PLO officials say negotiations will be difficult but an agreement is possible. The settlement freeze issue is unresolved, being debated within the Israeli cabinet, and the US says will be discussed in negotiations. David Makovsky says there is reason for optimism. The CSM says international support is critical. Pres. Abbas appoints a new Chief of Staff. Palestinian students in occupied East Jerusalem face a critical shortage of classrooms. Facing a budget crunch, the PA cuts spending on vehicles. A strike by Israeli diplomats threatens PM Netanyahu's trip to Washington. Aziz Abu Sarah sees hope for the future. The UN says Israel is not cooperating with its investigation into the flotilla attack. Bilal Hassen says the US is not supporting its Palestinian allies. Ghassan Khatib says negotiations still lack clear terms of reference. Yossi Alpher says the negotiations will be useful, but probably not on final status issues. Hussein Ibish welcomes negotiations but says Palestinian state building remains essential.

Israel diplomats' strike threatens PM's Washington trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - August 23, 2010 - 11:00pm


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks set to face serious obstacles as he travels to Washington for a high-profile peace summit – but this time it is his own diplomats, not the Palestinians, who are causing him strife. On Tuesday the foreign ministry's workers' committee sent a telegram to Israel's Washington embassy, instructing staff there not to assist the prime minister during his visit. At a meeting early Tuesday, the committee decided to ramp up labor sanctions it imposed a few weeks ago to demand more pay.


Direct talks, yes, but with state-building too
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Hussein Ibish - August 23, 2010 - 11:00pm


The resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in early September offers significant opportunities and pitfalls for all parties. For the Obama administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement of the talks represents the culmination of almost a year of intensive diplomacy. Whether or not the United States has a backup plan if talks founder is entirely unclear. The administration’s assumption appears to be that direct talks will generate their own dynamics; but if they don’t, it’s not evident what the next American step will be.


Where these negotiations could be useful
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - August 22, 2010 - 11:00pm


The resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that is projected for September 2 in Washington serves a number of useful purposes. Sadly, none of them is directly connected to the effort to "resolve all final status issues" trumpeted last Friday in statements by the Quartet and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.


Where these negotiations could be useful
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - August 22, 2010 - 11:00pm


The resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that is projected for September 2 in Washington serves a number of useful purposes. Sadly, none of them is directly connected to the effort to "resolve all final status issues" trumpeted last Friday in statements by the Quartet and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.


Negotiations lack clear terms of reference
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - August 22, 2010 - 11:00pm


The recent US-led efforts to resume direct talks, that ended with the two sides agreeing to renew direct negotiations, reminded many observers of US efforts to establish a peace process and Palestinian-Israeli negotiations in the early 1990s, then described as "constructive ambiguity".


When America Forsakes its Palestinian Ally
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Bilal Hassen - August 23, 2010 - 11:00pm


US planning, European pressure, Arab complacency, and fragility of the Palestinian negotiator; these are the four factors that have made the racist right-wing government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, seem as if it is the victorious power that can impose everything it wants in the farce of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.


UN official criticises Israel over flotilla probe
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
August 23, 2010 - 11:00pm


Israel is not co-operating with the UN Human Rights Council's probe of May's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, a UN official said today. Juan Carlos Monge said the fact-finding mission is speaking to witnesses and government officials in Turkey and Jordan. But Mr Monge said Israel has not granted the team an invitation. Israel's UN mission said today it was not commenting on the investigation. Israeli commandos killed nine pro-Palestinian activists trying to break the Jewish state's blockade of Gaza. Israel says the soldiers acted in self-defence.


Coalition rhetoric heats up as W. Bank freeze nears end
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Rebecca Anna Stoil - August 23, 2010 - 11:00pm


A month before the end of the West Bank new-construction moratorium and on the eve of direct peace talks in Washington, tensions rose Monday among government ministers regarding building in settlements on the day that the freeze expires. “Building will continue as usual, as normal,” promised National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau (Israel Beiteinu) during a midday interview on Radio Kol Chai. “Everyone will build as he wants to and needs to.”


Hope for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Aziz Abu Sarah - August 22, 2010 - 11:00pm


There many reasons to be pessimistic and at times to despair about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet even when things look hopeless, hope has a way of appearing, offering a vision of what can be rather than what is. Recently, I caught a glimpse of this hope in an unlikely place – the Israeli health care system.



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