ATFP Urges Cease-fire in Gaza, Urgent Humanitarian Measures
Press Release - Contact Information: Hussein Ibish - December 31, 2008 - 12:00am

The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) reiterated its urgent call for a cease-fire between all parties in the Gaza Strip and urged the United States Government to do everything in its power to secure a cease-fire. Israeli military airstrikes against the Gaza Strip since Saturday have killed approximately 400 Palestinians and injured hundreds more. ATFP called this loss of life appalling, and expressed alarm at the suffering and increasingly perilous position of the innocent civilian population in Gaza.


The Israeli offensive in Gaza continues, and seems set to expand (1, 2, 3, 4). The Los Angeles Times suggests the US government is concerned about the effects of the attack, while Egypt and other Arab states bear the brunt of anger and criticism (5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 15). The Washington Post and Ha’aretz examine Israel’s leadership, while Hamas accuses the PA of conspiring with Israel (10, 14, 9). Mkhaimar Abusada in the Daily Star and Tony Karon in Time magazine examine the terms in which both Israel and Hamas would seek a cease-fire (11, 12).

Nasrallah and War on Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) December 31, 2008 - 12:00am


Rather than having to listen to him, I read a transcript of the speech delivered by “king” Hassan Nasrallah, as there is a difference between watching the performance of the leader of the Iranian-affiliated party and actually reading what he said. Nasrallah did not hesitate in attacking Egypt, and calling on the Arabs to make today, and every day, another Battle of Karbala!


After sterling start to Gaza op, Barak proves to be a petty politician
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amir Oren - (Opinion) December 31, 2008 - 12:00am


Almost every war of the last four decades has resulted in the ouster of a defense minister. Levi Eshkol lost the defense portfolio on the eve of the Six-Day War, Moshe Dayan after the Yom Kippur War, Ariel Sharon after the First Lebanon War, Amir Peretz after the Second Lebanon War. Current defense minister Ehud Barak, whose performance during the first days of Operation Cast Lead increased his public support, spoiled his image Tuesday with his very own words.


Hamas racks up its first diplomatic victory in Gaza campaign
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - (Opinion) December 31, 2008 - 12:00am


President Hosni Mubarak could not keep silent any longer about the attack on Egypt in the press. His decision to explicitly state Egypt's position that the West Bank and Gaza are part of the same country, and that the Rafah crossing will open only under the conditions of the 2005 agreement (to which Egypt is not a signatory), is part of the public diplomacy Mubarak has been dragged into against his will.


Israel Versus Hamas: How to Shape a Ceasefire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Tony Karon - December 31, 2008 - 12:00am


In the end, Israel and Hamas both know that there will be a cease-fire in Gaza. Its timing and terms will be "negotiated" in bombs and bloodshed in the days ahead; it will be mediated by a third party or a combination of third parties; and it will be shaped by a complex regional power game involving an array of competing Israeli politicians, the rival Palestinian leaderships of Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas, Egypt, Syria and even more distant players such as Turkey, Iran and, of course, the United States.


Israel's goal, and Hamas': a cease-fire on better terms
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Mkhaimar Abusada - (Opinion) December 31, 2008 - 12:00am


The truce between Hamas and Israel ended in the early hours of December 19, but the accusations over why it ended have followed the missiles and rockets across the border. Hamas accuses Israel of not complying with the terms of the six-month Egyptian-mediated truce under which Israel was expected to end its siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip, reopen the commercial border crossing between Gaza and Israel and halt its military activities against Gazans.


Behind Gaza Operation, An Uneasy Triumvirate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Griff Witte - December 31, 2008 - 12:00am


Three Israeli leaders met in secret Friday to review the plan of attack, according to a government spokesman. The targets had been selected, the warplanes readied. Clear skies were forecast over the Gaza Strip. Hours later, Israeli forces began an aerial assault against the Hamas movement that caught nearly everyone by surprise.


Hamas: PA conspiring with Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - December 31, 2008 - 12:00am


As the IDF offensive concluded its fourth day on Tuesday, Hamas accused the Palestinian Authority of planning to return to the Gaza Strip with the help of Israel. According to a report published by the Hamas-affiliated Palestine Information Center Web site, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered his officials in Ramallah to set up an "emergency room" to prepare for reassuming control over the Gaza Strip after the Hamas government is toppled by Israel. It said the emergency room consisted of commanders of the PA security forces and the interior minister.


While Israel fights in Gaza, Egypt and Saudi Arabia take on Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jonathan Spyer - (Opinion) December 31, 2008 - 12:00am


Israel's campaign in Gaza is serving to expose the strategic fault lines in the Arab and Muslim world. The essential divide is between, on the one hand, states aligned with the West - chief among them Egypt and Saudi Arabia - and on the other an alliance led by Iran, of which Hamas forms a part. Israel's action in Gaza has led to unprecedented tensions between representatives of these rival blocs. Because of the strategic importance of Egyptian control of the Rafah Crossing, this divide also has immediate practical implications for the direction and likely outcome of the current battle.



American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017