Israeli officials disagree about the reason for a lull in Jerusalem settlement activity. As nonviolent Palestinian protests spread, Israel uses new crowd dispersal weapons. Israel expels a fourth Palestinian from the West Bank to Gaza. Palestinian children are reportedly beaten by settlers. Opposition groups warn Hamas its policies may lead to a revolt. Israeli officials predict negotiations within two weeks, but Palestinians say it's too soon. The PA bans Palestinian laborers from working in settlements, but will not fine them. Israeli troops dismantle makeshift settler structures in the West Bank. A Ha'aretz report compares the present situation with the one that led to the 1973 war. Pres. Sarkozy says PM Netanyahu's "foot dragging" on peace is "unacceptable." The Israeli government may be quietly pushing for a "provisional" Palestinian state. US officials say comments by Israel's mayor in Jerusalem undermine peace talks. Israeli officials say they will not honor their commitment to dismantle settlement outposts. Rami Khouri says US Middle East policy is still driven by domestic politics.

US officials: Barkat undermines talks effort
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Yitzhak Benhorin - April 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak met Tuesday with senior US administration officials in Washington, who expressed their surprise over Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's behavior. His conduct, they said, completely contradicts to the atmosphere the government is trying to create in order to renew negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Pushing for a provisional Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The announcement of upcoming "proximity talks" between Israel and the Palestinians raises a number of questions - what exactly will they talk about? What else can be renewed in the peace process, where everything seems to have been tried while peace remains elusive? What trick does George Mitchell, the mediator of the hour, have up his sleeve that was kept from his frustrated predecessors?

Sarkozy: Netanyahu's foot-dragging on peace process is unacceptable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has told his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres that he is disappointed with Benjamin Netanyahu and finds it hard to understand the prime minister's diplomatic plan. Sarkozy made his comments at the Elysee Palace two weeks ago. The latest criticism follows the diplomatic crisis between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama and the subsequent fallout between Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Israeli forces demolish settlers' 'Obama's Shack'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Danielle Cheslow - April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Israeli security forces demolished a handful of illegal structures in West Bank settlements Tuesday, including a wooden bunker that hard-line Jewish activists had defiantly named after President Barack Obama. Israeli forces also clashed with Palestinian protesters opposed to construction of Israel's West Bank separation barrier. In one incident, paramilitary border police wrestled a teenage boy to the ground, then fired pepper spray directly into his face to subdue him. The youth, screaming in pain, was then arrested.

Netanyahu is incapable of making peace - but does Israel care?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Opinion) April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Dinner at the home of a foreign diplomat, earlier this week. Two high-ranking visitors from the diplomat's home country listen as an Israeli delegation paints a less than encouraging picture of the Middle East. The Israelis - academics, journalists and a former negotiator in the peace process, all of them somewhere between the center and the left on the political map - are united in their prognosis: Things aren't what they were.

PNA says too early to begin indirect peace talks with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

A Palestinian official on Wednesday said it was still early to start indirect peace talks with Israel which the United States had offered. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is still talking with Washington over its proposal. When the talks complete, Erekat said, the PNA will brief the Arab League (AL) on their results to make a decision. Last month, the AL and the PNA had approved the U.S. proposal, but Israel's announcement of building 1,600 houses for Jews in disputed East Jerusalem made the Palestinians balk at going ahead.

No fines now for Palestinian settlement workers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinians who violate a new ban on working in Israeli settlements will be given time to find other employment before facing punishment, a top official said, reflecting just of how hard it will be to enforce the measure in the job-strapped West Bank. The law, which also prohibits the sale of Israeli settlement products in the West Bank, was signed this week by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Violators face up to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

Israel's Ayalon sees talks restart within two weeks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ori Lewis - April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

srael expects U.S. mediated peace talks with the Palestinians to resume sometime next month, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said on Wednesday. Ayalon's pronouncement was the latest in a series of statements by Israeli officials expressing optimism at the restart of talks stalled since December 2008. When asked in an interview on Israel Radio when the talks might resume, Ayalon said: "There is no final date yet, but I estimate that it is a matter of some two weeks." Ayalon was speaking from Washington where he held talks with U.S. officials.

Hamas warned: fear may give way to revolt in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - April 28, 2010 - 12:00am

Security forces of the Islamist group Hamas detained Palestinian political activists overnight for distributing leaflets urging them to ease up on the people of Gaza or face a possibly explosive revolt. An official of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) told Reuters several members were arrested late on Tuesday and set free on Wednesday.

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