The decision by the Israeli Ministry of Interior to approve 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem drew sharp reactions, including a strongly-worded condemnation by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is currently visiting Israel. ATFP believes that “advocates of violence, confrontation and escalation of conflict can only be gratified at this announcement.” Following is a special ATFP news roundup about this development.

VP Biden arrives in Israel, reiterates US security guarantees, urges the parties to take risks for peace and is interviewed by al-Hayat. The Washington Post looks at the occupation in Hebron. The PA condemns Israel's announcement of 112 new settlement units near Bethlehem. Israel agrees to allow UNSG Ban and other international officials into Gaza, and will resume issuing visas to international NGO workers. Palestinian opposition groups predict the failure of proximity talks. Israel is accused of mistreating young Palestinian protesters. Alex Fishman says the PA is seeking a large victory in July municipal elections. The BBC profiles Israel's law banning Palestinian spouses from entering the country. Israel's deputy mayor in Jerusalem is considering opening an office in Sheikh Jarrah to help Jewish settlers, and the IPS says the controversy has awakened the Israeli left. The occupation complicates Israel's bid for OECD membership and Seth Freedman says the OECD is falling short of its responsibilities. The JTA profiles PM Fayyad. Osama Al Sharif warns of the dangers of another intifada.

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