The Fatah conference votes another term for President Mahmoud Abbas as party chief, and embraces the strategic goal of peace based on two states, further distancing itself from rival party Hamas. Israeli jets bomb a tunnel on the Gaza-Egypt border. Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai calls for continued settlement construction in the controversial “E-1 corridor” in occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinian sources report that progress has been made on the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Prime Minister Netanyahu calls the 2005 Israeli withdrawal from Gaza “a mistake,” and vows not to remove settlers from the West Bank. Thomas Friedman produces a second article about Palestinian economic development in the West Bank, this time focusing on the new security services.

The push for Mideast peace hinges on Benjamin Netanyahu 2.0
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Daily News
by David Makovsky - (Opinion) August 10, 2009 - 12:00am

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently passed his first 100 days in office, there are early signs that the Israeli leader has evolved since he held the post a decade ago. This could mean - on the Israeli side at least - a real commitment to a durable peace.

Losing Patience with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Atlantic
by Robert Kaplan - August 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Not since the days of Henry Kissinger’s Mid-East shuttle diplomacy in the 1970s has America’s foreign policy toward Israel been characterized by such an attitude of unsentimental realism. After eight years of fighting, the stalemate in Afghanistan and the loss of 4,000 American troops in Iraq – not to mention the deaths of perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqis – has rendered the search for stability, rather than democracy, paramount, and created a climate in which interests are to be valued far more than friends.

Green Shoots in Palestine II
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Thomas L. Friedman - August 8, 2009 - 12:00am

Ever since the collapse of the Oslo peace accords in 2000, and the horror-show violence that followed, there has been only one thing to say about the West Bank: Nothing ever changes here, except for the worst. That is just not the case anymore — much to my surprise.

Netanyahu calls Gaza withdrawal ‘a mistake’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Emile Hokayem - August 9, 2009 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, yesterday said the withdrawal of nearly 9,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip four years ago was a mistake, bringing mixed reaction from Middle East experts on the significance of his comments to relations with the United States and the peace process.

Israeli settlement freeze 'not enough for Saudis'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by Paul Handley - August 7, 2009 - 12:00am

Saudi Arabia believes that Arab recognition of Israel should only come after a final peace deal with the Palestinians and not simply be a quid-pro-quo for freezing settlement expansions, analysts say. Haaretz newspaper reported Thursday that Washington had proposed a one-year freeze last week to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as a way of persuading Arab states to move toward normalising ties with Israel.

Palestinian negotiator: Washington plans binding steps for Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 10, 2009 - 12:00am

The U.S. administration is preparing obligations that Middle East parties should observe to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a Palestinian negotiator said on Saturday. Saeb Erekat said Israel is mainly required to freeze its settlement activities in the West Bank under the new obligations, adding that the Palestinians have more obligations as well without giving further details.

Is the pro-Israel lobby panicking?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - August 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Is the Israeli lobby in the United States in panic mode? The Obama administration hit the ground running when it took office in January, quickly appointing George Mitchell as a special envoy to Arab-Israeli peacemaking, and making it clear that President Barack Obama himself would devote time and energy to the goal of a comprehensive peace.

Jordan favors Fatah, but without optimism for success
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Oraib Al-Rantawi - August 10, 2009 - 12:00am

Nearly two years ago, Jordan opened its doors to the attempt by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to restore and awaken the Fatah movement. Fatah is the backbone of the Palestinian national movement and the main Palestinian partner in the peace process to which Jordan attaches special attention. The rise of the Hamas movement and its landslide victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections played a major role in encouraging Jordan to move away from its usual caution and provide all possible facilities for holding the Fatah congress and rebuilding the movement.

Sheikh Jarrah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Nermeen Murad - (Opinion) August 18, 2009 - 12:00am

I went to Jerusalem for the first time in my life in the early 1970s, and I retain many memories from that first trip. The West Bank was under complete Israeli occupation and the only way in was through the King Hussein Bridge. The crossing was arduous, long, hot and dirty. Flies buzzed over children’s heads and the whole atmosphere was tense.

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