Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Special Mideast envoy George Mitchell in New York yesterday (1) (16), as tension continues over efforts to secure an Israeli settlement freeze (6) (7) (12) (17) (18). As violence in the West Bank subsides, the Occupied Territories experience a marked economic upswing (2). The Christian Science Monitor looks at how the Israeli naval blockade is impacting Gaza (3), as the IDF intercepts another ad hoc aid ship (5). Cairo extends the deadline for an agreement in national accord talks between Hamas and Fatah (9). The first movie theater in twenty years opens in the West Bank town of Nablus (10). The Palestinian Authority accuses Israel of planning to expropriate an additional 2% of the West Bank (13).

Bibi Needs Tzipi
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Opinion) July 1, 2009 - 12:00am

The dispute with the United States over the settlement freeze is a futile controversy serving only one purpose: to bolster the status of the administration of President Barack Obama as an honest broker in the eyes of the Palestinians and the Arab states, in contrast to that of his predecessor, which was seen in Ramallah, Cairo and Riyadh as serving Israel. Obama wants to show that he can bend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That is not necessarily bad for Netanyahu.

Fatah, Hamas to miss unity deadline set by Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - June 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Hamas Islamists and the rival Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have been given three more weeks to seek a reconciliation deal after it became clear they would miss a July 7 deadline set by Egypt. Palestinian officials said on Tuesday that Cairo had now given the factions until July 28 to agree to resolve their political divisions and end bickering marked by clashes and security crackdowns in Gaza and the West Bank. The sides will leave Egypt and return for a final negotiating round on July 25.

One Gaza fisherman's tale of tribulation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Mel Frykberg - July 1, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel's naval blockade of the waters off Gaza – part of a wider Israeli effort to seal off the tiny coastal strip controlled by the Islamist militant group Hamas – is devastating a key Gazan industry and source of food: fishing.

How Israel's naval blockade denies Gazans food, aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Mel Frykberg - July 1, 2009 - 12:00am

Bringing fresh attention to its blockade of the Gaza Strip, Israel on Tuesday turned back a boat attempting to deliver three tons of medical supplies to Gazans. After a radio message asking the small ferry to turn back was ignored, the Israeli Navy boarded the boat and redirected the vessel to the Israeli port of Ashdod. Reuters quoted a police source as saying that the activists aboard, members of the US-based Free Gaza movement, would "likely be deported."

How hard will Obama press Israel on settlements?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from McClatchy News
by Cliff Churgin - (Opinion) July 1, 2009 - 12:00am

The unresolved dispute between the United States and Israel over Israel's refusal to halt building Jewish homes in the predominantly Palestinian West Bank has created a pivotal dilemma for President Barack Obama: How hard should he push one of America's most important allies in the Middle East? So far, Obama has limited his pressure to calculated public comments, calling Israeli settlement construction illegitimate and a roadblock to a lasting peace agreement with the Palestinians that would include a Palestinian state.

As Violence Subsides, Concrete Pours in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Voice of America
by Luis Ramirez - July 1, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel has said it wants to boost the economy of the Palestinian territories as a way to bring peace. The Israeli leadership has not implemented any specific plan to improve economic conditions, yet the territories are experiencing a marked economic upturn as a halt in violence leads to increased trade and investment. West Bank's economy

Israelis intercept Gaza aid ship
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
June 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli forces have boarded a ship trying to carry aid and pro-Palestinian activists to the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel's blockade of the territory. The 20 passengers include former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel Prize winner Mairead Maguire. The activists also include some Britons, campaigners said. Ms McKinney described it as "an outrageous violation of international law", as the boat was on a humanitarian mission and was not in Israeli waters. The Israeli military said the boat was trying to enter Gaza illegally.

No change in Jerusalem, yet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Mick Dumper - (Analysis) July 1, 2009 - 12:00am

Something is moving in the Middle East but it has not yet arrived in Jerusalem. A new chess game has started in the region: the US ambassador is returning to Damascus, the Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal, made a speech welcoming the new tone set by Barack Obama in his speech in Cairo, there are leaks of an imminent deal between the Israelis, Egyptians and Hamas over a prisoner exchange and pressure is being brought to bear on Fatah and Hamas to reconcile so that credible negotiations for a Palestinian state can begin.

Barak, U.S. Envoy Discuss Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - July 1, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak huddled for four hours yesterday with former senator George J. Mitchell, the Obama administration's special envoy for Middle East peace, seeking to resolve an impasse between their two governments over the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

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