August 30th

The settlement issue looms as an early obstacle in direct talks. Tensions are running high as negotiations approach. Gadi Taub says settlements threaten the Zionist project. Several commentaries note Pres. Obama is taking a significant risk for peace. The Detroit Free Press says Obama can earn his Nobel Peace Prize by securing an end to the conflict. Pres. Abbas says talks must be serious, cannot proceed alongside settlement activity, and Israel will be to blame if they fail. Palestinian merchants clear shelves of settlement products. PM Netanyahu says he never agreed to limit settlement activity after Sept. 26. The US condemns, and Netanyahu distances himself from, statements by a leading Israeli rabbi calling for death to Abbas and all the Palestinians. Tony Karon speculates that the US may be positioning to impose its own formula after talks fail. Relations between Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza are deteriorating, and Abdullah Iskandar says Hamas has shown it will brook no opposition.

The settlement issue looms as an early obstacle in direct talks. Tensions are running high as negotiations approach. Gadi Taub says settlements threaten the Zionist project. Several commentaries note Pres. Obama is taking a significant risk for peace. The Detroit Free Press says Obama can earn his Nobel Peace Prize by securing an end to the conflict. Pres. Abbas says talks must be serious, cannot proceed alongside settlement activity, and Israel will be to blame if they fail. Palestinian merchants clear shelves of settlement products. PM Netanyahu says he never agreed to limit settlement activity after Sept. 26. The US condemns, and Netanyahu distances himself from, statements by a leading Israeli rabbi calling for death to Abbas and all the Palestinians. Tony Karon speculates that the US may be positioning to impose its own formula after talks fail. Relations between Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza are deteriorating, and Abdullah Iskandar says Hamas has shown it will brook no opposition.

U.S.: Rabbi's 'offensive' remarks harm peace efforts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - August 29, 2010 - 11:00pm


The United States on Sunday condemned remarks by the spiritual leader of Israel's leading ultra-Orthodox party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who said the Palestinians should "perish". "We regret and condemn the inflammatory statements by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef," U.S. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley. "These remarks are not only deeply offensive, but incitement such as this hurts the cause of peace." "As we move forward to relaunch peace negotiations, it is important that actions by people on all sides help to advance our effort, not hinder it."


The Strip Under Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Abdullah Iskandar - August 28, 2010 - 11:00pm


The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) has been escalating its political discourse against the Palestinian Authority, on the occasion of the latter answering Washington’s call for direct negotiations with Israel. The debate over taking such a step will thus prevail over other issues with the nearing of the date for starting these negotiations on the 2nd of next month.


Hamas-Islamic Jihad Relations Deteriorating
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Kifah Zaboun - August 28, 2010 - 11:00pm


Sources within the Islamic Jihad Movement have described relations with the Hamas movement as "tense" to the degree that interaction between the two movements' officials on a political level have ceased. Another high-level source told Asharq Al-Awsat, "They went beyond all limits ... They are acting like a government that owns Gaza, and now nothing is left between us except the media." The sources accused Hamas of escalation against elements of the Islamic Jihad on a daily basis through arrests, attacks, and raiding of the movement's offices.


Direct talks will fail – is that what the US is planning on?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Tony Karon - (Opinion) August 29, 2010 - 11:00pm


There is more chance of Saddam Hussein’s elusive weapons of mass destruction suddenly turning up in Iraq than there is of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas agreeing on the terms for a two-state solution in Washington this week. That does not mean the direct talks being orchestrated by President Barack Obama are pointless. On the contrary, they represent a moment of truth, not for the Israelis or the Palestinians, but for Mr Obama, who is creating a crisis by forcing irreconcilable differences between the two sides onto the table.


Influential Israeli Rabbi calls for Palestinians to 'perish from the world' ahead of crunch peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Daily Mail
August 29, 2010 - 11:00pm


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has distanced himself from an influential rabbi after he said Palestinians and their President Mahmoud Abbas should 'perish from the world'. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual head of the religious Shas party in Israel's government, gave a fiery sermon as Middle East peace talks were set to begin next week. The 89-year-old rabbi - founder of the ultra-orthodox Shas Party - said: 'Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this earth.


PM pulls back from Yosef’s words
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh, Herb Keinon - August 28, 2010 - 11:00pm


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rushed on Sunday evening to distance himself and his government from Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s death wish for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian people, after the flood of angry Palestinian reactions to the comments. “These words do not reflect the approach of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, nor the position of the government of Israel,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.


Mahmoud Abbas: If talks fail over settlements, only Israel will be to blame
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - August 28, 2010 - 11:00pm


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the upcoming resumption of direct peace talks with Israel in a televised speech on Sunday, saying that "Israel will be held accountable for the failure of the talks if settlement construction should continue." "The negotiations need to bring about serious action that will be able to bring liberation from the occupation and independence," Abbas said.


Netanyahu: I never promised to extend West Bank settlement construction freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - August 25, 2010 - 11:00pm


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud ministers on Sunday that he had not made any promises to U.S. President Barack Obama or any other American government official regarding an extension of the settlement construction freeze in the West Bank. "We made no proposals to the Americans on extending the freeze," Netanyahu said. "We said that the future of the communities will be discussed as one of the elements of a final-status settlement, along with the other issues. We promised nothing on this issue to the Americans."



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