Israeli-Palestinian peace - the hidden agenda item
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Hill
by Alan Elsner - (Opinion) March 8, 2013 - 1:00am


This week, some 13,000 pro-Israel advocates in town to attend the annual AIPAC policy conference fanned out across Capitol Hill to lobby their congressional representatives to tighten sanctions against Iran and designate Israel as a “major strategic partner” of the United States. Curiously missing from the list was any mention of Israeli-Palestinian peace, which is a vital interest for the United States, but more importantly the single most important guarantor of Israel’s future as a democratic Jewish state.


Obama: No 'grand peace plan' during Israel trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Julie Pace - March 8, 2013 - 1:00am


President Barack Obama is playing down expectations for a Mideast peace breakthrough during his upcoming trip to Israel, telling American Jewish leaders that he won't be carrying a "grand peace plan" when he arrives in the region later this month.


Obama meets US Jewish leaders ahead of Israel trip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 8, 2013 - 1:00am


US President Barack Obama hosted leaders of major American Jewish organizations at the White House on Thursday as he sought to smooth the way for his first presidential visit to Israel later this month. The meeting was a chance for Obama to preview his agenda for the trip, including the Iran nuclear standoff, Syria's civil war and Israel-Palestinian issues, and to reiterate his "unshakable support" for Israel, an administration official said.


Palestinian official condemns Canadian FM's response of suing Israel at ICC
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
March 7, 2013 - 1:00am


A senior Palestinian official on Thursday condemned remarks by Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird to cut aid if the Palestinians take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC). "We do not know why Canada is showing all this hostility against us," said Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian peace negotiator. "Those who fear international courts must force Israel to stop its crimes," he said. On Sunday, Baird threatened that there will be consequences in the Canadian-Palestinian relations if a complaint that was filed by Palestinians goes to the ICC.


Egypt's tunnel closures hit Gaza builders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal al-Mughrabi - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am


Business was booming for Gaza brick-maker Yasser Qreqea, until neighboring Egypt shut down smuggling tunnels across its border that were funneling arms to militants in the territory and cement and other basic goods to everyone else. Overnight the price of building materials soared in the Gaza Strip, hitting Qreqea's key customers and, industry sources said, slowing the construction of apartments, roads and houses across the enclave run by Hamas.


Abbas Offers Condolences to Venezuela over Chavez's Death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Palestine News Network
March 7, 2013 - 1:00am


On Wednesday 7th March, President Mahmoud Abbas mourned the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and offered his condolences to the Venezuelan people and government on behalf of the Palestinians, Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported. Abbas said, in a statement, that the Palestinians had lost a friend who passionately defended their right to freedom.


Sweden upgrades Palestinian diplomatic status
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
March 7, 2013 - 1:00am


Sweden on Wednesday became the ninth European country to upgrade the status of a Palestinian representative office to that of an embassy. Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to ratify a June 28 agreement between Sweden and Palestine on upgrading the Palestinian Authority’s mission here. The agreement gives the Palestinian Authority’s representation in Sweden “the same privileges, immunities, exemptions and privileges as embassies and their representatives.”


Obama to Jews: Peace is essential but prospects are bleak
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - March 7, 2013 - 1:00am


President Obama believes prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace are “bleak,” but he still will urge both sides to avoid unilateral actions that might further damage a process he hopes will be back on track within a year. That was the message Obama delivered Thursday in a meeting with about 25 Jewish community figures at the White House to discuss his planned trip to Israel later this month. Obama was especially engaged, participants said, when it came to discussing how he might best convey to the Israeli people his enthusiasm for Israel and its Jewish history.


President Obama’s Visit to Israel: Too Little Too Late?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Linda Gradstein - March 6, 2013 - 1:00am


Young Israelis Want the President to See their Side A group of students sit around a conference table at the Hadassah Academic College in downtown Jerusalem. They are all majoring in politics and government, and started college only after finishing their mandatory army service. Overall, they are pleased that President Obama is coming to visit Israel, but say he should have come during his first term.


Fatah mourns death of Venezuela's Chavez
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
March 6, 2013 - 1:00am


A top Fatah leader expressed Palestine's condolences early Wednesday after learning of the death of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. “Palestine says good bye to a loyal friend who passionately defended our right to freedom and self determination. His contribution to the cause of dignity had no borders and reached the hearts and minds of the Arab World,” Nabil Shaath said in an emailed statement.



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