MESS Report / PLO must cease climbing trees too high to climb down
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - (Blog) August 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to resume direct negotiations with Israel on September 2 in Washington without any of his preconditions being met. Israel has not promised to end construction in the settlements, and the Quartet's statement does not even mention this issue. Contrary to the demand that the Quartet's announcement would constitute the framework for the talks, U.S. Special Envoy George Mitchell was quick to make it clear this is not the way things will be.

As Netanyahu prepares for summit, ministers get all heated up over freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Jonathan Lis - August 26, 2010 - 12:00am

A week before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to depart for the Washington summit during which direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians will be inaugurated, Israeli ministers and MKs are engaging in intense debate over the possibility of continuing the 10-month settlement construction freeze, which expires in late September.

Palestinians to U.S.: Israeli settlement freeze must include East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - August 26, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Authority has told the U.S. administration that an Israeli commitment to continuing the freeze on settlement construction must include East Jerusalem. During preparatory talks ahead of the summit due in Washington next week, the Palestinians made it clear they refuse to accept any softer formula on the building freeze. They expect that even after the September 26 deadline, when the 10-month moratorium ends, the United States will support their demand to continue the ban on all construction outside the Green Line, including in the settlement blocs.

Silwan residents say settlers provoked clash
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood said settlers attempted to enter the Al-Ein Mosque early Thursday morning, sparking skirmishes that lasted until after sunrise. Israeli forces arrived as locals said they were attempting to drive the settlers out of the mosque area. Two settler cars were torched, and several windshields smashed in the violence. The incoming border police force was described as "massive," and said to have been firing tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets toward Palestinians.

Palestinians warn Israel peace talks could be quickly derailed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

For more than a year, the Palestinians insisted on an Israeli settlement freeze as a precondition to entering direct talks with Israel. But recently they dropped their demand, paving the way for the first direct peace talks with the Israelis since early 2009. Or did they?

WEST BANK: Anti-negotiations conference broken up
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Maher Abukhater - (Blog) August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Crowds started to arrive at the Protestant church hall in downtown Ramallah in the West Bank shortly after midday Wednesday to attend an anti-negotiations conference. They were responding to a call by local Palestinian leaders opposed to plans by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to start direct negotiations with Israel before the latter halts all settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In the Mideast, the peace process is only a mirage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by George F. Will - August 26, 2010 - 12:00am

Immersion in this region's politics can convince those immersed that history is cyclical rather than linear -- that it is not one thing after another but the same thing over and over. This passes for good news because things that do change, such as weapons, often make matters worse.

A Test of Wills Over a Patch of Desert
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

The two women crouched on the floor of a tent in this windblown Bedouin encampment in the Negev Desert, hurriedly preparing the evening meal as dusk approached. They had been fasting since sunrise in observance of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Now they were cooking furiously, spicing okra in tomato sauce and stuffing hollowed-out zucchini, against a backdrop of piles of rubble, the remains of their homes recently demolished by the Israeli authorities.

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