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Washington Watch: Meridor: Israel needs a settlement freeze
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Douglas Bloomfield - (Opinion) March 13, 2013 - 12:00am

As the new government convenes this week, the Likud will be missing its leading advocate for peace, the two-state solution and curbing settlement activity. Dan Meridor, the outgoing deputy prime minister and minister of intelligence and atomic energy, was unceremoniously dumped by his party as it took a hard turn to the Right for the recent elections. Once one of the rising princes of the Likud, Meridor has long been among Israel’s most respected political leaders.

U.N. officials in Washington to defend Palestinian refugee aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Josh Rogin - March 13, 2013 - 12:00am

U.S. aid to the Palestinian refugees could fall victim to the automatic budget cuts that went into effect March 1, so the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) made two trips to Washington this month to argue for consistency in U.S. help for his organization.

New hotline for Beduin women
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Safa Shehada - March 14, 2013 - 12:00am

Around 200,000 Arabs live in the Negev, more than half of whom are women. The Arab women of the Negev are caught between a rock and a hard place – the former being government policy and the latter the strict cultural mores of Beduin society. Since Arab women are part of Israel’s Palestinian minority, they have not had much success in exercising their rights, even the most basic ones.

Israel Arab Education Plan to Boost Growth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Gwen Ackerman, Alisa Odenheimer - March 14, 2013 - 12:00am

Israel’s six-year project to improve its Arab community’s job prospects will also help to bolster slowing economic growth, Manuel Trajtenberg, who helped to draft the plan, said in an interview. Israeli Arabs have lagged behind the Jewish majority economically and have accused the government and Jewish employers of discrimination. The state has pledged to narrow the gap and sees promoting higher education among Arabs as key.

Salafist Factions on Rise At Palestinian Camp in Lebanon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Nasser Chararah - March 13, 2013 - 12:00am

Bilal Badr, an official from the Fatah al-Islam movement (a takfiri, fundamentalist and extremist organization linked to al-Qaeda) escaped an assassination attempt yesterday [March 12] by a masked assailant in the neighborhood of Ras al-Ahmar in the Lebanese Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp.

Exclusive: Gaza Salafists Take Fight to Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Monitor
by Asmaa Al-Ghoul - March 13, 2013 - 12:00am

I managed to reach the house of one of the jihadist Salafist leaders in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas-led Gaza government had imposed limitations on most jihadist Salafist leaders following the Ibn Taymiya Mosque incidents in Rafah at the end of 2009, when its security forces killed 28 jihadists after their leader, Abdel Latif Moussa, declared the Islamic caliphate. Salafist jihadism in the Gaza Strip is an international movement that promotes armed jihad against the ruling Arab and foreign governments.

Bethlehem to host first-ever marathon in April
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
March 14, 2013 - 12:00am

The not-so-little town of Bethlehem is to host the West Bank's first-ever marathon next month in a race starting at the Nativity Church and taking in several refugee camps, organisers said Wednesday. The brainchild of two Danish women runners, the Palestine Marathon will take place on April 21 and offer runners the choice of three distances: a full 42-kilometre marathon, a half marathon or a 10-kilometre race.

The president who holds Israel's fate in the palm of his hand
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Opinion) March 14, 2013 - 12:00am

The question of who Israel’s prime minister will be is usually an important one. But as far as Israel’s national security is concerned, the question is becoming less and less important. The reason for this is not a happy one.

Assad preparing to use chemical arms, says Israel's military intel chief
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Gili Cohen - March 14, 2013 - 12:00am

The head of Israel's military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, said on Thursday that Syrian President Bashar Assad is preparing to make use of his chemical weapons cache, although he has yet to give an order for them to be used.

Obama’s Middle East trip: Lessons from Bill Clinton
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Arabiya
by Joyce Karam - (Opinion) March 14, 2013 - 12:00am

U.S. President Barack Obama has set low expectations for his upcoming trip to the Middle East, which seems devoid of any peace initiative or strategy for negotiations. Tactically, however, the trip will re-introduce Obama in a Clintonesque fashion as he tries to build credibility among Israelis, and get directly involved with the Palestinians.

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