French President Nicolas Sarkozy announces that Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reportedly agreed on a French-Egyptian truce plan for Gaza (1). The United Nations rejects the Israeli military's claim that Gaza militants were operating out of the UN school attacked yesterday (2). Israel's security cabinet postpones a vote regarding expansion of operations in Gaza, amid growing bids for a truce (3). Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appeals to the UN Security Council for an end to the violence (4). Israel continues to obstruct foreign journalists from entering Gaza (5). President-elect Obama breaks his long silence on the conflict (7) (9). Daoud Kuttab explores the quagmire of attempting to assign blame for the current situation (11). An interview with outgoing National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley provides his commentary on the issue (14).

Transcript: Stephen Hadley
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by John D. McKinnon - (Interview) January 7, 2009 - 1:00am

The Journal's John McKinnon sat down with National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley at his office in the West Wing. They talked about the situation in Gaza, the U.S. relationship with Russia, Iraq and more in an interview previewing a valedictory speech Mr. Hadley plans to deliver Wednesday. Below is an edited transcript of the interview. * * * The Wall Street Journal: Talk a little about the challenges, as well as the opportunities, that the next administration is going to face.

How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Avi Shlaim - January 7, 2009 - 1:00am

The only way to make sense of Israel's senseless war in Gaza is through understanding the historical context. Establishing the state of Israel in May 1948 involved a monumental injustice to the Palestinians. British officials bitterly resented American partisanship on behalf of the infant state. On 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to the foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders".

Children pay a high price for turmoil
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Vita Bekker - January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Medical officials in Gaza said on Tuesday that at least 115 children had died since the Israeli assault began 11 days ago, amid warnings that the bombardment and continuing blockade could spur a new generation to embrace violence. Said Ghabayen, a doctor and father of six living north-east of Gaza City, said the din of nearby artillery fire and air strikes for almost four hours on Monday night was the worst his family had experienced in the 11-day assault. “The kids were screaming, clinging to us, shutting their ears with their hands and all I could do was hug them,” he said.

Selective memory, conflict chronology
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) January 7, 2009 - 1:00am

A much repeated Arab saying dealing with conflicts states: the initiator [of a conflict] is the wrong one. So if one is trying to figure out who is wrong in the current round of violence in Gaza, all one has to do is figure out who started it. But the moment one begins this search, one finds oneself in a more complicated, bind, namely figuring out what is the starting point, time-wise.

Hamas and the Continued Turnaround
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Hassan Haidar - (Opinion) January 7, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas - like Hezbollah, the other devout follower of the Syrian and Iranian regimes - is an expert at changing notions and truths, and using words in a manner that is contrary to their definition. Hence, simply staying alive becomes a "victory"; the increase in the number of deaths and injuries becomes the ability to "resist"; "scratching" the Israeli cities with a few rockets becomes a "strategic balance", and the lack of readiness for battle and of surveillance of the enemy's intentions, as well as being surprised by the extent of the enemy's response become "betrayal".

Restrained Obama leaves many displeased
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Paul Richter - January 7, 2009 - 1:00am

As civilian casualties mount in the Gaza Strip, President-elect Barack Obama is coming under intensifying pressure to end his disengagement and begin working for a halt to the fighting. Obama has argued that President Bush remains in charge of U.S. foreign policy until the inauguration on Jan. 20. But critics say hundreds may die in the next two weeks while the president-elect stands by.

Mideast Mediators Seek Anti-Tunnel Plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Craig Whitlock - January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

The biggest hurdle to winning a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, according to diplomats and Israeli military officials, is a problem that has bedeviled Israel for years: how to stop Hamas from digging tunnels into Egypt in order to bring tons of rockets and other weaponry into Gaza.

Unintended Consequences Pose Risks for Mideast Policy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - January 7, 2009 - 1:00am

President-elect Barack Obama will inherit a perilous situation in the Middle East, with Israel under increasing pressure to halt its ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, key Arab leaders close to the United States greatly weakened and the Hamas militant group earning resurgent popularity in the region. After days of studied silence on the Gaza conflict, Obama promised yesterday "to hit the ground running" on achieving a broad Middle East peace deal.

For Battered Gazans, Few Places Left to Hide
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Reyham Abdel Kareem, Sudarsan Raghavan - January 7, 2009 - 1:00am

It was shortly after noon Tuesday when Intisar Sultan walked through the clusters of dirty children and fatigued adults, leaving behind a U.N. school that had been turned into a refuge for families hoping to escape the fighting around them. She walked out its doors without her son, Abdullah, 19, who had died along with two cousins hours earlier in an Israeli airstrike that hit the school in Gaza City. They had been returning to bed from the bathroom.

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