'Palestinian PM Fayyad stays on for now’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 31, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who has submitted his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas, will stay on until a new government is formed, Palestinian officials said on Monday. The former World Bank economist tendered his resignation on March 7, effective March 31, in order to help rival Palestinian factions to reach a deal on an interim government. But aides to Abbas say the prime minister could be persuaded to remain in the post.

New Israeli government may be out of sync with US
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Matti Friedman - March 31, 2009 - 12:00am

The new government taking power in Israel Tuesday supports expanded Jewish settlement in the West Bank and does not explicitly endorse an independent Palestinian state, a course that could put the country at odds with the Obama administration. Western officials are also concerned about incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's choice for foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, whose proposal to put citizens to loyalty tests is widely seen as a racist attack on Israel's Arab minority.

Netanyahu to shift Israel to right
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck - March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu will be sworn in as Israel’s prime minister, marking a decisive shift to a more rightwing, hawkish government, just as the country is facing mounting international criticism.

Bibi and Barack Can Unite on Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Yossi Klein Halevi - (Opinion) March 31, 2009 - 12:00am

Enemies of the American-Israeli alliance could not have conjured a scenario more fraught with potential for misunderstanding. In Washington, a new president is reaching out to the Muslim world, including Iran. In Jerusalem, the government about to take office represents the disillusionment of the Israeli public with 15 years of failed peace talks. For President Barack Obama, power is a means to encourage the rational self-interest of opponents. For Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, power is the means of defending his people from irrational hatred. Mr.

Israel's Netanyahu says he can work with Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux - March 31, 2009 - 12:00am

In the weeks since he was chosen to form Israel's next government, Benjamin Netanyahu has labored to dispel the perception that he's on a collision course with the country's most powerful ally. Never mind his history of spats with Washington, or that he refuses to embrace the goal of an independent Palestinian state, a cornerstone of American policy reaffirmed by President Obama last week.co And never mind that religious parties in his coalition call for expanding the Jewish settlements in the West Bank that Obama has criticized. Or that his foreign minister lives in one.

Israel Ends Inquiry Into Abuse in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

The Israeli military said Monday that its advocate general had decided to close an investigation into allegations of abuses by soldiers during the recent campaign in Gaza. The allegations arose from the accounts of soldiers at a conference of graduates of a premilitary course at an academic college in northern Israel. The military police found that “the crucial components of their descriptions were based on hearsay and not supported by specific personal knowledge,” the army said in a statement.

Netanyahu set for inauguration as Israel's leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jeffrey Heller - March 31, 2009 - 12:00am

Benjamin Netanyahu was to be sworn in as Israel's prime minister Tuesday, returning to a post he held a decade ago and with no explicit commitment to the internationally-backed goal of Palestinian statehood. Netanyahu, 59, planned to ask parliament to ratify his right-leaning coalition government at a session starting at 5 p.m. (1400 GMT), officials said. Debate could last for hours.

March 30th

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.

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