Echoing the words of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in 2006, Hamas leaders express surprise at the scale of Israel’s attack, while the group claims “victory” (1), (2). Into the second day of the cease-fire, residents of Gaza continue to take stock (3), (4). Gaza reconstruction will cost “billions,” but Arab leaders have been unable to agree a strategy for rebuilding (6), (7). President Abbas is seen as “the big looser” in the conflict, but Ha’aretz reports that outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Olmert privately discussed dividing Jerusalem with Arab leaders (8), (9). An op-ed by ATFP President Ziad Asali and Tom Dine, former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, urges President Obama to take immediate steps to salvage a two state solution to Middle East peace (10). The Christian Science Monitor and the Middle East Times consider the return to government of former Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross (11), (12). The Guardian notes that Arab governments have been severely discredited during the conflict (14). Bret Stephens suggests that Israel scored a tactical “victory,” while David Grossman points to the futility of such violence (15), (16).

Gaza success proves Israel is strong, not right
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by David Grossman - (Opinion) January 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Like the pairs of foxes in the biblical story of Samson, tied together by their tails, a flaming torch between them, so Israel and the Palestinians - despite the imbalance of power - drag each other along. Even when we try hard to wrest ourselves free, we burn those who are tethered to us - our double, our misfortune - as well as ourselves. And so, amidst the wave of nationalist hyperbole now sweeping the nation, it would not hurt to recall that in the final analysis, this last operation in Gaza is just another stop along a trail blazing with fire, violence and hatred.

Israel Scored a Tactical Victory
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
(Opinion) January 19, 2009 - 1:00am

Atop a little hill near the beleaguered Israeli town of Sderot, a gaggle of TV crews train their cameras on the Gaza Strip, sentinels to a unilateral Israeli cease-fire that's barely 12 hours old. Earlier the same day, Sunday, Hamas fired 20 rockets into Israel, raising questions about its intentions but causing little serious damage. Later, a pair of Israeli F-15s streak over Gaza City, releasing bursts of chaff but dropping no bombs.

Gaza has exposed the Arab leaders to fury and contempt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ian Black - (Opinion) January 20, 2009 - 1:00am

It was Monday, so it had to be Kuwait. And there they were, 17 leaders and five senior representatives of all 22 members of the Arab League, gathered to discuss the impact of the global economic crisis, though the original agenda was hijacked by the end of Israel's devastating three-week onslaught against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

What Was the Gaza War About?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Times
by Claude Salhani - (Opinion) January 20, 2009 - 1:00am

The 23-day war in Gaza ended almost as abruptly as it began. And it ended in a way that allows for both sides in the conflict to declare victory. That is an important point if the parties involved aspire to move forward toward peace. This is where the lessons of the June, 1967 Six-Day War are important.

The Return of Dennis Ross
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Times
January 20, 2009 - 1:00am

The return of veteran U.S. peace envoy Dennis Ross to his old beat on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process should receive a qualified welcome across the region: Ross and the policies of reconciliation that he can be guaranteed to energetically promote will be a vast improvement on the malign neglect of the past eight years practiced by President George W. Bush.

Embers of Mideast peace in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
(Editorial) January 20, 2009 - 1:00am

With the Gaza war at a strategic pause with a cease-fire, hopes for peace may now depend on Barack Obama's likely point man for the Middle East, Dennis Ross. He promises a new style of "statecraft" in dealing with Israeli-Palestinian issues. His usual first tactic after such flare-ups is to look for small steps to rebuild trust. But is there any trust to come out of the ruins of Gaza? Yes, once the world decides to look for it and if a declining number of peacemakers on both sides don't give up hope for a solution.

As Obama takes office, Mideast needs his attention
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Philadelphia Inquirer
by Ziad Asali, Tom Dine - (Opinion) January 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Joe Biden predicted that Barack Obama would be tested by a foreign-policy crisis early in his term. The recent surge of violence in Gaza came even sooner than that. How Obama approaches Gaza will be critical not only for the immediate security of Israelis and Palestinians, but also for the resolution of the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. relations with the world's Muslims.

Report: Olmert privately proposed division of Jerusalem to Arab leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - January 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Were Ehud Olmert running in the upcoming election, his spokesmen would most likely hasten to deny the revelation of the Ir Amim organization, according to which the outgoing prime minister proposed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Jerusalem be divided along lines that strongly resemble the Clinton outline of December 2000.

Mahmoud Abbas seen as big loser after fight between Israel and Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Chicago Tribune
by Joel Greenberg - (Analysis) January 20, 2009 - 1:00am

The Gaza Strip has been devastated by Israel's punishing offensive against Hamas, but Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appears to be the war's most serious political casualty. Sidelined during the fighting and now struggling to play a role in Gaza's reconstruction, Abbas' Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank, is battling to stay relevant. "Marginalized is a very good choice of words," Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian government in the West Bank, told journalists on Monday.

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