January 23rd

'wartime' In Israeli Border Town
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
by Tim Franks - January 23, 2008 - 8:43pm

The good news, for Or Cohen, is that she has managed to coax people out of their houses in Sderot. "Everyone is so sad and so anxious," she says. "People told me they were afraid to leave their homes". In the end, though, a little more than 100 people - mainly residents from Sderot - turned up at the town's new community centre to join in that evening's celebrations marking the festival of Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish "New Year for Trees". Ms Cohen had organised the entertainment.

Tony Blair Warned That Middle East Peace Mission Faces Failure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Catherine Philp - January 23, 2008 - 8:42pm

Tony Blair’s peace mission in the Middle East is doomed because he is not prepared to confront the Israelis, Palestinian business and political leaders said yesterday. Yasser Abed Rabbo, the chief Palestinian negotiator, gave Mr Blair’s mission to revive the West Bank’s economy a “5 per cent chance” unless he was prepared to talk tough to Israel over loosening restrictions on freedom of movement.

This Brutal Siege Of Gaza Can Only Breed Violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Karen Koning Abuzayd - (Commentary) January 23, 2008 - 8:41pm

Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution, with the knowledge, acquiescence and - some would say - encouragement of the international community. An international community that professes to uphold the inherent dignity of every human being must not allow this to happen.

Reckless In Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Editorial) January 23, 2008 - 8:40pm

Ehud Olmert, Israel’s perpetually embattled prime minister, probably thought he was performing a daring display of political balancing this week. First he saw off the visiting President Bush with grand words of peace. Then he announced that he opposed any major ground incursion into lawless Gaza. The next day, his troops opened up the bloodiest day of Israeli-Palestinian fighting in more than a year.

Israel Vows To Keep Pressure On Gaza To Stop Rocket Salvoes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - (Analysis) January 23, 2008 - 8:39pm

Despite international and Arab protests, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has indicated Israel will keep up its pressure on the Gaza Strip in an effort to force Hamas and other Palestinian militias to stop their cross-border rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. But Israel relaxed its blockade somewhat on Tuesday after masses of Palestinians tried to cross the Gaza-Egypt border. On Wednesday, the crowds succeeded in knocking down the border fence, and thousands of Palestinians streamed into Egypt to stock up on supplies before returning to Gaza.

Editorial: Even A President...
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
(Editorial) January 23, 2008 - 8:38pm

Even a president of the United States must get used to being defied by his enemies. But it is far more galling to be defied by one's friends. And when a president of the United States on one of his extremely rare visits to the Middle East manages to get humiliatingly defied by Saudi Arabia and Israel on the same trip, something is clearly very wrong somewhere. That was the hapless fate of U.S. President George W. Bush on his much heralded swing through the region to promote his current favorite causes of peace and democracy.

Mideast: In Gaza, It's Darkness At Noon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Mohammed Omer - January 23, 2008 - 8:37pm

It gets dark, and cold, and people are getting hungry. Israel closed border crossings Friday, not allowing even UN humanitarian aid trucks carrying basic food. Crossings have been closed frequently since October 2007. "On Wednesday or Thursday we will have to suspend our food distribution programme in Gaza," spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Christopher Gunness told IPS. "We are running out of fuel for vehicles."

Gaza Border Breached; Thousands Flood Into Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Rushdi Abu Alouf, Richard Bourdreaux - January 23, 2008 - 8:37pm

Masked gunmen used explosives to blow holes in the Gaza Strip's border fence early today, enabling thousands of Palestinians to pour into Egypt to buy food, fuel and other supplies that had been cut off because of an Israeli blockade, witnesses said. Egyptian and Palestinian border guards did not resist the mass crossing at the Rafah terminal. Witnesses said Palestinian security officials later closed some of the breaches but kept two open, allowing Gazans to cross into Egypt and return with milk, cigarettes and plastic bottles of fuel.

Palestinians Blow Up Border Wall, Flood Into Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-mughrabi - January 23, 2008 - 8:34pm

Tens of thousands of Palestinians poured into Egypt from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after militants blew up a border wall, and stocked up on food and fuel in short supply because of an Israeli blockade. "Those people are hungry for freedom, for food and for everything," said an Egyptian shopkeeper who gave her name only as Hamida, surveying shelves emptied swiftly by Gazans paying with Egyptian pounds and Israeli shekels.

January 22nd

The Los Angeles Times reports on the crossing of tens of thousands of Palestinians of the breached Gaza border wall with Egypt in order to seek humanitarian relief (2.) A Middle East Times editorial examines how the recent Bush Mideast visit revealed diminishing U.S. influence among traditional allies (4.) The Jewish Telegraphic Agency looks at official Israeli reaction to international pressure regarding the Gaza situation (5.) A Guardian (UK) comment by UNRWA commissioner general Karen Koning AbuZayd is critical of the international community's reaction to the Gaza situation, warning that only further violence and extremism can result from not resolving the issue (7.) BBC (UK) reports from the Israeli border town of Sderot on the impact of continuing Palestinian militant rocket fire on its inhabitants (9.) An Independent (UK) comment by Deborah Orr accuses Hamas of colluding in Israel's collective punishment of Gaza by manipulating the victimhood issue for its own interests (10.) Al-Jazeera (Qatar) examines how the Israel-Palestine issue factors into the Christian evangelical vote in the U.S. presidential primaries (12.) A Haaretz (Israel) editorial raises concern about how the religious Zionist camp in Israel consider themselves outside the authority of the state (14.)

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