In blame game, arrow tilts to Abbas
Media Mention of ATFP In Politico - September 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Israelis and Palestinians have yet to achieve any substantive progress in the nascent peace talks that resulted from President Barack Obama’s high-profile push for negotiations, but a subtle shift in the political balance between the two antagonists seems clear: Israel is now winning the blame game. The blame game always proceeds on a parallel, subterranean track to actual negotiations, the cynical mirror of the process’s insistent optimism. Some prominent figures on both sides barely disguise their assumption that peace talks will fail, as they almost always do.

ATFP Advocacy Director Ghaith Al-Omari discusses negotiations on PBS' Newshour. The international onus is now on Pres. Abbas not to leave negotiations, but he is under heavy regional and domestic pressure to do so. Construction has resumed in many settlements, to a barrage of international and American criticism. Richard Cohen says all parties have miscalculated on the settlement issue. Some Palestinian refugees in Lebanon continue to support armed struggle, and the Lebanese government hopes recent reforms will stem radicalism. A Fatah official claims serious progress in reconciliation talks with Hamas. Three Palestinians are killed in Israeli air strikes in Gaza. Gaza's tunnel economy is collapsing. Israel's navy seizes a Gaza-bound boat without violence. Dror Etkes points out that settlement construction barely slowed during the moratorium. Dozens of Palestinian families are threatened with eviction in occupied East Jerusalem. Special Envoy Mitchell is returning to the region. Gershon Baskin says Israel should stop wasting resources on settlements. Gabrielle Rifkind says there are many ways of dealing with the settler issue. Many Israelis have a financial stake in the settlement project.

3 dead in Gaza airstrike
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's air force bombed the Gaza Strip late Monday, killing three Palestinians, onlookers said. The dead, three young men in their 20s, were transferred to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, officials said. They were identified as Ala Abu Zbeida, Awni Abdul Hadi, and Muhammad Eid. According to witnesses, the bombardment targeted the Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, with one Israeli jet also firing a missile toward a house in the camp causing no injuries.

Fatah official: Serious progress in unity talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 28, 2010 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- A Fatah Revolutionary Council member said Monday that "serious progress" has been made in finalizing a unity deal between his party and Hamas following a meeting in Damascus over the week. Faisal Abu Shahla told Ma'an that representatives from the rival parties agreed on three disputed points of four during the Damascus meeting, which have thus far stalled the ratification of the Egyptian-backed unity deal.

Gaza's troubled tunnel trade swings into reverse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - September 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Business has become so bad for Gaza's smuggler barons since Israel relaxed its blockade that tunnel traders have given up spiriting goods into the enclave, and some have even turned underground exporters. Smugglers had made fortunes hauling all manner of goods from Egypt through tunnels into Gaza, supplying 1.5 million Palestinians badly hurt by Israel's clampdown imposed in 2007 after the Islamist Hamas group took over the tiny territory.

Israel navy halts Gaza-bound boat without violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Aisha Mohammed - September 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli naval forces on Tuesday intercepted a catamaran carrying nine Jewish activists toward the Gaza Strip, encountering no resistance as they took control of the sailboat and escorted it to shore, the military said. The incident occurred four months after a deadly Israeli raid on an international flotilla, in which nine Turkish activists, one of them a dual Turkish-American citizen, were killed in clashes with naval commandos. The Irene, like the earlier flotilla, had been trying to breach Israel's naval blockade of Gaza.

US 'disappointed' after settlement freeze ends
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
September 28, 2010 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- US envoy George Mitchell will hold meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week to discuss the consequences of Israel's decision not to extend a temporary moratorium on settlement building. The US administration is "disappointed" at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. Crowley praised the "restraint" of the Palestinian response to resumed building.

Why Palestinian refugees in Lebanon support violence rather than peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Nicholas Blanford - (Analysis) September 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp, Lebanon — Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations hung in the balance Monday as Israel ignored international pressure to extend a 10-month freeze on Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, under pressure from the United States to stick with the talks, is expected to consult with his partners in the 22-member Arab League next week before announcing a decision. But Mr. Abbas said Sunday, hours before the freeze expired, that Israel had only one choice: "either peace or settlements.”

Settlement freeze? It was barely a slowdown
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Dror Etkes - (Opinion) September 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The official statistics supplied by the Central Bureau of Statistics describe the story behind the 10-month construction moratorium in the West Bank. The story can be called many things but "freeze" is certainly not one of them. What took place in the past few months is, in the best case scenario, not more than a negligible decrease in the number of housing units that were built in settlements.

Dozens of Arab families may be evicted from East Jerusalem neighborhood under court ruling
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - September 28, 2010 - 12:00am

A Supreme Court ruling Sunday may allow settler groups to move into dozens more homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Justices Yoram Danziger, Esther Hayut and Miriam Naor unanimously rejected an appeal by Palestinians claiming to own a large plot in the western portion of the neighborhood. The court ruled that the custodian general, and other owners, including settler representatives, succeeded in proving they owned the property.

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