April 30th

Members of US Congress sceptical of Palestinian aid plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from McClatchy News
April 29, 2009 - 12:00am

The Obama administration, already on treacherous domestic political ground with its outreach to Iran, Cuba and others, has opened the door, if only slightly, to engagement with the militant group Hamas. The Palestinian group is designated by the US government as a terrorist organisation and under law may not receive federal aid. But the administration has asked Congress for minor changes in US law that would permit aid to continue flowing to Palestinians in the unlikely event that Hamas-backed officials become part of a unified Palestinian government.

Israel, EU to postpone summit while Netanyahu makes policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
April 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Israeli officials said the European Union has accepted an Israeli request to delay a high-profile summit in order to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu time to formulate his Middle East peace policy. The delay comes ahead of a planned trip to Europe next week by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The minister's critical comments about Arabs and the Middle East peace process have raised international concerns about the new government's intentions. Netanyahu has so far refused to endorse the idea of an independent Palestinian state.

Gazans continue digging lifeline tunnels even as Egypt, Israel scramble to seal them
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - April 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Once a profitable business, Abu Abdullah's tunnel under the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip has been out of work for three weeks due to an Egyptian security crackdown on smuggling. The Palestinian network of some 3,000 tunnels, created to thwart Israel's blockade of the coastal territory ruled by Hamas Islamists, was reduced to hundreds by bombing during Israel's three-week offensive in January. Now Egyptian police efforts are also biting into Gaza's underground supply system, which supplements the tightly restricted flow of aid commodities allowed in by the Israelis.

Hamas to Reject New Palestinian Government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
April 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Mahmoud Hamas says it will reject any new Palestinian government, expected to be formed shortly, if the new cabinet does not get the approval of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), effectively the Palestinian parliament. A Hamas spokesman was quoted by Xinhua, saying any new government formed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud ‘Abbas, which is not approved by the PLC, is illegal and unconstitutional.

5 Israelis indicted for planning terror attacks, kidnapping
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ahiya Raved - April 30, 2009 - 12:00am

The Haifa District Prosecutor's Office on Thursday charged five youths with planning a series of terror attack and soldier abductions. The five, residents of the northern villages of Mrar and Barta'a, were indicted on multiple counts of aiding and abetting the enemy, contacting a foreign agent and weapon charges. Identified as Suhaiv Khalil Kabha (20), Kutaibeh Dura Kabha (19), Muhammad Shawqi Kabha (19) and Ahmed Hassin Kabha (21) – all from Barta'a, and Abdullah Yunis Karube (20) of Mrar, they have entered a plea of not guilty.

Abbas may form new govt before US visit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Mohammed Mar’i - April 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas may form a “new government” within 10 day, senior Palestinian officials said yesterday. The officials told the independent Palestinian news agency Ma’an that Abbas “may be forced to form the new government before he heads for talks in Washington with US President Barack Obama on May 28.” The development came a day after the rival Hamas and Fatah movements decided to adjourn the current round of Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo to May 16-17.

Israel to EU: Criticism of Netanyahu government unacceptable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - April 30, 2009 - 12:00am

A Foreign Ministry official has been warning European countries that unless they curtail criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu's government, Israel will block the European Union from participating in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians. The main target of the offensive is EU External Affairs Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, who recently called for a freeze in upgrading ties with Israel over its peace process policies.

Righting the wrongs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) April 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Americans of all walks of life are busy nowadays assessing the first 100 days of the administration of Barack Obama, a traditional yardstick at which a new president's performance is measured. The general impression in the words of one State Department announcement is that this period has been among "the busiest in presidential history both in terms of domestic initiatives and foreign policy challenges."

Probable Pick For New Israeli Envoy Often at Odds With U.S.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - April 29, 2009 - 12:00am

Michael Oren, a prominent historian widely seen as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s imminent pick to represent Israel in Washington, is a highly regarded writer and an articulate and telegenic speaker. But his public viewpoints on a number of key issues clash sharply with those of the Obama administration, to which he soon may be credentialed.

April 29th

Another round of Palestinian national accord talks in Cairo ends in deadlock (1). Israeli President Shimon Peres is set to meet with President Obama in Washington next week (2). Britain criticizes a recently released UN human rights report on the Gaza war (4). Egypt cracks down on Gaza tunnel smugglers (5). A former Palestinian Authority official is sentenced to seven years in prison for embezzlement (6). The recently released World Bank report on Israeli-Palestinian water rights continues to provoke controversy (7). Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stresses his commitment to securing the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit (9). Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak voices his hope for peace within three years (10).

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