In his first interview with Arabic television President Obama reaches out to the Muslim world and says that peace talks should resume (1). Israel launches fresh attacks into southern Gaza after an IDF soldier was killed by a bomb planted on the Gaza-Israel border (2). Newly appointed Mideast envoy George Mitchell is in Cairo on the first leg of his week-long tour of the region (3). The British Gaza appeal by the Disasters Emergency Commission raises record funds despite being refused airtime by the BBC (4). Egypt proposes a start date of February 22nd for Palestinian reconciliation talks (5). The situation in Gaza could complicate Pope Benedict XVI’s planned trip to Israel (6). Benjamin Netanyahu, along with a third of the Likud candidates, refuse to sign a loyalty oath ruling out the possibility of a Palestinian state (11).

Bibi won't rule out Palestinian state
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gil Hoffman - January 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu and three quarters of the Likud's candidates declined to sign a loyalty oath ruling out a Palestinian state that was distributed to all the parties on the Right. The oath, distributed by the Matot Arim organization, included a vow not to lend a hand to the formation of a Palestinian state. The National Union, Habayit Hayehudi, Israel Beiteinu and Shas signed the document. Shas chairman Eli Yishai signed the document on behalf of his party. Meir Porush was the only United Torah Judaism MK who made the pledge.

Turkey calls on Hamas to pick politics over arms
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
January 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Turkey's government, accused of siding with Hamas during Israel's Gaza offensive, has called on the Islamist group to use peaceful means to achieve its aims rather than armed struggle, its foreign minister said. The government has come under criticism for the strong rhetoric it used against Israel during the offensive in the Gaza strip. Turkish opposition parties, ex-diplomats and columnists have accused the government of taking a pro-Hamas stance.

Gaza: Humanitarian situation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
January 22, 2009 - 1:00am

Gaza: Humanitarian situation Aid agencies are battling to meet the urgent needs of tens and thousands of displaced, homeless and injured people in Gaza, as well as to get damaged water, power and sewage infrastructure back even to their ailing pre-war levels. That stage alone will cost "hundreds of millions" of dollars, while long term reconstruction will run into "billions," the UN has said. Two separate Palestinian surveys have put the cost of the damage just under $2bn.

Israel 'must sack' military rabbi
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
January 26, 2009 - 1:00am

A human rights group in Israel has called for the military's chief rabbi to be dismissed for alleged incitement against Palestinians. The group, Yesh Din, said Rabbi Avichai Rontzki distributed a booklet to troops in the Gaza offensive, which advised them they were fighting "murderers". The booklet, citing an ultra-nationalist rabbi, told soldiers to show no mercy to a "cruel enemy". The Israeli military has not yet commented on the issue.

Did Israel Commit War Crimes in Gaza?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Speigel International
by Thomas Darnstadt, Christoph Schult - January 26, 2009 - 1:00am

Did Israel violate international law in Gaza? The immense number of Palestinian civilian casualties suggests that it did. But can the laws of war really be applied to asymmetrical conflicts such as Israel's war with Hamas? The Palmachim air force base is 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of Tel Aviv, tucked away in the dunes along the Mediterranean shore. A thin, bald man wearing rectangular, rimless glasses is standing in front of half a dozen combat helicopters on the airfield at the base.

Gaza situation could ‘complicate’ Pope’s Israel trip - prelate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
January 27, 2009 - 1:00am

A planned trip by Pope Benedict XVI to Israel could be “complicated” by the situation in Gaza, but not by a controversy over his decision to reverse the excommunication of an apparent Holocaust denier, a high-ranking prelate said Monday.

Egypt: Palestinian reconciliation talks to begin on February 22
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
January 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Egypt has proposed Feb. 22 as the date for the start of a dialogue between Palestinian groups, several of the groups said in reports published on Tuesday. Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit of Egypt, which has been mediating between the groups, told reporters: "We will invite the Palestinian groups. We hope we will succeed in this in the third week or at the end of the third week of February."

Public gives £600,000 to Gaza appeal before broadcasts are aired
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Jerome Taylor - January 27, 2009 - 1:00am

The Gaza appeal which the BBC is refusing to broadcast raised £600,000 before it was shown. Donations flooded in to the Disasters Emergency Committee website before the initial transmission of the two-minute appeal on ITV1 last night. On previous occasions the DEC has not accepted donations until an appeal has gone out live but members of the public have been able to donate to the Gaza appeal since Thursday. Charity chiefs will be hoping that the controversy over the broadcast has increased public awareness that a way of donating to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is available.

Obama envoy Mitchell in Cairo on first leg of Mideast tour
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 27, 2009 - 1:00am

U.S. President Barack Obama's new Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, arrived in Cairo on Tuesday as he embarked on a week-long tour to the region and Europe. The trip kicks off the new administration's efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking and shore up a shaky Gaza truce. Mitchell, a former U.S. senator, was to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday at the start of the trip, which will also take him to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, France and Britain.

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