August 27th

Deal on Temporary Settlement Freeze Hinges on What Happens Afterward
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

Attempts to finalize a deal on a settlement freeze are entering the final stretch, although significant differences still exist between American and Israeli negotiators. While those negotiators have reportedly reached an understanding on a nine-month freeze on new construction in the West Bank, both sides are struggling to agree on what should happen the day after the temporary freeze ends. The Israeli government would like to return to previous arrangements that allowed building within settlement blocs, while the Obama administration has refused to commit to any future deal, sources say.

August 26th

PLO to pick new leaders at landmark meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Google News
August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The parliament of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) on Wednesday began its first meeting in more than a decade in the occupied West Bank to replace leaders who have died. During the meeting in the territory's political capital of Ramallah, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) will pick six new members of the 18-strong PLO Executive Committee headed by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

PLO holds poll amid criticism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) is facing claims it is no longer relevant as members of the legislative body prepare to vote on members for its executive council. The Palestinian National Council (PNC) convened in Ramallah in the West Bank on Wednesday to elect six new members to its executive committee. But the PNC, the highest legal body for Palestinians, is facing criticism from Palestinian factions who say the body has failed to represent the Palestinian people. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have refused to join until the organisation is reformed.

Pressure Israel by acting first
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Salam Fayyad is certainly doing his best to dominate the headlines ahead of his Israeli counterpart’s visit to Europe. As Benjamin Netanyahu met with Gordon Brown to discuss faltering peace talks yesterday, the world was atwitter over the Palestinian prime minister’s stated intention to declare a “de facto” Palestinian state within two years. For an Israeli premier under pressure from both the United States and at home and attempting to overcome a resurgence of anti-Israeli sentiment in Europe, Mr Fayyad’s announcement could not have come at a worse time. That, of course, is the point.

Israel opens door to West Bank compromise
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel and the US are within sight of a compromise deal on halting settlement construction in the West Bank and paving the way to a resumption of political negotiations with moderate Palestinian leaders. Widespread indications that Israel will agree to a partial freeze on settlement construction were reinforced yesterday when its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped a "bridging formula" on settlement building would be reached. Mr Netanyahu will hold detailed negotiations in London today with the US presidential envoy George Mitchell.

Peace plans come and go. Obama may have to try a wholly new approach
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jonathan Freedland - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Surely the heart should give a cheer at the hints and signals that suggest Barack Obama will stand before the world next month, either at the UN general assembly or the G20 in Pittsburgh, and launch his own bid for Middle East peace. We have told ourselves for so long that a solution is possible – that everyone knows the contours of an eventual agreement between Israelis and Palestinians – that the urge is almost overwhelming to believe it is within reach.

US takes on Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran's nuclear programme in one massive gamble
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ewen Macaskill - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

The Obama administration's approach to two of the world's most intractable and dangerous problems, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran's nuclear programme, is to link them together in the search for a solution to both. The new US strategy aims to use its Iran policy to gain leverage on Binyamin Netanyahu's government.

Barack Obama on brink of deal for Middle East peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ewen Macaskill - August 25, 2009 - 12:00am

Barack Obama is close to brokering an Israeli-Palestinian deal that will allow him to announce a resumption of the long-stalled Middle East peace talks before the end of next month, according to US, Israeli, Palestinian and European officials. Key to bringing Israel on board is a promise by the US to adopt a much tougher line with Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons programme. The US, along with Britain and France, is planning to push the United Nations security council to expand sanctions to include Iran's oil and gas industry, a move that could cripple its economy.

Dilemma of Palestinian settlement builders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Heather Sharp - August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

"I feel like a slave," says 21-year-old Palestinian Musanna Khalil Mohammed Rabbaye. "But I have no alternative," he says, as he waits among a group of sun-beaten men in dusty work boots outside the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim. The phrase comes up again and again as the labourers try to explain why they spend their days hammering and shovelling to help build the Jewish settlements eating into the land they want for a future state of Palestine. Mr Rabbaye wants to be a journalist and is trying to fund his studies.

Israel and US discuss settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
August 26, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has met US envoy George Mitchell as part of a renewed drive to reach a deal on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. The US has been pushing for a complete end to Israeli construction in the hope of kick-starting stalled peace talks. The meeting in London followed talks with UK PM Gordon Brown, when Mr Netanyahu rejected any construction freeze in occupied East Jerusalem. He demanded again that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

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