Israeli settlement crisis clouds Mideast talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Arshad Mohammed - March 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Middle East mediators from Europe, the United States, Russia and the U.N. met on Friday seeking to defuse the latest crisis in peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians. "All of us today hope to arrive at some common conclusions which will help to promote the beginning of a dialogue between the two sides," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the start of talks.

US imposes Gaza sanctions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 19, 2010 - 12:00am

The US Treasury imposed sanctions on Thursday against two firms in Gaza - Islamic National Bank and al-Aqsa Television - for their ties to the ruling Hamas movement. The Treasury said the sanctions prohibit Americans from transactions with the entities and seek to freeze any assets they may have under US jurisdiction. The Treasury lists Hamas, which rules Gaza, as a "specially designated global terrorist" organization.

Foreign Ministry: Israel must throw off mantle of 'apartheid state'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
(Analysis) March 19, 2010 - 12:00am

A senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday reinforced the need for Israel to shake off the mantle of "the new apartheid state" and redefine itself to the international community, at a conference held at The College of Management – Academic Studies (COMAS) in Rishon Lezion.

Israeli settlements threaten world security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Nathan Gardels - (Interview) March 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Nathan Gardels: Let’s go back to basics. It is clear that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict stands at the center of what motivates so much terrorism against the United States. In this context, the Netanyahu ( Israeli) government’s insistence on expanding settlements – despite President Obama’s high profile promise to stop them in his Cairo speech – does more than undermine US credibility. Isn’t it, fundamentally, against US strategic interests?

Shas Journal: Obama is 'a stone-throwing Palestinian'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yair Ettinger - March 19, 2010 - 12:00am

The official Shas journal "Day to Day" published Thursday an editorial depicting United States President Barack Obama as "a Palestinian stone throwing youth in East Jerusalem, and not a strategic leader." The journal editorial was published in response to Obama's interview on Fox News Thursday morning, during which he criticized Minister of Interior affairs and Shas chairman Eli Yishai for the administrative decision to build 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.

Jerusalem construction is now a national obsession
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Doron Rosenblum - (Opinion) March 19, 2010 - 12:00am

It is doubtful that anyone in the present administration in the White House, or anywhere in the world, has the patience or desire to get to the bottom of the motives behind the Netanyahu government. But those who nonetheless want to understand what makes the prime minister tick should look at the photographs of the happy and ostensibly non-political event that fell into the lap of the extended Netanyahu family this week: the victory of Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu's son Avner in the National Bible Quiz.

How Obama created the Biden incident
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Charles Krauthammer - March 19, 2010 - 12:00am

And a gaffe it was: the announcement by a bureaucrat in Israel's Interior Ministry of a housing expansion in a Jewish neighborhood in north Jerusalem. The timing could not have been worse: Vice President Biden was visiting, Jerusalem is a touchy subject, and you don't bring up touchy subjects that might embarrass an honored guest. But it was no more than a gaffe. It was certainly not a policy change, let alone a betrayal. The neighborhood is in Jerusalem, and the 2009 Netanyahu-Obama agreement was for a 10-month freeze on West Bank settlements excluding Jerusalem.

U.S. to send envoy back to Mideast as Israel moves to smooth relations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - March 19, 2010 - 12:00am

In an effort to defuse a bitter spat with the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday night to propose confidence-building measures to get Middle East peace talks back on track, U.S. and Israeli officials said.

Netanyahu thought he could take Obama, and lost
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - March 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quite right. As he said in his speech at the Knesset on Monday while greeting Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, over the last four decades, every single Israeli government has built Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. No prime minister, from the right, left or center, has ever caved to international pressure and agreed to curtail the development of the capital east of the Green Line.

Israeli Suggests Steps to Aid Peace Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - March 18, 2010 - 12:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, under intense pressure from the United States to settle a diplomatic dispute over Jewish settlements, called Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton late Thursday to propose what he called a package of “mutual confidence building” steps to be taken by Israelis and Palestinians to help restart peace negotiations. The Obama administration will “review the prime minister’s response and continue our discussions with both sides,” Philip J. Crowley, the State Department spokesman, said in a statement.

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