US gambles on new Middle East talks with no clear plan
Media Mention of ATFP In BBC News - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Whenever a US administration makes a formal announcement about peace talks in the Middle East, hopes are usually raised - maybe, just maybe, they will actually succeed. This time, scepticism is at an all-time high and expectations are low, including for the near term, let alone the ambitious goal set out by Hillary Clinton of resolving all key issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict within a year. The statement by the secretary of state and her special envoy, George Mitchell, was high in aspirations, low on details.

Support builds for boycotts against Israel, activists say
Media Mention of ATFP In The Boston Globe - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

In May, rock legend Elvis Costello canceled his gig in Israel. Then, in June, a group of unionized dock workers in San Francisco refused to unload an Israeli ship. In August, a food co-op in Washington state removed Israeli products from its shelves. The so-called “boycott, divestment, and sanctions’’ movement aimed at pressuring Israel to withdraw from land claimed by Palestinians has long been considered a fringe effort inside the United States, with no hope of garnering mainstream support enjoyed by the anti-apartheid campaign against South Africa of the 1980s.

Stakes are high in Mideast peace talks
Media Mention of ATFP In The Boston Globe - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

The United States will host the launch of direct peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Washington early next month, a diplomatic breakthrough for the Obama administration, which has invested much of the president’s global political capital in an attempt to broker peace in the Middle East.

In New Mideast Talks, A Small Victory For U.S.
Media Mention of ATFP In National Public Radio (NPR) - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

The Obama administration has set the date for the first direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in two years, a small diplomatic victory for an administration that made Arab-Israeli peace an early priority. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have been invited to the White House on Sept.1. They will be joined by Jordan's King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Mideast talks offer promise, peril for Obama
Media Mention of ATFP In Politico - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's announcement Friday of new direct Middle East peace talks will renew the sense of opportunity that had faded as the regional stalemate hardened. But the talks also renew the political peril for President Barack Obama, who once again is in the position of pledging progress that's easier to promise than to deliver.

Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks: What Will Help, Hinder?
Media Mention of ATFP In PBS - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Transcript JEFFREY BROWN: And to talk about the talks, we go to David Makovsky, senior fellow at the Washington Institute and co-author of the book "Myths, Illusions and Peace," and Ghaith Al-Omari, advocacy director at the American Task Force on Palestine and a fellow at the Center for American Progress. He is a former aide to President Abbas. Ghaith al Omari, what is your answer to the question posed at the announcement today, why now?

End of settlement freeze could derail Mideast talks
Media Mention of ATFP In The Washington Times - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians that are set to begin next week in Washington may be scuttled before they even get going. Israel has yet to commit to extending a freeze on construction of settlements that the Palestinian side says it needs to continue negotiations. That settlement freeze is set to expire Sept. 26. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated in a letter to President Obama that he would not participate in the direct talks if Israel continued construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Rabbi Kenneth Chasen says a Palestinian state is emerging in the West Bank. FM Lieberman says the settlement freeze should not be extended and a peace agreement is unlikely. Hamas leaders call negotiations “illegal” and say they will “eliminate” the Palestinian cause. An Israeli court convicts a leader of Palestinian nonviolent protests of “incitement.” Reuters says the question of Gaza will be missing during the talks. Protesters challenge a no-go area in Gaza. US negotiators visit the region and say they expect an agreement within a year. Aluf Benn says this is possible. Akiva Eldar says US pullout from Iraq increases its interests in an agreement. Right-wingers in Likud meet to promote settlement expansion. Bassem Eid accuses the PA of practicing discrimination. Israeli courts allow Palestinians married to Israeli citizens to stay in the country. The younger generation of Palestinian refugees is less interested in return. Carlo Strenger says if talks fail, Palestinians should unilaterally declare independence. The JTA looks at Jewish American responses to the negotiations, including the joint ATFP-JCPA statement. Mamoun Fandy says the US wouldn't be convening the talks if it wasn't 70% sure of success.

Six Signs for the Forthcoming Washington Negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Mamoun Fandy - (Opinion) August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

When the US President, through his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, invites the Israelis and the Palestinians to hold direct negotiations under the auspices of the United States, and the International Quartet (of the EU, Russia, the United States, and the United Nations), then this is something that is worthy of interest and analysis of the hidden meanings and messages, for even if this does not benefit our understanding in this round [of negotiations] it could benefit us in future rounds.

After the Middle East peace talks fail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Carlo Strenger - (Opinion) August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Binyamin Netanyahu has scored a diplomatic victory, as many pundits have pointed out, because the US administration has shifted pressure from Israel to the Palestinians and coaxed them into direct talks with Israel. He probably assumes that the talks will fail because the Palestinians will walk out at some point, and then he will have a case for maintaining the status quo. But such a victory would be hollow.

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