September 2nd

Israeli Peace Effort Rests on Netanyahu
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - September 1, 2010 - 12:00am

David Rubinger, one of Israel’s best-known photojournalists and a man firmly on the political left, cast his ballot last year for Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister, the first time he had ever voted for the right-leaning Likud Party. “The left wants to make peace but cannot, while the right doesn’t want to but, if forced to, can do it,” he said in an interview. “So last year I decided to vote not with my heart but with my head.”

The Future Palestinian State Takes Root
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Hussein Ibish, Michael Weiss - September 2, 2010 - 12:00am

Many contentious issues could bedevil the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that began Wednesday, but on one subject both sides can largely agree: The state-building program launched last year by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has made measurable progress. While the terrorist group Hamas rules in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians in the West Bank are trying to build the framework of a future state. The West Bank economy grew by 8.5% last year (according to the International Monetary Fund), despite the global recession and

Netanyahu and Abbas to Begin Direct Mideast Peace Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Helene Cooper - September 2, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli and Palestinian leaders were to open direct peace negotiations Thursday after committing to work to end the conflict that has endured for six decades.

September 1st

Obama Aims for Middle East Agreement to Counter Iran by Stabilizing Region
Media Mention of ATFP In Bloomberg - September 1, 2010 - 12:00am

President Barack Obama leads Israel and the Palestinian Authority into direct talks starting tomorrow aiming for a big prize: a peace deal that will help stabilize the region and thwart Iran’s bid to expand its influence. Obama is bringing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu together in Washington to seek agreement on security and territorial issues that lie at the heart of their dispute and have defied solution over two decades of negotiation.

The murder of four Israeli settlers on the eve of talks rattles leaders. Hamas claims responsibility and Ha'aretz says they have succeeded in embarrassing the PA. Israel seals off Hebron. The PA condemns the attack and arrests scores of Hamas militants. Nahum Barnea says it strengthens PM Netanyahu's hand in negotiations. Tom Friedman says Pres. Obama's efforts at stability in Iraq and Palestinian-Israeli peace are a uniquely ambitious combination and Bloomberg suggests these efforts may be aimed at countering Iran.. Pres. Mubarak says peace is possible. Pres. Abbas reiterates his commitment to peace. DM Barak suggests a compromise on Jerusalem including a "special regime" for tbe old city. US officials again say peace can be reached in a year. New statistics suggest reduced settlement activity in the first half of 2010. Ian Black says neither side seems ready to make serious concessions on peace. Rami Khouri says the US may be waiting until December to seriously pressure the parties. Hussein Ibish says a new book on "the Arab lobby" is comically wrong.

In search of the invisible Arab lobby
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Hussein Ibish - (Book Review) September 1, 2010 - 12:00am

This week HarperCollins released a new book by Mitchell Bard called The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance that Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East, an obvious and ham-handed effort to counter the influential 2007 book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

Don't over-expect peace from Washington
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) September 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Conventional wisdom says that President Barack Obama will not seriously pressure Israelis and Palestinians in their peace negotiations before the United States’ mid-term congressional elections in November, for fear that the wrath of the pro-Israel lobby might hurt the Democrats and perhaps give the Republicans control of the House of Representatives. Well, conventional wisdom will be put to the test in a serious way this week, as Obama participates in the first session of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Washington on Thursday.

Middle East talks: no real desire for change spells little hope of success
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ian Black - September 1, 2010 - 12:00am

No previous round of Middle East peace negotiations has begun with such rock-bottom expectations as the one being launched in Washington tonight. Neither side expects to be able to reach an agreement unless the US tries to impose one. And few believe that if Barack Obama does attempt that, Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas will be able to live with it – the Israeli premier because of his fractious rightwing coalition and the Palestinian president because of Hamas opposition and wider despair over years of peace "process" without change.

Historic absence of housing starts in Judea and Samaria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - September 1, 2010 - 12:00am

For the second quarter in a row, there were almost no new housing starts in the West Bank settlements, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The report of what is an historic absence of housing starts in Judea and Samaria comes on the eve of the start of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. It is the first such meeting since talks broke down in December 2008. Halting settlement construction has been one of the key demands Palestinians have made of Israel.

In the shadow of attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Nahum Barnea - (Opinion) September 1, 2010 - 12:00am

Last night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu experienced something that happened to many of his predecessors before, and to him too in his previous term as prime minister: He boarded a plane in a relatively peaceful state, but when he landed, the news of a murderous terror attack landed along with him. He boarded the plane in a certain mood, and disembarked from it in a wholly different mood.

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