NEWS: Israel bars diplomats from countries that do not have diplomatic relations with it from entering the occupied West Bank to meet with Palestinian officials. Armed militants attack Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula, killing 15. Israel says the militants tried to cross into its territory and 8 of them were killed in the process. The Palestinian leadership condemns the attack, and Israel's ambassador to the US accuses Iran of being behind it. Israel upgrades its Arrow missile defense system. Palestinians are continuing to lay the groundwork for renewed efforts at greater UN recognition. Palestinians send a convoy of aid to Palestinian refugees in Syria. An Israeli airstrike kills a Palestinian militant and wounds another in Gaza. Registration begins in the West Bank for local elections scheduled later this year. New Israeli regulations may prevent undocumented migrants and Palestinians living under occupation from filing court cases. Palestinian villagers are erecting stone walls to prevent their lands from being seized by Israeli settlers. Casino tycoon Adelson is reportedly pressuring Mitt Romney to publicly back the release of convicted Israeli spy Pollard. COMMENTARY: Avraham Burg says Israel's democracy is threatened as it may be drifting towards becoming “another Middle Eastern theocracy.” Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff say Israel still faces major dangers from groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula. Gili Heskin says it makes no sense for Israel to consider formally recognizing “unauthorized” settlement outposts. Raleb Majadele says Israel should emulate American self-criticism. Eitan Haber says Israel and the Arab states face a common enemy in Muslim extremists. Jillian Kestler-D'Amours says the Palestinian economy in Ramallah and other cities is a bubble waiting to burst. Jonathan Schanzer tracks how Palestinian refugees in Syria are turning against the Assad regime. Eric Yoffie says Israel is losing the battle for public opinion in United States.

Israel is losing the battle for public opinion in America
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Eric H. Yoffie - (Opinion) August 6, 2012 - 12:00am

The government of Israel wants to talk about Iran, but a lot of people did not get the memo. For an important group of public intellectuals, the occupation of the West Bank is becoming more rather than less important. And we are not talking here about the usual cast of anti-Israel characters, but of mainstream journalists, scholars, and opinion makers – those who write in middle-of-the-road, general publications with a broad readership.

Why the Palestinians are turning against al-Assad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CNN
by Jonathan Schanzer - (Opinion) August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Even if Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad somehow survives the current uprising aimed at toppling his regime, the beleaguered dictator will have a lingering identity problem. Indeed, a long-standing pillar of Syria’s foreign policy has been support to the Palestinian “resistance” against Israel. But in the wake of the Syrian onslaught, the country’s estimated 500,000 Palestinians are abandoning – even challenging – their long-time champion. With this dramatic shift, al-Assad is left more isolated in the Middle East than ever before.

Palestinian Bubble Set to Burst
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jillian Kestler-D'Amours - (Opinion) August 5, 2012 - 12:00am

“It will collapse, and the collapse will be harder when it happens later,” says Tareq Sadeq, Palestinian economist and professor at Birzeit University, about the financial bubble building up in the Palestinian Authority government. “It will mean that people will lose their homes. They will lose their cars. They will lose their land sometimes because of the collapse of the bubble. This will affect the whole economy and will also reflect on the Palestinian Authority. So this may be a collapse of the PA itself,” Sadeq tells IPS.

Israel, Arab Countries Share A Common Foe in Radical Islam
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Eitan Haber - (Opinion) August 3, 2012 - 12:00am

Many years ago, a new concept was added to the Israeli political lexicon: a window of opportunity. In those years, the early 1990s, there was no need for erudite explanations of the concept. The Soviet Union collapsed; Syria lost its Soviet patron, halting the supply of Soviet weapons to Damascus and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was on the skids, actually crashing to the boards. The list doesn't end there.

Op-Ed: Israel must learn from American’s unrelenting self-examination
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Raleb Majadele - August 5, 2012 - 12:00am

Among the many strengths of Israel is its strong democratic tradition. Maintaining this tradition, however, seems to be more of a challenge with every passing year.  Trends among some political parties inspired by nondemocratic instincts threaten Israel's most essential foundation. This fragile situation is made even less stable by the less than statesmanlike behavior of some Israeli leaders. 

Legalizing outposts the last thing we need
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Gili Heskin - (Opinion) August 5, 2012 - 12:00am

A committee headed by former Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy determined that Israel is not an occupying power in the West Bank and recommended that the State sanction the majority of illegal Jewish outposts in the region. Netanyahu announced that he would implement the panel's recommendations as soon as possible, as though the settlement policy has ever been subjected to legal or moral decisions.

Israel-Sinai border attack thwarted, but ominous signs loom ahead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Opinion) August 6, 2012 - 12:00am

Sunday’s confrontation on the Israeli-Egyptian border ended very successfully from Israel’s point of view. A concrete warning from the Shin Bet security service allowed the Israel Defense Forces to properly ready itself along the triangulated border near Rafah. Every terrorist that tried to infiltrate into Israeli territory was killed, while the Israeli side suffered no casualties. But if one takes a broader view, the incident testifies to the development of some very serious problems – for Egypt, in the near term, and for Israel, in the slightly longer term.

Israel’s Fading Democracy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Avraham Burg - (Opinion) August 4, 2012 - 12:00am

When an American presidential candidate visits Israel and his key message is to encourage us to pursue a misguided war with Iran, declaring it “a solemn duty and a moral imperative” for America to stand with our warmongering prime minister, we know that something profound and basic has changed in the relationship between Israel and the United States.

Adelson vs. Romney
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Dan Ephron, Eli Lake - August 6, 2012 - 12:00am

Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, a major contributor to Mitt Romney’s election effort, is pressing the Republican nominee to come out for the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, a major Republican donor and associates of Adelson and Romney tell The Daily Beast.

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