December 21st

The Other Middle East Conflict: Israel Vs. Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Stephen D. Hayes - December 21, 2007 - 3:36pm

The Annapolis Middle East conference has now come and gone. There is not enough political capital or “time left on the clock” in Washington for this initiative to be of much value. But, the initiative can serve as a useful catalyst to showcase another dimension of the struggle in the region.

Farewell Tour
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
December 21, 2007 - 3:33pm

George Bush is heading to the Middle East The US president, George W Bush, is planning an eight-day visit to the Middle East in early January in a bid to salvage some positive achievements from his administration's largely dismal legacy to the region. The main purpose of the visit will be to try to maintain the momentum of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process relaunched at last month's Annapolis conference. A subsidiary theme will be an effort to stiffen the resolve of the US's principal Arab allies in the face of Iran's perceived drive for regional hegemony.

Blair Treads The Road From Baghdad To Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Philip Stephens - (Commentary) December 21, 2007 - 3:32pm

For Tony Blair it was a poignant, even painful, coincidence. Britain’s former prime minister was at an international donors’ conference in Paris this week, passing round the hat for the Palestinians in his role as Middle East mediator. In a small, unremarkable ceremony 2,000-odd miles away in Iraq, British troops were bidding farewell to Basra. Iraq, as far as Britain is concerned, is a lost war. Mr Blair’s premiership was one of its many casualties. Perhaps that explains why the former prime minister is not ready to give up on a Middle East peace deal.

Kosovo's Independence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Dinah Spritzer - December 21, 2007 - 3:31pm

Hashim Thaci may be the tough-talking prime minister of Kosovo and ex-commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army, but he gushes over Israel like a kid recalling a trip to Disney World. "I love Israel. What a great country. Kosovo is a friend of Israel," the grinning Thaci, 39, tells JTA in a Pristina hotel crowned by a miniature statue of liberty. "I met so many great leaders when I was there -- Netanyahu, Sharon — I really admire them," Thaci continued, referring to former Israeli prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon.

Bad For The Jews
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
(Opinion) December 21, 2007 - 3:28pm

Today's topic is the paradox - or one of them, anyway - of American Jewish political behavior. No, it's not that hoary old cliché that they "earn like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans." Rather, it's that they think like enlightened liberals yet allow belligerent right-wingers and neocons who frequently demonize, distort and denounce their values to speak for them in the U.S. political arena.

(settlement) Blocks To The Roadmap
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by Sadie Goldman With Jason Proetorius And Ipf Staff - (Analysis) December 21, 2007 - 3:26pm

On the heels of the first meeting of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating team, Israel announced its approval of the construction of 307 new homes in Har Homa, a settlement south of East Jerusalem. The announcement produced strong and negative responses from the European Union, the United Nations, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, all of whom expressed the concern that Israel’s action was contrary to its Roadmap obligations to freeze settlement construction, as confirmed in the agreements reached at Annapolis.

U.n. Advocates For Gazans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Marc Perelman - December 21, 2007 - 3:24pm

The top humanitarian official at the United Nations said he found “shocking” the lack of international attention to the worsening situation in Gaza, which was caused by the Israeli blockade since Hamas took over the territory last June.

Israel Looking At Hamas Truce Idea
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Laurie Copans - December 21, 2007 - 3:23pm

Israel is examining a Hamas truce proposal delivered by Egypt, defense officials said, but violence persisted Friday as a Hamas militant was killed in what the group said was a clash with Israeli troops near the Israel-Gaza border. Israeli calls for cease-fire talks with the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip grew Friday as an Israeli Cabinet minister said he supported such negotiations under certain conditions.

A Ceasefire From Hamas?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
(Editorial) December 21, 2007 - 3:22pm

THE ISRAELI government reacted warily at first - and understandably so - to the proposal of a ceasefire in Gaza from Ismael Haniyeh, leader of the group Hamas. But after initially rebuffing the offer, Israeli officials are seriously considering it, according to an Israeli television report yesterday. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government would be wise to explore a ceasefire with Hamas, for it could not only save lives but also prepare the way for a comprehensive peace agreement.

The Writing On Bethlehem's Wall: British Artist Seeks To Lure Tourists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - December 21, 2007 - 3:21pm

Bethlehem, West Bank A dove dressed in a bulletproof vest raises its wings in surrender. A girl in pigtails and pink frilly dress frisks an Israeli soldier. The nose on a Pinocchio with a star-spangled tie has grown into a missile.

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