June 21st

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.

The greening of Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) June 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestine may soon become the newest nation on the planet.

Middle East peace needs fresh thinking
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Khalaf Al Habtoor - (Opinion) June 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion tried to reassure Israelis that Palestinians would never return to their homes. "We must do everything to ensure they never do return… The old will die and the young will forget," he said. He was wrong; the word ‘forget' isn't in the Palestinians' lexicon. For 63 long years, they've borne hardships, suffered humiliation and fought for freedom with nothing but stones and bare hands. But, sadly, they not only face a cruel adversary, their own leaders have let them down.

Ashkenazi: Palestine is inevitable, UN state bid is not
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
June 20, 2011 - 12:00am

Former IDF chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said that a Palestinian state is "inevitable," and that Israel must take an active stance in seeking to reengage the Palestinian leadership in order to avoid a unilaterally declared Palestine in the UN this September, Army Radio reported Monday. Speaking at an event in Toronto, Ashkenazi said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government could still avoid the UN Palestinian state bid if Israel opened up negotiations again with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

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