Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The State Department reverses its decision to revoke Fulbright Grants for students in Gaza on the assurance that Israel will allow them to travel (1). The Israeli Housing Ministry announces plans to increase settlement activity in east Jerusalem (2). Britain’s Foreign Office releases a statement condemning Israeli settlements as illegal (3). Israel releases a prisoner convicted of spying for Hezbollah in exchange for the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in the 2006 war (6) (9). The case against Israeli PM Ehud Olmert continues to gather strength (7).

Israel To Build Hundreds Of More Houses In East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
by Charly Wegman - June 2, 2008 - 3:54pm

Israel will build 884 more houses in east Jerusalem, the housing ministry said on Sunday, in a move that enraged the Palestinians who have demanded the area as the capital of their promised state. "We will invite tenders for the construction of 121 housing units in Har Homa and 763 others in Pisgat Zeev," ministry spokesman Eran Sidis told AFP, referring to two neighbourhoods in Arab east Jerusalem.

Britain Considers Israeli Settlements Illegal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Kuwait News Agency (kuna)
June 2, 2008 - 3:56pm

Britain said Monday it considers that Israeli settlement building anywhere in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is illegal under international law. In a brief statement, the Foreign Office in London said "This includes settlements in both East Jerusalem and the West Bank". "The Roadmap was clear that Israel should freeze all settlement activity, including the so-called natural growth of existing settlements, and dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001", the statement pointed out.

A Year Later, Hamas Rule Deepens In Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
June 2, 2008 - 4:00pm

A year into Hamas' rule in the Gaza Strip, courts are meting out justice, police are arresting thieves, motorists are paying for licenses and authorities are blocking Internet porn sites. Palestinians march towards an IDF guard tower at a demonstration organized by Hamas against Israel's blockade of Gaza near the Sufa Crossing on the border of the Gaza Strip and Israel, Friday. Photo: AP

Israeli Bodies Exchanged For Hezbollah Spy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - June 2, 2008 - 4:02pm

A macabre exchange took place on the Israeli-Lebanese border yesterday: a box of body parts from Israeli soldiers killed in the 2006 war was ferried over by the Red Cross, while the Israelis handed over a man convicted of spying for Hezbollah. Both sides insisted their decisions had been unilateral, not co-ordinated, but the transfer raised speculation of more deals. Hezbollah said it was confident that more operatives would be released, possibly in return for two Israeli soldiers it captured in 2006.

Ehud Olmert Under Fire As Israeli Police Travel To Us To Gather More Evidence In Bribery Case
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Telegraph
June 2, 2008 - 4:06pm


Olmert Stalls Talks With Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Mohammed Mar’i - June 2, 2008 - 4:10pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday delayed a key Cabinet decision on an Egyptian-mediated truce with the Hamas in and around the Gaza Strip. “This is an issue that has to go through the security Cabinet,” Olmert was quoted as saying by a senior official. “This is a serious and weighty issue with far-reaching consequences.” The premier delayed the planned yesterday departure to Cairo of senior Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad, who represents Israel in the indirect talks.

Hizbollah Releases Israeli Soldiers' Remains In Return For Prisoner
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Reuters - June 2, 2008 - 4:13pm

Hizbollah said on Sunday it had released the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in a 2006 war with Israel, which handed over a Lebanese man who had completed a jail term on charges of spying for the group. The exchange increased speculation of progress in indirect talks over a broader prisoner swap. Lebanese political sources said last Monday that the talks had made major progress.

Abbas Says To Discuss Settlement, Prisoners Issues With Olmert
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Kuwait News Agency (kuna)
June 2, 2008 - 4:17pm

President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Monday that he would present during a meeting Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issues of settlements in the West Bank and specifically in the city of Jerusalem and the issue of prisoners. The President added during a press conference held with German Foreign Minister Frank Steinmeier in the presidential headquarters in Ramallah that the Palestinian National Authority can not accept such actions by the Israeli government which will be an obstacle to peace.

Olmert, Abbas Make Progress On Permanent Borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - June 2, 2008 - 4:21pm

 Just hours before leaving for Washington Israeli PM meets Palestinian leader meet in Jerusalem, reiterate commitment to reaching peace deal by end of 2008. Sources say Palestinians complained against continued settlement construction

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