August 27th

U.S. drops demand for Israel building freeze in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - August 27, 2009 - 12:00am

BERLIN - The Obama administration has agreed to Israel's request to remove East Jerusalem from negotiations on the impending settlement freeze. According to both Israeli officials and Western diplomats, U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has recognized the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot announce a settlement freeze in East Jerusalem. The officials said the U.S. will not endorse new construction there, but would not demand Jerusalem publicly announce a freeze.

Report: Abbas to meet Sarkozy in Paris next week
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 27, 2009 - 12:00am

Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on 4 September, Agence France-Presse reported on Wednesday. "President Abbas will travel to Paris on September 3 and will meet President Sarkozy the next day," an anonymous Palestinian official told AFP. The visit would be Abbas’ second to France since February, amid an international effort led by the US to reinitiate long-stalled peace negotiations with Israel.

Two Old City Jerusalem families forced to demolish own homes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 27, 2009 - 12:00am

Two Palestinian families in Jerusalem’s Old City have been forced to demolish their own house after Israeli authorities threatened him with heavy fines if he did not. One resident, Muhammad Faysal Jabir lived with his family of five in a 28 square meter house in the Aqbat Al-Khalidiyya neighborhood of the Old City. Jabir told Ma’an that the apartment used to be just 12 square meters, and that he added an extension apparently without permission from the Jerusalem Municipality.

West Bank's Economic Recovery Hangs on Mobility
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
August 27, 2009 - 12:00am

The economy of the West Bank and Gaza is forecast by the World Bank to grow by 5 percent this year, 6.5 percent in 2010 and 7.5 percent in 2011. But it's hardly the talk of Wall Street. The Palestinian economy cratered in 1999 and is still clawing its way back up the graph. Per capita GDP dropped from around $1,500 (926 pounds) in 1999 to just over $1,000 last year. So the notion that the West Bank is some kind of world-class recession beater, as Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal, has people here shaking their heads.

Deal on Temporary Settlement Freeze Hinges on What Happens Afterward
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

Attempts to finalize a deal on a settlement freeze are entering the final stretch, although significant differences still exist between American and Israeli negotiators. While those negotiators have reportedly reached an understanding on a nine-month freeze on new construction in the West Bank, both sides are struggling to agree on what should happen the day after the temporary freeze ends. The Israeli government would like to return to previous arrangements that allowed building within settlement blocs, while the Obama administration has refused to commit to any future deal, sources say.

August 26th

The parliament of the PLO convenes in the West Bank for its first meeting in more than 10 years. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met in London today with US Envoy George Mitchell but failed to come to an agreement on a settlement freeze. The U.S. government is reportedly considering an Israeli proposal for a Palestinian state with 'temporary' borders. Palestinian Authority sources say that President Abbas is open to meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu at the meeting of the United Nations next month. The BBC looks at the dilemma faced by Palestinian workers employed in Israeli settlement construction.

PLO to pick new leaders at landmark meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Google News
August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The parliament of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) on Wednesday began its first meeting in more than a decade in the occupied West Bank to replace leaders who have died. During the meeting in the territory's political capital of Ramallah, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) will pick six new members of the 18-strong PLO Executive Committee headed by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

PLO holds poll amid criticism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) is facing claims it is no longer relevant as members of the legislative body prepare to vote on members for its executive council. The Palestinian National Council (PNC) convened in Ramallah in the West Bank on Wednesday to elect six new members to its executive committee. But the PNC, the highest legal body for Palestinians, is facing criticism from Palestinian factions who say the body has failed to represent the Palestinian people. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have refused to join until the organisation is reformed.

Pressure Israel by acting first
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Salam Fayyad is certainly doing his best to dominate the headlines ahead of his Israeli counterpart’s visit to Europe. As Benjamin Netanyahu met with Gordon Brown to discuss faltering peace talks yesterday, the world was atwitter over the Palestinian prime minister’s stated intention to declare a “de facto” Palestinian state within two years. For an Israeli premier under pressure from both the United States and at home and attempting to overcome a resurgence of anti-Israeli sentiment in Europe, Mr Fayyad’s announcement could not have come at a worse time. That, of course, is the point.

Israel opens door to West Bank compromise
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel and the US are within sight of a compromise deal on halting settlement construction in the West Bank and paving the way to a resumption of political negotiations with moderate Palestinian leaders. Widespread indications that Israel will agree to a partial freeze on settlement construction were reinforced yesterday when its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped a "bridging formula" on settlement building would be reached. Mr Netanyahu will hold detailed negotiations in London today with the US presidential envoy George Mitchell.

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