MESS Report / This Ramadan, the occupation is not the hot topic in Ramallah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - August 13, 2010 - 12:00am

On Wednesday afternoon, the first day of the month-long fast of Ramadan, the weather in the West Bank was cooler than it had been earlier in the week, making it more conducive to fasting. But with temperatures still hovering around 30 degrees Celsius, it is easy to understand that fasting from dawn to dusk is no great pleasure. When we arrived in downtown Ramallah on Wednesday and looked for parking, we saw that city authorities had designated the area for metered parking. But it's the West Bank, so what could possibly happen to a parking scofflaw? A parking ticket?

World Bank grants $5 million to PA to train primary teachers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 17, 2010 - 12:00am

The World Bank will provide the Palestinian Authority $5 million to fund the Teacher Education Improvement Project, a statemenet read, after the deal was signed last Wednesday by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Dina Abu-Ghaida, Acting World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza (WBG).

Court holds state responsible for shooting of Palestinian girl
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Chaim Levinson - August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

A Jerusalem court on Monday held the state responsible for killing killing a 10-year-old Palestinian girl in January 2007. In a civil suit, the court ruled that border guards had either been negligent or disobeyed orders in shooting Abir Aramin with a rubber bullet, calling the incident 'totally unjustifiable'. The judge ruled ordered the government to pay damages to the girl's family, with the exact amount to be determined later.

Haniyeh: PA waging war against Islam
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 17, 2010 - 12:00am

Gaza government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh accused the Palestinian Authority on Monday evening of waging a war against religion and Islam. Haniyeh, speaking to reporters at the rebuilding ceremony of the police station in Al-Shati refugee camp, said "what is happening in the West Bank is a religious war that targets the pious people, particularly the new generation."

Darkness ahead for the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from NOW Lebanon
by Hussein Ibish - August 17, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian leadership is still seeking a political formula to reenter direct negotiations with Israel. There is no doubt that the Palestinians will agree to this, largely because the United States is insisting on it. However, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his colleagues feel very exposed politically because they have almost nothing to show for diplomatic efforts in the proximity talks and are facing considerable domestic opposition to such a move.

Source: Israel seeks to avoid Quartet stance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 17, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israeli government is trying to prevent the release of the Quartet statement on direct talks, and hopes to replace it with a US decision, a source within the PLO told Ma'an on Monday evening. The source said the PLO's Executive Committee would convene after the Quartet releases its statement, expected to call for talks under conditions that would attempt to satisfy both Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. A PLO position would be determined following the announcement, the source said.

Negotiations under false pretenses
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - August 17, 2010 - 12:00am

Direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are likely to begin in the near future. The international community under the conductor’s wand of the Obama Administration has applied considerable pressure to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from all of his demands for setting the conditions for his participation in the negotiations.

For Hamas, an end to Gaza's tunnel trade may be only the beginning
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Liam Stack - August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Under the watchful eyes of both Egyptian border guards and Hamas tax collectors, more than 1,000 tunnels snake below the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Since Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas took control in 2007, the tunnels underneath Rafah, a chaotic border town, have helped bring in everything from snack food and cement to a lion for the zoo. Without this underground highway system, Gazans say they would not have survived the past three years of sanctions.

Ex-Israeli Soldier’s Photos Condemned
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

An Israeli woman who completed her military service last year posted photographs of herself from the army posing with blindfolded and bound Palestinian prisoners under the title “The Army ... The Most Beautiful Time of My Life,” producing enraged commentary on the Internet and condemnation from the military. The woman, Eden Abergil, from the southern city of Ashdod, is seen in the pictures, posted on her Facebook page, smiling next to the prisoners.

Israeli-Palestinian direct talks expected to be announced soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen - August 16, 2010 - 12:00am

An announcement that Israelis and Palestinians have agreed to go into direct peace talks is expected in the coming days, U.S. officials, Mideast watchers and European diplomats said Monday. “We are close, we are optimistic,” a U.S. official said. “There’s still work to do, details remain.” One western diplomat said the announcement was expected Monday, adding that both parties are essentially agreeing to go into direct talks based on assurances they have received from the United States.

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