ATFP Deplores Violence, Warns Against Escalation of Conflict
Press Release - Contact Information: Ghaith al-Omari - March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Washington, DC, March 23 -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) has been following the escalating violence between Palestinians and Israel over the recent weeks with growing alarm. ATFP reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of all forms of terrorism and the killing of innocent civilians no matter who the perpetrators or the victims might be and no matter in what cause such actions are rationalized. The particularly indefensible and contemptible killing of children must especially be condemned without reservation.

Rockets fired from Gaza hit southern Israel. Four Palestinian civilians and four militants are killed in Israeli airstrikes. PM Fayyad’s five-week period form a cabinet has expired, but he says the process is on hold pending a potential unity government. Hamas calls for a day of mourning and Pres. Abbas calls for a cease-fire. The UN and the Arab League condemn the killing of civilians in Gaza, and PM Netanyahu says he regrets the deaths. Ma'an provides a summary of Gaza border violence in March. Israel passes a law banning mourning its founding. Critics call the new law racist. Sefi Rachlevsky says Israel’s anti-democratic racism must end. Amira Hass says those firing rockets are playing with the lives of Palestinian children. Ha’aretz says a small war is already brewing in Gaza. Palestinians are pushing for new negotiations with Israel. Abbas urges Russia to help restrain Israel. The French FM says that a Palestinian state must be created in 2011. Aluf Benn says Israel is oblivious to the implications of Arab uprisings. The State Department praises the performance of Palestinian security services. Ghassan Khatib says the murder of a settler family was totally unacceptable but does not justify Israel’s policies. Yossi Alpher says the world’s attention is elsewhere and the peace process is even more unlikely to move forward.

The anti-democratic racism of Israel must end
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Sefi Rachlevsky - (Opinion) March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

If there is one country in the world that should have heeded the commandment 'Thou shall not build nuclear reactors,' it is Japan, and that is not 20-20 hindsight. The traumas of World War II, of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, along with the fact that Japan sits on the seam of tectonic plates, should have kept it away from that path. But Japan became a leader in the construction of reactors after all.

The sanctity of the soaring Qassam
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

The Hamas authorities once again forgot that the neighbor/occupier to its east is crazy. Fact: Over Shabbat, Hamas' military wing fired more than 50 mortar shells at Israel. Or perhaps it didn't forget: Perhaps it merely thought the Palestinian people in Gaza were ready for another high-tech Israeli onslaught, for another Israel Defense Forces video game in which children playing on a roof are identified as lookouts and sentenced to death.

A small war is starting along Gaza border
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Blog) March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

While the headlines are focusing on the Katsav trial, the protests in Syria and the implications of the earthquake in Japan, a small war has been going on for a week now along the Gaza border. Israeli communities near the border are receiving a daily dose of mortars and rockets, and the Israel Air Force has been attacking Gaza. What began as a local escalation is steadily transforming into a broader conflict that the sides will apparently have difficulty stopping, though it's doubtful either side has an interest in reaching that point.

Palestinians push for talks renewal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Elior Levy - March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki pleaded with the Israeli government Tuesday to return to the negotiations table "before it's too late." In a speech given at a peace convention in Tel Aviv University, al-Maliki said that "Abu-Mazen is the most moderate leader and it'll be a shame if we miss this opportunity." However the minister warned that "If we don't reach an agreement by September, Abu-Mazen will resign. If that happens, we'll loose all hope for peace."

Abbas to Russia: Pressure Israel to halt Gaza escalation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
March 23, 2011 - 12:00am

In addition to requesting that the Russians pressure Netanyahu over the escalation of violence in Gaza, he also criticized him for commenting on Palestinian reconciliation efforts. Responding to Netanyahu's speech Tuesday in the Knesset where he said that Abbas could choose between "peace with Israel or Hamas," the Palestinian Authority president retorted, "Israel has no right to object to Palestinian conciliation, it has no stake in Palestinian national unity."

Fayyad freezes cabinet reshuffle to make way for possible unity gov't
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister- designate Salam Fayyad froze the reshuffle of his West Bank-based government to make way for President Mahmoud Abbas' proposal to form a unity government with the Gaza Strip, an official said Tuesday. "There has been nothing new with Fayyad's authorization to reshuffle the government," the official told Xinhua, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Arab League condemns Israeli attacks on Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab League (AL) condemned on Tuesday the latest Israeli aggression against the Palestinians, calling international community to intervene to halt the attacks. After an extraordinary meeting of permanent delegates, the pan- Arab body urged in a statement the United Nations and the Quartet to shoulder the responsibility to halt constant aggression. "The Palestinian cause and people's rights are a top priority for all the Arab states and the AL until the declaration of an independent state according to the 1967 borders and Jerusalem as its capital," said the statement.

French PM: Palestinian state must be created in 2011
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
March 22, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process should not be forgotten even while there is unrest taking place in Arab countries and 2011 must be the year that a Palestinian state is created, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday. The people of the region "are also concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which must not be forgotten while Arab political transition is taking place," he told the National Assembly in a debate on armed intervention in Libya.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017