December 30th

Israel downplays criticism of Gaza blitz
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
December 29, 2008 - 1:00am

Israel has played down international criticism of its massive bombardment of Gaza, saying the protests have been generally more measured than on previous occasions. ‘The tone of the criticism is moderate, restrained, more balanced, at least in the case of those countries that count,’ a senior government official said. ‘I’m not talking about Iran or other extremist states,’ he told AFP.

UN chief demands immediate Gaza cease-fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and urged Mideast and world leaders to do more to help end the Israeli-Hamas conflict and promote political dialogue. Ban on Monday urged Arab foreign ministers, who are holding an emergency meeting in Cairo on Wednesday "to act swiftly and decisively to bring an early end to this impasse." The bombings have killed at least 360 people — including 62 women and children, according to the U.N. — and wounded some 1,400 others.

‘Prepare to be bombed’: calls mark the start of psychological campaign in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

As the bombs rocked Gaza City, the telephone in the apartment where Mohammed was holed up with eight members of his family rang. When he picked it up, he heard a recorded voice similar to the automated sales pitches used by telemarketing companies.

Gaza Protests Now Target Arab Leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Farnaz Fassihi - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- On the third day of Israel's attack on Gaza, street protesters across the Middle East broadened their rage toward Israel and the U.S. to include Arab rulers accused of not acting forcefully and fast enough to stop the violence.

Civilians suffer as missiles fly in Gaza and Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux, Ahmed Burai - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

Reporting from Ashkelon, Israel, and Jabaliya Refugee Camp, Gaza Strip -- Pierced by an Israeli missile, the mosque exploded at 1 in the morning, crushing the Balousha family's flimsy metal roof next door. Anwar Balousha awoke on the floor, covered by rubble, and heard moans from the bedroom next to his. Neighbors crawled over a collapsed wall and pulled him, his wife and four of their nine children to safety.

Hamas is hoping for an IDF ground operation in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

Three days into Operation Cast Lead, Israel is proposing a diplomatic exit. A ground operation likely looms in an effort to increase the pressure on Hamas. At the same time, however, others argue that the air force is close to exhausting its target bank, so if Hamas can be brought to accept a cease-fire on terms convenient to Israel in the near future it would be better to do so. Hamas intensified its rocket and mortar fire at Israel Monday. It is starting to recover from the initial shock of the assault, and the bad weather is helping to protect its launching crews from Israeli aircraft.

IDF war games predict look of Gaza ground operation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Uri Blau - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi believes that any occupation of Gaza by the army must end as soon as possible, according to an officer who participated in discussions and war games related to such an operation. At the same time, however, Ashkenazi fears that if the operation ends too quickly, the IDF will only have to go back into the Gaza Strip later. The officer added that Ashkenazi seeks to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians, but recognizes that this cannot be prevented completely.

Israel warns attack on Gaza has just begun
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider, Nico Hines - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

Israel warned today that the aerial attack on Gaza, which has now entered its fourth brutal day, is only “the first of several” military stages intended to wipe out Hamas. As the army said it was ready to launch a ground incursion and tanks and infantry forces massed on the border, Israeli officials claimed the military “has made preparations for long weeks of action”.

Has Israel Revived Hamas?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Daoud Kuttub - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM -- In its efforts to stop amateur rockets from nagging the residents of some of its southern cities, Israel appears to have given new life to the fledging Islamic movement in Palestine.

December 29th

Bush Legacy in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Scott MacLeod - December 29, 2008 - 1:00am

The shoe throwing episode in Baghdad almost quaintly summed up the disaster the Bush administration leaves in its wake in Iraq--thousands dead in an ill-conceived and ill-planned invasion, thousands more dead in the explosion of sectarian and factional violence unleashed by the power vacuum, the strategic gains handed to Iran on a silver platter, the moral abomination of Abu Ghraib, and on and on.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017