July 24th

Israel Revives Plan To Build New West Bank Settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 24, 2008 - 4:27pm

Israel's Defense Ministry has revived a plan it had shelved under U.S. pressure to build a new Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, government officials said on Thursday. A ministry committee approved the construction of 20 housing units in Maskiot, an abandoned military base in the Jordan Valley for some of the families removed from settlements in the Gaza Strip during Israel's pullout in 2005, the officials said. But the project cannot go ahead without approval from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Israel To Scale Down Ops In Flashpoint Palestinian City
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
July 24, 2008 - 4:25pm

The Israeli army will reduce its operations in the West Bank city of Nablus, an official said Thursday after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas threatened to pull forces out of the flashpoint city. Defence Minister Ehud Barak has told Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad that Israel will restrict its activities in Nablus to the "necessary minimum" in order not to undermine efforts to establish an effective Palestinian police force in the city, the senior defence official told AFP.

Palestinians: Jewish Settlers Smash Village
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
July 24, 2008 - 4:24pm

More than 20 Jewish settlers attacked a Palestinian village in the West Bank on Thursday, smashing cars and windows and cutting electricity wires, Palestinian police said. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, however, said settlers never entered the village itself although there were scuffles between Palestinians and Israelis outside the village of Burin on the road to the nearby settlement of Yitzhar. When police and soldiers intervened, a settler snatched a soldier's gun and fired in the air before being disarmed and arrested, Rosenfeld and the military said.

Obama Sees Window Of Opportunity For Mideast Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
July 24, 2008 - 4:22pm

US presidential candidate Barack Obama vowed on Wednesday to take advantage of what he said was a window of opportunity for Middle East peace if he was elected. “I will not wait until a few years into my term or my second term if I am elected in order to get the process moving,” Obama said in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, which has been hard-hit by Palestinian rocket and mortar fire. “I think we have a window right now that needs to be taken advantage of.”

Israel's War By Water
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from New Statesman
July 24, 2008 - 4:21pm

Eight tankers are parked on the rough ground at the filling point. The drivers look anxiously at a metal box attached to a large water-pipe that carries a trickle of water into the nearest tanker. Dr Hassan of the Palestinian Hydrology Group explains: "They are looking at the pressure gauge. Pressure is very low and the drivers are worried. No water deliveries, no pay." This is the Dhahiriya water filling point, a few miles south of Hebron in the West Bank. Many nearby Palestinian communities - the "unconnected villages" - rely on this water.

Obama Pledges To Israeli Safety, Mideast Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Dan Balz And Griff Witte - July 24, 2008 - 4:19pm

Sen. Barack Obama stepped gingerly through the intractable politics of the Middle East yesterday, offering resolute support for Israel's security, warning that Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons would be a "game-changing" event for the world, and pledging to make peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians one of his highest priorities if he becomes president.

Tough Love For Israel?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Nicholas D. Kristof - (Opinion) July 24, 2008 - 4:17pm

On his visit to the Middle East, Barack Obama gave ritual affirmations of his support for Israeli policy, but what Israel needs from America isn’t more love, but tougher love. Particularly at a time when Israel seems to be contemplating military strikes on Iranian nuclear sites, the United States would be a better friend if it said: “That’s crazy” — while also insisting on a 100 percent freeze on settlements in the West Bank and greater Jerusalem.

July 23rd

Senator Barack Obama’s recent Middle East trip draws mixed reviews (1) (2) (4) (8). The controversy over water rights in the West Bank continues to threaten the peace process (3). The IDF announces plans to scale down its operations in the West Bank town of Nablus, after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to pull his forces out of the city (6). Israel gives preliminary approval to the construction of a new settlement in the West Bank (7).

Polygraph Confirms Idf Officer Didn't Order Soldier To Shoot Cuffed Palestinian
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yuval Azoulay And Shahar Ilan - July 23, 2008 - 5:03pm

The Israel Defense Forces officer accused of ordering a soldier under his command to shoot a bound and blindfolded Palestinian detainee has passed a polygraph test verifying his testimony that he did not give the order to open fire. Lieutenant colonel Omri Fruberg, commanding officer of IDF regiment 71, took the polygraph on Tuesday in a private institute at the recommendation of his lawyers.

Pa: Israel Pardoned Another 24 Wanted Fatah Men
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - July 23, 2008 - 5:01pm

Israel has informed the Palestinian Authority that it is willing to pardon 24 wanted al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades' members as part of the prisoner release deal signed between both sides in 2007, Palestinian sources said Tuesday. The decision was made following defense establishment assessments. Four of the men will be fully pardoned and would be able to move freely within Palestinian territories. The rest would be able to move freely within Palestinian Zone A and will no longer be included on Israel's most wanted list.

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