Abbas also said that the Palestinians "are waiting for America to put pressure on Israel to respect international law and follow the roadmap for peace."

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