The US-Israel dispute over settlements generally and construction in East Jerusalem in particular continues to develop (2, 3, 5, 7, 13, 16, 17). Several reports highlight divisions within Israel on the issue (1, 9), while Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar called on American Jews to insist that settlements were a religious requirement. Ha’aretz reports that Israel is considering dismantling more outposts (6) but also confiscating more Palestinian land (7), and confirms that in spite of claims by PM Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, very few Palestinians are eligible to buy property in West Jerusalem (8).

US repeats opposition to J'lem project
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley confirmed Monday that a new housing development in east Jerusalem had been a topic of conversation last week during a meeting between senior US diplomats and Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren. Crowley said US opposition to construction in east Jerusalem and settlements in the West Bank had not changed. "We have made our views known to Israel," he told reporters. "Our views are not new either: that this kind of construction is the type ... of issue that should be subject to permanent-status negotiations."

Mitchell heads to Mideast after new spat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Matthew Lee - July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

The special U.S. envoy for Middle East peace departs for the region this week amid new signs of tension between the Obama administration and the Israeli government over settlement construction. Former Sen. George Mitchell plans to visit Israel, the Palestinian territories and several neighboring countries, including Bahrain, an itinerary still being worked out Monday.

An unholy row
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
(Editorial) July 20, 2009 - 12:00am

The Obama administration has made clear its demand for a freeze on illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has declined to demonstrate any willingness to accede. The US cannot afford to ignore this new round of colonisation in occupied East Jerusalem.

A temporary Mideast deal could break the stalemate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Globe and Mail
by Shira Herzog - (Opinion) July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

The latest Israeli-U.S. clash over construction in east Jerusalem indicates again how difficult it's going to be to shape the regional reality Barack Obama desperately wants. That's why there's a new deluge of policy proposals - not least of which is Israeli President Shimon Peres's trial balloon: a Palestinian state with provisional borders, leading to a permanent Israeli-Palestinian deal. Both parties officially reject the idea. But if properly formulated, it just might be a way of satisfying key Israeli and Palestinian needs.

Israel deploys cyber team to spread positive spin
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

The passionate support for Israel expressed on talkback sections of websites, internet chat forums, blogs, Twitters and Facebook may not be all that it seems. Israel’s foreign ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel. Internet-savvy Israeli youngsters, mainly recent graduates and demobilised soldiers with language skills, are being recruited to pose as ordinary surfers while they provide the government’s line on the Middle East conflict.

Settlements, and the California connection
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
July 20, 2009 - 12:00am

‘I will not cave in” announced the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “since this is a matter of 20 units only.” Mr Netanyahu’s curt response to the US government’s demand that Israel discontinue plans to build 20 apartments for Jewish settlers in Palestinian East Jerusalem underscores how this dispute has touched a nerve, and is of far greater significance than “20 units only”.

A desperate move
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Hassan Barari - (Opinion) July 20, 2009 - 12:00am

It’s hard to avoid an impression that Palestinian politics is possibly beyond repair. The latest aspect of Palestinian political fragmentation and lack of strategic vision transpired when Farouk Kaddoumi, a senior PLO leader, accused President Mahmoud Abbas of playing a role in Yasser Arafat’s death. Kaddoumi has yet to substantiate his claim with hard evidence.

Amar: US settlement policy contravenes Torah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Matthew Wagner - July 21, 2009 - 12:00am

In his first public declaration on Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar called this week on American Jews to explain to the Obama administration the religious obligation of every Jew to live in every part of the Land of Israel.

U.S. eyes Syrian, Palestinian tracks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - July 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Despite the latest clash between Israel and the Obama administration over building -- this time in eastern Jerusalem -- the United States is pressing ahead with plans to reopen negotiations on both the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Syrian tracks.

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