Israeli, Palestinian ministers meet for first time in half a year
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - September 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom met with Palestinian Economic Minister Bassem Khoury in Jerusalem on Wednesday for the highest level talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials in half a year. The meeting was the first between an Israeli and Palestinian Authority minister since Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu's government took office in March. Until Wednesday, the Palestinian ministers had boycotted their Israeli counterparts. During the talks, which were held at the King David Hotel, the ministers discussed economic proposals to improve life for the Palestinians.

Hamas: Israel won't get better deal on Shalit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - September 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Just hours after Defense Minister Ehud Barak told a group of students that Gilad Shalit's release won't be "at any price", a Hamas official told Ynet that Israel is trying to make talks on the kidnapped soldier's release more difficult. "The Shalit family is paying the price of the negotiation ploys that their government is trying to carry out in a bid to present a better deal than its predecessor," said the Hamas official. According to him, Israel is trying to bide time by presenting new versions of the deal.

Minister Peled: No agreement on settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Atilla Somfalvi - September 2, 2009 - 12:00am

Minister Yossi Peled said Tuesday that the government had no plans to freeze construction in settlements or in Jerusalem. "I have heard with my own ears that there is no agreement on freezing construction in settlements," he said. Speaking at a conference labeled 'Preserving Jerusalem and the Golan Heights', Peled said he heard while visiting Germany with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that "Jews will continue to live and build in Jerusalem". Regarding the peace process he said, "We must talk with whoever is willing to talk with us, but we mustn't lose our assets."

Moment of truth for Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Osama Al-Sharif - September 2, 2009 - 12:00am

The moment of truth is approaching for President Barack Obama’s much hyped initiative to re-launch the Middle East peace talks with the objective of creating an independent Palestinian entity based on the two-state solution. He is expected to present the outline of his plan at the UN’s General Assembly meetings in New York this September.

Are inaccurate media reports hurting U.S.-Israel relationship?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Eric Fingerhut - September 2, 2009 - 12:00am

President Obama told Jewish leaders in a July meeting that Israel needs to “engage in serious self-reflection.” Israel’s new U.S. ambassador was “summoned” to the State Department to be lectured about Israel's building settlements in Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called two top aides to Obama “self-hating Jews.” All of these reports appeared in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz. And they've all been disputed or denied by the principals involved.

President Obama hopes to be Mideast peacemaker at UN session
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from New York Daily News
by Kenneth R. Bazinet - September 1, 2009 - 12:00am

President Obama hopes to bring the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table at this month's opening session of the UN, a top Israeli official said Monday. "I think they will meet by the end of September," said Israeli President Shimon Peres. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Obama are all scheduled to be in New York for the start of the UN General Assembly during the week of Sept. 20.

IDF cuts down West Bank raids for fear U.S. diplomats will see
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - September 1, 2009 - 12:00am

The Israel Defense Forces has canceled a number of planned arrest operations in the West Bank fearing soldiers will be seen by American diplomats touring the territories. IDF officers serving with their units in the West Bank said they were instructed by brigade commanders in recent weeks to call off the planned arrests of wanted men inside Palestinian towns, because of these diplomats' presence.

Encountering Peace: President Obama: Pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Analysis) September 1, 2009 - 12:00am

President Obama's popularity in Israel is at an all time low for a US president. Only 4% of Israelis believe that the president is pro-Israeli, according to a survey published last week by the Jerusalem Post. President Obama does not face elections in Israel so perhaps he does not need to be overly concerned with this statistic but in order for Obama's Middle East peace plans to succeed, the Israeli public must have a "buy-in".

PA blames Israel for prisoners' sickness
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
September 1, 2009 - 12:00am

A Palestinian Authority minister said Israel was not doing enough to maintain the health of Palestinian prisoners. Prisoner Affairs' Minister Issa Karaki was quoted by the Palestinian Ma'an news agency on Monday as saying that the recent discovery of cancer in 25 Palestinian prisoners "was a troubling phenomenon which indicates the decline in Palestinian prisoners' health conditions and the lack of minimal medical care."

Editorial: Not the way to peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) August 31, 2009 - 12:00am

When Israeli officials this week meet US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, when President Barack Obama unveils his Middle East peace plan at the UN in New York next month, and when Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas hold a possible first encounter on the sidelines of the General Assembly, the common denominator issue will be Israeli settlement building. The Jewish outposts have for decades been one of the biggest obstacles in the way of a settlement but recently the issue has taken on a new dimension.

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