April 29th

Egypt sends invites for signing ceremony
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

The Egyptian government sent invitations on Thursday to Palestinian political parties for the signing of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement, in a ceremony to be held next Tuesday in Cairo. The event will be used to set an implementation mechanism for the unity deal, to be approved by all political groups. Factions welcomed the invitations, and prepared to send delegations to Egypt.

Arab spring pushes Palestinian rivals Hamas and Fatah to reconcile
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Kristen Chick - April 27, 2011 - 12:00am

Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah say they've agreed to end a four-year rift. If the agreement holds, it could pave the way for the first Palestinian elections since 2006 and end a period of simmering hostilities that have weakened both the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government in Gaza. In a deal brokered by Egypt, the two sides agreed in principle to form an interim government made up of “independents” and to hold elections in a year, officials said at a press conference. Officials said they would formally ink the deal within weeks.

Palestinian unity deal gives Netanyahu new line of attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

After months of playing defense against a Palestinian campaign for international recognition of statehood, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may now have a new line of attack. The Palestinian reconciliation deal announced in Cairo yesterday would pave the way for a unity government between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party and Hamas, considered a terrorist group by Israel, the US, and the European Union.

Obama and 'the Jewish lobby of one'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Aaron David Miller - (Opinion) April 29, 2011 - 12:00am

Among the most durable pieces of conventional wisdom circulating in Washington these days is that President Obama would never risk a confrontation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (when he comes to town in May) out of fear of angering Israel's supporters in America a year before the U.S. presidential election. The notion that domestic politics and the pro-Israel community hold the president's Middle East policy hostage seems to bind Washington like a hard-and-fast political law of gravity. The only problem is it's dead wrong and dangerous.

Abbas seeks to allay fears on accord with Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Joel Greenberg - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

A day after his Fatah movement initialed a reconciliation agreement with militant Islamist group Hamas, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sought Thursday to counter warnings from Israel and suggestions in Washington that the accord would undermine peace efforts. Meeting at his headquarters with a group of Israeli businessmen and former security chiefs advocating an Israeli peace initiative, Abbas gave assurances that the Palestine Liberation Organization, which he heads, would still be responsible for handling negotiations.

In Shift, Egypt Warms to Iran and Hamas, Israel’s Foes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by David Kirkpatrick - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

Egypt is charting a new course in its foreign policy that has already begun shaking up the established order in the Middle East, planning to open the blockaded border with Gaza and normalizing relations with two of Israel and the West’s Islamist foes, Hamas and Iran.

Palestinian Factions Give Differing Views of Unity Pact
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - April 28, 2011 - 12:00am

A day after the two main Palestinian factions announced surprise plans for a unity government, the challenge of bringing together two rival parties with distinct ideologies burst into view, with each side presenting a different picture of what the accord means and what produced it. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, said Thursday that because he was also chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization he remained in charge of peace efforts with Israel. The future unity government, he said, will have only two functions, to rebuild Gaza and set up elections within a year.

April 28th

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.

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