Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announces that the Palestinian Authority intends to create a de facto state by 2011. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu continues his diplomatic meetings in Europe, meeting earlier today with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. An Israeli airstrike on a tunnel between Gaza and Egypt kills three Palestinians. The US State Department announces that it is approaching an agreement on the renewal of negotiations between Israel and the PLO. Fatah proposes a three-month truce with rival Hamas. The Independent looks at how the West Bank town of Nablus is flourishing under eased Israeli restrictions.

An unusual sighting in Ramallah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Daoud Kuttab - August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

I had to rub my eyes a few times to be sure that what I was seeing was real. The setting: downtown Ramallah. The event: International Youth Day. The participants were wearing white T-shirts with logos on the front and back and dark red hats. Palestinians from all over the West Bank were participating in the event organized by a network of youth NGOs called "We are Palestine." The theme this year was "We will be as much as we can dream."

Israel speaks with one voice; Arabs must do the same
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Mustapha Karkouti - (Opinion) August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

There is a peacemaker in the White House and now we know what Israel is doing about it. Since his first and only meeting with the US president in May, the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to derail Mr Obama’s efforts even before he announces his long-awaited peace plan for the Middle East. Mr Netanyahu has failed so far but there is no guarantee that he will not succeed in the future.

Meridor: We won't return to the line of 1967
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

"Surely, nobody expects [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu to offer more than what [former prime minister Ehud] Olmert offered [to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas]," Intelligence Affairs Minister Dan Meridor [Likud] told German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published Tuesday.

Nablus: a template for peace, or Netanyahu at his most cynical?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Ben Lynfield - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The shopkeepers in Nablus, the West Bank's toughest town, are smiling for a change. But no one knows for how long. Dubbed "the mountain of fire" by Palestinians for its part in the revolt against the British mandate during the 1930s, Nablus is usually known for its violent uprisings, choking Israeli clampdowns and prowling Palestinian gunmen extorting protection money.

Hamas-Fatah talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Egypt continues its efforts to mediate between Fatah and Hamas; Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has publicly upbraided them for their destructive divisions; yet Fatah and Hamas refuse to put their dispute aside and work together for the Palestinians’ common good.

Fatah proposes 3-month truce with Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - August 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are renewing a wave of mutual arrests following the deadlock reached in talks meant to bring the Fatah and Hamas delegations together in Cairo. Fatah and PA sources said Hamas security forces arrested three Fatah operatives in the Gaza Strip, and that PA security forces have arrested 12 Hamas men in Hebron. The current round of arrests indicates the many difficulties faced by the Egyptians in their attempt to get the rival Palestinian factions to convene around the negotiations table.

Brown 'optimistic' on Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he is "more optimistic" about Middle East peace after talks with with Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. After the Downing Street meeting, he stressed that Britain was a "true friend" of Israel. But he stressed that it was necessary to remain "realistic" in efforts to secure lasting peace. Mr Netanyahu said a demilitarised Palestinian state was needed if this is to be attained. Mr Brown has repeatedly called for a freeze on Israeli settlement building, warning that the issue is an obstacle to peace in the Middle East. US pressure

PM wants US to pressure Saudis on normalization
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will ask US Mideast Envoy George Mitchell to pressure the Saudis into opening diplomatic channels and opening its skies to Israel as a leading condition towards normalization of ties between Israel and Arab states. If this is done, the Israeli government will be able to reach an agreement on freezing construction in settlements according to American demands.

U.S. says nearing renewal of Israel-Palestinian talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday that its Middle East envoys are approaching an agreement on renewing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters that tomorrow's meeting in London between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell may not yield a breakthrough, but that the process aimed at forming a framework for renewing talks is close to bearing fruit.

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