NEWS: Pres. Obama says the United States may have “tactical disagreements” with Israel. Pres. Abbas reiterates that Palestinians want to resume negotiations, will go to the UN in September and will have a government headed by PM Fayyad. Fayyad says he refuses to continue as prime minister, even though a new poll shows him to be the popular choice. Obama assures Jewish donors he strongly supports Israel. Settlers use tourism to tighten their grip on the occupied territories. Gazans are not feeling much relief from the border opening. Turkey and Israel hold secret talks to repair relations. PM Netanyahu says Israel must separate from the Palestinians. Outgoing Israeli military chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi says a Palestinian state is “inevitable” and urges resuming negotiations. Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan has been stripped of his diplomatic passport after remarks critical of the Israeli government. COMMENTARY: Sefi Rachlevsky says that because of religious fanaticism, the Israeli military is leading Israel to destruction. Daoud Kuttab says Palestinians need a holistic strategy for independence. Gerald Auerbach says Israel was founded amidst a legitimacy crisis and had to fight its own extremists. Gershon Baskin says Palestinians need energy as well as political independence. Khalaf Al Habtoor says more Arab commitment to the Palestinian cause is required. Jeff Halper says even a symbolic show of support for Palestine at the UN will be a significant victory. Yossi Alpher says that rather than trying to resuscitate talks, the international community should turn UN efforts into a win-win situation. Ghassan Khatib says Europe is the key to what happens in September. Roger Hercz says Israel is torn over the Arab Spring.

The European position is key
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Blog) June 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The period from now until September is going to be crowded with ideas and proposals aimed at achieving two objectives. First, these will seek to head off the Palestinian plan to take the conflict to the United Nations for discussion and ask for recognition of the Palestinian state and membership at the world body. Second, these proposals will try to ensure a resumption of the bilateral negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

Special from Israel: A country torn over projected impact of Arab Spring
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
by Roger Hercz - (Opinion) June 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Facing US lawmakers on Capitol Hill in late May, Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu did not even attempt to wrap an elegant coating around his undiplomatic mocking of the uprisings sweeping the Arab World. Comparing the current situation in many Arab states to Israel, he left nothing to the imagination. “My friends, you don‘t need to do nation building in Israel. We have already built,” Netanyahu said, as the lawmakers joined him in laughter. “You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it.”

Israel and Turkey holding secret direct talks to mend diplomatic rift
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - June 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli and Turkish officials have been holding secret direct talks to try to solve the diplomatic crisis between the two countries, a senior official in Jerusalem said. The negotiations are receiving the Americans' support. A source in the Turkish Foreign Ministry and a U.S. official confirmed that talks are being held, though in Israel the prime minister and foreign minister's aides declined to comment.

Why more pathetic attempts to revive a dead process?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Blog) June 20, 2011 - 12:00am

For nearly three years now, since the demise of negotiations between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas, there have been no serious Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The reasons center on the apparent recognition by both Abbas and Olmert's successor, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, that the gaps separating them on issues of substance are too wide to justify the political risks entailed in rejoining a serious negotiations effort.

In Gaza, border opening brings little relief
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak - June 21, 2011 - 12:00am

The reopening of the Gaza Strip's main border crossing with Egypt brought widespread relief to Palestinians suffering from a four-year blockade. But one month later, some 20,000 people are on a wait list and despair is growing in this crowded territory. Residents still must apply for travel permits, and the first available dates to cross are in late August. Frustrated travelers gather at the crossing each day, clutching medical reports, foreign residency permits and university registration documents in hopes of persuading the authorities to let them through.

Netanyahu: Israel needs to separate from the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - June 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surprised many of the participants in the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday when he embarked on a monologue praising the idea of parting from the Palestinians and in relinquishing portions of the West Bank. Netanyahu said the number of Palestinians and Jews between the Jordan River and the sea "is irrelevant" and that it's more important to "preserve a solid Jewish majority inside the State of Israel."

The UN bid: A historic opportunity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Jeff Halper - (Opinion) June 20, 2011 - 12:00am

No one knows the precise plans of the Palestinian Authority (PA) vis-a-vis September: Will President Mahmoud Abbas declare a Palestinian state within recognized borders and ask that it be admitted as a full member of the UN - or not? Perhaps Abbas himself does not know. Now political leaders often make decisions alone or in consultation with a small group of advisers. As in so many matters political, however, the Palestinian leadership finds itself in a unique situation.

Opinion poll shows Fayyad favored for PM
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
June 21, 2011 - 12:00am

A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found the majority of Palestinians would prefer Salam Fayyad as prime minister and Mahmoud Abbas as president. The results of the poll, released Monday, also showed that reconciliation talks had improved the public perception of Hamas more than Fatah.

Settlers cultivate W.Bank tourism to tighten grip on land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Maayan Lubell - June 20, 2011 - 12:00am

The bulletproof van is extra. Welcome to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where Jewish settlements built on land Palestinians seek for a state are opening their gates to foreign tourists and Israeli visitors. A one-day tour, booked through a regional settler council, costs $50. An additional $80 secures the armoured bus. Palestinians, or "local Arabs" in the words of settlers who spoke to one group of visitors, are not on the itinerary.

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