Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The following special Saturday ATFP Middle East News: World Press Roundup focuses entirely on announced new major Israeli settlement expansion plans in the occupied West Bank. It includes ATFP's press release on the subject from Friday, Feb. 27.

Israel planning mass expansion of West Bank settlement bloc
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - February 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Despite the state's formal commitment not to expand West Bank settlements, a government agency has been promoting plans over the past two years to construct thousands of housing units east of the Green Line, Haaretz has learned. The plans, which have not yet been approved by the government, were drawn up by the Civil Administration, the government agency responsible for nonmilitary matters in the West Bank. Details of the plans appear in the minutes of the agency's environmental subcommittee, which were obtained by the B'Tselem organization under the Freedom of Information Act.

Zero tolerance now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Lara Friedman, Hagit Ofran - (Opinion) February 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Media reports that Israel has approved the massive expansion of the West Bank settlement of Efrat represent the first lesson for the Obama administration as to why it must establish a policy of zero tolerance for settlement expansion before it is too late.

27 Feb. '09: Settlement expansion plans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from B'Tselem
February 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Following the Oslo agreement, Israel made a commitment to the United States that it would not build new settlements or expand existing ones, except to meet “natural growth.” This narrow allowance, never defined, was utilized by Israel to greatly expand settlements and build new settlements, such as Modi’in Ilit.

Why 88 Arab homes received eviction notices
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - February 26, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel plans to demolish 88 homes in Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, to make way for a new archaeological park, adding new fuel the slow-burning dispute over Jerusalem. A variety of neighborhood activists, Muslim leaders in Jerusalem, and even figures from the Palestinian Authority (PA) held a press conference Wednesday, saying that Israel was trying to minimize the Arab presence in this city claimed by both Palestinians and Jews as their capital. They say such a move amounts to ethnic cleansing.

Palestinians strike to protest demolition of homes in East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
February 28, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinians held a strike Saturday to protest Israel's demolition orders of homes in east Jerusalem. Shops and schools were shuttered throughout the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem after Palestinian officials announced the strike. Official Hatem Abdul Qader said the strike was called after municipal officials and security forces visited several homes in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem. That spiked fears that the homes would be imminently demolished.

Gaza gloom darkens West Bank springtime
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Douglas Hamilton - February 26, 2009 - 1:00am

This Palestinian village is about as far as you can get from the Gaza Strip without leaving the West Bank and crossing the river into Jordan -- which is forbidden. But the fallout from Israel's January blitz on the enclave is widespread. Along with the prospect of a hardline Israeli government that may order further action, it has all but drowned hopes of a peace deal to end four decades of occupation. Unlike Gaza, Palestinians here have not been bombed. They endure smaller prohibitions and injustices which, they say, remind them daily that they are not free in their own land.

Israel’s Settlement Expansion Plans Seriously Threaten All Hopes for Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from ATFP
February 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Washington DC, Feb. 27 – The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today warned that a series of planned major expansions in Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank constitute an exceptionally dangerous threat to the prospects of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

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