Israel to allow international officials to enter Gaza for the first time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 8, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel will allow UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and a senior European Union (EU) official to enter Gaza, said a statement of Israeli Foreign Ministry, in an attempt to ease the international pressure on the Jewish State for besieging Gaza. It is the first time Israel has permitted international officials to cross Israeli border to enter Gaza since the operation Cast Lead in December 2008, according to local daily Ha' aretz.

PA condemns authorization of Bethlehem settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 9, 2010 - 1:00am

The Palestinian government in Ramallah condemned Israel's authorization on Monday of dozens of new housing units for a settlement near Bethlehem just hours before US envoy George Mitchell arrived in the region. The Israeli government will allow the building of 112 new homes in the illegal West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit settlement, in spite of a declared halt to settlement expansion in November, Israeli media reported on Monday.

In Hebron, renovation of holy site sets off strife
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Janine Zacharia - March 8, 2010 - 1:00am

The Tomb of the Patriarchs -- a site revered by Jews, Muslims and Christians as the burial place of their common forefather, Abraham -- needed bathrooms and a new roof over an outdoor prayer area. To the spokesman for Hebron's Jewish settler community, that should not have been grounds for international scandal. "In any normal country, people would take a site like that and turn it into a nationally recognized monument," David Wilder said.

Biden visits Middle East; Israel and Palestinians agree to indirect talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Janine Zacharia - March 9, 2010 - 1:00am

Vice President Biden arrived in Israel on Monday to boost U.S. efforts to mediate talks between Israelis and Palestinians amid criticism that the Obama administration has set back the peace process.

Biden Calls Ties Between U.S. and Israel ‘Unshakable’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - March 9, 2010 - 1:00am

Calling Washington’s ties to Israel “unshakable,” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. opened talks with Israeli leaders on Tuesday, part of a concerted American effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and keep Israel focused on sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program rather than unilateral military action. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

New talks may be Mitchell's moment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Politico
by Laura Rozen - March 8, 2010 - 1:00am

For much of the past year as he has shuttled dozens of times to the Middle East and Europe quietly trying to persuade Israelis and Palestinians back to the peace table, U.S. Special Envoy George Mitchell has borne the brunt of criticism of both those offended by the Obama administration’s early pressure on Israel to halt new settlements on the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and others disappointed that Obama failed to follow through when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to stop the new construction as a precondition for negotiations.

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