U.S. vows to assign blame if Israel-PA talks fail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

The United States government has committed to playing a role in indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and promised that if the talks were to fail, the U.S. will assign blame and take action, according to a document sent by the U.S. to the Palestinian Authority, which Haaretz obtained on Friday. The U.S. government sent the document to the Palestinians responding to their inquires regarding the U.S. initiative to launch indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Hamas denies al-Qaida-style groups operating in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas authorities on Thursday denied reports that al-Qaida-style groups were operating in the Gaza Strip to shake Hamas' rule. "There is no group representing the international definition of Jihad," Hamas' Interior Minister Fatthi Hammad told Xinhua. "There were small groups that have been suppressed," he added. "The situation on the ground is still good and we still maintain order," Hammad said.

From Ireland to Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
by Zion Evrony - (Opinion) March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

During a recent trip to Northern Ireland, one theme that dominated all of my conversations was encapsulated in the words “Who would have believed…?” It was the happiness shared by those present that the unimaginable had happened: The conflict that had once made the province a byword for terrorism and sectarian violence had ended.

Validity of Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks in doubt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by David Harris - March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

In the coming days the Middle East will host important visits by key international players as the United States hopes to get Israeli-Palestinian peace talks back on track. The star-studded lineup includes U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Before they cross the Mediterranean, U.S. special envoy George Mitchell will make the journey this weekend. While the others will be in town to give their backing to renewed peace negotiations, it is up to Mitchell to enable that process to begin.

Clashes erupt at Jerusalem holy site
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ari Rabinovitch - March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

Israeli police and Palestinians clashed near Jerusalem's flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque on Friday and about 30 people were injured, Israeli police and Palestinian medical workers said. Israeli police entered the compound housing the mosque and fired stun grenades to disperse Palestinians who they said had thrown stones on police officers and Jewish worshippers nearby. Palestinian medical workers said at least 17 Palestinians were injured by tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, one seriously. About a dozen police officers were also lightly hurt in the clashes, a police spokesman said.

Gaza a Year Later
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
by MICHEÁL MARTIN - (Opinion) March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Last week I visited Gaza, the first European Union foreign minister to do so in over a year. My purpose was very much a humanitarian one, to see for myself the impact of a blockade that has now been imposed on the people of Gaza for some two-and-a-half years and to meet with the courageous and dedicated staff of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), including its director of operations, Irishman John Ging. They play an indispensable role in maintaining vital humanitarian services to the people of Gaza.

Hamas: Return to talks a betrayal of the nation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

Gaza's deputy Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) speaker Ahmad Bahar called a return to negotiations with Israel a "waste of the Palestinian cause," saying the outcomes of any talks would "not meet any standards of legitemacy." The statement on Thursday followed rumors that indirect talks with a US envoy shuttling between Israel and the PLO could start as early as Sunday, after the Arab League gave the go-ahead on Wednesday for talks within a four-month timeframe.

PA sends medicine to Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Health Ministry in Ramallah successfully arranged a delivery of badly-needed medicine to the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, a Thursday report said. The International Committee of the Red Cross coordinated the entry to Gaza with the Israeli military, he said, noting the shipment will be followed by 16 truckloads of medicine and laboratory medical equipment to Gaza, for which arrangements were being made.

Hamas bans men from women's hair salons
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 4, 2010 - 1:00am

Gaza's Islamic Hamas government on Thursday banned men from working in women's hair salons, the latest step in its campaign to impose strict Islamic customs on Gaza's 1.5 million people. Since seizing Gaza in 2007, Hamas has taken steps in that direction while avoiding a frontal assault on secularism. The majority of Gaza residents are conservative Muslims, but Hamas is under growing pressure from more radical groups to prove its fundamentalist credentials by imposing ever harsher edicts. The latest measure irked one of the victims of the ban.

Hamas: PA continues political arrest campaign
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 5, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas officials released a statement accusing Palestinian Authority forces of detaining three of the party's affiliates from locations across the West Bank overnight Thursday. The three were reportedly from Nablus and Hebron, although the arrests could not be independently verified by Ma'an.

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