December 30th

Israel stifles free press covering Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from McClatchy News
by Dion Nissenbaum - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

On one hand, one can't blame the Israeli government for wanting to do what it can to prevent the world from seeing the effects of its devastating Gaza airstrikes that have killed hundreds of Palestinians. In 48-hours, Israel has decimated the Gaza Strip, killed more than 300 Palestinians and injured 1,400 others in a "shock and awe" air campaign.

Battered Hamas stands to gain in stature
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Orlando Sentinel
December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

For anyone watching the plumes of smoke rising from Gaza in recent days, Hamas dominates the television news and newspaper headlines. It is not only the publicity, but the status conveyed on Hamas as the Palestinians' principal resistance. Its secular rival, Fatah, sits on the sidelines, marginal to the violence unfolding in Gaza, from which Hamas effectively expelled it at gunpoint in the summer of 2007.

'It's About Time': Satisfaction in Israel Over Gaza Assault
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

ASHKELON, Israel — In southern Israeli towns and cities, anxiety from the casualties inflicted by missiles from Gaza are mixed with satisfaction that Israel's military is trying to settle the score with their militant tormentors. Four Israelis were killed, including a soldier, and two seriously wounded Monday in rocket barrages, some deeper into Israel than ever before. A woman was killed when a missile crashed into a bus stop in the city of Ashdod, 23 miles from Gaza, the farthest Hamas militants have fired to date. Another woman was killed in a village next to Gaza.

Israel downplays criticism of Gaza blitz
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
December 29, 2008 - 1:00am

Israel has played down international criticism of its massive bombardment of Gaza, saying the protests have been generally more measured than on previous occasions. ‘The tone of the criticism is moderate, restrained, more balanced, at least in the case of those countries that count,’ a senior government official said. ‘I’m not talking about Iran or other extremist states,’ he told AFP.

UN chief demands immediate Gaza cease-fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and urged Mideast and world leaders to do more to help end the Israeli-Hamas conflict and promote political dialogue. Ban on Monday urged Arab foreign ministers, who are holding an emergency meeting in Cairo on Wednesday "to act swiftly and decisively to bring an early end to this impasse." The bombings have killed at least 360 people — including 62 women and children, according to the U.N. — and wounded some 1,400 others.

‘Prepare to be bombed’: calls mark the start of psychological campaign in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

As the bombs rocked Gaza City, the telephone in the apartment where Mohammed was holed up with eight members of his family rang. When he picked it up, he heard a recorded voice similar to the automated sales pitches used by telemarketing companies.

Gaza Protests Now Target Arab Leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Farnaz Fassihi - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- On the third day of Israel's attack on Gaza, street protesters across the Middle East broadened their rage toward Israel and the U.S. to include Arab rulers accused of not acting forcefully and fast enough to stop the violence.

Civilians suffer as missiles fly in Gaza and Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux, Ahmed Burai - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

Reporting from Ashkelon, Israel, and Jabaliya Refugee Camp, Gaza Strip -- Pierced by an Israeli missile, the mosque exploded at 1 in the morning, crushing the Balousha family's flimsy metal roof next door. Anwar Balousha awoke on the floor, covered by rubble, and heard moans from the bedroom next to his. Neighbors crawled over a collapsed wall and pulled him, his wife and four of their nine children to safety.

Hamas is hoping for an IDF ground operation in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

Three days into Operation Cast Lead, Israel is proposing a diplomatic exit. A ground operation likely looms in an effort to increase the pressure on Hamas. At the same time, however, others argue that the air force is close to exhausting its target bank, so if Hamas can be brought to accept a cease-fire on terms convenient to Israel in the near future it would be better to do so. Hamas intensified its rocket and mortar fire at Israel Monday. It is starting to recover from the initial shock of the assault, and the bad weather is helping to protect its launching crews from Israeli aircraft.

IDF war games predict look of Gaza ground operation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Uri Blau - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi believes that any occupation of Gaza by the army must end as soon as possible, according to an officer who participated in discussions and war games related to such an operation. At the same time, however, Ashkenazi fears that if the operation ends too quickly, the IDF will only have to go back into the Gaza Strip later. The officer added that Ashkenazi seeks to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians, but recognizes that this cannot be prevented completely.

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