The Israeli army announces plans to limit incursions into four West Bank cities in recognition of major improvements in Palestinian security force capabilities (1). The Arab League embraces President Obama’s vision for Middle East Peace (3). Former Bush administration official Elliott Abrams claims that there was a US-Israeli “understanding” allowing for settlement construction when Ariel Sharon was Israel’s Prime Minister, although Secretary of State Clinton has stated categorically that there is no record of any such agreement (5). Several articles assess the impact of continuing tensions over Israel's unfulfilled Roadmap commitment to a settlement freeze (6) (7) (11) (12). The National examines the most recent rift between Fatah and Hamas (10).

What have we gained?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hadas Ziv - June 24, 2009 - 12:00am

The blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip has been in place for two years, and who can even remember its aims by now? How did Palestinian civilians become the target of Israel's defense establishment?

Aharon Barak: Jews want equality, and to kick Arabs out
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Daniel Edelson - June 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Speaking at a New Israel Fund legal conference at the Rabin Center in Tel Aviv, former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak said, "The situation of human rights in the occupied territories is problematic, and this situation has an indirect effect on human rights in Israel." Barak, who said he is a "big believer in a state of all its citizens", while maintaining its Jewish character, criticized the general Jewish public.

Why Defining ‘Natural Growth’ Is So Confusing, On Purpose
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Jeffay - June 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Givat Ha’eytam, West Bank — Givat Ha’eytam, a lonely hill in the Israeli occupied West Bank, seems like anything but a natural part of the bustling 8,000-person Jewish settlement of Efrat. Indeed, the stony outcrop, with its view of Efrat’s buildings in the distance, soon will be cut off from that settlement by the separation barrier Israel is building across the length of the West Bank, ostensibly to protect Israelis from Palestinian terrorism.

Some Jewish settlers turning against Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Dina Kraft - June 24, 2009 - 12:00am

YITZHAR, West Bank (JTA) -- The Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in this Jewish settlement looks more like a well-fortified auto repair shop than a house of learning. Located in an industrial neighborhood, the yeshiva has a drab aluminum exterior and tin roof, and it’s surrounded by a metal gate. A small guard house sits out front, and teenage boys wearing oversized, thick-knit kipot walk in and out of the gate and past a lonely basketball hoop. Appearances notwithstanding, these students and their teachers have become the face of radical Jewish nationalism in Israel.

Israeli and Palestinian youth 'imagine' a peaceful region
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Stephanie Rubenstein - June 24, 2009 - 12:00am

"If peace were made in 2008, what would the region look like 10 years later?" That was the question posed to Israeli and Palestinian youngsters by One Voice, a grassroots organization that aims to promote the voices of moderate Israelis and Palestinians who are working toward a two-state solution.

PM takes heat in Paris for settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - June 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continued to refuse to yield ground on the settlement construction issue Wednesday, even though French President Nicolas Sarkozy squarely backed the US position and called for a complete halt to the construction. Netanyahu, speaking with reporters after his meeting in Paris with Sarkozy, said that Israel and the US had an "unbreakable bond," but that "there can be differences of opinion between friends."

Netanyahu - a slow learner
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Paul Woodward - June 25, 2009 - 12:00am

During his historic speech in Cairo earlier this month, the US president Barack Obama said: "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop." On Tuesday, The Guardian reported: "Israel's defence ministry has proposed legalising 60 existing homes at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, and building another 240 homes at the site, despite US calls for a halt to settlement growth.

Palestinian groups round up rivals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - June 25, 2009 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK // On June 14, Fatah and Hamas, the estranged main Palestinian factions, seemingly moved a step closer to reconciliation when representatives met in Ramallah and Gaza City and agreed to begin releasing prisoners held by both sides. But 10 days later, with a security sweep in the West Bank that netted more than 100 Hamas members, and the closing of a Gaza newspaper and the arrest of its editor, the rivals appear instead to have taken two strides backward.

Netanyahu's demand on Israel's 'Jewishness' is arbitrary
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Abraham Yehoshua - (Opinion) June 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Ever since the 1967 Middle East war, a small number of Israelis, not all on the left, supported the idea of two states as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Most of their compatriots rejected it, as did the Palestinians. Israelis justified their stance with this question: Just when did the Palestinians become a nation deserving of statehood? The Palestinians were asking in return: Why should the Jews, a religious community dispersed around the world, have their own state?

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