Fallout from the settlement controversy continues: PM Netanyahu proposes confidence building measures with Palestinians; Special Envoy Mitchell will return to the region; Charles Krauthammer says Pres. Obama is picking on Israel but the Christian Science Monitor says settlements threaten world security; the Quartet calls for a Palestinian state within two years; most Israelis see Pres. Obama as friendly and fair; Anshel Pfeffer says Netanyahu has lost this fight and Doron Rosenblum says he is trying to please his father; Susie Becher says Israelis have to face the fact that dominating all Jerusalem and peace are incompatible; JJ Goldberg says the confrontation was inevitable; the journal of Shas calls present Obama "a stone throwing Palestinian." Israeli forces bomb Gaza. Palestinians say they're going to try to reduce dependence on Western training. Israel's Foreign Ministry is concerned it is being branded an apartheid state. The US imposes sanctions on Hamas-related organizations. The ADL slams Gen. David Petraeus for suggesting Israeli policies harm US interests, but Alan Philps says the US military in general is taking a harder line towards Israel.

Lieberman on Quartet call: You can't make artificial peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - March 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded Friday to the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators' call to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, saying that peace is not something which can be created artificially and with unrealistic timetables. "Peace will be established through actions and not by force," Lieberman told Belgium's Jewish community ahead of his scheduled talks with the ministers of several European nations.

US military moves towards a harder line against Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Alan Philps - (Editorial) March 18, 2010 - 12:00am

For many years, American diplomats have had to approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a rigidly pro-Israeli position. On a personal level, that is no doubt the way they had been taught to see the world. But careerism required that they never deviate, whatever they learned on the job. The result was that, during the 1990s, all US proposals were put to the Israeli government in advance for approval.

PNA to reduce dependence on Western training programs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 18, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) tends to reduce dependence on U.S. and European officers in training its forces in the West Bank, a spokesman said Thursday. Adnan Al-Dumiri, spokesman for the PNA's forces, said Palestinian officers who received training would start shifting their experience to newly-admitted cadets. "The PNA's dependence on the Americans and Europeans is decreasing," he told Xinhua.

A Confrontation That Was Inevitable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) March 17, 2010 - 12:00am

No, it wasn’t embarrassment that caused a blowup in U.S.-Israel relations when Vice President Joe Biden came to Jerusalem. Nor was it a weakening of America’s bond with Israel. It wasn’t timing, either — at least not the timing of Israel’s announcement of new housing plans in East Jerusalem moments after the vice president arrived. That provided a trigger, but the confrontation was coming anyway.

Palestinians clash with Israeli security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Amy Teibel - March 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinians in east Jerusalem and the West Bank lobbed rocks at Israeli security forces, set garbage bins and tires ablaze and torched an Israeli flag in a new outbreak of violence over contested Jerusalem building plans and unsubstantiated rumors about threats to the city's holiest shrine. Israeli forces responded with tear gas and stun grenades, but no serious injuries were reported.

ADL: Petraeus testimony 'counterproductive'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - March 18, 2010 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Anti-Defamation League said a top U.S. general's analysis of the role of the Israeli-Arab conflict in frustrating the U.S. mission in the Middle East was "dangerous and counterproductive." Gen. David Petraeus, in Senate testimony this week, outlined a number of areas that impeded U.S. interests in the Central Command, the area that he commands and that includes the Middle East. Petraeus first outlined five "major threats," none of them directly related to the Israel-Arab conflict.

Mitchell to meet Abbas and Netanyahu this weekend
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel and the United States have discussed specific steps to try to improve the outlook for Israeli-Palestinian peace following a bitter U.S.-Israeli row over settlement building, the State Department said on Friday. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell would meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the region this weekend.

Time to face the truth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Susie Becher - (Opinion) March 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Most of the headlines and commentary since the announcement of the Ramat Shlomo building plans during Vice President Biden’s visit have focused on the crisis in relations between Israel and the United States. There is certainly cause for concern that the current Israeli government has finally pushed the Obama administration too far, but the more serious issue for Israel’s citizens should be the unmasking of Israel’s intentions vis-à-vis the Palestinians.

Israel, U.S. seek to defuse settlement dispute
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Arshad Mohammed - March 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Israel tried to defuse a dispute with the United States on Friday over plans to expand settlements, saying it would offer the Palestinians "confidence-building" steps to encourage a renewal of peace talks. Relations between Israel and the United States, its main backer, have been frayed by Israel unveiling plans to build 1,600 housing units near occupied East Jerusalem during a visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden last week.

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