The peace movement's new leader
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Larry Derfner - (Editorial) March 11, 2010 - 1:00am

As a believer in the cause of the two-state solution, which would preserve Israel as a Jewish and democratic state by ending the occupation, I ask myself: Who is our leader? Until recently, I said: Barack Obama. But he caved in to the Netanyahu government and its supporters in the US. As a Mideast peacemaker, Obama has become a joke, and nobody takes his envoys or these “proximity talks” seriously.

PA fears East Jerusalem building will make it look weak
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - March 12, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority will not begin indirect talks with Israel unless construction in the settlements, including in East Jerusalem, is completely frozen, PA President Mahmoud Abbas told the Arab League on Thursday. Abbas' statement was reported by both chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa.

Abbas seeks U.S. pledge for East Jerusalem construction freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
March 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday sought guarantees from Washington that it would pressure Israel to cancel its plan for 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, Palestinian media outlets reported. U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell spoke with Abbas late Thursday and urged him not to walk away from indirect peace negotiations with Israel, a senior Palestinian official quoted in the reports said.

U.S. gave Israel green light for East Jerusalem construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) March 12, 2010 - 1:00am

The apology offered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Interior Minister Eli Yishai recalls the joke about the servant who pinched the king's bottom. En route to the gallows, the servant apologized: He thought it was the queen's bottom.

1000th day of Israeli blockade on Gaza Strip marked
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Palestinians light candles forming the number 1000 during a rally marking 1000 days of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, in Gaza City on March 11, 2010. (Xinhua/Wissam Nassar)

Israeli warplanes bomb southern Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 12, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Israeli warplanes struck southern Gaza on Thursday night in response to rocket fire from the coastal strip, said an army announcement. The airstrike was targeted at a weapon factory and a smuggling tunnel near the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, said the announcement from Israeli army spokesperson's office. The attack was a response to the firing of a rocket that hit an Israeli village on Thursday.

Israel moves to change law after Biden "mishap"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Matti Friedman - March 12, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — Israel is moving to amend the country's planning procedures on sensitive political decisions following an embarrassing diplomatic flap during a visit this week by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a Cabinet minister said Friday.

Egypt expels hundreds of Palestinians to Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 12, 2010 - 1:00am

Gaza - Ma'an - Palestinian border officials said Friday that 224 Palestinians were sent back to the Gaza Strip from Egypt on Thursday night. The Palestinians, most of them former medical patients, were sent back via Rafah, the de facto crossings authority officials told Ma'an. The reports came amid larger allegations that Egypt had hardened its policies on issuing visas to Hamas leader from Gaza

Joe Biden gives Israel bear hug - and tough love
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - March 11, 2010 - 1:00am

Tel Aviv Despite two days of public friction between the US and Israel over a Jerusalem building project, Vice President Joe Biden today delivered an emotional speech laden with admiration for the Jewish state. Some years ago "I said if I was Jew, I would be a Zionist," Biden said, telling the audience at Tel Aviv University of his affinity for Israel since childhood. "I was reminded by my father you need not be a Jew to be a Zionist."

Middle East peace efforts: lessons from healthcare reform
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Amjad Atallah - (Opinion) March 12, 2010 - 1:00am

It took a year of trying for President Obama to persuade Israelis and Palestinians to enter into "proximity talks" to resolve issues standing in the way of a final peace plan. But as we learned from the stunning announcement this week -- during Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the region -- that Israel had approved 112 new settlement units in the West Bank and 1,600 new settlement units in East Jerusalem, there is a lot that can go wrong.

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