Awaiting Israel's next step
Media Mention of Ziad Asali In Gulf News - February 18, 2009 - 1:00am

The optimists in the Middle East, and they hardly exceed the number of fingers on one's hand, are wondering whether Benjamin Netanyahu, who may be charged of forming the new Israeli government, will pull a Richard Nixon out of his bag. After all, it was this former conservative American president who paved the way for establishing diplomatic relations with Communist China when he visited there in 1972.

Israel’s Security cabinet announces that it will not lift the Gaza blockade until captured soldier Gilad Shalit is freed (1). The UN says a large stockpile of unexploded weapons is missing in Gaza (2). Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni says that Israel must be prepared to give up ‘considerable territory in exchange for peace’ (3). Israel launches air strikes on sites in southern Gaza (4). Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad says he wants aid for rebuilding Gaza to be sent directly to the needy (5). Speculation continues about holding Israel accountable for alleged war crimes (6). Former U.S. Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer warns against a possible Netanyahu-Lieberman Israeli government (12).

Analysis: Amman caught between Hamas and Fatah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Brenda Gazzar - February 18, 2009 - 1:00am

An expected move by Jordanian parliamentarians to file a petition with the International Criminal Court at The Hague accusing senior Israeli figures of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead does not reflect the kingdom's official position, experts say. The petition is expected to be filed this week by the head of Jordan's Parliamentary Legal Committee, Mubarak Abu Yamin, against several Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, Arab media reported this week.

IDF raids village near Qalqilya in search of weapons
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - February 18, 2009 - 1:00am

The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday night arrested 15 wanted Palestinian terror suspects in the West Bank village of Jayus, northeast of the city of Qalqilya. An army spokesperson said the forces were operating in the town following a rise in the number of incidents involving the throwing of stones at Israeli vehicles recently. The Palestinians said the soldiers used excessive force against the residents, claiming that that the army imposed a curfew on the village and that dozens of men were assembled at the local school yard.

Kurtzer: Netanyahu-Lieberman is 'bad combination' for U.S.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - February 18, 2009 - 1:00am

Daniel Kurtzer, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel, said on Tuesday that a government led by Benjamin Netanyahu that also included Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman would be a "bad combination for American interests." "It would be much more difficult for the right-wing even with determined American leadership to advance the peace process," Kurtzer said. "Not impossible, but very difficult."

Bill Clinton says he's still hopeful for Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
February 18, 2009 - 1:00am

Despite the political impasse in Israel and the uncertain future of the Middle East peace process, former U.S. president Bill Clinton says he is still hopeful that Israel and the Palestinians can come to a two-state solution. "Palestinians are having more babies than the Israelis," Clinton told CNN's Larry King Live on Tuesday. "The Israelis have to decide whether they want to share the future in a positive way with a constructive Palestinian state, so that they have a Jewish democracy, which is what Israel was set up to be," he said.

Likud in final bid for Israeli coalition with Kadima
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Australian
by John Lyons - February 18, 2009 - 1:00am

LIKUD leader Benjamin Netanyahu made a final attempt yesterday to build a stable coalition government in Israel, apealing to the leader of the Kadima party, Tzipi Livni, that she should join him in a government broader than just the "nationalist camp". He made the comments the day before President Shimon Peres was due to receive the official results from last week's election.

Losers in election stretch beyond Israel's borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Roula Khalaf - February 17, 2009 - 1:00am

It will be weeks before the real Israeli election winner emerges, but one thing is clear. Whether a coalition led by Tzipi Livni's Kadima or Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud prevails, the public's shift to the right ensures that there are losers beyond the Jewish state's borders. One of them is Mahmoud Abbas, the embattled president of the Palestinian Authority, who has been desperately seeking a revival of a peace process.

Hamas rival says Gaza aid should go directly to the needy, not militants
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Karin Laub - February 18, 2009 - 1:00am

International donors should send Gaza reconstruction money directly to property owners, the Palestinian prime minister said Wednesday, offering a plan that effectively bypasses the territory's Hamas rulers — his political rivals. The Islamic militants want a say over how the money is given out. However, the international community is unlikely to hand hundreds of millions of dollars to the militants, still shunned by most of the world. The United States and the European Union consider Hamas to be a terrorist group.

Israeli elections and the Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Faisal Al Rfouh - February 18, 2009 - 1:00am

The swing to the right in the recently held elections in Israel is likely to have an impact on the Middle East peace process in general and Israel-Palestine relations in particular. The past four elections were won by candidates who promised to end Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, but in the February 10, 2009, elections, some candidates promised to “wage war”. The gain of the right-wing parties is a cause of concern for the Arab world and the Palestinians.

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