US-trained Palestinian force is keen for action
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - June 28, 2009 - 12:00am

In the live-fire exercise, everything was carefully choreographed — Palestinian commandos, faces blackened, stormed a hide-out in an abandoned building, "wounded" one gunman and "arrested" a second. But is this corps, American-trained and steadily growing, ready for the real thing? President Barack Obama's hopes for a Middle East peace breakthrough may rest heavily on that question.

Report: Most West Bank wastewater untreated
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
June 28, 2009 - 12:00am

The wastewater of 2 million of the 2.8 million people living in Jerusalem and the West Bank is not treated, according to a new report. The human rights group B'Tselem on Sunday released its report "Foul Play: Neglect of Wastewater Treatment in the West Bank." While the organization laid much of the blame on Israel, it said the Palestinians also were at fault. The report said the failure to treat the Israeli and Palestinian wastewater could result in the permanent contamination of the mountain aquifer, a main source of water for both Israelis and Palestinians.

State approves construction of 50 new housing units in Adam
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by SHALHEVET ZOHAR - June 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Hours before Defense Minister Ehud Barak leaves for the United States, the Defense Ministry on Monday notified the High Court that in accordance with a 1996 government master plan for the construction of 1,450 housing units in a new neighborhood in the West Bank settlement of Adam, the ministry has at this stage approved only 190 units, of which 50 have received final approval. These 50 units are intended to house the settlers expected to be evacuated from the unauthorized Migron outpost, near Ramallah.

Final preparations head of Barak-Mitchell meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - June 29, 2009 - 12:00am

"The settlements will not be an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians." That is the message Defense Minister Ehud Barak will be carrying with him on his upcoming trip to meet with special US envoy George Mitchell. Barak is being dispatched in an attempt to dissipate the tensions between the White House and Jerusalem, and to allow the renewal of negotiations with the Palestinians. Until now Israel has not given any sign to suggest it intends to acquiesce to the international demand that all construction in the West Bank be frozen, including within existing settlements.

Israel May Shift on Settlements Freeze Amid Broader Effort
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - June 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel would be open to a complete freeze of settlement building in the West Bank for three to six months as part of a broad Middle East peace endeavor that included a Palestinian agreement to negotiate an end to the conflict and confidence-building steps by major Arab nations, senior Israeli officials said Sunday. The officials spoke before a planned meeting in Washington on Tuesday between Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, and George J. Mitchell, the Obama administration’s Middle East envoy, and said this was the message Mr. Barak would take with him.

Palestinians: Migron decision destroys chances for peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - June 29, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority is livid with Israel's decision to build 50 new housing units in the West Bank settlement of Adam. The new units are intended to house the current residents of the illegal outpost of Migron, who will need to be relocated when the outpost is evacuated.

Unlikely Ally for Residents of West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Ethan Bronner - June 27, 2009 - 12:00am

Ezra Nawi was in his element. Behind the wheel of his well-worn jeep one recent Saturday morning, working two cellphones in Arabic as he bounded through the terraced hills and hardscrabble villages near Hebron, he was greeted warmly by Palestinians near and far. Watching him call for an ambulance for a resident and check on the progress of a Palestinian school being built without an Israeli permit, you might have thought him a clan chief. Then noticing the two Israeli Army jeeps trailing him, you might have pegged him as an Israeli occupation official handling Palestinian matters.

After U.S. pressure, Barkat to halt 70% of East Jerusalem demolitions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nir Hasson - June 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is set to announce a plan to freeze demolition orders on around 70 percent of unauthorized construction in the east of the city, Haaretz has learned. The municipality would also negotiate compensation terms with families evicted from the remaining 30 percent. The plan represents a departure from earlier statements, in which Barkat spoke out against illegal construction by Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

End the Spat With Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Jackson Diehl - June 29, 2009 - 12:00am

The upheaval in Iran offers the Obama administration a host of fresh foreign policy opportunities. Not the least of them is a chance to creep away from the corner into which it has painted itself in the Arab-Israeli peace process.

What a Freeze Can't Do
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by David Ignatius - June 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel's new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, seemed perplexed during his visit to Washington this month: At a time when America and Israel agreed on all the big issues -- from Iran and North Korea to Afghanistan and Pakistan -- how could the little issue of Israeli settlements on the West Bank get in the way?

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