Why Israel simultaneously both is and is not a "Jewish State"
Press Release - Contact Information: Hussein Ibish - March 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Talk delivered by ATFP Senior Fellow Hussein Ibish at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, March 16, 2010

Coverage continues to focus on the US-Israel settlement controversy: the US may be rethinking negotiation plans; the New York Times says the administration see an opportunity; Israel rejects US demands to limit construction in Jerusalem, but reports suggest an unannounced freeze may be imminent; Pres. Obama and Israeli Amb. Michael Oren both say there is not a crisis; Mustafa Barghouti says Palestinians should not stay on the sidelines; the Christian Science Monitor says the US must keep up the pressure; a Ha'aretz commentary says Israel needs tough love; Arabs say hopes in Obama are dwindling; Osman Mirghani says Arabs should take advantage of this opening; Francis Matthew says the issue is not just future building but existing settlements. The Forward looks of assertions that Israel's policies are threatening US interests. A rocket fired from Gaza kills a Thai worker in southern Israel, among claims of responsibility include an Al Qaeda-like organization. The first planned Palestinian city in the West Bank gets a US government grant. A Ha'aretz editorial says Israel's closure of West Bank nonviolent protest villages is an attack on free speech. Ali Jarbawi says the PA state and institution building program shows Palestinians are serious.

What is Israel afraid of?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ali Jarbawi - (Opinion) March 15, 2010 - 12:00am

The program of the 13th Palestinian government, commonly referred to as the Fayyad Plan, called for all Palestinian institutions, and Palestinian society as a whole, to unite behind a state-building effort. The program embodies an authentically Palestinian initiative to work pro-actively and constructively toward establishing the state of Palestine through non-violent means over a two-year timeframe, despite the lack of progress in negotiations and continued military occupation.

Netanyahu dodges real issues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Francis Matthew - (Opinion) March 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Peace talks must focus on Israel's illegal colonies in the West Bank and Golan Heights, not merely future construction The present crisis between the US and Israel bears all the marks of a classic Netanyahu scheme in which he establishes some minor points with a lot of noise to distract attention from the main issue. Unfortunately, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is close to succeeding, so the Palestinian leadership need to keep their nerve and focus on the main agenda.

Waging on Washington’s Anger
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Osman Mirghani - (Opinion) March 17, 2010 - 12:00am

There’s nothing strange about Arab parties rejoicing at the “emergency crisis” between the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the US administration after US Vice President Joe Biden was angered by the timing of an announcement by the Israeli government to build another 1600 housing units in Jerusalem. The Obama administration considered it a blow to it and its diplomacy.

Are Israel’s Policies a Threat to the U.S.?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - (Opinion) March 17, 2010 - 12:00am

The dispute between Israel and the United States over building plans in East Jerusalem has left some supporters of Israel with a bitter aftertaste. It was not only the harshness of the Obama administration’s admonition of Israel; it was also the sense that a new element has been introduced to the bilateral relationship: the question of whether Israeli policies adversely affect America’s strategic interests in the region. Related Articles

Arab world says hopes in Obama are dwindling
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
March 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Arabs across the Middle East are unconvinced the United States will stand up to Israel despite Washington's rare public outrage over plans to build new Jewish homes in a traditionally Arab part of Jerusalem. The skepticism is eroding Arab hopes that President Barack Obama will push hard for a long-sought peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians to end a conflict that has fueled anti-US sentiment in the region. America's dwindling credibility could also jeopardize another major Mideast goal - uniting the Arab world against Iran. East Jerusalem Construction

Israel may freeze construction in east Jerusalem's Arab Neighborhoods
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - March 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been presented with a new proposal according to which construction in Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem that are located behind the Green Line will be reduced, while Jewish construction in Arab neighborhoods will be frozen altogether, Ynet reported Thursday. A similar proposal was brought before the "forum of seven ministers," but was apparently rejected by right-wing members of cabinet. President Shimon Peres, who met with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday, supports the proposal.

IDF vs. democracy and freedom of speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) March 18, 2010 - 12:00am

The Israel Defense Forces decision to declare the Palestinian villages Bil'in and Na'alin closed military zones on Fridays for the next six months is a serious anti-democratic move. The order issued by the GOC Central Command implementing this restriction is an act against the freedom to demonstrate.

U.S. tough love is the kind Israel needs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gideon Levy - (Opinion) March 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel - addicted to the occupation, and showing symptoms of overdose and accumulated damage - has finally found a savior to rescue it from its plight. Israel's redeemer hasn't just stood idly by for 40 years, but has even facilitated the habit. However, it seems that change may at last be in the air.

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