Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell meets with the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships and urges a swift resumption of peace talks (1) (10). The UN says its investigation into alleged war crimes during the Gaza war is unlikely to lead to prosecutions (3). General Keith Dayton says he plans to increase the size of the Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank in order to combat threats by Hamas militants (4) (17). A report by Amnesty International finds that many Palestinian homes in the West Bank are at risk of demolition by Israeli forces (5). A Gallup poll shows that Americans remain skeptical about the prospect of Mideast peace (6). UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, calls on Israel to ease the blockade of Gaza and freeze settlement activity (7).

Americans Remain Skeptical About Middle East Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gallup
by Lydia Saad - June 4, 2009 - 12:00am

With President Barack Obama seeking to engage the Arab world with his speech in Cairo, Americans' confidence that there will ever be peace in the Middle East is at near-record lows. Only 32% of U.S. adults surveyed by USA Today and Gallup in late May believe "there will come a time when Israel and the Arab nations will be able to settle their differences and live in peace"; 66% disagree.

Obama and the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Review Of Books
by Hussein Agha, Robert Malley - June 11, 2009 - 12:00am

By virtually every measure—name, race, origins, and upbringing—Barack Hussein Obama was a revolutionary presidential candidate. In Mideast policy at least, there is little reason to imagine that he will be a revolutionary president. The radical break with traditional US policy came with the Bush administration, during which the US invaded and then occupied Iraq, shunned Syria, and engaged in an effort, at once ambitious and irresponsible, to reshape the region.

Palestinian PM seeks aid money
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
June 9, 2009 - 12:00am

Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, has said his government is close to hitting a "brick wall" because it is not receiving enough aid to balance the budget. The Palestinian Authority, or PA, has been forced to take loans because of the shortage of aid money, but that is not a sustainable solution, he told a donors' conference in Oslo, Norway, on Monday. Blaming delinquent Arab donors, the International Monetary Fund said last week that the PA faces a serious cash crisis after receiving only half of the aid money it needs to function every month.

Israel must open Gaza, freeze settlements, says Ban
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
June 9, 2009 - 12:00am

Underscoring the need for a two-State solution and a durable peace in the region, UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on Israel to allow fuel and building materials into Gaza, freeze settlements in the West Bank and make fundamental changes in its security practices and policies. In a message to the two-day meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Ban expressed his serious concern over the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

Mitchell seeks Middle East talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
June 9, 2009 - 12:00am

The US envoy George Mitchell met with Israeli leaders today seeking to launch immediate talks on core issues of the Middle East conflict amid deep disagreements between Washington and the Jewish state over settlements and the two-state solution. Mr Mitchell’s visit comes days ahead of a key speech by the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which the hawkish leader is due to lay out his cabinet’s policies on the stalled peace process the US administration has been trying to restart.

Barak: Prepare for Deeper Operations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - June 9, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited the Shizafon Armor Corps' training base in southern Israel on Tuesday, where they observed an officers' course drill simulating a joint Armor, Infantry Engineering and Artillery corps operation, complete with aerial assistance, meant to take a Syrian village. "Future comprehensive operations will not resemble Operation Cast Lead, but will be designed to go deeper and wider and to take more chances," Barak told the cadets.

Palestinian homes at risk in occupied West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Amnesty International USA
June 8, 2009 - 12:00am

Five families in the West Bank hamlet of Hadidiya are under threat of immediate eviction. At least 12 others are fighting eviction and demolition orders in the Jordan Valley area. In total, more than 150 people, many of them children, risk losing their home and being evicted from the area. The Israeli army destroyed the homes of 18 Palestinian families and their animal pens in the nearby hamlet of Ras al-Ahmar on Thursday morning. More than 130 people, many of them children, lived in the hamlet.

Can Obama change Netanyahu?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Linda Heard - (Opinion) June 8, 2009 - 12:00am

Speaking at Cairo University last week, US President Barack Obama put his credibility on the line. He told the Israelis to stop colony-building and to ensure that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have the opportunity to lead normal lives. Moreover, he stressed his commitment to a two-state solution, which he intends to make a personal priority, and equated the Palestinian cause with struggles against South African apartheid as well as the African-American civil rights movement.

UN's Gaza War Crimes Investigation Faces Obstacles
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ben Hubbard - June 9, 2009 - 12:00am

A veteran U.N. war crimes investigator acknowledged his probe of possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas — which included interviewing dozens of victims and poring through the files of human rights groups — is unlikely to lead to prosecutions. Israel has refused to cooperate, depriving his team access to military sources and victims of Hamas rockets. And Hamas security often accompanied his team during their five-day trip to Gaza last week, raising questions about the ability of witnesses to freely describe the militant group's actions.

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