Coverage continues to be dominated by the controversy over Jerusalem settlements: US anger is intensifying; the consecration of an East Jerusalem synagogue adds to the controversy; Roger Cohen says Obama has every reason to be angry, but Washington Post says the President is picking on Israel; the administration is reportedly pressuring Israel to accept conditions for new talks, is still waiting for a formal response and expresses confidence; Israel says settlement activity in Jerusalem will continue; the PA condemns settlement expansion and child detentions; Special Envoy Mitchell's travel plans are now on hold; PM Netanyahu says Jerusalem settlements "in no way" hurt Palestinians and a Ha'aretz commentary questions his fitness to lead; Hamas announces a "day of rage"; both the JTA and the Arab News say this crisis is "serious." Israeli soldiers reportedly wound seven Palestinians. Ghassan Khatib and Yossi Alpher praise the PA state and institution building program.

The best option
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) March 15, 2010 - 12:00am

Under prevailing circumstances, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's unilateral state-building plan is the best option available for all those truly concerned with advancing a two-state solution that maintains Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Not only must Fayyad succeed in the coming year, but the international community must endorse and recognize his achievement and encourage Israel to follow suit.

A pillar of state-building
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) March 15, 2010 - 12:00am

The program of the 13th Palestinian government, entitled "Ending the Occupation and Establishing the State", might have been similar to the programs of previous governments were it not for its political context. The two-year program, which has become known as the Fayyad Plan, is meant to prepare the ground for statehood through the necessary developments and improvements in building the institutions of a state. The plan gained political momentum, first on the international level, because it was received as a possible alternative to the decaying peace process.

MIDEAST: U.S.-Israeli Tensions Escalating Quickly
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jim Lobe - (Interview) March 15, 2010 - 12:00am

The crisis touched off by last week's announcement of Israel's plans to build 1,600 new homes for Jews in Arab East Jerusalem during a high-profile visit by U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden appears to be escalating rapidly. Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to Washington and a historian who has written widely on ties between the two nations, called the growing contretemps "the worst (bilateral) crisis in 35 years" in a teleconference with other U.S.-based Israeli diplomats Saturday night, according to a number of published accounts.

US-Israel crisis - this time it's serious
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Barbara Ferguson - March 16, 2010 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON: Tension between the United States and Israel went up a notch on Monday when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said construction in occupied East Jerusalem would continue as usual. "Construction will continue in Jerusalem as has been the case over the past 42 years," Netanyahu told members of his Likud party.

U.S.-Israel crisis: This time, it's serious
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - March 15, 2010 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Last summer, when the relationship between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations was getting off to what appeared to be a rocky start, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was at pains -- twice -- to deny that he had been "summoned" to the State Department for a dressing down. One such "meeting" was actually a friendly phone call, he said, and the other was a routine getting-to-know-you meeting. The distinction was key, he told journalists: When the State Department actually "summons" an envoy, "That's serious."

US waiting 'formal' Israeli response
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
March 15, 2010 - 12:00am

The US State Department said Monday it was waiting for a "formal" Israeli response to its concerns, declining comment on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks in support of settlements. Netanyahu earlier Monday indicated that construction of Israeli settlements would continue in east Jerusalem, despite a tense phone call last week from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging him to stop.

U.S. confident Mideast peace talks to continue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - March 16, 2010 - 12:00am

The U.S. is confident proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians will continue, despite recent tension over Israel's plan to construct 1,600 new housing units in an East Jerusalem neighborhood, State Department official Philip J. Crowley said on Monday. "They have begun," Crowley said referring to indirect peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. "I'm confident that there will be another round of proximity talks." He added, however, that the administration wants to make sure that both sides are committed to making progress.

Row with U.S. questions Netanyahu's fitness to lead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yoel Marcus - March 16, 2010 - 12:00am

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declares at a cabinet meeting that the media exaggerated in describing the grave crisis with the United States and throws in a few more phrases from the "it'll all be fine" department, it is clear that he has neither learned nor forgotten anything. You didn't have to read Thomas Friedman's devastating column in The New York Times to know that there is a limit to the Americans' patience and their willingness to let us pour mud on their heads and call it rain.

Police chief: Jerusalem violence won't spark third Intifada
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Fadi Eyadat, Jack Khoury, Liel Kyzer - March 16, 2010 - 12:00am

Police Commissioner David Cohen on Tuesday toured Jerusalem's Old City after clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, and said he did not believe the recent violence would spark a third intifada. Dozens of Palestinians clashed with Israeli police in East Jerusalem after Hamas declared a "day of rage" to protest Israel's consecration of an ancient synagogue in the city one day earlier. Palestinians hurled stones at police and burned tires and trash bins in several areas of East Jerusalem, which Israel captured along with the West Bank during the 1967 Six-Day War.

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