The Jewish Daily Forward analyzes movement towards an Israeli settlement freeze. Reuters reports that despite recent growth trends the West Bank's economy cannot thrive in an environment of strict mobility restrictions. Two Palestinian families in Jerusalem's Old City are forced to demolish their own homes. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris next week. The US has reportedly agreed to exclude East Jerusalem from formal negotiations on a settlement freeze. Israeli group Peace Now files a petition to halt the construction of 15 permanent structures in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Netafim. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met earlier today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Washington Watch: Is Obama Bush league?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama is expected to reveal his Middle East strategy next month, very likely in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. In many ways it may resemble his predecessor's 2002 vision for Arab-Israeli peace, but the question everyone will be asking is whether this time the American president is really serious.

Merkel warns Iran on sanctions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
August 27, 2009 - 12:00am

Angela Merkel was speaking after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Berlin. She also called on Israel to freeze its settlement construction for the sake of progress in peace talks. In London on Wednesday, Mr Netanyahu suggested Israel was close to an agreement on settlements. During his visit to Germany, the Israeli prime minister has also been given original blueprints of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

Palestinians pay the price for Israel's illegal settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Katherine Butler - August 27, 2009 - 12:00am

On a still, hot, August afternoon you can only hear the bleating of the lambs and the occasional bark of a dog. There are few places more exposed and isolated in the West Bank than the cluster of tents and caves that is home to Khalil Nawaja, his wife Tamam, their two sons and their 50 sheep.

Trade revives as Palestinian cities reconnect
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
August 27, 2009 - 12:00am

Businesses in normal countries take getting around for granted. They can distribute, export and attract workers and customers from wide areas. In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, access to more than half of the land is restricted. Israel has ultimate control of roads, energy, water, telecommunications and air space. The violent Palestinian intifada (uprising) of 2000 triggered an Israeli security crackdown, creating checkpoints on key routes, closing roads and putting 600 obstacles around Israel's West Bank settlements.

On the ground in Gaza, hopes for peace still flicker
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Antony Loewenstein - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

Kamal Awaja lost his son in the recent Gaza war. He claims that Israeli soldiers murdered his child in front of his eyes before shooting his wife and himself in the leg, chest and arm. Today he lives with his large family in a tent in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, trying to provide a sense of normality for his children by tending a vegetable patch and constructing a small, plastic swimming pool.

Fayyad’s brilliant two-year plan for Palestinian Statehood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) August 27, 2009 - 12:00am

There are so many ways in which the plan by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for the de facto creation of a Palestinian state can be seen as a brilliant idea that is hard to ignore or oppose it. Fayyad’s blueprint includes plans to end the Palestinian economy’s dependence on Israel, unify the legal system and downsize the government. The idea, submitted by him after weeks of meetings with his ministers and staff, also involves building infrastructure, harnessing natural energy sources and water, and improving housing, education and agriculture.

De-facto deliberations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Alan Baker - (Opinion) August 27, 2009 - 12:00am

The new aims and proposals enunciated by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad regarding the establishment of a de facto Palestinian state within two years, with or without Israeli cooperation, would appear at first sight to be interesting. To a certain extent it could even be refreshing, offering a more pragmatic and viable forecast for the political and economic development of the Palestinians than any previous visions - which were based mostly on threats and unrealistic, belligerent rhetoric.

PA wants piece of Shalit deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - August 27, 2009 - 12:00am

Reports of progress on a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas have led to high expectations in the Palestinian Authority as well, as sources say they hope this means past understandings between Israel and the PA will also be realized with the deal's execution. According to sources, Israel has in the past agreed to release a number of Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to President Mahmoud Abbas as the deal for the release of captive solder Gilad Shalit nears completion.

Palestinians uproot Hebrew road signs in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
August 27, 2009 - 12:00am

The US international aid agency says Palestinian authorities in the West Bank have started replacing Israeli-installed road signs bearing Hebrew script with new signs in just Arabic and English. The move is in preparation for a future Palestinian state. Howard Sumka, of USAID, says the American-funded project is expected to take up to four years and cost about $20 million. Israel seized the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war and built military camps and civilian settlements throughout the territory.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017