May 24th

Army arrests Israeli activists in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's army says it has arrested several Israeli activists who broke into a disputed West Bank building to protest speeches by President Barack Obama and the Israeli prime minister in Washington. A military spokeswoman says the troops arrested about eight activists early on Tuesday after they holed themselves up in Beit Shapira, a building in the contentious city of Hebron. Israel sealed the building in 2006. Army radio broadcast one activist at the site yelling: "Tell Obama and (Netanyahu) that Israel won't give up its land."

Netanyahu repeats Israel cannot return to '67 borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday again rejected U.S. President Barack Obama's vision of a Middle East peace deal based on the country's "indefensible" 1967 borders. Netanyahu, speaking to Washington's most powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, said he planned to outline in a speech to Congress on Tuesday his own vision for an eventual peace between Israel and the Palestinians. "It must leave Israel with security, and therefore Israel cannot return to the indefensible 1967 lines," Netanyahu said.

Russia announces unequivocal support for unity deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Russia supports Palestinian unity efforts as a step toward regional stability, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavarov told Palestinian factional representatives in Moscow on Monday evening. The statement came at a meeting with seven faction leaders, many of whom recently refused to appoint members to a new technocrat government saying they were being left out of the reconciliation process and would prefer not to lend it legitimacy.

Palestinian unity arose from ruins of peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

A Palestinian unity deal, slammed by Barack Obama as an "enormous obstacle to peace," emerged after Hamas and Fatah agreed on the shared goal of a state on the 1967 lines and the failure of talks with Israel. "The recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas poses an enormous obstacle to peace," the US president told delegates at the US-Israel lobby group AIPAC in Washington on Sunday, demanding the Islamist movement recognize Israel, reject violence and respect all existing agreements with Israel.

Cairo: Some names for new govt selected
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
May 24, 2011 - 12:00am

Several names have been agreed on for the new technocrat government being compiled by Fatah and Hamas officials in Cairo, a party member told Ma'an on Tuesday. From Gaza City, Fatah national relations official Diab Al-Loh assured that progress was being made in the now nearly three-week long wait for the announcement of a new government, following the signing of a unity deal on 4 May. Al-Loh said none of the names would be announced until the government was set, and meetings between all factions were concluded.

Time for Netanyahu to ditch his do-nothing policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Richard Cohen - (Opinion) May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Every man has a father, and Binyamin Netanyahu’s is worth knowing. He is Benzion Netanyahu, born 101 years ago in what was soon to become Poland and living now in what has become Israel. He is a historian by profession, the author of a mammoth and well-respected book on the Spanish Inquisition and, most pertinent to today’s events, the former secretary to Ze’ev Jabotinsky, a militant Zionist leader whose credo, when it came to the Arabs, could be summarized as: Do nothing. Binyamin Netanyahu is doing precisely that.

West Bank: Palestinian Premier Has a Heart Attack in Texas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, suffered a heart attack on Sunday at a hospital in Austin, Tex., where he was attending his son’s college graduation, a spokesman said. Mr. Fayyad, a heavy smoker, underwent tests showing a blockage in a coronary artery, and doctors performed a catheterization to open the artery, the spokesman said. He is expected to leave the hospital in two days. Mr. Fayyad has been prime minister since 2007 and has developed close ties with Western leaders.

May 23rd

ATFP Urges Support for President Obama
Press Release - Contact Information: Ghaith al-Omari - May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

ATFP expresses its support for President Obama’s call for the establishment of two states, Palestine and Israel with borders based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed upon swaps. ATFP has always advocated a negotiated two-state solution as an American national interest. ATFP urges Members of Congress and all Americans to work intensively with the President to achieve this goal. ATFP also calls upon the Palestinians and Israelis to engage with the President in reaching peace for the benefit of their peoples and the region.

Pres. Obama says Israel must make “hard choices.” Palestinians see prospects of a peace agreement dwindling. Roger Cohen says Obama got it right that peace requires Palestinian independence and Israeli security. Aides to PM Netanyahu play down the dispute with the United States, although he was highly critical of Obama’s speech. Israeli analysts say the mutual mistrust is evident. The CSM praises Obama’s emphasis on the 1967 borders. The Quartet and the EU back Obama’s stance. Hamas says it will not heed Obama’s call to recognize Israel. UK officials say they are “deeply disappointed” by Israeli settlement plans. Ramallah is flourishing because of the state-building program. Palestinians are uncomfortable with Obama’s reference to Israel as a “Jewish state.” Obama’s AIPAC speech seems to mollify some Israelis. Palestinian officials say Obama’s speeches lay the basis for a new peace process. Ha’aretz doubts there will be a third intifada. Merav Michaeli says it’s no wonder that Obama can’t understand why Israel will not act in its own interests. Ahmad Tibi says when addressing Congress Netanyahu will have to defend his policy of "doing nothing." David Halperin and Peter Joseph defend Obama’s positions against criticism from other Jewish Americans. Israel announces more settlement plans in extremely sensitive areas around occupied East Jerusalem. The BBC interviews Obama. Palestinians plan more border protests for June 5. Jewish students in California seek legal action against pro-Palestinian campus activists. The National says Palestinians have a chance to seize the initiative. Tariq Alhomayed says Hamas needs to stop being an obstacle to negotiations.

A Message to Khaled Mishal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq al-Homayed - May 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Khaled Mishal, the leader of the Hamas movement, demonstrated strong political pragmatism after the uprising witnessed by Syria, as the inter-Palestinian reconciliation agreement was completed quickly in Cairo after years of procrastination. The question today is: does Mishal demonstrate as much political intelligence as pragmatism?

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017