January 30th

U.S. envoy Mitchell: Mideast peace process faces substantial hurdles
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - January 30, 2009 - 1:00am

United States Mideast envoy George Mitchell said on Friday the new U.S. administration's push for Israeli-Palestinian peace after the war in the Gaza Strip faced substantial hurdles, and he predicted further setbacks. The somber assessment by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell followed two days of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders about shoring up a shaky cease-fire that ended Israel's 22-day offensive on Gaza. Mitchell said consolidating the truce and "addressing immediately the humanitarian needs" of Gaza's 1.5 million residents were the Obama administration's priorities.

Secret Israeli database reveals full extent of illegal settlement
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Uri Blau - January 30, 2009 - 1:00am

Just four years ago, the defense establishment decided to carry out a seemingly elementary task: establish a comprehensive database on the settlements. Brigadier General (res.) Baruch Spiegel, aide to then defense minister Shaul Mofaz, was put in charge of the project. For over two years, Spiegel and his staff, who all signed a special confidentiality agreement, went about systematically collecting data, primarily from the Civil Administration.

January 29th

Mideast envoy George Mitchell meets with Israeli and Palestinian Authority leadership (1) (2). The new tone of Middle East policy articulated in President Obama’s recent appearance on Al-Arabiya television is widely well received (3) (4). The United Nations launches an appeal for $613 million to aid the people of Gaza (5). A Spanish court approves a motion by a Palestinian group to probe Israeli officials for suspected war crimes (6). An Israeli human rights group accuses the IDF of subjecting Palestinians captured during the Gaza offensive to inhumane conditions (7). The choice of George Mitchell as Mideast envoy raises concern for Israeli settlers (8).

After the War on Terror
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - (Opinion) January 29, 2009 - 1:00am

In his first White House televised interview, with the Al Arabiya news network based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, President Obama buried the lead: The war on terror is over. Yes, the with-us-or-against-us global struggle — the so-called Long War — in which a freedom-loving West confronts the undifferentiated forces of darkness comprising everything from Al Qaeda to elements of the Palestinian national struggle under the banner of “Islamofascism” has been terminated. What’s left is what matters: defeating terrorist organizations. That’s not a war. It’s a strategic challenge.

Thirty years of Tehran rhetoric blocking the road to peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Karim Sadjadpour - January 29, 2009 - 1:00am

The Iranian government’s feeling towards the state of Israel is straightforward. In times of peace it is utter contempt; in times of war it is visceral hatred. The question is, why? After all, Iran is not an Arab country, has no direct land disputes with Israel, has no Palestinian refugee problem, has a long history of contentious relations with the Arab world and is home to the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside Israel itself.

Hamas and the Firewood of Victory
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Jameel Theyabi - January 26, 2009 - 1:00am

Now that the offensive is over, we have the right to write bitterly about what we have seen and heard with respect to the tragedies of the "heinous" Israeli war on the Gazans, especially since the uncontrollable inter-Palestinian verbal battle has returned to the television screens and newspapers even prior to the end of the war.

Obama's Messages to the Arabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Abdullah Iskandar - (Opinion) January 28, 2009 - 1:00am

The new American administration has revealed - in an unquestionable manner - that the Middle East issues and the relation with the Muslim world top its priorities. President Barack Obama apparently attributes the turmoil that plagued the US policy in this regard to mistakes and failed methods of treatment. Therefore, during the first days of his tenure, he sent many political messages to the Middle East and the Muslim world.

Settlers not thrilled with Obama's Mideast envoy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nadav Shragai - January 29, 2009 - 1:00am

The settlers are not thrilled with George Mitchell - and that is an understatement. Mitchell, who first arrived here as an envoy on behalf of the Democratic Clinton administration eight years ago, asked then that Israel freeze settlement construction, even if the building activity was intended to meet natural population growth. To a large extent, he was successful in attaining what he requested.

Gaza detainee treatment 'inhuman'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
January 28, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinians seized during Israel's operation in Gaza faced "appalling" conditions and "inhuman" treatment, Israeli human rights groups have said. The seven groups say they have gathered 20 testimonies which indicate detainees were kept in pits without shelter, toilets or adequate food and water. Some detainees also said they had been held near tanks and in combat areas, the groups said. The Israeli military says it is investigating the allegations.

Spanish court to probe Israeli officials for alleged 'crimes against humanity'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by Roni Sofer - January 29, 2009 - 1:00am

Spanish court to probe Israeli officials for alleged 'crimes against humanity' Madrid Court grants motion by Palestinian group to probe several senior defense officials for their involvement in 2002 hit on Hamas operative Salah Shehade; which left 14 dead, 100 wounded. Defense minister calls announcement 'delusional', says he will do all in his power to have charges dropped Roni Sofer and AFP

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