Mideast political conundrum: Settlement expansion is a threat to peace negotiations
In Print by Ziad Asali - The Washington Times (Opinion) - January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

The renewed violence between Israel and Hamas, in which 1.5 million innocent Palestinians are caught, is yet another definitive 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.

ATFP Condemns Israeli Attack Near UN School in Gaza
Press Release - Contact Information: Hussein Ibish - January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Washington, DC, Jan. 6 -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today condemned an Israeli military attack near a UN school in Gaza in which at least 30 Palestinian civilians were reportedly killed and many more injured. ATFP reiterated its Dec. 27 and Jan. 3 calls for a cease-fire between all parties, and its deep concern for the well-being of the innocent civilian population in Gaza.

An op-ed in The Washington Times by ATFP President Dr. Ziad Asali examines how continued settlement expansion threatens prospects for peace (1). Fighting continues on the ground in Gaza as Israel expands its offensive, while Israeli tanks attack a UN school, killing forty-two (2) (3) (8) (9). In a transcript of a CNN interview, Dr. Asali addresses the current crisis (4). A pair of opinion pieces discuss the role of Hezbollah in the conflict (5) (6). An editorial in the Los Angeles Times urges the international community to intervene in support of a cease-fire (7). International envoy Tony Blair sees the closure of Hamas’ underground tunnels as the key to attaining a cease fire (10). United States Congressman David Price stresses the importance of diplomacy in an op-ed for the Charlotte Observer (14).

U.S. must act now in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Charlotte Observer
by David Price - (Opinion) January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

For observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict committed to a peaceful and lasting two-state resolution, the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza brings the temptation to throw one's hands in the air in despair. Mistaken assumptions and lessons left unlearned seem to guide each of the protagonists down a course antithetical to the long-term interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Incursion Into Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

With its ground incursion into Gaza, Israel has gambled that it can finally silence the Hamas rockets that have terrorized its people for years. We sympathize with that goal. But we are concerned that short-term success on the battlefield might encourage the Israelis to keep pressing further and longer in an attempt to decimate Hamas and wrest Gaza from its grip. That is also a goal we can sympathize with — there is no justification for Hamas’s attacks or its virulent rejectionism. But it is highly unlikely, and there is a point of diminishing returns that could be easy to miscalculate.

As the Troops Enter, We Fear the Worst
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Eyad El-Sarraj - January 4, 2009 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY How much worse can it get? After a horrifying week, the Israelis have arrived once again at our doorstep. What now? Already we have experienced so much terror and want. When the Israeli strikes first began, my wife and I were worrying about lentils. She said we could not have lentil soup for lunch because there were no lentils in the shops. Nor any rice or flour. Suddenly there was a deafening noise, followed by a succession of blasts the likes of which I had never experienced. Our house was rocking, the windows rattling in their panes.

French President Sarkozy: Deal on Gaza truce 'not far away'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Tuesday a deal for a cease-fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip was "not far" away. "I'm convinced that there are solutions. We are not far from that. What is needed is simply for one of the players to start for things to go in the right direction," he told reporters during a visit to French United Nations peacekeepers in south Lebanon. Sarkozy said he was returning to Sharm el-Sheikh to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to work out the details of a peace plan.

Blair: Closing smuggling routes key to ceasefire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Andrew Woodcock - January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

A ceasefire in the Gaza Strip is attainable within days if the smuggling routes which supply arms and money to Hamas can be shut down, international envoy Tony Blair said today. Mr Blair said that the Hamas movement, which holds power in the Palestinian enclave, is in contact with Egypt over the issue and that Cairo is prepared in principle to take action. All "responsible" players in the region should be working towards an immediate cessation of the hostilities which have now entered their 11th day, he said.

Gaza civilian death toll rises steeply
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy, Chris McGreal - January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

The civilian death toll in Gaza increased dramatically today, with at least 12 members of an extended family, including seven young children, killed in an air strike on their house in Gaza City while the bombing of two United Nations schools being used as shelters took 13 lives. The bodies of the Daya family were pulled from the rubble of a house in Gaza City's Zeitoun area after it was hit by two Israeli missiles. The dead included seven children aged from one to 12 years, three women and two men. Nine other people were believed to be trapped in the rubble.

Israel hits UN school, nears major Gaza towns
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak, Steve Weizman - January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli forces edged closer to Gaza's major population centers on Tuesday and attacked new sites, including a U.N. school, taking more civilian lives after ignoring mounting international calls for an immediate cease-fire. A Palestinian rocket attack wounded an Israeli infant. The United Nations said three civilians were killed in the airstrike on its school, where hundreds of people from a Gaza City refugee camp had gone to seek shelter from Israel's blistering 11-day offensive against the Hamas militant group.

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