September 17th

Egypt closes Gaza border after thousands cross
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
August 31, 2008 - 8:00pm

Egypt on Monday closed the border crossing between Sinai and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip after a brief opening allowed thousands in and out of the besieged territory, a security official said. "The border crossing has been closed and there is no agreement between Hamas and Egypt over a new date to open the crossing," the official told AFP. The crossing was opened for the first time in weeks on Saturday. In that time, "Egypt has allowed 4,545 Palestinians and Egyptians to cross, including 3,437 who came into Egypt and 1,108 Palestinians who headed to Gaza," the official said.

ISRAEL: Olmert Has a Last Go at a Legacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Peter Hirschberg - August 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert may have announced that he will resign as soon as his ruling Kadima party has chosen a new leader next month, but that doesn't mean the prime minister has given up hope of reaching an agreement with the Palestinians or the Syrians. Details of Olmert's peace proposal to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas were recently leaked to the press, and the prime minister's aides are scheduled to head back to Istanbul for another round of indirect talks with Syrian officials.

No joy for besieged Gazans during Ramadan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
September 1, 2008 - 8:00pm

As most of the rest of the Islamic world welcomes Ramadan with festive treats and family get-togethers, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip wearily brace for another holiday under a crippling Israeli blockade. Israel has sealed off the impoverished territory from all but a trickle of humanitarian aid since the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in June 2007, and it is during the holidays that weary residents say they feel the sanctions the most.

Olmert Turmoil Slows Mideast Peace Effort
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
September 1, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli and Palestinian officials on Sunday played down the prospect of any immediate peace agreement as Ehud Olmert, the discredited prime minister of Israel, begins his final phase in office. Mark Regev, a spokesman for Olmert, noted "considerable gaps" in the negotiating positions and said it was unrealistic to expect to resolve all the issues on the table "in the next two or three weeks."

Boy meets girl - it's a Middle Eastern EastEnders with checkpoints
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Sheera Frenkel - August 29, 2008 - 8:00pm

There's a small but telltale moment in the first episode of Matabb, the new - indeed, first - Palestinian soap opera, when the camera shows a flashy, cherry-red BMW with the yellow licence plate starting to fall off. It is meant to tell you everything you need to know about its slick-haired driver, Abdallah - glossy on the outside, but really a thieving braggart not to be trusted with young ladies.

Israel plans referendum on land concessions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Mohammed Mar - September 8, 2008 - 8:00pm

A joint panel of the Israeli Knesset House and Law Committees approved a proposal that a national referendum must be held before concessions on any territory under Israeli legal jurisdiction, including Jerusalem, a report said yesterday. The Israeli daily Jerusalem Post said that the proposal, aimed to amend the national referendum bill, had originally called for a referendum only on concessions on the occupied Golan Heights.

End Palestinian rifts: Saud
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
September 8, 2008 - 8:00pm

Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal yesterday urged for an Arab push to help end inter-Palestinian rifts and re-establish moderate Palestinian rule in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Prince Saud?s remarks came during a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo. He appeared to back an Egyptian proposal to send Arab troops to the coastal strip ruled by Hamas.

UN to review Israel's human rights track
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - September 8, 2008 - 8:00pm

A three-country panel was chosen Monday to examine Israel's human rights record as part of a Universal Periodic Review this year of 64 countries by the United Nations Human Rights council in Geneva. All 192 UN states are subject to review. According to Israel's ambassador to Geneva Roni Leshno Yaar, the review will be conducted by Nigeria, South Korean and Azerbaijan at the council's December session. The council, which opened its September session on Wednesday, offers countries a limited right to replace the panel with alternative countries.

'Iran is a friend of the Israeli people'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
September 8, 2008 - 8:00pm

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came under pressure from his government about pro-Israel comments made by one of his aides, The Financial Times reported Tuesday. According to the report, parliamentarians demanded that Ahmadinejad explain why Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, vice-president for tourism affairs, said that Iran was "a friend of the Israeli people." In an apparent attempt to explain himself and reverse the effect of his words, Mashaei was quoted by The Financial Times as telling the politicians "I say 'death to Israel' a thousand times."

Eldad to PM: Quit and get ready for jail
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
September 8, 2008 - 8:00pm

MK Arye Eldad (NU-NRP) on Tuesday called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to step down and prepare himself for life behind bars. "A man who is suspected of taking bribes shouldn't lead Israel, because we can't be sure of his motives. A leader must have clean hands; someone whose judgment is in doubt can't make decisions on behalf of the citizens of Israel," Eldad said. He spoke to a special recess Knesset session called at the request of opposition parties to discuss the legitimacy of Olmert and his government continuing in power.

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