August 25th

In response to vague talks, Jewish groups deliver vague message
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - August 23, 2010 - 12:00am

Two weeks before their launch, the promised renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has already engendered a first: a joint statement of welcome by mainstream U.S. Jewish and Palestinian groups. "We congratulate the Obama administration on succeeding in getting direct negotiations back on track," said a statement issued jointly on Friday by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the American Task Force on Palestine. "Both parties must now show courage, flexibility and persistence in order to move towards a negotiated end of conflict agreement."

August 2011
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - (Opinion) August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

The immediate result of the announced resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks was the setting of a new target date on the Middle Eastern calendar: August 2011. That is when talks on all permanent-status issues, as well as Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's project of building a Palestinian state-in-the-making, are both due to conclude.

Top U.S. negotiators in Israel to soothe tensions ahead of Washington peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Two top U.S. officials were scheduled to arrive in Israel Wednesday to begin preliminary negotiations ahead of next week's diplomatic summit in Washington, the first direct Israeli-Palestinian talks in 20 months. The two officials are Daniel Shapiro, a top National Security Council staffer handling Israel and neighboring countries, and David Hale, deputy to special Mideast envoy George Mitchell. Each official will meet separately with Isaac Molho - an adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and head of the Israeli negotiating team - and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Demonstrators challenge Israel's Gaza restricted area
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian and international activists on Tuesday removed parts of a security fence the Israeli army has installed along its borders with the Gaza Strip, witnesses said. The incident took place during a demonstration organized by humanitarian and social activists against the enforcement of a 300- meter wide buffer zone along Gaza's northern and eastern borders with Israel. Tens of people, including some international campaigners and farmers, participated in the rally which started from the border town of Beit Hanoun and headed towards the Israeli fence, waving Palestinian flags.

PNA-Israeli direct talks illegal: Syria-based Hamas leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Damascus-based Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal said Tuesday that the direct talks between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel are illegal and under U.S. coercion. "The direct negotiations lack for the Palestinian and Arab approval, which means they lack for the legitimacy," Mashaal said during an Iftar (the meal after fast over) on Tuesday. "Palestinian negotiators are isolated as they bet on the United States instead of the Palestinian people," he said.

Prospects bleak for peace deal- Israel's Lieberman
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jeffrey Heller - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel and the Palestinians have virtually no chance of reaching a peace deal within the one-year target set by the United States, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday. "I think there's room to lower expectations and get real," Lieberman, a far-right member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet, told Israel Radio. "There's no magic recipe ... that can bring us within a year to a permanent agreement resulting in the end of the conflict and the solution of all of the complicated issues, such as refugees, Jerusalem and Jewish settlement," he said.

Gaza will be the ghost at Mideast talks banquet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Douglas Hamilton - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

It's the proverbial elephant in the room, the ghost at the banquet, the spectre no one wants to acknowledge. Even if Israel and the Palestinians can scale a mountain of scepticism and reach a peace treaty in the next 12 months, 40 percent of Palestinians would be part of it in name only, because they live in the Gaza Strip. Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers say they will never give Israel what it most wants from a Middle East deal, which is recognition of the Jewish state and a legitimate place in the Middle East.

Military court convicts anti-wall leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

An Israeli military court on Tuesday found the leader of a West Bank protest movement guilty of incitement and organizing illegal demonstrations. Abdallah Abu Rahmah of Bil'in, near Ramallah, could face jail time for his leadership in the popular campaign against Israel's wall, which severs the West Bank village for to protect nearby settlements. The verdict was read in a military courtroom packed with friends, supporters, and family members, concluding an eight-month trial. Diplomats from Europe including a representative of the European Union attended.

Mash'al: Talks will eliminate Palestinian cause
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Hamas leader in exile Khaled Mash'al said a return to direct negotiations with Israel was "nationally illegitimate, carried out by force and American summons," on Tuesday. Mash'al, speaking at an iftar dinner held for journalists in Damascus, said the PLO Executive Committee's decision to endorse the talks was "an echo of Washington's orders," adding that consensus was not reached among Palestinian factions, with most of the 11 parties making up the PLO opposing a return to talks with Israel.

Israel's foreign minister says no to extending West Bank settlement construction slowdown
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Aron Heller - August 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel's foreign minister said Wednesday that it would be unacceptable to extend a slowdown on West Bank settlement construction, even as Mideast peace talks get under way next week. Avigdor Lieberman, whose ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party is a major partner in the governing coalition, told Israel Radio he realized that resuming settlement construction would antagonize both the U.S. and the Palestinians. But he said that maintaining tight restrictions on building would "punish" tens of thousands of Israelis living in the settlements.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017