January 29th

UN launches $613m appeal for Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
January 29, 2009 - 1:00am

The UN has launched an appeal for $613m to help people affected by Israel's military offensive in Gaza. "These needs are massive and multi-faceted," the body's top official Ban Ki-moon said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He added that funds would be used to "help overcome at least some measures of this hardship". The announcement came amid fears of a collapse of unilateral ceasefires by Israel and the Hamas militant group. Two rockets have been fired at Israel, while Israeli air strikes hit southern Gaza.

Analysis: A kinder, gentler sheriff
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - (Analysis) January 29, 2009 - 1:00am

US President Barack Obama spent his first week in office taking steps to signal to the nation and the world that the Bush administration is over. He ordered the Guantanamo military prison to close, the CIA to stop using controversial interrogation practices and environmental agencies to move toward stricter fuel efficiency.

U.S. peace envoy rolls up his sleeves in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux - January 29, 2009 - 1:00am

George J. Mitchell, the new U.S. envoy to the Middle East, arrived in Israel on Wednesday to begin testing his axiom that there's no such thing as a conflict that cannot be ended. Yet even as Israeli and Palestinian leaders offered ideas on how the Obama administration can help bring about peace, the prevailing mood on both sides was that their decades-old fight had become almost hopelessly deadlocked.

Gaza Violence Complicates Mitchell Mission
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - January 29, 2009 - 1:00am

A day after President Obama’s special Middle East envoy called for a consolidation of the fragile Gaza cease-fire, the truce came under new strain on Thursday when the Israeli military said Palestinians fired a rocket into Israel at dawn and Israel launched an air attack into southern Gaza.

January 28th

Mideast envoy George Mitchell arrives in Israel for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leadership (1). The New York Times looks at how the continued blockade of Gaza is affecting the humanitarian situation (2). Thomas Friedman reexamines Saudi King Abdullah’s peace plan (3). Pat Buchanan predicts conflicts between U.S. President Obama and Israeli Prime Ministerial candidate Benjamin Netanyahu (4). The Israeli group Peace Now reports that settlement expansion accelerated in 2008 compared with the previous year (6). Egypt condemns Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah as provokers of conflict (7).

Another price of the Gaza operation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Meir Javedanfar - (Opinion) January 27, 2009 - 1:00am

The recent invasion of Gaza is likely to have an impact on Barack Obama-Israel relations, both for good and bad. Hamas's provocative attacks made it very difficult for Jerusalem not to respond. The government, through Egypt, tried on several occasions to convince Hamas to stop attacking southern cities. But that failed, as did the siege of Gaza.

Top UN official blasts Hamas for 'cynical' use of civilian facilities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 28, 2009 - 1:00am

United Nations Humanitarian Affairs Chief John Holmes blasted Hamas Tuesday for its "cynical" use of civilian facilities during recent hostilities in the Gaza Strip. "The reckless and cynical use of civilian installations by Hamas and indiscriminate firing of rockets against civilian populations are clear violations of international humanitarian law," Holmes told the UN Security Council.

America's election message
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) January 28, 2009 - 1:00am

U.S. President Barack Obama promised after his inauguration to pursue Middle East peace "actively and aggressively." Today, former U.S. senator George Mitchell arrives in Jerusalem for his first visit to the region as Obama's special envoy to the Middle East. His election-eve visit is intended to send Israeli voters and candidates the message that Obama means what he says and that the new administration will be judged by its contribution to bringing peace closer.

Among Egyptians, Mixed Feelings over Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
January 27, 2009 - 1:00am

At a smoky cafe in Cairo, a group of bank employees sharing a lunch of beans, falafel and pickles discussed their anger over Israel's Gaza offensive and the images of slain children and destruction they've watched on TV. However, outrage wasn't their only feeling. In Egypt, there's also a sense of frustration with the Palestinians — and sentiment that Arabs must become more realistic in dealing with Israel.

The false promise of radicalism has again reared its ugly head
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Emile Hokayem - (Opinion) January 28, 2009 - 1:00am

A dark spectre hovers over the Arab world: the cult of muqawama – resistance – and false promise of radicalism. Indeed, with every appalling Israeli bombing campaign comes a quixotic victory for Hamas and Hizbollah that leaves their societies in tatters but strengthens the sentiment elsewhere that complete victory over Israel is within reach, if only Arab governments could step aside and let the muqaweemen carry out their glorious mission.

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