The Obama administration asks Congress to approve the potential continuation of aid to Palestine, even if officials backed by Hamas become part of a national accord government (1). Meanwhile, previously deadlocked unity talks between Hamas and Fatah resume in Cairo (7). Peace Now has reportedly obtained Israeli plans to expand the settlement of Maale Adumim near Jerusalem (2). BBC News examines the ongoing demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem (5). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he won’t be pressured into resuming peace talks with Israel as long as settlement construction continues (6). The proposed route for the controversial separation barrier is amended around the Palestinian town of Bil’in (11). In conversations with Haaretz, Israeli defense and security sources commend the work of Palestinian security forces in the West Bank (12).

Clinton’s Mideast Pirouette
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - April 26, 2009 - 12:00am

The sparring between the United States and Israel has begun, and that’s a good thing. Israel’s interests are not served by an uncritical American administration. The Jewish state emerged less secure and less loved from Washington’s post-9/11 Israel-can-do-no-wrong policy.

New Bil'in barrier route reduces Modi'in Illit expansion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Dan Izenberg - April 26, 2009 - 12:00am

It took the death of a Palestinian at Bil'in last week and the threat of another contempt of court petition to the High Court of Justice, but the state has finally come up with a new proposal for the route of the West Bank security barrier that apparently complies with the original court decision of 19 months ago, attorney Michael Sfard said on Sunday. Last week, the state submitted a new proposal to the High Court to change the original route of the fence in the area of Modi'in Illit, which was proposed by the Defense Ministry and rejected by the court on September 4, 2007.

Defense sources: PA security forces step up fight against Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff, Amos Harel - April 27, 2009 - 12:00am

Defense and security sources in Israel have noted an improvement in recent weeks in the performance of the Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank. In conversations with Haaretz, the security sources said that the Palestinians have stepped up their activities against militant groups, primarily Hamas.

Israel's secret plan for West Bank expansion
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Ben Lynfield - April 27, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel has taken a step towards expanding the largest settlement in the West Bank, a move Palestinians warn will leave their future state unviable and further isolate its future capital, East Jerusalem The Israeli Peace Now group, which monitors settlement growth, said it had obtained plans drawn up by experts that the interior ministry had commissioned which call for expanding the sprawling Maale Adumim settlement near Jerusalem southward by 1200 hectares, placing what is now the separate smaller settlement of Kedar within Maale Adumim's boundaries.

No such thing as a free lunch
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) April 27, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is busy developing his policy proposals before his upcoming White House meeting with United States President Barack Obama. From statements that the Israeli premier has made, it is apparent that he is seeking to bring to a halt the peace process that his predecessors pursued, which aimed at the establishment of a Palestinian state in the territories and reaching a peace agreement with Syria.

Abbas won't be pressured into talks with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Dalia Nammari - April 27, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinians won't be pressured into resuming peace talks with Israel as long as construction in Jewish settlements continues, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday. Abbas said a complete construction freeze is a prerequisite for resuming talks. Israel's new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, supports settlement construction and has not committed to the idea of Palestinian statehood. In his speech Monday, Abbas said he would not give in to possible Israeli or international pressure on the Palestinians to resume negotiations even if settlement construction continues.

The ball is in Obama's court
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Beilin - April 26, 2009 - 12:00am

The new government in Israel does not give priority to Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Syrian peace agreements. From its standpoint, the economic crisis requires more intensive care, the Iranian threat is real and immediate and is linked to Israel-hatred rather than to the Middle East conflict, and the price of peace is too high. In PM Binyamin Netanyahu's eyes, full descent from the Golan Heights will endanger Israel while giving up the West Bank is no less dangerous. Hence it is preferable to play for time until the world accepts that these territories remain in our hands.

Keeping the Palestinian Solution Separate from the Nuclear Dispute with Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - (Opinion) April 24, 2009 - 12:00am

The most important test for US President Barack Obama in his efforts to reach peace in the Middle East will not be the test of intentions, resolve and belief in the ability to achieve the two-state solution, i.e. to establish the state of Palestine alongside a secure Israel.

Numerous Odds against a Lebanese Model for Palestinian Unity Government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Joyce Karam - (Opinion) April 26, 2009 - 12:00am

The Lebanese Model that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referred to last week as a possible mechanism to work with a Palestinian unity government is becoming less likely due to the numerous odds against Hamas and Fatah in reaching an agreement.

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