Finding an optimist in the Middle East peace process
Media Mention of ATFP In PBS - September 15, 2010 - 12:00am

U.S.-mediated talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials moved to Jerusalem on Wednesday, a symbolic gesture designed to lend credibility to the budding peace process. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t seem to have worked. Islamic militants are still lobbing mortars, and Israeli jets are still bombing tunnels. An expiration date on a settlement moratorium looms, and there seems to be little hope for a breakthrough.

Negotiations proceed despite violence but have not made any obvious progress. Special Envoy Mitchell says the parties are tackling tough issues, that the goal is full normalization in the region and that the US is actively pursuing Israeli-Syrian negotiations. The struggle over Silwan highlights tensions in Jerusalem. Israel bombs targets in Gaza. Pres. Abbas meets with Sec. Clinton and says there is no alternative to the talks. Ari Shavit says division of the land may precede a final status agreement. The US reportedly wants borders set in three months. PM Netanyahu reportedly tells Abbas his policy on settlements is unchanged. Yaakov Katz says Hamas is trapped between wanting to disrupt the negotiations but avoid major Israeli retaliation. Jeremy Bowen warns against excessive optimism. Jewish Americans are divided over Israeli artists' boycott of settlements. Zuheir Kseibati takes a dim view of negotiations. The Jordan Times says settlement building may kill the talks. John Whitbeck proposes an alternative model for two states. Ghaith Al-Omari explains his reasons for hopefulness.

Two states and one Holy Land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by John V. Whitbeck - September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

The Declaration of Principles so optimistically signed on the White House lawn in September 1993 proclaimed as its goal a "historic reconciliation" between the two peoples. Today, even optimists seem to hope only for a definitive separation of the two peoples behind high walls and fences.

Undermining line of argument
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

George Mitchell, the US special envoy to the Middle East, and Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, were in Sharm El Sheikh to mediate between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators. Unfortunately, and although talks are set to continue in Jerusalem, judging from the public statements made after the meetings, US mediation is spectacularly failing. Settlements, Mitchell told reporters, are a "politically sensitive issue" in Israel, so he urged Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO leader, to "take steps" to "facilitate the process".

The Cage of “Silent” Negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Zuheir Kseibati - (Opinion) September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

In light of the carrot and the stick policy used by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her attendance of the sessions to launch the negotiations on the Palestinian-Israeli track, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas picked up the signal again, seeing how his team is still the sole one concerned about the stick and threatened with “unpredictable consequences” if the negotiations were hindered. At the level of the carrot, Washington believes it allows both sides to come up with “creative” exits for the discontinuation of the settlement freeze predicament at the end of the month.

Artists fight over Israel: The sequel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ami Eden - September 14, 2010 - 12:00am

Big-time Hollywood Jews sent a strong message last year to artists protesting Israel: Don’t mess with Tel Aviv. What’s the buzz these days following the release of a sequel of sorts aimed at the West Bank Israeli settlement of Ariel? It’s complicated.

Tight lips as Middle East peace talks rumble on
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Jeremy Bowen - September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

With talks now well under way, the Americans are working hard to stop information leaking out of the conference rooms. The statements that have been released are bland, positive without minimising the problems ahead. We are told that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are "getting down to business", tackling the tough issues upfront.

Hamas stuck between peace talks and the IDF
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yaakov Katz - (Analysis) September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Hamas is on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand it has made a strategic decision to increase its terror attacks against Israel – 10 rockets were fired into Israel on Wednesday – in order to torpedo the peace talks between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. On the other hand, Hamas does not want to go too far with its attacks, to the point that Israel will feel compelled to send two IDF divisions into Gaza and carry out Operation Cast Lead II.

PM to Abbas: We'll continue building in settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Atilla Somfalvi - September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

During their meeting in Jerusalem Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Israel plans to resume construction in the West Bank settlements once the moratorium expires on September 26. A senior Palestinian official reported that following the meeting Abbas threatened to quit the direct peace talks if building is resumed in the settlements

Report: US wants borders set in 3 months
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - September 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Washington is trying to circumvent the obstacle posed by the settlement freeze in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and has devised a compromise which will allow the sides to make progress on other issues. The London-based Arabic-language al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Thursday that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has suggested a compromised according to which Israel will prolong the settlement freeze by three months and the time period wil be used by both parties to reach an agreement on the border issues.

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