The Next Founders: Voices of Democracy in the Middle East
Press Release - Contact Information: Hussein Ibish - June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

On Monday, June 15, ATFP President Ziad Asali took part in a panel discussion at the National Endowment for Democracy about the publication of Joshua Muravchik’s new book The Next Founders: Voices of Democracy in the Middle East. The discussion was co-sponsored by the International Forum for Democratic and moderated by Marc F. Plattner, the co-editor of the Journal of Democracy, vice-president for research and studies at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and co-director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu delivers a controversial policy speech accepting the possibility of a Palestinian state but rejecting a settlement freeze (1), eliciting strong reactions from all sides (4) (5) (6) (9) (10) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18). The Washington Post examines how President Obama’s stance on an Israeli settlement freeze has been shaped over time (2). Newsweek interviews former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (4). A report released today by three international aid groups finds that Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank is increasing (7). The Independent features an op-ed by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on what Israel and the Palestinians must do to advance peace (8).

Obama’s Iran Policy to Focus on Human Rights, Not Election
Media Mention of ATFP In The Washington Independent - June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

As reports of political violence in Iran intensified after Friday’s fiercely disputed election, the Obama administration insisted that it would not interfere with the struggle for power between regime-backed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the thousands of demonstrators who contend the election was stolen. Administration officials, on and off the record, said that President Obama would offer support for human rights in Iran generally and would not back away from his diplomatic outreach to the longtime U.S. adversary, regardless of the ultimate outcome of the election.

Mideast Peace Can Start With a Land Swap
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by David Makovsky - (Opinion) June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

The White House publicly welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech yesterday giving qualified support to a two-state solution with the Palestinians. Nonetheless, there remains a gap between Mr. Netanyahu and the Obama administration over the expansion of settlements. Fortunately, there is a way to bridge that gap.

Olmert’s Lament
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Newsweek
by Kevin Peraino - June 13, 2009 - 12:00am

As the sun rose over New York City on Thursday, June 4, Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister of Israel, lay anesthetized on a Manhattan operating table. A cancerous tumor on his prostate had recently grown in size. His doctors had "all kinds of suspicions" about it, Olmert explained when we met at his house outside Jerusalem shortly before the surgery. Olmert, 63, looked terrible. He told me he hadn't been working out lately. He had put on a paunch, his eyes had a glassy quality and he had a persistent cough. I asked whether he was feeling any symptoms. "I sometimes feel tired," he said.

Report highlights increasing Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli bulldozers arrived at the rust-coloured fields of Ras al-Ahmar early in the morning on the day when Barack Obama, a few hundred miles to the south in Cairo, gave his closely watched speech to the Muslim world. Within minutes, the bulldozers had demolished 15 shacks – the homes of Palestinian farmers and their families – as well as 30 animal pens and 18 traditional ovens, implementing eviction orders given by the Israeli military a week earlier.

Obama's Friends, Aides Help Shape Stance on Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Michael D. Shear - June 13, 2009 - 12:00am

President Obama's close friends and key advisers have helped him shape the toughest line against the continued expansion of Israeli settlements since the administration of President Jimmy Carter. The result has been a confrontation with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that has surprised the Israeli government and many analysts. Netanyahu is preparing to make a major speech tomorrow in which he is expected to respond to the new American pressure.

Rightists in response to Bibi's speech: We'll build more outposts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Erfat Weiss - June 15, 2009 - 12:00am

Many settlers took a sigh of relief after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech on Sunday in which he made no mention of evacuating settlements. But Monday morning, right-wing activists announced that they were planning on building dozens of new outposts in the West Bank. "This is the appropriate Zionist response to Netanyahu's speech and (US President Barack) Obama's speech. The goal is to build new outposts and expand the existing ones," the rightists said in a statement.

Likud members say PM gave in to US pressure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
June 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address drew varied remarks from both left and right-wing officials Sunday. Rightists responded warmly to his attitude towards the settlements, but were apprehensive about his support of a Palestinian state. MK Danny Danon said other members of the Likud would work to strike the words "Palestinian state" from the address. "I will attempt to cause this sentence, which was said under American pressure, never to come into being. The speech was brilliant, but Netanyahu has given in to American pressure," he said.

PA: Speech dealt deadly blow to peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - June 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Many Palestinian leaders expressed disappointment following a much-anticipated speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday. An aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Ynet that speech "dealt a deadly blow to the peace process". "Netanyahu's speech was a right-wing speech that destroyed the basis for negotiations when it talked of a unified Jerusalem, removing the refugee issue from the talks and recognizing a Jewish state. This is a speech that is about setting terms," he said.

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