April 27th

NEWS: The PA Communications Minister is resigning after criticizing a crackdown on websites critical of the government. The PA is continuing with its crackdown on criticism. DM Barak says chances are “low” that Iran can be dissuaded from developing a nuclear weapon. The Israeli government asks for a 90 day extension of a court order to demolish an “unauthorized” settlement outpost. PLO officials say Israel settlement activity proves it's not interested in a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. The CSM looks at growing ties between Israel and Azerbaijan. Palestinian officials say better tax enforcement has increased PA revenue. Pres. Abbas and Hamas leader Mishaal have a telephone conversation about rallying support for hunger striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The US House of Representatives is moving to approve $680 million in more aid for Israel's “Iron Dome” antimissile system. Israeli officials disagree about what PM Netanyahu meant when he told CNN he was in favor of a “contiguous” Palestinian state. VP Biden says no president has done more for Israel since Truman than Obama. COMMENTARY: Yossi Sarid says the Israeli military remains unreformed. Lyn Julius says the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries is important. Uri Savir says the EU needs a common approach on the Middle East and especially Israeli-Palestinian issues. The Forward says Israel's national anthem could easily be rewritten to reflect the aspirations of all its citizens. Alan Phillips says despair about the plausibility of a two-state solution is leading some serious observers, especially in Europe, to look at fresh ideas. George Hishmeh says there are real grounds for doubting whether a second term Pres. Obama would seriously attempt to reengage with Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. Dylan Evans looks at the possibility of another war between Israel and Hezbollah. Ben Lynfield says the occupation is having a very corrosive effect on Israeli society. The Arab News says Israel's settlement outpost activities amount to “official larceny.” Frida Ghitis says if Netanyahu is serious about really engaging the Palestinians in peace negotiations, he should make them a serious offer.

Biden: No president since Truman has done more for Israel than Obama
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
April 27, 2012 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Vice President Joe Biden said "no president since Harry Truman has done more for Israel’s security than Barack Obama." Biden delivered an attack Thursday on the foreign policies of Mitt Romney, the likely GOP candidate for president, a day after a top Romney surrogate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), had launched a broadside on Obama's foreign policies. The exchange was seen as the launch of the 2012 general election season.

PM stance on Palestinian contiguity debated
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - April 27, 2012 - 12:00am

Government officials played down Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s comments in a CNN interview this week expressing a seeming willingness for Palestinian contiguity, saying he was referring to the West Bank, and not necessarily a physical link from it to Gaza. Netanyahu, the officials said, has not publicly articulated a position on what he believes a link or “safe passage” between the West Bank and Gaza should look like in a possible future agreement.

US House Panel adds $68om. For Iron Dome
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - April 27, 2012 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – A US House subcommittee voted Thursday to dedicate an additional $680 million in funding for Israel’s short-range missile defense system. The move by a House Armed Services subcommittee adds the funding for the Iron Dome program on top of nearly $100m. in US assistance for medium- and long-range missile defense and $3.1 billion in other military assistance that comes from the State Department budget.

Hopelessness of a two-state solution leads to fresh ideas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Alan Philps - (Opinion) April 27, 2012 - 12:00am

No one is paying much attention to the Palestine issue these days. Coverage in the global media is perfunctory. What used to be a major issue in US-Israeli relations is now relegated to a sideshow by Iran and the Obama administration's focus on getting re-elected without any new Middle Eastern entanglements. As Filippo Grandi, the Commissioner General of UNRWA, the United Nations agency that provides services for Palestinian refugees, put it last week in London: "Over the past seven years I have never seen all the avenues for political progress closed as they are now."

Mashaal, Abbas discuss prisoner hunger strike
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
April 27, 2012 - 12:00am

Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke by telephone Thursday about rallying Palestinians to support Palestinian prisoners in their hunger strike against certain Israeli prison policies, such as administrative detention, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported Friday, citing a Hamas statement.

Obama’s missteps
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) April 27, 2012 - 12:00am

Why did Barack Obama have to go the Holocaust Museum in Washington to criticise an Arab government, Syria’s, much as the country’s long-serving leadership is the target of international and Arab criticism for its brutal policies? Is it reasonable to believe that he did not have any other option in America’s spacious capital city which has several university campuses, institutions and government halls than the controversial museum which raised eyebrows when it was founded, since the US and American citizens had no role in the dastardly act of the Nazis?

VAT director: Drop in Tax Evasion Boosts PA Revenues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 24, 2012 - 12:00am

HEBRON (Ma’an) -- Top VAT official Ahmad al-Helou told Ma'an on Tuesday that better enforcement of tax procedures has boosted the Palestinian Authority's budget. The Ministry of Finance VAT Director said VAT revenues increased from 2.4 billion shekels ($638 million) in 2008 to 3.3 billion shekels ($878 million) in 2011. Updated equipment in Palestinian shops and the use of tax receipts has increased enforcement of tax collection, he said.

An Anthem for All?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) April 26, 2012 - 12:00am

There are times when beautiful, soulful music can transport us to a new and challenging place, a place we might never have visited were we not swept along with song. Neshama Carlebach performs that sort of music — when, for instance, she mixes ancient Jewish tropes with the pulsating rhythms of an African American Baptist choir, creatively pushing the boundaries of expectation. The Forward thought there was no better artist to launch a musical conversation about whether and, if so, how the words of “Hatikvah” could be altered to include all Israel’s citizens.

War isn’t always a rational outcome
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Dylan Evans - (Opinion) April 27, 2012 - 12:00am

Will there be another war between Israel and Hezbollah? Over the past few months I’ve put this question to many experienced commentators in Lebanon, and most of them doubt that there will be a conflict any time soon. The most common reason they give for their optimism is that starting a war is not in the interest of either party. Israel risks greater political isolation if it attacks Lebanon, while Hezbollah handsomely benefits financially from the calm.

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