March 30th

Biberman & Co. of Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Uri Avnery - March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Is this the government of Biberman (Bibi Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman) or perhaps of Bibarak (Bibi and Ehud Barak)? Neither. It is the government of Bibiyahu. Benjamin Netanyahu has proven that he is a consummate politician. He has realized the dream of every politician (and theatergoer): A good place in the middle. In his new government he can play off the fascists on the right against the socialists on the left, Liberman’s secularists against the orthodox of Shas. An ideal situation.

'No halt' to Gaza arms smuggling
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

The flow of explosives and weapons smuggled into Gaza has continued since Israel's military operation, a senior Israeli intelligence official has said. Shin Bet security service head Yuval Diskin said 22 tonnes of explosives, dozens of rockets and hundreds of mortar rounds had entered Gaza. But he said rockets attacks were reduced and Egyptian attempts to combat the smuggling had improved. Israel said the offensive aimed to cut down Palestinian rocket attacks.

New government to be sworn in at 5 pm Tuesday
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Atilla Somfalvi - March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has officially asked the Knesset hold a swearing in ceremony for his new government at 5 pm Tuesday. Cabinet Secretary-designate Zvi Hauser has already been asked to see that a new government table, big enough to accommodate all of the ministers, would be installed. Netanyahu will summon senior members of the Likud to his new Knesset chambers Monday and inform each of them which office they have been assigned.

Olmert's years in office were much ado about nothing on peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Perhaps the most inexplicable aspect of Ehud Olmert's largely failed three years as prime minister of Israel was his extensive yet totally unproductive series of meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Not a great deal appears to have happened there.

ANALYSIS / Neither Hamas nor Israel can surrender now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

It seems there won't be a last-minute miracle in negotiations to bring Gilad Shalit home. True, the talks have restarted, but that's not enough to clinch a deal, especially after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert laid out his red lines around two weeks ago. Olmert's refusal to release 125 prisoners whom Hamas wants freed and the publication of part of the list by Olmert's office has backed the negotiating partners into a corner.

Arab League tells Israel: Accept Saudi initiative now or never
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yoav Stern - March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Arab leaders in Qatar for the Arab League summit sent Israel an ultimatum Sunday: Accept the Saudi Peace Initiative or it will be rescinded. The draft proposal of the statement states: "The peace initiative being proposed today will not be on offer for a long time. Arab commitment to this initiative is dependent on Israeli acceptance." The draft proposal was formulated by the Arab foreign ministers, and will be presented to the Arab League's leaders Monday for approval.

Israeli military in PR offensive to explain civilian deaths in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald MacIntyre - March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

The Israeli military has moved to deflect a mounting barrage of criticism over the deaths of hundreds of civilians during its 22-day offensive in Gaza. The public relations drive by the Israeli Defence Force has been given impetus by allegations made by some soldiers that permissive rules of engagement failed to protect civilians.

PA: Netanyahu peace plan will prolong occupation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
March 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's plan for "economic peace" will only prolong Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, the chief Palestinian negotiator wrote in an opinion piece published Saturday. "Rather than ending the occupation, Netanyahu has proposed an 'economic peace' that would seek to normalize and better manage it," wrote Saeb Erekat in the Washington Post. "Instead of a viable Palestinian state, his vision extends no further than a series of disconnected cantons with limited self-rule."

There will be no peace without unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

The focus of this year’s Arab League summit, which begins today, is expected to be a push for greater unity among member states. A host of diplomatic initiatives hinge upon the Arab nations’ ability to set aside political and ideological differences. On the issue of the Palestinian peace process, for example, the divide between nations is deep and long standing. A draft declaration released ahead of the conference renews calls for Israel to adopt the Arab Peace Initiative, while cautioning that it will not remain on the table for much longer.

March 29th

United They Fall; Divided They Stand
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from National Journal
by James Kitfield - March 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Israelis and Palestinians are rapidly approaching a fork in the road between a two-state division or an enforced, unsteady unity that redefines Zionism, democracy, and the meaning of Israeli citizenship. CYCLE OF VIOLENCE:

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