Behind closed doors, U.S. seeks Israel exit strategy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Paul Richter - December 31, 2008 - 1:00am

While publicly declaring strong support for Israel, the Bush administration is increasingly nervous about the 4-day-old campaign in the Gaza Strip and is urging its ally to settle on a timetable and exit strategy, say foreign diplomats and Middle East experts close to the discussions. U.S. officials are concerned that the campaign could drag on without destroying Hamas, and might even bolster support for the militant group -- just as the 2006 Israeli campaign in Lebanon strengthened Hezbollah, they say.

Defiant Hamas Says It Can Outlast Israel as Gaza Strip Smolders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Saud Abu Ramadan, Jonathan Ferziger - December 31, 2008 - 1:00am

Amid the smoldering ruins of European-built ministries demolished by air raids, Hamas leaders say they are confident of their ability to outlast the Israeli military onslaught in the Gaza Strip. “Our people are willing to pay the price and resist this brutality,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a telephone interview from Gaza. “Israel will eventually weaken, and the popularity of Hamas will only grow.”

IAF bombs Gaza mosque being used as weapons storehouse
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - December 31, 2008 - 1:00am

The Israel Air Force on Wednesday evening bombed a mosque in a southern Gaza Strip which Hamas had been using to store part of its rocket arsenal. Shin Bet officials said that over the last few days, Palestinian militants have been seen carrying Katyusha and Qassam rockets, as well as a large supply of other weapons, around the vicinity of the mosque. The Shin Vet said that these weapons were destroyed in the IAF strike.

Israel set to maintain offensive for 'weeks'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck, Andrew England, Peggy Hollinger - December 31, 2008 - 1:00am

Israel said yesterday its military was ready for "weeks of action" in spite of growing diplomatic pressure and Arab anger over its bombardment of the Hamascontrolled Gaza Strip. The quartet of Middle East peace brokers - the United Nations, the US, Russia and the European Union - last night urged a ceasefire in Gaza and southern Israel. The UN said: "They called for an immediate ceasefire that would be fully respected." An emergency meeting of EU ministers in Paris was expected last night to call for a 48-hour truce to allow medical supplies through to Gaza's civilian population.

Israel Rejects 48-Hour Cease-Fire Plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner, Taghreed El-Khodary - January 1, 2009 - 1:00am

After five straight days of punishing air attacks, Israel rejected a proposal for a 48-hour cease-fire in its military onslaught in Gaza on Wednesday, saying it would maintain pressure on Hamas. But it did not rule out future diplomacy and was open to ways of increasing humanitarian aid. The decision was announced after a security cabinet meeting here.

December 30th

Progressive Jewish Groups See Test in Crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Independent
by Spencer Ackerman - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

As the Israeli bombardment of Gaza enters its fourth day, there is no shortage of tests. The wisdom of Israeli strategy is being tested. The resilience of the Palestinian people is being tested. The ability of the U.S. and the international community to impose a ceasefire is being tested. And the might of the new progressive American Jewish infrastructure that emerged in 2008 — unapologetically pro-peace and pro-Israel — is undergoing its own test as well: How to effectively argue that an Israeli war is counterproductive to Israel’s long-term security while the bombs are falling.

Israel, Hamas and the seduction of blind force
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Gershom Gorenberg - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

Reporting from Jerusalem — Asewage reservoir in the northern Gaza Strip was in danger of bursting, my morning paper reported last week. The sewage couldn't be pumped to new filtration ponds because of power shortages caused by Israeli restrictions on fuel supplies to the Hamas-ruled territory. If heavy rain -- or a stray rocket -- cracked the reservoir's earthen sides, a flood of filth would threaten lives and poison the surrounding land. The Haaretz reporter got the story by phone. For security reasons, Israel doesn't let its journalists enter Gaza.

Israel stifles free press covering Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from McClatchy News
by Dion Nissenbaum - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

On one hand, one can't blame the Israeli government for wanting to do what it can to prevent the world from seeing the effects of its devastating Gaza airstrikes that have killed hundreds of Palestinians. In 48-hours, Israel has decimated the Gaza Strip, killed more than 300 Palestinians and injured 1,400 others in a "shock and awe" air campaign.

Battered Hamas stands to gain in stature
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Orlando Sentinel
December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

For anyone watching the plumes of smoke rising from Gaza in recent days, Hamas dominates the television news and newspaper headlines. It is not only the publicity, but the status conveyed on Hamas as the Palestinians' principal resistance. Its secular rival, Fatah, sits on the sidelines, marginal to the violence unfolding in Gaza, from which Hamas effectively expelled it at gunpoint in the summer of 2007.

'It's About Time': Satisfaction in Israel Over Gaza Assault
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

ASHKELON, Israel — In southern Israeli towns and cities, anxiety from the casualties inflicted by missiles from Gaza are mixed with satisfaction that Israel's military is trying to settle the score with their militant tormentors. Four Israelis were killed, including a soldier, and two seriously wounded Monday in rocket barrages, some deeper into Israel than ever before. A woman was killed when a missile crashed into a bus stop in the city of Ashdod, 23 miles from Gaza, the farthest Hamas militants have fired to date. Another woman was killed in a village next to Gaza.

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