Both Washington and Tel Aviv claim success in the recent standoff over settlements. Jackson Diehl blames Pres. Abbas for lack of progress, but Stephen Walt blames the pro-Israel lobby. Tensions rise in the occupied territories as at least four Palestinians are killed by Israeli forces, the official version of events is heavily challenged, and the US urges restraint. Strains in the US-Israel relationship are evident in Sec, Clinton's speech at AIPAC. Palestinians say they're looking for a complete settlement freeze before returning to talksm and the EU calls for such a freeze.. UNSG Ban decries the Gaza blockade, The PA distributes aid to the poor and needy. A play in Gaza raises rare criticisms of Hamas. Abbas reiterates Palestinians have a right to resist occupation. A Ha'aretz analysis says there is a danger of another uprising. ATFP Advocacy Director Ghaith Al-Omari warns that Palestinians may be the next to face US pressure. The Arab News says the US faces a final opportunity for peace progress.

Israeli-Palestinian peace hopes rise as US envoy prepares to get talks moving
Media Mention of Hussein Ibish In The Guardian - March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

The US special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, is due to fly to the region on Sunday to try to secure a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks amid optimism about a breakthrough. Mitchell had been due to visit Israel on Tuesday but his trip was cancelled – a victim of US-Israeli tensions. It was reinstated after Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, bowing to US pressure, phoned the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, last night to offer concessions.Mitchell is scheduled to see Netanyahu in Israel and the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah.

A message for Palestinians in the Israel-U.S. disagreement?
Media Mention of Ghaith al-Omari In Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) - March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Jeffrey Goldberg lamented the other day that the AIPAC policy conference had too many speakers from the center-right and not enough from the left. One exception he did cite was Ghaith al-Omari, advocacy director for the American Task Force on Palestine, who spoke Sunday afternoon on a panel entitled "Prognosticating Peace: Are Direct Israeli-Palestinian Talks in Sight?" And al-Omari had an interesting perspective on the recent flareup in tensions between the U.S. and Israel, believing there was an important message in the episode for Palestinians, as well.

Clinton to AIPAC: Settlement activity undermines U.S. role in peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday that indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians should be serious and substantive, warning that new Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank were jeopardizing progress and undermining U.S. mediation. "New construction in East Jerusalem or the West Bank undermines mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step toward the full negotiations that both sides want and need," Clinton said in a speech to AIPAC, an influential pro-Israel lobby group, at its annual conference in Washington.

Abbas: Palestinian people have national right to resistance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday said that the Palestinian people had a national right to resistance against Israeli occupation, adding that his government would not acquiesce to any Israeli demands with which it disagreed. Abbas was speaking after a meeting in Amman with U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell, who in turn urged the two sides to exercise restraint. The Obama administration was seeking to establish conditions for the stalled Israel-Palestinian talks to resume," he said. Advertisement

US urges restraint from Israel, Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Dale Gavlak - March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

The Obama administration is seeking to establish conditions for the stalled Israel-Palestinian talks to resume, U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell said Monday, urging the two sides to exercise restraint. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, meanwhile, said the Palestinians wanted to give "a chance" to indirect talks with Israel mediated by the United States.

MESS Report / Can anything douse the flames of West Bank unrest?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - (Opinion) March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

The recent deterioration of calm in the West Bank, which involved two unpleasant incidents that occurred in less than 24 hours, are continuing to raise the heat of the West Bank barometer. Advertisement A week after the failed Palestinian attempt to ignite riots in Jerusalem and the West Bank over the building in the East Jerusalem neighborhood Ramat Shlomo, Israel is now fanning the flames with the deaths of four unarmed Palestinians at the hands of Israel Defense Forces soldiers.

In Gaza, theatre gives critics a rare voice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Live theatre is rare in the Gaza Strip; public criticism of its Islamist rulers is rare too. So perhaps it was no surprise that a play which gives vent to Palestinian's frustrations with their leaders should be a hit. "The Cord", which opened this month to audiences of 1,000 or more in Gaza's main auditorium, takes aim at all the parties involved in the bitter, sometimes bloody, divisions that have hobbled the drive for an independent Palestinian state.

PA distributes assistance to poor, disabled
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

The Office of the President distributed financial assistance to a number of needy families and people with disabilities on Thursday, in cooperation with the Al-Bireh and Ramallah governorate. The assistance was provided to 40 families, and distributed by the head of the president's Office of Humanitarian Assistance, the director of public affairs and the head of the economic and social affairs section.

'Pitchfork remained on ground during purported attack'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - March 22, 2010 - 12:00am

Was a pitchfork attack thwarted? Many serious question marks are brought up by the IDF's initial investigation into the functioning of the soldiers involved in Sunday's incident next to Awatra in which two Palestinians carrying a pitchfork were killed by IDF soldiers. At the end of the debriefings on the incident and on the incident that took place on Saturday in which two other Palestinians were killed during a protest near Nablus, investigation material will be passed on to the military prosecutor, where it will be decided whether the military police will launch an investigation.

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