Netanyahu: No peace deal until Palestinians accept Israel as Jewish
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
March 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanuahu on Monday welcomed the Palestinians' approval of indirect peace negotiations mediated by the U.S., but reiterated that any permanent settlement would require recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a long-term guarantee of Israel's security. The United States announced earlier Monday that Israel and the Palestinians have formally agreed to indirect peace negotiations brokered by its special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell.

VP Biden arrives in the Middle East. A new book traverses Jewish and Arab narratives. Special Envoy Mitchell formally announces new proximity talks, but PM Fayyad says Israel must abide by its agreements and Palestinians say this is the last chance for negotiations. The PA says its budget deficit will fall in 2010, condemns settlement expansion and backs nonviolent protests in spite of Israeli pressure. Israel issues an "exception" for 112 new settler housing units. The Dubai assassination is having global consequences. Israel warns the PA to crack down on protests. The PA is planning to prevent Palestinians from working to build settlements. The Jordan Times critiques the increasing fundamentalism of Hamas rule in Gaza. Uri Avnery says Israel uses history and archaeology for political purposes. Ghassan Khatib says the international community must get involved in the Middle East peace process.

Time for the international community to show its hand
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) March 8, 2010 - 1:00am

With the PLO deciding to accept the American invitation to proximity talks, helped in no small measure by the Arab League's backing, the stage is set for another round of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians under US auspices. The question remains, however, about the extent to which the Israeli government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu is ready and serious regarding this new phase and to what extent Israel's stated keenness to hold negotiations without conditions is merely a public relations exercise.

History as tool of occupation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - (Opinion) March 7, 2010 - 1:00am

History as tool of occupation During the first years of the State of Israel, an official of the Ministry of Religions (as it was then called), a certain Shmuel Zanwill Kahana, toured the country and discovered holy sites right and left. He found graves of Muslim sheikhs and announced that they were, actually, the tombs of our forefathers. They were declared holy places and taken over by his ministry.

Pointless move
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Opinion) March 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas is reportedly banning male hairdressers from styling women’s hair in Gaza. If true, it is a sad indictment of the Islamist movement’s rule today that it has come to this. Indeed, it sometimes is very hard to recollect that Palestinians voted for Hamas not out of any sense of growing religiosity, but because the movement promised change and reform and seemed to mean it.

PA moves to ban Palestinians from working in settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
March 7, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian Authority is moving to prevent Palestinian workers from taking jobs in settlements, as officials Ramallah repeatedly declare their refusal to resume direct negotiations until all Israeli construction in the West Bank is halted. Palestinians vehemently oppose the settlements Israel has built on land they want for a future state. But with unemployment high in the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians work in settlements. Palestinians have been key to building homes for settlers and also work in factories.

MESS Report / Israel threatens PA: 'fight violence or we will'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - March 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel has conveyed messages to the Palestinian Authority over the past few days that it must contain the popular protests that have recently erupted in the West Bank, stop PA officials from participating in them and keep them from turning violent, Palestinian sources told Haaretz. They said Israel also told the PA it must reduce incitement regarding the Temple Mount and Jerusalem and curtail its campaign against the use of Israeli products.

U.S.: Israel and Palestinians formally agree to indirect talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
March 8, 2010 - 1:00am

The United States officially announced on Monday that Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to indirect peace negotiations brokered by its special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell. Mitchell, who is visiting the region along with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, said in a statement that he was "pleased" the two sides had accepted the proposal that will see him shuttle between Israel and the Palestinian territories over the next several weeks.

Hamas slaying in Dubai ripples worldwide
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Brian Murphy - March 7, 2010 - 1:00am

If there's a signature moment in the plot to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, it's likely his short elevator ride from the hotel lobby to Room 230. The Hamas commander and a woman hotel clerk enter the elevator and, just before the doors close, two men slip in. They look like any tourist here for the Persian Gulf winter sunshine: baggy shorts, tennis rackets, sneakers and baseball caps. Al-Mabhouh — still wearing the winter jacket he traveled in from Damascus to Dubai — barely gives them a glance.

Israel OKs new settlement work despite slowdown
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - March 7, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel authorized the construction of 112 new apartments in the West Bank despite a pledge to slowdown settlement building, the government disclosed Monday — a decision that enraged the Palestinians a day after they reluctantly agreed to resume peace talks. Word of the new construction in the Beitar Illit settlement came amid a flurry of activity by the U.S. to try to salvage peacemaking.

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