April 2nd

Bbc Poll: Iran Only Country Viewed More Negatively Than Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
April 2, 2008 - 6:46pm

Israel is viewed as the country with the second most negative influence on the world, according to a poll released recently by the BBC World Service. Iran was considered to have the most negative influence, ranked lowest in world opinion at 54 percent - the same ranking it was given in a poll taken last year. Israel's negative rating dropped this year from 57 percent to 52 percent, moving it from having the worst influence in world opinion to second most negative.

Pa May Holds Election By Year's End, Source Says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - April 2, 2008 - 6:45pm

   "The organizations must be at the heightened state of alert, so that the Israelis won't be able to say that there is no one to deliver the authority to. There will be a new elected government and professional organizations capable of enforcing order and security in the West Bank," the source said. He added that the PA had briefed the Americans on the plan and that the latter tend to support it.

Beware Of Tampering With The Arab Peace Initiative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) April 2, 2008 - 6:43pm

In its closing statement, the Damascus Summit called for the re-assessment of the peace strategy with Israel, furthermore setting the coming May as the latest deadline. This formula appears to be the middle ground in terms of the demands that were proposed during the summit with regards to the reconsideration of the Arab Peace Initiative. Doesn't "reassessing the peace strategy" – if that may be deemed a diplomatic expression – imply that the other option is war? And which among the Arab states is ready to declare war on Israel today?

A Fundamental Misconception
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Safwat Kahlout - (Opinion) April 2, 2008 - 6:41pm

Ever since Hamas overwhelmingly won parliamentary elections in 2006, the international community has been trying to reverse a result that neither it nor Hamas expected. At first the international community, led by the US, tried to include Hamas in its designs for the region by offering it three conditions to enter the regional order. Once those were rejected, Washington instead opted to isolate Hamas and ignore the elections.

Rice Misses The Obvious In Peace-making
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) April 2, 2008 - 6:37pm

It is hard to tell if US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is being deliberately innocent and juvenile, or, as the highest American foreign policy official, she is genetically incapable of being honest when it comes to Palestinian-Israeli issues. There is now only one real test of progress, or criterion of political seriousness, in the Arab-Israeli conflict in the short term: Can the United States make Israel stop expanding its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories?

Apocalypse Now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Wired
by Joshua Davis - April 2, 2008 - 6:31pm

Yitzhaq Hayutman holds the key to peace on Earth - it's on a floppy disk in his pants pocket. With his full white beard, bald pate, and well-pressed khakis, the 61-year-old Israeli cybernetics expert and tech investor looks like Moses done over for a Banana Republic ad. Right now, he's showing me how he wants to position an airborne hologram over the Dome of the Rock, a gold-capped shrine that's one of the most holy sites in Islam. "The blimp will go there," Hayutman says pointing into the blue. "And eventually the Messiah will come."

Amid Israeli Siege, Palestinian Businesses Look East To China
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
April 2, 2008 - 6:28pm

Faced with Israeli trade and travel restrictions, a stagnant economy and a flood of cheap imports from Asia, Palestinian businessmen are increasingly seeking their fortunes in China. Demand for Chinese visas among Palestinian business owners in the West Bank is so high that the Chinese consul regularly visits the city of Hebron to stamp their passports and circumvent an Israeli ban that prevents them from traveling to the embassy in Tel Aviv.

Tiny Party Shows Large Clout On Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Griff Witte - April 2, 2008 - 6:27pm

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice left Israel on Monday having failed to persuade leaders here to halt settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land. But the setback for Rice was a victory for Rabbi Ovadia Yossef, the spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party. Within hours of Rice's departure, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was on the phone with Yossef to tell him that plans for building 800 new homes in the West Bank settlement of Betar Illit had been approved, according to two Shas officials, just as Shas had requested.

April 1st

In the Washington Post, Griff Witte reports that Condoleezza Rice has left Israel without having negotiated a halt to settlement building in occupied Palestinian land (1). An opinon in the Daily Star by Rami Khouri examines what a halt on settlement activity could do for Palestinian confidence (4). In BitterLemons, Safwat Kahlout argues that Hamas is gaining strength thanks to the blunders of its foes (5). A poll in BBC, reported on by Haaretz, shows Iran as the only country viewed more negatively than Israel (8). Also in Haaretz, an Uzi Benziman opinion discusses the motivation of settlers (9).

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