Israel rules out kidnapping as a possibility after launching a search for a soldier who was feared missing. Oman and Qatar have reportedly told the U.S. that they will renew diplomatic ties with Israel if it freezes settlement activity, while Israel expresses its skepticism about the pledge. At a press conference yesterday President Mahmoud Abbas insists that Palestinians will not agree to a state with temporary borders. A district court refuses a request from Jewish families who have moved into homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem to issue a restraining order against the Palestinian families who were evicted from those homes. As analysis of the recently concluded Fatah party congress continues, an op-ed in The Guardian criticizes the conference for excluding women entirely from the new leadership committees.

Obama is right not to spoil Israel in the same way that Bush did
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) August 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Alarm bells have been ringing around the neighborhood pretty much nonstop since July 13, when President Barack Obama sat down to talk Middle East policy at the White House with a pack of leaders from a dozen American Jewish organizations. The meeting was supposed to help buff up Obama’s relationship with the Jewish community, which is bubbling lately with resentment at the president’s aggressive peace-processing. By reaching out to the community’s customary spokesmen, he hoped to build rapport and perhaps recruit a few backers for his policies.

A Fateh facelift?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) August 14, 2009 - 12:00am

If one chooses to be charitable, last week’s meeting of the most significant Palestinian nationalist movement in Israeli-besieged Palestine for the first time since its founding in the early 1960s could be considered an achievement, certainly historic. If nothing else, it allowed over 2,000 members of the Palestinian Liberation Movement, or Fateh, to assemble in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, and begin the process of rejuvenating what has been described as “a bloated gerontocracy” which has not met for 20 years.

Perpetual and collective failures
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) August 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Two opposing trends were affirmed in Israel and Palestine this week, and one of them must disappear. The Fateh congress in Bethlehem reaffirmed the strategic decision among a majority of Palestinians to seek a negotiated peace with Israel, while a string of senior Israeli officials said that they would continue expanding settlements in East Jerusalem and would not repeat the “mistake” of withdrawing from Gaza.

Israel sells off refugees’ hopes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - August 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Amin Muhammad Ali, a 74-year-old refugee from a destroyed Palestinian village in northern Israel, says he only feels truly at peace when he stands among his ancestors’ graves. The cemetery, surrounded on all sides by Jewish homes and farms, is a small time capsule, transporting Mr Muhammad Ali – known to everyone as Abu Arab – back to the days when this place was known by an Arabic name, Saffuriya, rather than its current Hebrew name, Tzipori.

Israel could push too far
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Marwan Al Kabalan - (Opinion) August 13, 2009 - 12:00am

In his last days as US president, George W. Bush seemed almost oblivious to most of the key problems in the Middle East. As a result, during the 75-day interval between the end of his administration and the commencement of Barack Obama's presidency, key regional powers took up the slack and sought to fill the void. Attempts were made through multilateral mediation to reduce the tension that had resulted from the Israeli offensive on Gaza.

The Generation of "Palestine First"!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Zuheir Kseibati - (Opinion) August 13, 2009 - 12:00am

Fatah has revived its youth, and clung to armed resistance as a tool of struggle to establish the Palestinian State, akin to the tool of diplomacy and negotiations. But this is not enough, as Hamas has appointed itself as sole custodian over the issue of the conflict with Israel. Thus, it is waiting for a new test for the "patriotism" of Fatah after its sixth conference.

The Anti-Pressure-Over-Settlement-Expansion League?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Leonard Fein - (Opinion) August 13, 2009 - 12:00am

The tag line above the Anti-Defamation League’s Web site reads, “To stop the defamation of the Jewish people, to secure justice and fair treatment for all.” Its mission statement, unchanged since it was founded in 1913 and prominent on the home page of its Web site, is straightforward: “The immediate object of the League is to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience and, if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people.

The New Fatah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) August 12, 2009 - 12:00am

Al-Fatah, the Palestinians’ nominal ruling party, presented Israel with both a gift and a challenge on August 12 as it wrapped up its international party congress in Bethlehem. It had been 20 years since the last congress. Party leaders were touting this one, in the face of near-universal skepticism, as a transformative moment in Palestinian politics, a chance to burnish Fatah’s corrupt, fossilized image, restore its credibility on the Palestinian street and reassert its legitimacy as Israel’s negotiating partner.

Listen to the women of Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Hannah Wright - (Opinion) August 14, 2009 - 12:00am

As Fatah delegates meeting in Bethlehem elected their new leadership, one could not help but feel that despite the reshuffling of senior figures, the same old faces kept reappearing. Despite talk of reinvention and bringing in "new blood", patrimony and nepotism maintain the same tight grip over the Palestinian leadership – a nephew here, a PLO grandee there, outsiders not welcome. One thing that unites them all, even the newer faces, is that they are all middle-aged or older (even those described as "young"), and they are all male.

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