Palestinians Say Militant Hub Is Now Safe Town; Israel Unconvinced
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
February 15, 2008 - 2:29pm

Local Hamas activists have pledged to obey the law, Mideast envoy Tony Blair has taken a stroll through once gunman-infested neighborhoods and policemen are now the only ones carrying weapons in public in this former militant hub.  

The Peacebuilding Prince
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Christianity Today
by Cornelis Hulsman - (Interview) February 15, 2008 - 2:26pm

Prince Hassan bin Talal, brother of the late King Hussein of Jordan, is worried about the future of Christians all over the Arab world, including the Holy Land—the name he gives to the combined area of Israel, the Palestinian region, and his homeland of Jordan. The prince holds two degrees from Oxford University and is renowned worldwide for his views on the relationship of religion and society.

Adrian Hamilton: Democracy Has Become A Devalued Concept
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Adrian Hamilton - (Opinion) February 15, 2008 - 2:22pm

It's not only the concept of humanitarian intervention that has been fatally undermined by the decade of Bush and Blair. It is the whole ideal of promoting democracy abroad. Not that either the White House or Whitehall have given up on the rhetoric. Indeed, President Bush still goes on about America's historic role in promoting democracy around the world. It was the one single theme that he picked up from the neo-cons at the beginning of his administration and has hammered on about ever since.

Israeli Generals Oppose Checkpoints
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al Jazeera English
February 15, 2008 - 2:20pm

Checkpoints and roadblocks in the occupied West Bank are harming the Middle East peace process according to a group of retired Israeli generals. The 12 senior former commanders have written a letter to Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, urging the army to remove roadblocks saying that they fuel Palestinian hatred of Israel.   

Israel's Quandary In Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
by Steven Erlanger - February 15, 2008 - 2:19pm

JERUSALEM: Israel hoped that by pulling its settlers and troops from Gaza in 2005, it would also leave behind responsibility for the Gazans. With the help of the West and more moderate Arab countries, the Palestinian Authority could begin to create a prosperous state, the new Palestine, as if the continuing Israeli occupation of the West Bank were somehow irrelevant.

Hamas Leader In Egypt For Border Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
February 15, 2008 - 2:17pm

A leading member of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas entered Egypt from Gaza on Thursday to resume talks with the Egyptian government on arrangements at the border, a security source said. Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Gazan who was Palestinian foreign minister in a short-lived government led by Hamas, crossed with about four other Hamas officials and headed for the coastal town of El Arish, the capital of the Egyptian border province.  

Israelis Seek Support For Gaza Attack, Abduct 70 In West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
February 15, 2008 - 2:14pm

  While arresting 70 Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank, Israel took nearly 70 foreign ambassadors to its border with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday as part of a diplomatic campaign to enlist international support for tougher action against the enclave's Hamas rulers.

Valentine Flowers Wilt Behind Gaza's Walls
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
February 15, 2008 - 2:13pm

In past years, Ziad Hejazi's colourful Gaza-grown carnations would adorn the homes of lovers across Europe, bringing an early springtime splash of colour to wintry Valentine Days. But the 35-year-old farmer from the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah says that this year his flowers will be fed to animals because of a punishing Israeli economic lockdown of the Hamas-ruled territory. "I apologise to the lovers on the day of their love because I cannot bring flowers to them," Hejazi says. "Our flowers have become food for the sheep."

Hopes Are Fading
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arabic Media Internet Network
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) February 15, 2008 - 2:11pm

It is now almost three months since representatives of nearly 50 countries and international organisations attended the historic Middle East peace conference at the Naval Academy in nearby Annapolis which gave many high hopes that a Palestinian-Israeli settlement is around the corner. The event was the first serious action on the Arab-Israeli conference since President George W. Bush assumed the presidency more about seven years ago.

Palestinian Prime Minister Voices Doubts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - February 15, 2008 - 2:09pm

As the situation in Gaza deteriorates, Palestinian and Israeli leaders alike are voicing doubts about the feasibility of realizing President Bush’s goal of a peace agreement by the end the year. Not much optimism was heard this week from Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad during a visit to Washington. Fayyad, who is seen by the Bush administration as an agent of reform in the Palestinian government, stressed to his hosts the lack of progress since the peace process was relaunched last November in Annapolis, Md.

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