March 12th

Hamas calls for Islamic Jihad to halt rocket fire into Israel from the Gaza strip (1) (8). Palestinian national accord government talks continue in Cairo, as Egypt applies pressure for a swift resolution (2) (3) (4). After withdrawing from his appointment to head the National Intelligence Council, Charles Freeman blames the "pro-Israel lobby" (5) (14). Secretary of State Clinton warns that the pledged $900 million in American reconstruction aid for Gaza is contingent upon the new Palestinian government's recognition of Israel (9). A Wall Street Journal op-ed urges Palestinian economic growth as a key foundation for a lasting peace (12).

March 11th

ATFP President Ziad Asali is interviewed by The Media Line (1). The Obama administration promises that U.S. military aid to Israel will not be lessened because of the financial crisis (2). A Gaza family that lost 29 relatives in January's war drops their lawsuit against Israeli government officials (3). The Washington Post profiles the southern Israeli town of Sderot, near the Gaza border (4). Palestinian unity government talks are underway in Egypt (7) (13), while an editorial in the Arab News urges both sides to withhold public skepticism about success (8). Time Magazine examines the resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (10).

March 10th

An Israeli human rights organization petitions the High Court for an immediate halt to Israeli mining operations in the West Bank (1). Two former North American Ambassadors to the Middle East propose a “special regime” be charged with administering Jerusalem (2). Intra-Palestinian talks on forming a consensus government are underway in Egpyt (3). Mel Frykberg looks at the tense relationship between Israeli settlers and West Bank villagers (4). Israel reportedly grants amnesty to 20 Fatah members (5). Two rockets are fired into southern Israel from Gaza, resulting in some property damage but no injuries (8).

March 9th

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resigns in hopes of paving the way for a national accord government (1) (7) (8). The New York Times reports on how excavation of West Bank land is threatening a peace deal (2). A confidential report by the European Union accuses Israel of illegally annexing East Jerusalem (3). According to an opinion poll released today, Hamas’ popularity among Palestinians has risen since the war in January (4). The Israeli government bans West Bank Palestinians from entering Israel during the three day Jewish holiday of Purim (5).

March 6th

Newly elected Jerusalem mayor Nir Barakat dismisses Secretary of State Clinton’s criticism of Palestinian home demolitions to make way for a tourist park in the city (1) (6). The Christian Science Monitor looks at how Secretary Clinton’s recent visit has been received by the Arab world (3). More reports are emerging about the ‘wanton’ destruction of Gaza homes by Israeli forces during the war (4) (15). The British Embassy in Israel cancels plans to relocate to new offices because one of the owners is believed to be involved in settlement building (5). Following his recent trip to the region Senator John Kerry outlines his proposed strategy for U.S. involvement in the Middle East (7). Hamas has reportedly demanded that Islamic Jihad stop firing rockets from Gaza (11).

March 5th

The driver of a bulldozer is shot dead after ramming into traffic in Jerusalem (1). The inclusion of Hamas in Palestinian unity government talks prompts skeptical reactions (2) (11). Israel announces that it will allow more aid into Gaza (4). Secretary of State Clinton pledges her support for the administration of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (5). The BBC reports on the poor state of health care for Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank (6). The Obama Administration announces plans to increase U.S. support for Palestinian security forces in the West Bank (9). In a surprise announcement, Sallai Meridor, Israeli ambassador to the U.S., says that he will be quitting his post and returning to Israel (14).

March 4th

Secretary of State Clinton meets with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, showing her support for a two-state solution and criticizing Israeli home demolitions (1) (4) (5) (6) (7). An op-ed in The Christian Science Monitor urges President Obama’s Middle East team to build on the momentum developed toward the end of the Bush Administration (2). In an op-ed for The Daily Star Rami Khouri warns that despite its generosity, the donors’ conference in Sharm el-Sheikh failed to address the political issues underlying the destruction in Gaza (8). Israeli Housing Minister Ze’ev Boim dismisses the settlement expansion report issued earlier this week by Peace Now as “baseless” (11).

March 3rd

Secretary of State Clinton's visit to Israel and the West Bank prompts speculation on the future of the peace process and the American role under a new Administration (1) (2) (3) (4) (14). A senior Palestinian Authority official warns that if a right-wing government forms in Israel and abandons the two-state solution, the peace process may crumble (6), while Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu continues to avoid taking a clear public stance on the issue (9). In an op-ed for The Weekly Standard, former Deputy National Security Advisor Elliot Abrams, argues that institution building in Palestine is key for establishing a lasting peace (11). The Christian Science Monitor looks at how the Gaza war has made coexistence harder for Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel (14).

March 2nd

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton pledges $300 million in aid for Gaza at the international donors conference being held today in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt (1) (2), while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warns the conference that reconstruction and aid funds alone are insufficient without a political solution (4) (5). In an op-ed for the Gulf News, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon pledges to pursue a lasting peace for Palestine and Israel (9). The Israeli NGO Peace Now reports that Israel is planning to build 73,300 new housing units for settlers in the West Bank (10), a move which would significantly expand the size of the settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories (14).

February 28th

The following special Saturday ATFP Middle East News: World Press Roundup focuses entirely on announced new major Israeli settlement expansion plans in the occupied West Bank. It includes ATFP's press release on the subject from Friday, Feb. 27.

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