The UN praises Palestinian progress toward statehood and says they are ready for independence on six key criteria. Sec. Clinton says US plans new initiative on Israeli-Palestinian peace. Four Palestinians die in a Gaza tunnel collapse as the territory’s only commercial crossing is reopened. PM Fayyad meets with donors in Brussels, requesting $5 billion over three years. An Israeli official says the US would veto a Security Council resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood, but others think the US will have a hard time being isolated. Palestinians urge the US to take a clear position on peace. Pres. Abbas says Israel should cease settlement activity so talks can restart. Israel says Hamas leaders are split on continuing a de facto truce. Ha’aretz says a partial West Bank pullout won’t prevent Palestinian statehood, and Aluf Benn says the idea “reeks of irrational desperation.” PM Netanyahu does not meet with a Canadian teenage pop star after all. Quartet Envoy Tony Blair says Palestinians are ready for statehood. Israel may allow a new flotilla to dock in Gaza. Herb Keinon says a UN General Assembly recognition of Palestine might not be very meaningful in practice. The Independent looks at the struggle of the Palestinian businessman to rebuild his home in Beit Jala. Hamad Al-Majed denounces Iranian support for Hamas. Bruce Riedel reviews Jordan’s King Abdullah’s new book on Arab-Israeli peace which warns that time is running out quickly.

King Abdullah: Time is Running Out for Arab-Israeli Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National Interest
by Bruce Riedel - (Book Review) April 13, 2011 - 12:00am

King Abdullah II of Jordan, like the rest of us, was apparently surprised by this winter’s eruption of political dissent in the Arab world. His just published autobiography, Our Last Best Chance: the Pursuit of Peace in a Time of Peril, warns that upheaval and war is coming to the Middle East if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not resolved by a just and fair peace, but does not prepare the reader for the revolutions that swept Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and the rest of the Arab world this winter and spring. That is not a criticism—no one else saw it coming either.

Hamas and the Iranian life-line
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Dr. Hamad Al-Majid - April 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Has Iran begun to reap the fruits of its support for Hamas? Some observers believe that the recent conversion of several Gazans to Shiism represents one of these fruits. The Al-Arabiya website, citing a report published by the Arsiran website – which is affiliated to a number of conservative groups in Iran – published a story claiming that the Shiite doctrine is beginning to spread in Gaza and that the number [of converts] reaches into the hundreds. Abdul Raheem Hamad, a Gazan convert, also expressed the same point [in this report].

The ravaged palace that symbolises the hope of peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Matthew Kalman - April 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The first remodelling of Albert Abu Zgheibreh's impressive home in Beit Jala on the outskirts of Bethlehem was free of charge, but not to his taste. Hellfire missiles fired from Israeli Apache helicopter gunships left gaping holes in the walls, tank shells smashed through the supporting pillars of the verandas and the stonework was raked with heavy-calibre machine-gun fire.

Analysis: Putting the UN in perspective
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - (Analysis) April 13, 2011 - 12:00am

For years, the Likud and the Right have been accused of fear-mongering, of playing upon the country’s real security concerns to turn their backs on peace.

Government mulls allowing flotillas to reach Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
April 13, 2011 - 12:00am

The government is considering allowing flotillas bound for Gaza to dock in the Strip so long as they undergo a thorough search by an international authority, Channel 2 news reported Tuesday evening. According to the TV report, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was examining the idea of letting ships dock in the Strip as long as Israel and a third, international party, such as Greece, were to check any incoming vessel for illegal weapons or illicit materials.

'Blair to endorse Palestinian state at Brussels parley'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
April 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Quartet envoy Tony Blair was set to present a report in Brussels on Wednesday endorsing a future Palestinian state, the London Times reported.

'US will have hard time standing alone in UN'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Attila Somfalvi - April 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli state officials estimated Wednesday that the US decision to postpone a European initiative to set parameters for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians will involve a price to be paid by Benjamin Netanyahu. "The prime minister will be forced to outline his plans in a clear manner," one state official said. Israel has been working to prevent UN support in a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, however efforts to block endorsement have thus far failed. State officials now believe such efforts are futile, particularly in regards to the General Assembly.

Bieber: Netanyahu meeting never scheduled
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Raz Shechnik - April 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Justin Bieber never intended to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his manager told Yedioth Ahronoth Tuesday in response to reports that the teen idol had refused to hold such a meeting after discovering that children from the Gaza vicinity would also be in attendance. "We never asked to meet with (Netanyahu) nor has anyone connected with us asked to meet him," Scooter Braun told the paper.

Palestinians seek $5 billion for state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
April 13, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will brief Western representatives in Brussels on Wednesday on his bid for nearly $5 billion in investment to launch a Palestinian state. The Palestinian Authority's three-year development plan, obtained by Reuters, requires $1.467 billion this year, $1.754 billion in 2012 and $1.596 billion for 2013. "We have distributed the plan to the donors and they have welcomed it," Palestinian Planning Minister Ali al-Jarbawi said. The plan will be presented formally to donor countries at a pledging conference in June, he said.

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