March 25th

Israel’s Labor Party Votes to Join Netanyahu Coalition
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - March 24, 2009 - 12:00am

A deeply divided Labor Party voted Tuesday to join the governing coalition being formed by Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister-designate and the leader of the conservative Likud Party. The decision paves the way for a broader government than the narrow and hawkish one that Mr. Netanyahu would otherwise have had to settle for, increasing his chances of gaining international acceptance and possibly avoiding friction with the Obama administration.

Medhat's killing deals blow to efforts to repair Palestinian rifts - analysts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Andrew Wander - March 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The fragile peace between rival Palestinian factions in Lebanon has been jeopardized by Monday's assasination of senior Fatah official Kamal Medhat, experts warned on Tuesday. Medhat was killed, alongside three others, in a massive explosion that tore through his convoy, hurling his car from the road into a field near the Mieh Mieh camp outside Sidon. He had been visiting the camp to solve a dispute between rival families that had escalated into armed clashes, killing two people over the weekend.

Obama still backs two-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
March 25, 2009 - 12:00am

The emergence of an Israeli government led by a strong sceptic of peace negotiations with the Palestinians makes it no less necessary for the US to push for a resolution of the generations-old conflict, President Barack Obama said yesterday. In his most direct public comments on the evolving make-up of the Israeli government, following inconclusive national elections in February, Mr Obama told a White House news conference that he remains committed to pushing for a two-state solution: separate Israeli and Palestinian states existing side-by-side in peace.

Transcript of presidential news conference
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from MSNBC
March 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Text of President Barack Obama's news conference Tuesday at the White House, as transcribed by CQ Transcriptions: Obama: Good evening. Now, before I take questions from the correspondents, I want to give everyone who's watching tonight an update on the steps we're taking to move this economy from recession to recovery, and ultimately to prosperity.

March 24th

ATFP President Participates in Young Professionals in Foreign Policy Annual Conference
Press Release - Contact Information: Ghaith al-Omari - March 21, 2009 - 12:00am

Washington, DC, March 21 – On Saturday, March 21st, ATFP President Ziad Asali participated in the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy’s Annual Conference and Career Expo entitled “The Future of Global Engagement.” The conference, which was hosted in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, included 5 regional discussion group tracks which focused on Africa, Asia, Europe and Russia, the Middle East and Latin America.

In an op-ed for The Daily Star, ATFP President Ziad Asali argues in favor of free and open Palestinian elections scheduled for next January and calls for the establishment of a new Palestinian Authority government in the meanwhile (1). Protestors clash with police at a demonstration by right-wing Jewish Israelis in the town of Umm al-Fahm (2). The Labor and Likud party leaderships form an agreement, moving Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu one step closer to forming a coalition government (3) (7) (8). More information comes out regarding the roadside bomb in Lebanon that killed a senior PLO official and three others yesterday (5) (11). Responding to international pressure, Israel decides not to limit food aid to Gaza (10). A group of UN human rights experts report that during the Gaza war the IDF used an 11-year old Palestinian boy as a human shield (13) and the UK newspaper The Guardian publishes a major investigation into Israeli military abuses during the war (4).

Palestinian group wins literary award
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 24, 2009 - 12:00am

A Palestinian organization that promotes children's reading on Tuesday was named the winner of the 2009 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature by the Swedish Arts Council. The annual award, named after late Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, is the world's largest children's book award and includes a cash prize of 5 million kronor ($620,000). The Palestinian Tamer Institute For Community Education received the award for its work to promote reading in the West Bank and Gaza.

UN report: 'IDF used Gaza boy as human shield'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 24, 2009 - 12:00am

IDF soldiers used an 11-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield during the Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in Gaza, a group of UN human rights experts said Monday. The army ordered the boy to walk in front of soldiers being fired on in the Gaza neighborhood of Tel al-Hawa and enter buildings before them, said the UN secretary-general's envoy for protecting children in armed conflict. Radhika Coomaraswamy said the incident on Jan. 15, after IDF tanks had rolled into the neighborhood, was a violation of Israeli and international law.

'US Jews back Obama's Mideast path'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - March 23, 2009 - 12:00am

A new J Street poll finds that large majorities of American Jews support US President Barack Obama's active engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even if that means exerting pressure and publicly disagreeing with Israel. American Jews would also like the US to deal with a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas in pursuit of a peace agreement, a position at odds with current US and Israel policy shunning Hamas.

Senior PLO official killed in south Lebanon bombing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Mohammed Zaatari - March 24, 2009 - 12:00am

A top Palestinian official and three other people were killed in a roadside bombing outside a restive refugee camp in southern Lebanon on Monday. Senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Kamal Medhat, two of his bodyguards and another Palestinian official were traveling in a convoy when the bomb exploded at the entrance of the Mieh Mieh camp near the town of Sidon. Medhat had visited the Mieh Mieh refugee camp to pay condolences to the family of Raef Naufal, the head of Fatah's Committee in the southern camp who died during armed clashes over the weekend.

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