January 27th

Gaza situation could ‘complicate’ Pope’s Israel trip - prelate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
January 27, 2009 - 1:00am

A planned trip by Pope Benedict XVI to Israel could be “complicated” by the situation in Gaza, but not by a controversy over his decision to reverse the excommunication of an apparent Holocaust denier, a high-ranking prelate said Monday.

Egypt: Palestinian reconciliation talks to begin on February 22
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
January 20, 2009 - 1:00am

Egypt has proposed Feb. 22 as the date for the start of a dialogue between Palestinian groups, several of the groups said in reports published on Tuesday. Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit of Egypt, which has been mediating between the groups, told reporters: "We will invite the Palestinian groups. We hope we will succeed in this in the third week or at the end of the third week of February."

Public gives £600,000 to Gaza appeal before broadcasts are aired
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Jerome Taylor - January 27, 2009 - 1:00am

The Gaza appeal which the BBC is refusing to broadcast raised £600,000 before it was shown. Donations flooded in to the Disasters Emergency Committee website before the initial transmission of the two-minute appeal on ITV1 last night. On previous occasions the DEC has not accepted donations until an appeal has gone out live but members of the public have been able to donate to the Gaza appeal since Thursday. Charity chiefs will be hoping that the controversy over the broadcast has increased public awareness that a way of donating to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is available.

Obama envoy Mitchell in Cairo on first leg of Mideast tour
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 27, 2009 - 1:00am

U.S. President Barack Obama's new Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, arrived in Cairo on Tuesday as he embarked on a week-long tour to the region and Europe. The trip kicks off the new administration's efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking and shore up a shaky Gaza truce. Mitchell, a former U.S. senator, was to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday at the start of the trip, which will also take him to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, France and Britain.

Israel launches attacks in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
January 27, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel launches attacks in Gaza Israel has carried out an air attack in the Gaza Strip and launched an incursion with tanks and bulldozers across the border. Palestinian sources say there has been fighting near Khan Younis in southern Gaza, with people fleeing their homes. The incursion follows a bomb attack which killed one Israeli soldier and wounded three near the Gaza border. It is the worst violence since Israel's offensive against Hamas in Gaza ended with both sides declaring ceasefires.

Obama tells Al Arabiya peace talks should resume
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Arabiya
(Interview) January 27, 2009 - 1:00am

In his first interview since taking office, President Barack Obama told Arab satellite station Al Arabiya that Americans are not the enemy of the Muslim world and said Israel and the Palestinians should resume peace negotiations. “My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy,” Obama told Al Arabiya’s Hisham Melhem in an interview broadcast Tuesday morning.

January 26th

Arab initiative, Israeli choice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) January 26, 2009 - 1:00am

For the third time since the Arab League unanimously voted in favor of the peace plan with Israel, the people here are being called upon to vote for a new Knesset. In a normal country, the various parties' positions on this important initiative would be on full display. In Israel, for the third time, the Saudi initiative is being pushed to the margins. It is far easier to sell fear of the Iranians to the voters and to promise "a strong Israel." What does a peace plan made in Saudi Arabia have in common with an Iranian-produced bomb? Plenty, it would appear.

Netanyahu: Likud-led coalition wouldn't build new settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - January 26, 2009 - 1:00am

A Likud-led government would not build new settlements in the West Bank but would allow for natural growth, Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu told Quartet envoy Tony Blair Sunday, in an apparent attempt to calm the international community before this week's arrival of George Mitchell, the newly appointed U.S. envoy to the Middle East.

Iran MPs plan Gaza visit to praise Hamas resistance against 'Zionist offensive'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 26, 2009 - 1:00am

Five Iranian parliament members intend to visit the Gaza Strip to congratulate the Palestinians on their resistance against the "Zionist offensive." The Iranian lawmakers will tour parts of Gaza to evaluate the damage sustained during Israel's three-week-long Operation cast Lead. Iranian parliament member Mahmoud Ahmadi said the group also plans to meet with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, whom Ahmadi called "the legitimate Prime Minister of Palestine." Another lawmaker said Tehran's foreign ministry is trying to expedite the visa process, so they can enter Gaza via Egypt.

Will Hamas win the peace?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Mohammed Yaghi - January 26, 2009 - 1:00am

For generations to come, the Palestinians will remember the horrific war in Gaza with pain and bitterness. But what cannot yet be seen is how Palestinians will view Hamas. Whether Hamas can claim a victory and whether Palestinians will believe them will be determined by the type of ceasefire that is eventually agreed, if a formal one is eventually agreed. The endgame - for both Israel and Hamas - is thus crucially important.

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