On the 5th anniversary of the International Court of Justice decision declaring the Israeli barrier in the West Bank to be in violation of international law (1)(7), the Israeli Defense Ministry reveals that further construction has been relatively nonexistent in the past 15 months (8). The U.S. plans to welcome 1,350 Iraqi Palestinian immigrants in Southern California (2). Allegations of espionage heighten tensions between Fatah and Hamas (3). The State Department denies reports of an agreement on settlement construction (5). The European Commission backs away from earlier criticism of continued Israeli occupation (9). Debate in Israel continues over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s performance in the first 100 days of his government (10)(11).

The Dayton force dilemma
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Nicholas Blincoe - (Opinion) July 8, 2009 - 12:00am

A small battalion of soldiers had taken control of the main junction in Bethlehem and my wife wanted to know how they got there. We had driven this way five minutes earlier and the road had been clear. Now soldiers were squatting in the crossroads while others aimed rifles at an empty parking lot. We soon learned it was a rehearsal by the new Palestinian security force, training in the event of a Hamas-backed coup. The security force had made discoveries of arms and explosives across the West Bank while president Mahmoud Abbas reported that he was the target of a Hamas assassination plot.

Still Illegal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) July 9, 2009 - 12:00am

Today marks five years since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued its advisory ruling on the legality of Israel’s separation barrier. While only an advisory ruling, the opinion of the court was clear and straightforward: in all places (a majority of its route), the wall dips into occupied territory and is in clear violation of both international law and international humanitarian law.

US denies reported deal on Israeli settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
July 8, 2009 - 12:00am

The United States on Wednesday dismissed as "inaccurate" a report that it had agreed to let Israel build about 2,500 housing units already under construction in West Bank settlements. "That report in that Israeli media outlet is inaccurate," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said after the Maariv newspaper reported that Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak and US envoy George Mitchell had struck such a deal.

U.N. envoy sees Lebanon border village row over soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 9, 2009 - 12:00am

The U.N. special coordinator for Lebanon said on Wednesday he hoped for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Lebanese part of the divided border village of Ghajar within the next few months. The move could bolster the Lebanese government and improve the atmosphere for Arab-Israeli peace talks. Ghajar, which has a population of about 2,000, straddles Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights, but Israel currently occupies both parts.

Spy-for-spy charges fuel enduring Palestinian feud
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 8, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas said Wednesday it had broken up an espionage network of the rival Fatah movement which was plotting to sabotage security in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Hamas's spying-and-sabotage allegation follows similar charges by Fatah in the West Bank against Hamas, as the two rivals once again failed to bridge deep differences over how to deal with Israel and advance Palestinian aspirations.

Risking Israel's ire, US takes 1,350 Palestinian refugees
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Patrik Jonsson - July 7, 2009 - 12:00am

The State Department confirmed today that as many as 1,350 Iraqi Palestinians – once the well-treated guests of Saddam Hussein and now at outs with much of Iraqi society – will be resettled in the US, mostly in southern California, starting this fall.

Wall still potent symbol of division in Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CNN
by Kevin Flower - July 9, 2009 - 12:00am

A top U.N. official on Thursday urged Israel to "dismantle" its barrier separating the West Bank from the Jewish state and "make reparation for all damage suffered by all persons affected by the wall's construction" on Palestinian land. The call by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay came on the 5th anniversary of the International Court of Justice's non-binding ruling that Israel was breaking international law by continuing to build the barrier.

Netanyahu's 'weakness' is good for Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) July 9, 2009 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu has absorbed 100 smears, one for each day on the job. Who has not excoriated the "squeezable" - now the most fashionable word in town - prime minister? Granted, this is not a bottle of catsup we are talking about, but rather a sitting prime minister. Nonetheless, there are advantages in this particular trait of Netanyahu's, even if it is, of course, limited consolation.

Netanyahu's paranoia extends to 'self-hating Jews' Emanuel and Axelrod
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - July 9, 2009 - 12:00am

At about 3:15 P.M. yesterday, the government's 100th day in office, political correspondents' beepers went off. In an unprecedented move, the Prime Minister's Bureau was inviting the correspondents to a press conference at the Knesset that was slated to begin in 15 minutes. This was the start of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's panicked, disproportionate response to the criticism senior Kadima politicians had leveled at him three hours earlier.

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