Israeli foreign minister: I'm not being sidelined
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - July 5, 2009 - 11:00pm


JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's ultranationalist foreign minister said Monday that he voluntarily removed himself from crucial talks with the United States because he lives in a West Bank settlement, denying speculation that he's being sidelined by an image-conscious government troubled by growing friction with the Obama administration. The talks are meant to bridge the gap between Washington, which demands a total West Bank settlement freeze, and Israel, which wants some construction to continue.


Israel's Barak sees progress in U.S. envoy talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 5, 2009 - 11:00pm


LONDON (Reuters) - Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday he and U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell had made progress in their second session of talks within a week on encouraging regional peace. "I think there is progress. There's still a way to go," Barak told Reuters after the talks in London. U.S. President Barack Obama has pressed Israel to halt settlement activity as part of a bid to revive peace talks under which the Palestinians would gain statehood.


Testing Religious Authority before Negotiation!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - July 5, 2009 - 11:00pm


The dispute between the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement and Hamas in Gaza reveals many hidden aspects about the two movements and their alliances. It has illustrated the extent to which they exploit the Palestinian Cause and religion, and the pressure of political finance on their decisions. The Islamic Jihad movement, which is facing financial deficit, resorted to using the weapon of religion against Hamas, which in return responded with the very same weapon. All of this is happening to consolidate the internal positions in Gaza in front of the supporters of these movements.


In Palestinian town, business booms after Israel relaxes checkpoints
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - July 5, 2009 - 11:00pm


Nablus, West Bank - The downtown streets in this Palestinian city bustle with pedestrians and echo with the bleating of taxis vying for road space. During the recent Palestinian uprising, activity in the second-largest city and commercial capital of the West Bank was choked off by Israeli security roadblocks and frequent gunfire from roaming militant gangs. But for the first time since 2000, the Israeli military has loosened movement restrictions around Nablus, opening up the city to Palestinians around the West Bank and to Arab citizens of Israel who come to shop.


Peres to meet Mubarak in Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
July 4, 2009 - 11:00pm


The office of Israeli President Shimon Peres says he is to head to Egypt for a working meeting with President Hosni Mubarak. Peres' office says the one-on-one meeting will take place in Cairo on Tuesday. The two leaders will discuss the latest diplomatic developments in the region and ways to promote a regional peace agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab nations to have signed a peace agreement with Israel.


Wexler: Israel will freeze settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - June 30, 2009 - 11:00pm


Israel would lose nothing, and potentially gain everything, by agreeing to a temporary moratorium on construction in the settlements for a short period of time, Congressman Robert Wexler, a close political ally of US President Barack Obama and a stalwart Israel supporter, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. Wexler, on his third visit to Israel since December, met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, a day after Defense Minister Ehud Barak and US Middle East envoy George Mitchell met in New York and decided that the discussion over settlement construction would continue.


Opinion: Fictions on the Ground
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Tony Judt - (Opinion) June 21, 2009 - 11:00pm


I am old enough to remember when Israeli kibbutzim looked like settlements (“a small village or collection of houses” or “the act of peopling or colonizing a new country,” Oxford English Dictionary). I am old enough to remember when Israeli kibbutzim looked like settlements (“a small village or collection of houses” or “the act of peopling or colonizing a new country,” Oxford English Dictionary).


Abbas to free all Hamas prisoners ahead of unity talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Jack Khoury - June 21, 2009 - 11:00pm


In a goodwill gesture to his political rivals Hamas, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered his security forces to release all prisoners belonging to the Islamist organization before the renewal of inter-factional talks. Representatives of Abbas' Fatah faction, which has been the dominant player in Palestinian politics since the inception of the Palestine Liberation Organization, will meet with Hamas officials later this week in an attempt to hammer out an agreement on national unity.


Thank God Obama favors the 'old' Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Leon Hader - (Opinion) June 18, 2009 - 11:00pm


In July 2006, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice travelled to Lebanon in an effort to bring an end to the war raging there between Israel and Hizbullah. At the time, she tried to market to reporters in Washington a somewhat odd spin on the violence taking place, not only in Lebanon but also in Iraq and Israel and Palestine. "What we're seeing here is, in a sense, the growing - the birth pangs of a new Middle East, and whatever we do, we have to be certain that we're pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old Middle East," Rice explained.


Hamas rejects Carter plea to recognize Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Ben Hubbard - June 17, 2009 - 11:00pm


GAZA CITY - A senior Hamas official praised former president Jimmy Carter yesterday, a day after he met with the group, but said he failed to persuade the Islamic rulers of Gaza to accept international demands, including recognizing Israel. Carter visited Gaza on Tuesday and urged Hamas leaders to accept the demands to end an international boycott, which was imposed when the militant group overran Gaza two years ago.



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