The Washington Post reports Israel's controversial West Bank separation barrier may remain uncompleted. The U.S. strongly criticizes increased Israeli restrictions on West Bank access for foreign nationals, especially Arab Americans. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu denounces Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alons derogatory remarks about American and Israeli anti-settlement groups, especially Peace Now. Several articles offer analyze the spate of violence between Hamas and Al-Qaeda-style extremist groups in Gaza. Controversy continues over an article published in the Swedish paper Aftonbladet accusing Israeli soldiers of stealing the organs of Palestinians during the war in Gaza.

Hamas rejects elections, Arab normalization with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Saud Abu Ramadan - August 20, 2009 - 12:00am

The Islamic Hamas movement rejected on Wednesday participation in Palestinian elections early next year unless a reconciliation deal is reached with rival Fatah party. Hamas sources in Gaza stressed that the movement would never go to legislative and presidential elections on Jan. 25 before signing a reconciliation deal that ends the current internal rift. "Ending the file of political prisoners in the West Bank, and reaching a reconciliation agreement are conditions for holding the elections on time. Otherwise, the idea will be rejected for sure," the sources told Xinhua.

Not an impossible demand
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) August 20, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel is still trying its very best to wriggle out of its obligation to enforce a complete freeze of settlement activity in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem. Tuesday, Israel’s housing minister, Ariel Atias, of the ultra-conservative Shas Party, announced that Israel would institute a “temporary” freeze on issuing new housing tenders for settlements. This is clearly an attempt at appeasing Washington, which has been pushing for Israel to abide by its obligations under the roadmap.

Arab reaction to Obama’s Mideast policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Nasser Ali Khasawneh, Dima Sari - (Opinion) August 20, 2009 - 12:00am

The new American administration is moving at a frenetic pace, trying to break the seemingly interminable deadlock between Israel and the Arab world. Recent press reports suggest that George Mitchell, President Barack Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, is reaching a critical point in his negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and the Palestinian Authority. Amid all this, it is fair to say that the average Arab is rather puzzled about the US policy.

It's time to speak openly
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) August 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Fatah’s historic Congress, held in Bethlehem earlier this month, has generated widespread optimism in the region due to the ouster of the old guard which paid the price for tolerating the cruel status quo and its ineffectiveness since signing the inconclusive peace accord with Israel in 1993. What was sorely missing from the exchanges at the Congress, and subsequently the media coverage thereof, was any mention of the consequences of Israel’s harsh policies.

The Missing Courage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Abdullah Iskandar - (Opinion) August 19, 2009 - 12:00am

The state of embarrassment and opportunism, and sometimes malice, that accompanied the military settlement carried out by Hamas against Jund Ansar Allah in the Gaza Strip, is not unique in the relationship between political Islam and the hard-line fundamentalist organizations it brought about under different names. We have seen such a case in Egypt when some fundamentalist organizations ignited armed violence in the face of the state and citizens. We also witnessed it in Algeria with the outbreak of hostile activities.

Into the Abyss
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Hussein Shobokshi - (Opinion) August 20, 2009 - 12:00am

As if the Palestinians needed a new chapter to be added to their sad story! It seems, however, that the road is still full of sadness, shocks, and unpleasant surprises. How else can one explain the harsh bloody clashes between the "government" of the Hamas organization in the Gaza Strip and the new "alien" faction called Jund Ansar Allah? These clashes led to the killing of scores of people, including Dr. Abdul Latif Al Mousa, the obscure and controversial leader of this faction who is also known by his code name of Abu Noor al-Maqdisi.

“Jihad” Against Hamas and Sheikh Sharif
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Mshari Al-Zaydi - (Opinion) August 20, 2009 - 12:00am

It was a surprise hearing the Defence Minister of Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s government in Somalia and the Spokesman for the Hamas Interior Ministry in Gaza calling for people to embrace “moderate” Islam and branding those who fight against their governments as ideologically deviant and far away from understanding real Islam. They are also described as “brainwashed,” a western term that is used excessively insinuating that they themselves are pure!

It's time to talk to Fatah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Colette Avital - (Opinion) August 19, 2009 - 12:00am

During the much-reported tour of four Knesset members to the illegal outposts earlier this week, one small sentence uttered by Interior Minister Eli Yishai in passing attracted my attention. Why bother, he said - after all, after the Fatah congress, it is obvious now that we have no one to speak to. Thus, he joined a long list of Israeli politicians, among them Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who hurried to characterize the Sixth Fatah Conference as a saboteur of peace.

Fatah, Hamas trade accusations over failure to bridge rift
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - August 19, 2009 - 12:00am

Egypt has once again failed in its efforts to end the rift between Hamas and Fatah, sources close to the two parties said on Wednesday. An Egyptian security delegation that met with Hamas and Fatah representatives in Ramallah this week left without succeeding in persuading the two sides to attend another round of reconciliation talks in Cairo late this month, the sources told The Jerusalem Post.

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