July 30th

Settlers undermining legitimacy of Israel's existence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Asher Susser - July 30, 2009 - 12:00am

The representatives of the settler organizations have recently declared their intention to establish 11 new settlements in the territories, including some, according to media reports, on privately-owned Palestinian land. The operation is being depicted as having been inspired by the 11 tower and stockade communities in the northern Negev that were established just before Yom Kippur in 1946. This is not the first time the settlers have compared their efforts to the settlement activities that provided the foundation for the establishment of the state.

Israel to transfer cement to Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel will transfer cement and other construction materials to Gaza for its reconstruction effort. The decision announced Wednesday was made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The hundreds of tons of cement will reportedly be transferred directly to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, bypassing the terrorist Hamas leaders of the coastal strip. It is the first time that Israel has allowed cement, metal pipes and other building material into Gaza since last winter's Operation Cast Lead, Israel had feared that Hamas would use the material for terrorist purposes.

'Netanyahu freezes East Jerusalem construction'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
July 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has frozen a project for the construction of some 900 apartments in East Jerusalem, Channel 10 television reported late Wednesday. The report of Netanyahu's order to freeze the project came a day after he held talks in Jerusalem with U.S. President Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell. Netanyahu has been under tremendous pressure from the United States to freeze all construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Tough on Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
(Editorial) July 30, 2009 - 12:00am

ONE OF THE MORE striking results of the Obama administration's first six months is that only one country has worse relations with the United States than it did in January: Israel. The new administration has pushed a reset button with Russia and sent new ambassadors to Syria and Venezuela; it has offered olive branches to Cuba and Burma. But for nearly three months it has been locked in a public confrontation with Israel over Jewish housing construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank. To a less visible extent, the two governments also have differed over policy toward Iran.

Top Fatah leader back in W. Bank after over 40 years in exile
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
July 29, 2009 - 12:00am

A Fatah leader returned to the West Bank Wednesday after more than 40 years in exile. Mohammed Ghneim was one of Fatah's last holdouts in the diaspora. Only three of Fatah's two dozen top leaders refused to return with then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to the Palestinian territories after the 1993 Oslo Accords. At the time, Ghneim said he would leave exile in Tunis only to enter a Palestinian state. Recently he relented. On Wednesday, he was greeted in Ramallah by hundreds of activists. He plans to run for a top post at next week's Fatah convention, the first in 20 years.

Arabs losing hope in Obama's ability to broker Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - July 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Nearly two months after President Obama's historic address to the Muslim world from Cairo, his administration made a high-profile drive this week to shore up Arab and Israeli support for a comprehensive peace deal. A trio of senior officials – US Mideast envoy George Mitchell, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and US National Security Advisor James Jones – have visited officials throughout the region, with particular emphasis on Israel.

UK funding political activity in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - July 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel is up in arms over a declaration by a British government spokesman that the UK is funding political activity in Israel. British spokesman Martin Day said in an interview in Dubai with Al-Arabiya television last week that the British government was "taking practical steps towards freezing settlement activities." "For instance," Day said, "we finance projects aimed at halting settlement activities. One of these projects seeks to build new Palestinian neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and save Palestinian houses from demolition."

The 9th of Av's new tears
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Yisrael Medad - (Opinion) July 30, 2009 - 12:00am

An apocryphal story is told of Napoleon Bonaparte entering a darkened synagogue and observing weeping Jews, sitting on low stools. Asking what misfortune had occurred to cause such behavior, he was informed that it was the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av.

West Bank Settlers Send Obama Defiant Message
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - July 30, 2009 - 12:00am

In this land of endless history and ethereal beauty, several thousand Jewish settlers gathered on a dozen West Bank hills with makeshift huts and Israeli flags over several days this week to mark an invented anniversary and defy the American president, conveying to his aides visiting Jerusalem what they thought of his demand for a settlement freeze.

July 29th

In an interview with the Middle East Bulletin, Palestinian journalist Taghreed El-Khoudary describes the current situation in the Gaza Strip as “very depressing.” The UN again calls for easing of Gaza blockade in order to help rebuild Palestinian schools. In the midst of ongoing settlement construction, frustration mounts over continued Israeli resistance to calls for a settlement freeze, including from Israeli commentators. The Israeli organization Peace Now launches an ad campaign saying that the occupation threatens the survival of Israel. The US requests greater cooperation from the Arab states on the peace process, particularly a willingness for diplomatic overtures towards Israel in response to a potential settlement freeze. Factional tensions rise between the Palestinians ahead of Fatah’s first party congress in two decades.

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