The war in Gaza has strained the alliance between Israel and Turkey (1). The debate continues over Israel’s reported use of white phosphorous munitions in attacks on population centers in Gaza (2). In the New York Times, Thomas Friedman paints a bleak picture of the fractured state of affairs in both Palestine and Israel (3). The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announces that it will examine the various requests to investigate possible war crimes by Israel (4). The Egyptian mediated talks involving Hamas and Israel fail to generate an agreeable ceasefire, (9) prompting further analysis of Egypt’s role as a broker in the region (5). Palestinian officials report that Mideast envoy George Mitchell plans to meet with President Mahmoud Abbas on February 26, in his second visit to the region this month (10).

Mitchell to meet with Abbas on February 26 - Palestinian officials
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
February 5, 2009 - 1:00am

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell will meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on February 26 on his second visit to the region in a month, a Palestinian official said Wednesday. "Mitchell will meet president Abbas in Ramallah on February 26," said the official, who asked not to be named. He had initially said the meeting would take place on February 22. "This second visit since his appointment in January confirms the real interest the administration of President Barack Obama has in a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

A public opinion poll conducted by Jerusalem Media & Communications Center
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jerusalem Media and Communications Center
February 5, 2009 - 1:00am

A striking finding in this field poll is the disparity between opinions in the West Bank and opinions in the Gaza Strip on most of the issues tackled in the poll. For example, 53.3% of respondents in the West Bank believe that Hamas won in the recent war, while 35.2% of respondents in Gaza Strip felt the same.

Hamas are Sunnis!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) February 5, 2009 - 1:00am

Khalid Mishal's speech in Iran has led to questions as to whether the leader of the Hamas movement has sufficient political awareness. Mishal's actions have confounded some of the movement's leadership, and provoked those who sympathize with the suffering of the Gaza Strip. Mishal's actions [in Iran] resulted in Hamas figures publicly responding, reinforcing the belief that there is extreme disparity between the Hamas movement in Damascus and the Gazan Hamas over Tehran which has not provided anything for Hamas and the people of Gaza other than [empty] talk which has benefited no-one.

Egypt Prevents Hamas Taking Millions into Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
February 5, 2009 - 1:00am

Egyptian authorities on Thursday prevented a senior Hamas official carrying nine million dollars and two million euros in cash entering Gaza via Rafah, a security official told AFP. Border official had held up a six-member delegation on its way back from truce talks in Cairo after insisting that they search their bags. The officials allowed five members to cross, but prevented Gaza-based Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha, who was carrying nine million dollars and two million euros, from crossing into Gaza with the money.

Israeli army says shelling of house where girls died was 'reasonable'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - February 5, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel's military last night admitted that one of its tanks killed three girls at their home in Gaza during last month's war in a case that shocked the Israeli public, but said the shelling was "reasonable." The Israeli military said two shells had hit the house of a Palestinian doctor, Izz el-Deen Abu el-Eish, on 16 January, killing his daughters. Moments after their death the Hebrew-speaking gynaecologist was interviewed by mobile phone live on an Israeli television channel, screaming with grief in an extraordinary scene.

Cairo talks end without Gaza deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
February 5, 2009 - 1:00am

The latest round of talks between Egypt and Hamas has ended in Cairo without a final agreement on a truce in Gaza. Egyptian officials had expressed hopes a deal would be signed on Thursday, but Hamas negotiators returned to Gaza and Damascus overnight with a number of issues still unresolved. Despite the setback, Hamas delegates are expected to return to Egypt on Saturday and officially accept an at least 12-month truce with Israel. Mohammed Nasr, a member of the Hamas delegation that travelled to Cairo, told Al Jazeera that some of the proposals discussed were "ambiguous".

Lieberman set to be Israel’s kingmaker
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck - February 4, 2009 - 1:00am

Avigdor Lieberman has been called a racist and a fascist, ridiculed as a former nightclub bouncer and branded a threat to Israeli democracy. He is under investigation for alleged corruption, and the target of torrents of abuse from his political opponents. Yet Mr Lieberman, the leader of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party and a political bruiser of the first order, may yet have the last laugh. With just a week to go until Israel’s general election, his party looks certain to emerge as one of the big winners.

Much at stake for Egypt in Palestinian-Israel talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Jeffrey Fleishman - February 5, 2009 - 1:00am

Men with satchels and briefcases come and go, negotiating into the night, slipping away in the morning, attempting to make peace in a place where it seems hardest to find. An Egyptian spy with a wisp of a mustache and an array of tailored suits listens to them all: the Israelis and the moderate and radical Palestinians, including those from the militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman has been working to cement a lasting truce between Hamas and Israel, and to bring reconciliation between rival Palestinian parties.

International Criminal Court to consider Gaza investigation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Sebastian Rotella - February 5, 2009 - 1:00am

In a move that could inject a new international actor into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the International Criminal Court will examine requests to investigate alleged war crimes during the recent combat in the Gaza Strip, its chief prosecutor said Wednesday. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the Netherlands-based court, said he had decided to consider an investigation after the Palestinian Authority accepted the jurisdiction of the court last week.

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