Israel warns against UN recognition of Palestine. Germany pushes Israel to be more forthcoming on peace. Roger Cohen says Judge Goldstone has created confusion, Oudeh Basharat says he caved under emotional pressure, and lawsuits are filed against him. Up to 10 Palestinians are killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza and several Israelis injured in a Hamas attack on a school bus. Israeli officials call their attack on Hamas members in Sudan “a policy of prevention.” Palestinian Christians demand freedom of access to Jerusalem during Easter. Olympic medalists help to promote sport in the West Bank. Pres. Abbas urges the West to stop Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. The Israeli military claims an anti-missile system successfully intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza. A new flotilla of up to 20 ships is expected for Gaza. Israel officials say Hamas is trying to establish a “balance of terror.” Ha’aretz says leaked documents show Israeli leaders saying different things in public and private. A new poll suggests 78% of Likud members oppose the creation of a Palestinian state. The US may be working to have the Goldstone Report withdrawn. George Hishmeh says Goldstone’s reconsideration’s don’t change the political situation. IPS says Israel is focusing on “soft targets.” Madawi al-Rasheed says tensions in Saudi Arabia, and Nathalie Tocci says the “Arab spring” in general, mean the Arab Peace Initiative is on hold for the moment.

The API in thrall to the Arab spring
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Nathalie Tocci - (Opinion) April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab Peace Initiative, first endorsed at the Beirut summit in 2002, was born of a specific context. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, what was to become the "moderate" Arab camp was intent on asserting its credentials to the West. Offering Israel full normalization of relations in return for an end of Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights and an (unspecified) "just" solution to the refugee problem was an unprecedented move.

Saudi dilemmas and the Arab Peace Initiative
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Madawi Al-Rasheed - (Opinion) April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

The Arab Peace Initiative, proposed by Saudi Arabia's then-Crown Prince Abdullah (king since 2005) and announced during the Arab League summit in Beirut in 2002, is hard to resurrect amidst revolutions and protests in the region. Not only was the initiative a stillborn baby, but over time it became a corpse in need of a death ritual. We all know how important such rituals are for the living, but unfortunately, the illusion of peace persists while the reality attests that "no solution has become the solution".

Israel Aiming Punitive Measures at Soft Targets
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Mel Frykber - April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

As the international community becomes increasingly critical of Israel's discriminatory treatment of Israeli-Arabs and the brutal occupation in the Palestinian West Bank, the Israeli authorities are venting their anger against soft targets such as Arab-Israeli parliamentarians and Palestinian and Israeli non-violent peace activists. The majority of Knesset (Israeli parliament) members recently voted in favour of stripping Israel-Arab Knesset member Haneen Zoabi of her parliamentary privileges following her participation in the ill-fated Mavi Marmara flotilla to Gaza last year.

Goldstone’s message
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) April 8, 2011 - 12:00am

It was definitely coincidental - but harbouring many unclear scenarios - that Richard Goldstone’s infamous volte face came on April Fool’s day, when it appeared on the website of The Washington Post.

US plotting strategy to have Goldstone report withdrawn
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - April 8, 2011 - 12:00am

The US is consulting with allies at the United Nations to work to end any consideration of the Goldstone Report by the international body, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said on Thursday. The US has long been opposed to the report’s accusations that Israel intentionally targeted civilians in its war just over two years ago against Hamas, but has added momentum in its push to see the report shelved since its presiding jurist Richard Goldstone last Friday reconsidered his findings.

Settlers' poll: 78% of Likudniks oppose Palestinian State
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Hoffman - April 8, 2011 - 12:00am

Three quarters of Likud members believe that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should wait until the fate of uprisings in the Muslim world becomes clearer before he takes any steps toward the Palestinians, a Ma’agar Mohot poll sponsored by the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip revealed on Thursday.

Removing Israeli leaders' masks of hypocrisy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) April 8, 2011 - 12:00am

WikiLeaks' "Israel file," parts of which appear in detail in today's newspaper, makes an important contribution to public discourse in Israel. The publication makes it clear that senior Israeli officials and public figures have presented positions to American officials different from those they voiced in public. Exposing the reports of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and general consulate in Jerusalem removes the masks of hypocrisy and doublespeak and contributes to political transparency and cleanliness.

Israel believes Hamas trying to establish 'balance of terror'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - April 8, 2011 - 12:00am

A 16-year-old Israeli was critically injured on Thursday when an anti-tank missile fired from the Gaza Strip hit a school bus near Kibbutz Sa'ad. The missile attack was followed by additional mortar shelling from Gaza. The launch occurred just four to five kilometers from the target, from a point where it was clear students were on board and it was possible to keep the bus within sight. A senior defense source told Haaretz on Thursday night that he believes this was an act by the military wing of the organization, and that their aim was to deter Israel and establish a "balance of terror."

Goldstone's 'regret' is a result of emotional pressure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Oudeh Basharat - (Opinion) April 8, 2011 - 12:00am

In any event, when Richard Goldstone "retracted" he didn't really retract. Read his op-ed in the Washington Post once, twice - there's no retraction there on any substantial issues. And when he stated in his "regret" that Israel had started its investigation after his conclusions were made, that is a kind of reaffirmation of Goldstone's report. At the time, we should recall, Israel vehemently refused to conduct a probe of Operation Cast Lead. According to the strange interpretations of his "regret," 1,400 people - most of them civilians - were killed in Gaza by mistake.

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