April 6th

IMF: Palestinian institutions ready for state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian financial institutions are ready for statehood, an International Monetary Fund report praising Palestinian fiscal reform said Tuesday. "The PA is now able to conduct the sound economic policies expected of a future well-functioning Palestinian state,'' the report said. Acting Prime Minister in Ramallah, Salam Fayyad, has embarked on a program of institutional reform since his appointment in 2007, building the confidence of the international community and preparing for the establishment of a Palestinian state, to be announced in September 2011, according to his latest plan.

Medics: 4 wounded in Israeli strikes on Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli aircraft attacked two targets in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, wounding four people, Palestinian medics and witnesses said. They said the targets were a group of militants and a plastics factory, both east of Gaza City. All of the wounded were at the factory, they added. A Ma'an correspondent said two of those injured were women, and that one of them was pregnant. An Israeli military spokeswoman told AFP that aircraft hit "two terror tunnels," a phrase the army uses to refer to tunnels being prepared by Gaza militants to launch cross-border raids.

Peres urges Obama to stay with peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

It is critical for the United States to remain committed to the peace process, Israeli President Shimon Peres told President Obama. “I told him we would not want the Middle East peace process to continue without the United States,” Peres told reporters after his lunchtime meeting with Obama. A Peres aide later told reporters that this was the “critical message” Peres came to Washington to convey to the White House, suggesting that there is an impression in the Israeli government that the Obama administration is washing its hands of the peace process.

Now that Goldstone has changed his mind, what’s next?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas, Marcy Oster - April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

What happens now with the Goldstone Report may well be up to Goldstone. Richard Goldstone’s April 2 Op-Ed in the Washington Post disavowing his earlier assumption that Israel had committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity during the 2009 Gaza war has left pro-Israel activists wondering: What next? Moves already are afoot to get the United Nations to retract the U.N. Human Rights Council’s endorsement of the Goldstone report on the monthlong 2008-09 Gaza war. The Israeli government and an array of Jewish groups have issued such calls.

Cafe culture blooms in West Bank's Ramallah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Mohammed Assadi - April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

While Paris's Left Bank is famous for its fine restaurants and bustling cafes, Palestine's West Bank is not. But that might be about to change. The hilly city of Ramallah, which lies just to the north of Jerusalem, has undergone a massive boom in recent years on the back of Western donor support, with new smart eateries and bars mushrooming alongside a plethora of pristine office blocks. Latest data says Ramallah and the adjacent town of Al-Bireh that it has utterly engulfed have more than 120 coffee shops and some 300 restaurants, with 50 new diners opening in 2010 alone.

Ex-Fatah official named in Libya arms deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Fatah is investigating reports former Palestinian security chief Mohammed Dahlan supplied Israeli-made weapons to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. "The committee will take measures that suit the size of these allegations," The Jerusalem Post quoted a Fatah spokesman saying. The spokesman noted the Fatah Central Committee had already suspended Dahlan's membership because of "political and organizational trespasses." Rebel forces battling the Libyan leader said they seized Israeli arms smuggled into the country and named Dahlan a suspect, the Ma'an news agency reported Tuesday.

Beyond Goldstone: A truer discussion about Israel, Hamas and the Gaza conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Jessica Montell - (Opinion) April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The word Goldstone has entered the modern Hebrew lexicon as shorthand for anti-Israel bias and the deterioration of Israel’s international position. When the fact-finding U.N. mission headed by Judge Richard Goldstone released its report into Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip 18 months ago, it seemed as if the world divided into two camps. There was the pro-Goldstone camp, arguing that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza and must be held accountable; and there was the anti-Goldstone camp, which insisted that the report was nothing less than a blood libel against the Jewish state.

Palestinian Security Forces Abused Journalists, Report Says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - April 6, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian journalists have been subjected to detention and abuse at the hands of Palestinian security agencies, a pattern that has led many to self-censor and produced a chilling effect on the free exchange of information and ideas, a human rights group said in a new report.

April 5th

Prominent Israelis say they will propose a new peace plan. Israel charges a Palestinian engineer on multiple counts. Aaron David Miller suggests a way for the US to reinvigorate Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. A noted Palestinian-Israeli actor is murdered in Jenin and the PA has arrested a suspect. Richard Cohen says the Goldstone Report was always a rush to judgment, the CSM looks at its findings, the UN Human Rights council says it stands by it, and Kenneth Roth says Israel’s conduct in the war was still inexcusable. The LA Times says Goldstone’s explanations are unconvincing, but J Street welcomes them. Israeli troops kill a Palestinian man near the Gaza border. Fatah is investigating possible arms shipments to Libya. Fatah and Hamas members may have met secretly in Gaza last week. Merav Michaeli says Israel is confusing victimhood with foreign policy. Moshe Arens says more Mideast democracy will benefit Israel. DM Barak approves more West Bank settlement plans, but settlers are angry that Itamar is not included. The PLO says Israel is using international unrest to abandon the two-state solution. Israeli officials warn of more violence with Palestinians. Gershon Baskin says Israelis can and will support peace. Dennis Ross says unrest means Israel needs more security guarantees. Ghassan Khatib says the parties must go back to the international legal basics of peace. Yossi Alpher urges the Palestinians not to seek UN recognition of statehood before a deal with Israel.

Growing Mideast democracy could benefit Israel too
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Moshe Arens - (Opinion) April 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Trying to evaluate the implication of the wave of demonstrations sweeping over the Arab World, one is reminded of Zhou Enlai, the premier of the People's Republic of China under Mao Zedong - who when asked what he thought of the French Revolution, reportedly replied that it was too early to tell. Samuel Goldwyn's well-known aphorism reminds us that we should not hasten to predict future events: "Never make forecasts, especially about the future," he said. And especially not about the future of the Middle East, one might add.

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