May 29th

Netanyahu: "What the hell do they want from me?"
Media Mention of Hussein Ibish In Foreign Policy - May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Obama tells Israel to halt expansion
Media Mention of Ghaith al-Omari In The Boston Globe - May 29, 2009 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON - President Obama received Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House yesterday with an invaluable welcoming gift: a toughly worded, categorical US demand for Israel to stop expanding settlements in the West Bank. But hours before the two men met, the Israeli government flatly rejected the demand. Spokesman Mark Regev said that "normal life in those communities must be allowed to continue," including some construction.

May 28th

ATFP Welcomes President Obama’s Strong Support for Palestinian Statehood, Israeli Settlement Freeze
Press Release - Contact Information: Hussein Ibish - May 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Washington, DC, May 28 -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today welcomed President Barack Obama’s statements of strong support for Middle East peace based on the creation of a Palestinian state to live alongside Israel and for a complete freeze to all Israeli settlement activity. President Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met privately at the White House this afternoon before being joined by their delegations, and spoke briefly with reporters afterwards.

ACP Begins Delivery of $200,000 Worth of Laptop Computers to Palestinian Schools
Press Release - Contact Information: Mohammed Maraqa - May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Washington, DC, May 28 – The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) is proud to announce that its sister organization, American Charities for Palestine (ACP), has initiated the delivery of laptop computers to schools in Palestine. This project has been coordinated with One Laptop Per Child, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Palestinian Ministry of Education.

High stakes for Obama-Abbas talks
Media Mention of Ziad Asali In BBC News - May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

When they met last summer in Ramallah, on the West Bank, Barack Obama promised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas he would be an active partner for peace, if he made it into the White House. A year later, President Obama is sitting in the Oval Office, keeping his promise to tackle the Middle East conflict from the start of his term, but he is probably wondering whether Mr Abbas is the partner he was hoping for.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphatically reiterates the Obama Administration’s call for an end to all Israeli settlement activity (1) (3) (6), while an Israeli government spokesperson announces that “natural growth” expansion of settlements will continue (3) (5). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to meet with President Obama in Washington this afternoon (7) (15). A report issued by Amnesty International accuses Israel of violating the laws of armed conflict during the Gaza war and of breaking the ceasefire with Hamas (13). A special Israeli police unit kills a senior Hamas military commander in Hebron (14).

The politics behind the West Bank settlement fight
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Globe and Mail
by Patrick Martin - May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Hoping to satisfy the demands of Barack Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war this week on two dozen Jewish settler outposts he considers illegal in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. This already battered hillside trailer park is one of them. Givat Assaf (“the hill of Assaf”) is situated a few kilometres northeast of the Palestinian town of Ramallah. The small cluster of about 18 caravans was erected in April, 2001. Its synagogue, paved lanes and quaint road signs lend the community an aura of permanence.

Closer to statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ahram
May 27, 2009 - 12:00am

It used to be that the first visit by a new Israeli prime minister to Washington was a walkover. The Americans would swear their support and tell those concerned in the region that Israel would always be top dog. The message was clear: anyone wanting to stay on Washington's good side must be nice to Israel too.

Backers of Jewish Settlements Put Squeeze on Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - May 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Supporters of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank are increasing the pressure on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as he steers between a government coalition that supports continued building in the area and President Obama's demand that it stop.

Israeli Settlement Growth Must Stop, Clinton Says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - May 27, 2009 - 12:00am

The Obama administration reiterated emphatically on Wednesday that it viewed a complete freeze of construction in settlements on the West Bank as a critical step toward a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians. Speaking of President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, “He wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not ‘natural growth’ exceptions.” Talking to reporters after a meeting with the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, she said: “That is our position. That is what we have communicated very clearly.”

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017