November 26th

Defiant Hamas Rules By Fear In Isolated Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Marie Colvin - November 26, 2007 - 1:00pm

The nights in Gaza belong to the Izzedine al-Qassam brigades. On potholed streets in the border city of Rafah last week, disciplined rows of fighters bristling with guns and rocket launchers listened to a midnight pep talk from their commander before melting into the darkness. The militia that was once the underground military wing of Hamas, the Islamic extremist organisation, has become a feared unofficial army controlling this isolated strip of Palestinian territory.

The Middle East Summit: Mission Impossible?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Rupert Cornwell - November 26, 2007 - 12:59pm

This week will see George Bush make his first, and almost certainly his only, major attempt to bring an end to the world's most intractable conflict. As participants gather for tomorrow's Middle East conference in Annapolis, Maryland, the spotlight is on the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Syrians and the Saudis – but the most important consideration lies closer to home: how will President Bush fare in a belated attempt to play peacemaker.

Deja Vu, Again
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
(Editorial) November 26, 2007 - 12:58pm

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, said yesterday that he would attend next week's Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland. Syria might also attend, although it is not clear at what level. The two last building blocks appear to be in place for an event which will relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks for the first time in seven years. The real question is: will any of the noble declarations that we will get next week - from Mahmoud Abbas, Ehud Olmert and George Bush - mean anything?

Give Annapolis A Chance To Succeed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
(Editorial) November 26, 2007 - 12:56pm

Pessimism is always the safe option when contemplating the chances of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Expectations are certainly extremely low ahead of the international meeting in Annapolis in the US on Tuesday. The Palestinian side is fragmented; the Israelis are wary; the Americans are distracted; the Arabs are sceptical. It is nice that the Brazilians and Senegalese are sending delegations. But it might be more useful if the Iranians or Hamas were in attendance.

Success Or Not, Israel's Top 3 Eye Summit As Campaign Booster
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - November 26, 2007 - 12:54pm

By sending its top three leaders to the Annapolis peace summit, Israel is hoping to make a statement about the seriousness of its approach to peacemaking with the Palestinians. But a more complex reality lies under the surface of this diplomatic show. The big three -- Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni -- have much different notions about what can be achieved with the Palestinians and how best to go about it.

Annapolis Is Just The First Step
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Aaron David Miller - November 26, 2007 - 12:53pm

If Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice want to set the Annapolis conference to music, I have a suggestion: the chorus from Sugarland's latest country music hit: "Everybody's dreamin' big, but everybody's just gettin' by."

Obstacles And Opportunity For Mideast Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
by James Carroll - (Opinion) November 26, 2007 - 12:51pm

Obstacles abound. When representatives of more than 40 nations convene in Annapolis tomorrow, hoping to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, there will be many reasons for pessimism. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas presides over a fractured people, with Hamas ready to spoil any agreement. Qassam rockets fired from Gaza remind Israelis what a hostile Palestinian state could do from the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is politically vulnerable to extremist figures on the Israeli side who want no concessions.

The Middle East's Middle Ground
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
(Editorial) November 26, 2007 - 12:49pm

An air of necessity, and thus possibility, lies over the Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Md. If Ben Franklin were there, as he was in Philadelphia to help 13 states draft a US Constitution, he might give the same advice to participants: We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

Bush, Olmert Said Hopeful On Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Mohammed Daraghmeh, Amy Teibel - November 26, 2007 - 12:45pm

Hours before the opening of a high-stakes international conference on the Middle East, President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed hope Monday that peace finally could be achieved. A senior member of the Palestinian delegation said an elusive joint statement on the contours for future talks was within reach.

Messiah On A Hill
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Newsweek
by Kevin Peraino - November 26, 2007 - 12:44pm

By car they're only 15 minutes apart, but you can't get much further from the West Bank's desperate refugee camps than the summit of Mount Gerizim, on the outskirts of Nablus. The Palladian-style mansion perched there—the home of Palestinian billionaire Munib al-Masri—houses a staircase imported from Sicily, a Gothic fireplace from Versailles and a glassed-in winter garden that al-Masri says was a gift from Napoleon to Josephine. "This is a Picasso, but it looks like a Goya," the billionaire says with a casual wave. He is unapologetic about the excess.

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