The National Journal examines the rapidly approaching crisis in the viability and credibility of negotiations towards a two state agreement (1), while an op-ed by Saeb Erakat, chief Palestinian negotiator, urges swift action to save the peace process in light of the new Netanyahu government (5) (6). The Arab League tells Israel that it must move towards the Arab Peace Initiative or it will be rescinded (2). Several senior Israeli military officials meet with the press in an attempt to explain civilian deaths in Gaza (3). A senior Israeli intelligence official admits that smuggling of weapons into Gaza has continued despite the recent war (4). Haaretz reports that construction activity in West Bank settlements has increased since the Israeli general elections in February (7).

Israel's Step Back From Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Saeb Erakat - March 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Emphasizing diplomacy and engagement over isolation and confrontation, President Obama has spoken eloquently of a new era of American leadership. Of the changes he has promised, the most important to Palestinians is his commitment to reinvigorating the Middle East peace process.

Settlers using government transition to step up construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - March 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Construction activity on West Bank settlements has increased in the transition period between the February general election and the formation of the new government, Haaretz has learned. One notable example is the extensive earthworks being carried out in preparation for the construction of a road connect the settlement of Eli, north of Ramallah, with the Hayovel outpost Yuval, just south of the Arab city.

State: No reason to disqualify Lieberman from office
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

The State Prosecutor's Office informed the High Court of Justice on Monday that it found no legal grounds to contest appointing Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman as Israel's next foreign minister. The State was responding to a petition filed by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, demanding Lieberman be disqualified from office due to the police investigations against him.

Hamas: Netanyahu will get identical prisoner list
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

With a new Israeli government a mere day away, a Hamas source said Monday that the Islamist group "is undeterred by (Prime Minister-designate Benjamin) Netanyahu. He, as well as (Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor) Lieberman and their other partners, will have to discuss our prisoners list." Should the negotiations on the prisoners Hamas wants released as part of an exchange deal meant to secure the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit stall, warned the source, Netanyahu "may find himself with a new, harder to swallow list."

Palestinians celebrate Land Day
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Jonathan Cook - March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Arrabeh, Israel // Palestinians across the Middle East were due to commemorate Land Day today, marking the anniversary of clashes in 1976 in which six unarmed Palestinians were shot dead by the Israeli army as it tried to break up a general strike. Although Land Day is one the most important anniversaries in the Palestinian calendar, sometimes referred to as the Palestinians’ national day, the historical event it marks is little spoken of and rarely studied.

Biberman & Co. of Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Is this the government of Biberman (Bibi Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman) or perhaps of Bibarak (Bibi and Ehud Barak)? Neither. It is the government of Bibiyahu. Benjamin Netanyahu has proven that he is a consummate politician. He has realized the dream of every politician (and theatergoer): A good place in the middle. In his new government he can play off the fascists on the right against the socialists on the left, Liberman’s secularists against the orthodox of Shas. An ideal situation.

'No halt' to Gaza arms smuggling
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

The flow of explosives and weapons smuggled into Gaza has continued since Israel's military operation, a senior Israeli intelligence official has said. Shin Bet security service head Yuval Diskin said 22 tonnes of explosives, dozens of rockets and hundreds of mortar rounds had entered Gaza. But he said rockets attacks were reduced and Egyptian attempts to combat the smuggling had improved. Israel said the offensive aimed to cut down Palestinian rocket attacks.

New government to be sworn in at 5 pm Tuesday
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Atilla Somfalvi - March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has officially asked the Knesset hold a swearing in ceremony for his new government at 5 pm Tuesday. Cabinet Secretary-designate Zvi Hauser has already been asked to see that a new government table, big enough to accommodate all of the ministers, would be installed. Netanyahu will summon senior members of the Likud to his new Knesset chambers Monday and inform each of them which office they have been assigned.

Olmert's years in office were much ado about nothing on peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Perhaps the most inexplicable aspect of Ehud Olmert's largely failed three years as prime minister of Israel was his extensive yet totally unproductive series of meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Not a great deal appears to have happened there.

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