Middle East Progress discusses the issue of Jerusalem with former Canadian Ambassador Michael Bell (1). A Paris meeting between Mideast Envoy George Mitchell and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is cancelled, as tensions continue over a settlement freeze (3) (4) (16). The Associated Press finds that more than a third of “natural” growth in existing settlements is due to Israelis migrating into the West Bank (5). Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s recent speech draws a strong reaction from within the Palestinian government (6). Russia announces that it will try to hold a Mideast Peace conference before the end of the year (9). The Israeli military removes several roadblocks in the West Bank (13).

Israel mulls temporary freeze on settlement construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - June 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel is considering enacting a temporary freeze on settlement construction, excluding projects already underway, if the United States agrees to continued construction for natural growth once the freeze ends, an Israeli government source has told Haaretz. U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell has been conducting low-profile talks with Israel in a bid to reach an agreement on the settlement issue, the government official said.

Israel removes dozens of West Bank roadblocks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - June 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Recent weeks have seen a dramatic change in Israel's roadblock policy in the West Bank. Right under the nose of the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israel Defense Forces has lifted some of the main, permanent roadblocks in the West Bank, which have played a central role in restricting the movement of Palestinians, mostly between the main Palestinian cities.

US-Israel talks in Paris aborted
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
June 24, 2009 - 12:00am

A meeting between Israel's prime minister and a senior US envoy has been cancelled amid growing differences over settlement building in the West Bank. Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot said the US put off the meeting in response to Benjamin Netanyahu's refusal to heed US demands to halt settlement activity. But Mr Netanyahu's aides say it was the prime minister who cancelled Thursday's meeting with George Mitchell in Paris. They said "more professional work" was needed, without adding further details.

PM: J'lem, US working on settlement deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - June 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel and the US are continuing to negotiate the parameters of a settlement construction freeze, diplomatic officials said Tuesday, soon after it was announced that a scheduled meeting Thursday in Paris between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US Middle East envoy George Mitchell to discuss the matter had been postponed.

Mitchell calls off meeting with Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - June 24, 2009 - 12:00am

The dispute between Jerusalem and Washington over the settlement issue continues in full force: Special US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has called off a meeting scheduled for Thursday in Paris with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the backdrop of the ongoing dispute over West Bank settlements. Defense Minister Ehud Barak is expected to leave for Washington for an unplanned meeting with Mitchell on Monday in order to mediate. The Prime Minister's Office. however, clarified Wednesday morning that Israel was the one to cancel the meeting.

Solving the Problem of the Old City
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Progress
by Michael Bell - (Blog) June 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Why is the issue of Jerusalem so central to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian and the broader Arab-Israeli conflict?

Egypt Intensifying Pressure For Lull
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - June 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Egypt is leading an unprecedented effort to bring about an agreement on a lull and a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas and the other Palestinian factions, London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Wednesday. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' scheduled visit to Cairo on Wednesday, and a visit to Israel by Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman's assistant, General Muhammad Ibrahim, were said to be part of this effort.

If anyone can handle Bibi’s curveball, it’s Mitchell
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Patrick Granfield - (Opinion) June 24, 2009 - 12:00am

When George Mitchell, the US president Barack Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, sits down with the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of a summit in Paris tomorrow, there will be little fanfare – and that may suit Mr Mitchell. He has a reputation for being hard-nosed, but also for humility. He is discreet, understated and rarely departs from his boss’s game plan – virtues that a generation ago in America would have been associated with a “baseball man”.

On a mission to 'reclaim' Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
by Jacky Rowland - June 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Arye King is an Israeli settler on a self-appointed mission from God: to extend Jewish ownership over the whole of Jerusalem. Armed only with a crash helmet and a list of properties which, he says, belong to Jewish owners, he travels by motor scooter around the Jerusalem area, posting eviction orders against Palestinians who believe they are living lawfully in the disputed homes. On the day we join him, his mission takes him to Beit Zafafa, a Palestinian neighbourhood in the south of the city.

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