Israeli troops push into Gaza City, with the Palestinian death toll during the offensive reportedly reaching 900 (1), (2). Israel is accused of using illegal white phosphorus munitions, while the Hamas leadership is accused of hiding in the basement of a hospital (3), (4). Numerous articles examine Hamas' performance in the conflict, its positions regarding a cease-fire, and political status (5), (6), (7), (8). Quartet envoy Tony Blair says elements of the cease-fire are in place, but the New York Times says that Egypt and Jordan fear being drawn into de facto responsibility for parts of the occupied Palestinian territories (9), (10). After two weeks of intense criticism, Egypt starts to defend its policies (11). Ha'aretz argues that Israel has overcome the stigma of its failed 2006 campaign in Lebanon (12). A commentary article by ATFP President Ziad Asali in the Daily Star urges an end to Israeli settlement activity (14). Roger Cohen of the New York Times complains that President-elect Obama's presumptive Middle East policy team apparently will include no Arab or Iranian Americans (15).

Mideast Dream Team? Not Quite
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - (Opinion) January 11, 2009 - 1:00am

The Obama team is tight with information, but I’ve got the scoop on the senior advisers he’s gathered to push a new Middle East policy as the Gaza war rages: Shibley Telhami, Vali Nasr, Fawaz Gerges, Fouad Moughrabi and James Zogby. This group of distinguished Arab-American and Iranian-American scholars, with wide regional experience, is intended to signal a U.S. willingness to think anew about the Middle East, with greater cultural sensitivity to both sides, and a keen eye on whether uncritical support for Israel has been helpful.

Gaza, a chance to reaffirm the two-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Ziad Asali - (Opinion) January 12, 2009 - 1:00am

The renewed violence between Israel and Hamas, in which 1.5 million innocent Palestinians are caught, is yet another demonstration that there is no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel will not be able to secure its future, normalize its relations with the region and live in peace without an agreement with the Palestinians. Palestinians will not achieve liberation and independence without an agreement with Israel.

Security First
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by J.D. Crouch II, Montgomery Meigs, Walter B. Slocombe - (Opinion) January 12, 2009 - 1:00am

When the dust settles in Gaza, the Obama administration will take up the mantle of moving the two sides toward an Israeli-Palestinian peace. American efforts must focus on strengthening the capabilities of the Palestinian party upon whom hope for peace can rest, the Palestinian Authority, and ensuring the stability of the West Bank.

Israel's victories in Gaza make up for its failures in Lebanon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Ari Shavit - (Analysis) January 12, 2009 - 1:00am

The war on Hamas is a war for the sovereignty of Israel. It was launched due to repeated rocket attacks from Gaza following Israel's disengagement from the coastal strip. No country in the world would put up with a situation in which its sovereignty is being undermined and its citizens are being threatened. Given its small geographical territory and many enemies, Israel can not put up with this situation. Therefore, it is up to every decent person who wants Israel to strive for peace and end its occupation and return to its original borders to support its fight for sovereignty.

Egypt defends its Gaza policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Nadia Abou el-Magd - January 12, 2009 - 1:00am

Egyptian officials yesterday launched a public relations offensive aimed at defending the government’s policies towards the Gaza Strip and tempering growing criticism of its handling of the two-week-long conflict.

Crisis Imperils 2-State Plan, Shifting a Balance
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Michael Slackman - (Analysis) January 11, 2009 - 1:00am

With every image of the dead in Gaza inflaming people across the Arab world, Egyptian and Jordanian officials are worried that they see a fundamental tenet of the Middle East peace process slipping away: the so-called two-state solution, an independent Palestinian state coexisting with Israel.

Blair Says Mideast Cease-Fire Elements in Place
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Griff Witte - January 12, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli war planes and gunboats destroyed targets in the Gaza Strip Monday, including homes of Hamas leaders, as special Mideast envoy Tony Blair said after a meeting in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that "the elements of an agreement" for a cease-fire are in place. Blair, the former British prime minister, spoke amid intense negotiations aimed at bringing the 17-day war to a halt. Both Israel and Hamas are participating.

Hamas: A Crisis of Leadership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed - (Opinion) January 12, 2009 - 1:00am

What is Hamas lacking?

Hamas reportedly rejects Egypt bid for long-term Gaza truce
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 12, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas has rejected an Egyptian proposal for a long-term truce between the Gaza Strip and Israel, the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayyat reported on Monday. The newspaper quoted a senior Hamas source as saying: "There are still many details that need to be discussed before we can say that we have reached an agreement of principles. Egypt's state-owned news agency reported on Sunday that talks were progressing between Egyptian officials and a Hamas delegation dispatched to Cairo on finding an end to the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

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