The director of operations for the UN's refugee agency in Gaza criticizes both Israel's blockade and Hamas' leadership (1). The Christian Science Monitor examines how Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's angry remarks at the Davos conference may have damaged his credibility as a go-between (2). After accusing the Hamas government of stealing hundreds of tons of food supplies intended for civilians, the United Nations suspends all shipments of aid into Gaza (3). With Israeli elections set to take place next Tuesday, speculation about outcomes continues to grow as the gap between the parties appears to have narrowed considerably (4) (11). Recently released poll results show that Israel's Gaza offensive has boosted Palestinian support for Hamas (6), as the political divide between Hamas and Fatah continues to grow (10). The National looks at Egypt's role as regional mediator (9). A commentary article in the Daily Star by ATFP Senior Fellow Hussein Ibish examines the rise in Arab political discourse of the myth of "the martyrs versus the traitors." (13).

The myth of Martyrs versus Traitors
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) February 6, 2009 - 1:00am

The recent conflict in Gaza has the potential of becoming a transformative political event in the Middle East that allows Islamists to capture the Arab political imagination for at least a generation. Along with their familiar appeals to religious and cultural "authenticity," and dubious claims regarding good governance and democracy, Islamists are beginning to consolidate an exclusive claim to the most powerful Arab political symbols: Palestine and nationalism.

UN to probe Hamas for use of children
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ruth Eglash - February 6, 2009 - 1:00am

The United Nations is ready to address Hamas's use of children as human shields during last month's IDF offensive in Gaza, the UN special representative for children and armed conflict told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. "We have not yet dealt directly with the human shield issue, but we will now mention it in our reports," Radhika Coomaraswamy said in an exclusive interview following a four-day visit to the region.

Gaza aftermath: IDF bides its time, Hamas leaders hide out, everyone awaits truce
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - February 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Just days before the Knesset elections, the decision on whether to continue the confrontation in the south lies in the hands of Hamas. If the organization accepts the Egyptian cease-fire initiative, this will likely restore calm to the region along the border with the Gaza Strip, at least for a few months; a negative reply will set Israel back on the road of assassinating Hamas leaders, eventually leading to a new round of hostilities.

Haaretz Poll: Kadima, Likud are neck-and-neck with 4 days to go
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Mazal Mualem, Yossi Verter - February 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Likud and Kadima are in a neck-and-neck race to be the next Knesset's largest party, according to the latest Haaretz-Dialog poll. The poll, the last to be published before next Tuesday's election, showed the gap between the two parties continuing to narrow: It is now down to only two seats in Likud's favor.

Political Divide Between Hamas, Fatah Deepens
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Times
by Mel Frykberg - February 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas security men are back on the streets, directing traffic and trying to restore some semblance of law and order following isolated incidents of looting in the wake of Israel's 23-day military assault on Gaza. Operation Cast Lead left over 1,300 Palestinians dead and nearly 500 wounded, most of them civilian, and also left the infrastructure of the coastal territory decimated. The smuggling of weapons, and everyday essential items, into Gaza and sporadic rocket fire on Israel has resumed.

Egypt savours peace mediator role
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Matt Bradley - February 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Representatives from more than half a dozen Arab nations may have met this week, but the fact that they all agreed to a plan drafted by Egyptians has not been lost on analysts here. After years of watching Saudi Arabia take the lead in the Middle East peace process and after more than a month of facing the collective anger of the Muslim world for its refusal to open its border crossing with the Gaza Strip, Egypt, many here say, has once again taken its seat at the head of the Middle East’s diplomatic table.

Rise of the moderates
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Antony Lerman - (Opinion) February 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Each and every Jew who protested as a Jew against the Gaza war had a personal Jewish imperative for doing so. Some simply expressed dismay; most demanded action to end the carnage. To say that we failed is neither an expression of despair nor a statement that dissent wasn't worthwhile. Realism suggests that it was inevitable.

Gaza offensive boosted Hamas, poll concludes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck - February 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian support for the Islamist Hamas movement has soared in the wake of Israel’s three-week offensive against the Gaza Strip, according to a poll released on Thursday. The survey, by the independent Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, also found that the majority of Palestinians thought the group had emerged victorious from the conflict. Almost one in two Palestinians said Hamas won the Gaza war, while less than 10 per cent said Israel had triumphed.

Israeli politicians offer territory swaps and tunnels to solve the endless crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - February 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel's hard-fought election campaign is throwing out a number of grand plans reminiscent of some of the treaties that carved up the Middle East in the 20th century, including a scheme to transfer Jewish-held areas of the West Bank to Israel in exchange for Arab-populated territories. As well as extreme right-wing plans to redraw boundaries Ehud Barak, the Labour Party leader and current Defence Minister, has proposed digging a 30-mile tunnel between the blockaded Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, to allow Palestinians the territorial continuity they are demanding in any peace deal.

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