ATFP Hosts Gen. Dayton, Rep. Ellison
Press Release - Contact Information: Hussein Ibish - June 30, 2009 - 12:00am

On Tuesday, June 30, the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) hosted another installment of its Distinguished Guest Forum, an off-the-record panel discussion with US Security Coordinator Lieutenant General Keith Dayton and US Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN). The event was held at ATFP’s offices in Washington, DC. Lt. Gen. Dayton and Rep. Ellison discussed recent developments and prospects for future progress in the Middle East and answered questions from members of ATFP’s Board of Directors and supporters.

A report by Human Rights Watch criticizes Israeli drone strikes carried out during the Gaza war (1). Several articles assess the issues involved in a potential Israeli settlement freeze (2) (3) (7) (12). Mohammad Yaghi looks at the financial crisis within the Palestinian Authority (5). The Palestinian Authority reports that Hamas had allegedly planned attacks on PA officials in the West Bank(9) (16). Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is set to begin talks with Special Mideast envoy George Mitchell in New York today (10) (15). A poll released today shows support for Hamas is waning among Palestinians (18).

Experts Voice New Hope for Solution to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Media Mention of Ziad Asali In Voice of America - June 30, 2009 - 12:00am

In the wake of U.S. President Barack Obama's June 4th speech to the Muslim world and the Israeli prime minister's recent acceptance of a conditional Palestinian state, hopes have risen for a resumption of talks aimed at resolving the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Report Criticizes Israeli Drone Strikes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Christopher Drew - June 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Twenty-nine civilians, including eight children, were killed in several missile strikes by Israeli drones in Gaza in December and January, according to a report released on Tuesday by Human Rights Watch. The group questioned whether Israeli forces had taken “all feasible precautions” to avoid civilian casualties. Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, a spokeswoman for the Israeli military, said Israeli forces had gone to extraordinary lengths to warn civilians during the Gaza offensive, and she questioned the credibility of some of the Palestinian witnesses cited by the advocacy group.

Analysis: Diplomatic faux pas, or calculated message?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - (Analysis) June 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel has a thing with timing, particularly around important diplomatic meetings. In January, 2007, for example, then-prime minister Ehud Olmert flew down to Sharm el-Sheikh for a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Shortly before Olmert's plane took off, the IDF launched a rare daytime raid on downtown Ramallah in search of a terror suspect. Pictures of the raid - in which four people were killed and 20 wounded - were broadcast live on Al Jazeera. Needless to say, this was not constructive for the Olmert-Mubarak meeting.

West Bank settlers call tourists to the rescue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by Patrick Moser - June 29, 2009 - 12:00am

This year's cherry festival was a roaring success, drawing thousands of people who enjoyed grilled kosher sausages and right-wing ideology in the emblematic Gush Etzion settlement bloc. A band belted out its stuff as clowns entertained the wee ones and families gorged themselves on the plump cherries of the Rosh Tzurim kibbutz, one of the communities in Gush Etzion, just south of Jerusalem. Food stalls and other small businesses did brisk trade, but the fest was about more than just fun and money.

In two Israeli settlements, a booming demand for more space
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - June 29, 2009 - 12:00am

A stack of moving boxes packed with religious books is tucked into the corner of Yossi and Racheli Zehnwirth's apartment salon. Three years ago, the couple arrived as newlyweds in this devoutly religious settlement – the second largest in the West Bank – with the hopes of buying their own home, a goal beyond reach 15 minutes away in Jerusalem.

Poll: 'Palestinian support for Hamas waning'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
June 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Hamas support among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is waning, according to a survey conducted by the Palestinian Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC). According to the results of the poll published Monday, 18.8 percent of the Palestinian population backs the Islamist group, compared to 27% when the last JMCC survey was conducted in January. The survey of 1,199 people also showed that 35% of Palestinians support Fatah, a nine percent rise compared with the previous survey.

PA official: Hamas planned to assassinate senior officials
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - June 30, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority has recently arrested a Hamas cell that admitted to planning to assassinate senior Palestinian officials by July 7, the date set by Egypt for the signing of an agreement between Fatah and the Islamist group, the head of the Palestinian Presidency said on Monday. According to Tayeb Abdul-Rahim, the order to attack Palestinian officials and institutions in the northern West Bank was given by Hamas' leadership abroad and by its armed wing in Gaza, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

Bibi’s inner circle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - June 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu’s father, the historian Ben Zion Netanyahu, once said that his son's biggest failure as a leader was his inability to pick the right people to advise him. Now prime minister for a second time and facing major decisions on Iran, the Palestinians and the Arab world -- not to mention ties with the United States -- Netanyahu has picked what looks like a strong but possibly too like-minded team. These are the more influential members of the inner circle Netanyahu has put together in the weeks since taking office.

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