Israel to launch nationwide war drill
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 27, 2011 - 12:00am

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is gearing to hold a nationwide drill, scheduled to take place in two months, in a bid to prepare the populace for the possibility of war. The exercise, called "Turning Point 5," will begin on June 19 and end four days later. An IDF spokesman confirmed to Xinhua that preparations for the drill are underway, but would not provide further details. National daily Yedioth Aharonot, however, claimed Wednesday that the drill will be the largest-ever to be held in Israel, encompassing 70 percent of civilians residing in more than 80 local councils.

Abbas sticks to demands for resuming peace talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said he sticks to what he called the requirements of resuming peace talks with Israel. "The resumption of negotiations requires full suspension of all settlement activities and defining a clear reference to the peace process," Abbas was quoted by the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, as saying. Abbas made his comments when he received the U.S. Consul General, Daniel Rubinstein, at his office in Ramallah.

Hamas disperses pro-unity rally in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
April 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Hamas forces dispersed dozens of people who gathered in a Gaza City square to celebrate the progress made on the national reconciliation issue, witnesses and demonstrators said Wednesday. The rally was organized late Wednesday following the news that Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party and the Islamic Hamas movement reached an initial agreement on ending split and restoring unity in Cairo.

Israel anticipates change in Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Matti Friedman - April 27, 2011 - 12:00am

With upheaval in Syria spreading and the crackdown by President Bashar Assad growing more violent, Israel has begun bracing for change in an authoritarian regime that has been a potent yet familiar enemy for four decades. A shake-up in Syria would have implications beyond the border the two countries share. While Syria has not fought a direct war with Israel since 1973, it has cultivated relations with Israel's most bitter foes. A staunch Iranian ally, it backs Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Senior Hamas leader: Interim Palestinian government not able to work on peace with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas leader who participated in the reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas, said on Wednesday that the interim Palestinian government would not be able to work on peace negotiations with Israel. The rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas came to a historic agreement on Wednesday, when they announced a decision to reconcile and form an interim government ahead of elections, after a four-year feud. Both sides hailed the agreement as a chance to start a fresh page in their national history.

Israel rejects Palestinian government with Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Aron Heller - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel's foreign minister warned on Thursday that Israel will not negotiate with a new Palestinian unity government that includes the Hamas militant group. Avigdor Lieberman spoke a day after rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah reached a unity deal in Cairo to end their five year long dispute. For the Palestinians, the Egyptian-brokered deal revived hopes of ending their bitter infighting that weakened them politically and caused the deaths of hundreds in violent clashes and crackdowns.

Palestinian reconciliation could work to Israel's advantage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Fatah and Hamas announced in Cairo on Wednesday that they had agreed to a reconciliation agreement, ending four years of feuding between the Palestinian factions. The historic deal was greeted cooly in Jerusalem. In an about-face, Hamas said that it would sign the agreement, which was drafted by the Egyptians and signed by Fatah in October 2009. The agreement calls for a setting up a caretaker government of technocrats, and for holding presidential, parliamentary and National Palestinian Council elections within a year.

Israel signals will block planned flotilla to Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Jeffrey Heller - April 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Israel signalled on Wednesday it would intercept a flotilla pro-Palestinian activists plan to send to Gaza for the anniversary of an Israeli raid on a Turkish ship that tried to breach its naval blockade. The Free Gaza Movement has said 15 vessels with international passengers, including Europeans and Americans, were expected to set sail in late May for the territory, run by Hamas Islamists opposed to peace with Israel.

Hamas has taken over the Palestinian nationalist movement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian reconciliation deal, if realized, heralds the takeover of the Palestinian national movement by Hamas, providing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with an escape from the rut he has fallen into because of the deadlock in the peace process. This is just what Netanyahu needed to unite the Israeli public behind him and thwart international pressure to withdraw from the West Bank.

Israel wary of change in security arrangements with PA
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Hanan Greenberg - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian factions' reconciliations has Israel concerned for many reasons, but one of the major ones is the now-questionable continuation of the collaboration between Israeli and Palestinian security forces in the West Bank. "The work vis-à-vis Palestinian security forces is very effective, and serves both parties well," military sources told Ynet Thursday. "Any change to this delicate relationship would lead to a significant change in the West Bank and will mandate the IDF change its deployment in the area."

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