Barak Is The Wrong Man
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Israel Harel - (Opinion) February 7, 2008 - 7:34pm

The main reason given by Defense Minister Ehud Barak for remaining in the government is to contend with the state's grave security threats, from both near and far. To be prepared, he said, our operational capabilities must be restored and a moral change must be implemented. Barak is thus telling the public he is the right man in the right place, and if he were to step down now there would be no one to carry out these tasks as well as he can.

Hamas: Egypt Should Voice Its Anger Against Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
February 7, 2008 - 7:33pm

Egypt has warned Palestinians against trying to break through its resealed Gaza border about two weeks after Hamas militants blew it open to defy an Israeli-led blockade.   After allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to cross into the Sinai peninsula last month, Egypt on Sunday closed the border to Palestinians seeking entry.     

Shas Leader: Early Elections Possible
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Neta Sela - February 7, 2008 - 7:30pm

Shas Chairman Eli Yishai said Thursday that general elections may be held as early as this year. Speaking at a convention in northern Israel, Yishai said: "I don't know how long this government will last. I estimate that soon we will have elections."  

Abbas: Fatah Ready To Control Crossings
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Etgar Lefkovits - February 7, 2008 - 7:29pm

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that his security officials are ready to take responsibility for the border crossings in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip as part of a moribund international border agreement that was scrapped after the Islamic group seized control over the coastal strip last year. "We are ready to take over responsibility of the crossing points together with the European Union, the Egyptians and the Israelis," Abbas told a group of European parliamentarians in his West Bank headquarters.

Israel Can Expect More Suicide Attacks - Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
February 7, 2008 - 7:28pm

Gaza: Hamas' representative in Iran said Israel can expect a wave of suicide bombings inside its 1967 borders, not just the West Bank. The announcement of more attacks came as Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip launched at least 10 Qassam rockets into Israel, lightly wounding a two-year-old girl and 12-year-old girl.

Israel Must Stop Changing Facts On The Ground - Fm
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
February 7, 2008 - 7:26pm

Jordan on Wednesday warned against Israeli measures “to alter facts on the ground” in the occupied Palestinian lands in a way that affects final status talks. During a meeting with US Undersecretary for Middle East Affairs David Walsh, Foreign Minister Salah Bashir called on Israel to stop its settlement activities, stressing the need to ease the humanitarian suffering of the Palestinian people through softening the restrictions on their movement.

Politics Of Illusions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Times
by Alon Ben-meir - (Opinion) February 7, 2008 - 7:24pm

I have just returned from an extended trip to the Middle East, hoping that I would come back feeling recharged by the progress made in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, especially in the wake of the Annapolis peace conference. To my dismay, not in Israel or in Jordan or in talking to Palestinian and Egyptian officials, have I felt or seen much optimism. Those who still believe that an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is possible by the end of 2008 – U.S. President George W. Bush's stated desire – are few and far between.

Gazan Students In Limbo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Times
by Mel Frykberg - February 7, 2008 - 7:23pm

The future of hundreds of Gazan students, trapped in el-Arish in the Egyptian Sinai and in the Gaza Strip, hangs in the balance as they wait in a state of uncertainty for permission to leave Egypt and Gaza to continue their studies abroad.

Arab Charity Is Blooming – No Thanks To America
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Iam Wilhelm - (Opinion) February 7, 2008 - 7:22pm

Oil and conflict. These are the two topics that dominate news coverage of the Middle East. But there are signs that amid headlines that scream of suicide bombings and surging energy costs, a quiet social movement is under way – one that could help alleviate some deep-rooted problems of the Arab world.

Mideast Envoy Blair Says Pa Starting To Abide By 'road Map'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
February 7, 2008 - 7:21pm

The Quartet's Middle East envoy Tony Blair said Thursday that Palestinian security forces had significantly improved and were starting to carry out their part in the long-stalled "road map" peace plan. The former British prime minister, now the envoy for the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators which include the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations, urged Israel to respond by easing travel and trade restrictions imposed on the Palestinians in the West Bank.

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