Mideast peace talks: Are Israel, Palestine just going through the motions?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Matthew Rusling - August 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Friday's announcement of a new round of Middle East peace talks has stirred skepticism over whether the negotiations will amount to any meaningful progress. Moreover, some experts said both the Israelis and Palestinians are simply going through the motions in a bid to placate Washington. "In effect you have both sides just doing this to please the United States," said Michele Dunne, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Neither side believes that a negotiated solution can result from the talks, nor are they prepared to make major concessions, she said.

Israelis, Palestinians feud ahead of direct talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli and Palestinian leaders sparred on Monday over Jewish settlements and Israeli calls for security guarantees before the launch of Quartet-sponsored direct peace talks in Washington next week. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement he would demand any Palestinian state established under a peace deal be demilitarised. But he said he was not laying down any terms for the talks set to convene on Sept. 2.

Palestinian Authority slashes spending on vehicles
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Mohammed Assadi - August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority said on Monday it would implement measures to save on fuel and maintenance for its fleet of 2,000 vehicles, as part of spending cuts spurred by a decline in funding from Arab countries. Transport Minister Saadi al-Kronz told Reuters the cuts taking effect on Oct. 1 would restrict the use of government vehicles to working hours, and seek efficiency measures for further savings on fuel and licensing. Kronz hoped the measures would save millions of dollars each year and minimise a need to purchase new vehicles at an annual cost of about $10 million.

Dismal lack of classrooms in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 24, 2010 - 12:00am

The education of Palestinian children in East Jerusalem is subject to "ongoing neglect," a joint report issued by two Israeli rights group said Tuesday. The Association of Civil Rights in Israel and Jerusalem-based NGO Ir Amim say the education system in East Jerusalem remains short of 1,000 classrooms for Palestinian students. According to the report, only 39 schools were built for Palestinians over the past year despite promises made in court to build 644 by 2011.

Abbas appoints new chief of staff following scandal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 24, 2010 - 12:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree appointing a new chief of staff to replace Rafiq Husseini, who was dismissed in February over a sex scandal, Ma'an learned Tuesday. Dr Hussein Al-A'raj previously served as governor of Hebron, undersecretary of the ministry of local governance from 2004 to 2005, and served as the chief of staff of Palestinian Authority civil servants. Before working in government, Al-Araj lectured at the An-Najah National University in Nablus in the Faculty of Economy and Administrative Sciences.

US 'mindful' of Palestinian stance on settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 24, 2010 - 12:00am

The US said it remained "mindful" of the Palestinian position on an end to settlement construction, a State Department spokesman said Monday. US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters that Israel's temporary moratorium, which expires three weeks after talks launch, would be up for discussion when leaders meet on 2 September. "We’re very mindful of the importance the issue is within the negotiation. That’s why we want to get in the negotiation. None of these issues can be resolved outside of this negotiation," Crowley said.

How to bolster the coming Mideast peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

When Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the US had invited the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct peace talks next week, the secretary of State did not mince words about the obstacles to success. “The enemies of peace will keep trying to defeat us and to derail these talks,” she said Aug. 20. That is why the negotiations will need “actions by all sides” to support the process.

WEST BANK: Big obstacles in road to direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - (Blog) August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Even before direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations kick off in Washington on Sept. 2, the road there is littered with political landmines. The Palestinians stated when they agreed on Friday, under U.S. and international pressure, to resume direct negotiations that if Israel resumed settlement construction in the West Bank, the talks would stop.

Mideast peace talks to look forward to?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by David Makovsky - August 24, 2010 - 12:00am

The announcement Friday that Middle East peace talks would be launched Sept. 2 was not exactly met with an outpouring of enthusiasm. Yet progress on security and other issues suggests there is reason to believe peace talks can produce results.

End of settlement freeze could derail Mideast talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Eli Lake - August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians that are set to begin next week in Washington may be scuttled before they even get going. Israel has yet to commit to extending a freeze on construction of settlements that the Palestinian side says it needs to continue negotiations. That settlement freeze is set to expire Sept. 26. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated in a letter to President Obama that he would not participate in the direct talks if Israel continued construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

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