March 2nd

Gaza donor conference: Who is pledging what
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
March 2, 2009 - 1:00am

An international conference to help rebuild the Gaza Strip got underway Monday in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The Palestinian Authority had hoped to raise $2.78 billion in aid, including $1.33 billion to rebuild the coastal strip after Israel's three-week military offensive in January. Here are some of the pledges announced ahead of the one-day event. # Gulf Arab states plan to pledge $1.65 billion in aid over a period of up to five years.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Ban Ki-Moon - March 1, 2009 - 1:00am

The widespread destruction and suffering that marked the fighting in and around Gaza between December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009 affected civilian populations of Gaza and southern Israel the worst. The people of Gaza, who have endured untold hardship for years, were subjected to still greater misery, leaving them to face an already uncertain future with greater anxiety and despair. I personally felt the extent of the indignities facing the people when I visited Gaza two days after the ceasefire had been declared and what I saw and heard left me deeply perturbed.

U.S. Talks Tough on Gaza Aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Glenn Kessler - March 1, 2009 - 1:00am

The United States on Monday will pledge $300 million in humanitarian relief for people in Gaza after the 22-day war with Israel but will maintain restrictions to prevent any assistance from reaching Hamas, State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood said. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, attending an international conference here to raise funds for the Gaza Strip, will also announce $600 million in assistance to the Palestinian Authority, which is controlled by Fatah, a rival of Hamas that is dominant in the West Bank.

Clinton Starts Mideast Diplomacy With Cash for Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Landler - March 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton embarked on her first foray into Middle East diplomacy on Monday, offering a pledge of $300 million for war-torn Gaza and urging accelerated efforts for peace. Mrs. Clinton was attending an international donors’ conference in this Egypt resort on the Red Sea that may well prove to be the simplest part of a visit to a region shadowed by deep mutual distrust between Israelis and Palestinians and the still-unresolved political situation in Israel.

An Atmosphere Suitable for Palestinian Reconciliation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Elias Harfoush - (Opinion) March 2, 2009 - 1:00am

It is a sizeable and thorny issue with a difficult background of blood, prisoners, mutual accusations, and accusations of treason. Moreover, profound disagreements surround the peace process and the progress of negotiations with Israel, as well as perspectives on the map of Palestine and the borders of an independent state. Yet the step taken towards Palestinian agreement is a much better one than it had previously been. Indeed, the earlier state of affairs would have led the Palestinian national project to suicide.

Dennis Ross: The Most Important Dossier
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed - March 1, 2009 - 1:00am

There are many political envoys in the administration of the new American President, Barack Obama. But assigning diplomat Dennis Ross the dossier of Iran and the Gulf means that his [mission] is the most serious and important of all. Despite the importance of the Arab-Israeli conflict and its historic value, it remains confined to a 35-year-old case, counting the years from the last war that changed the political situation. It can continue as it is, with its disputes and wars confined in the area of its conflicts.

Aid without peace ‘insufficient’: Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
March 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas told international donors gathered in Egypt on Monday that financial aid without an end to the conflict with Israel would be 'insufficient.' "We are all conscious that the reconstruction and development efforts will remain insufficient, powerless and threatened in the absence of a political settlement," Abbas said at the conference in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Billions pledged to rebuild Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
March 3, 2009 - 1:00am

nternational donors have pledged almost $4.5bn (£3.2bn) in aid to the Palestinians, chiefly to rebuild Gaza after Israel's recent offensive. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington would donate $900m, and vigorously seek to advance peace. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas told a summit in Egypt cash was "insufficient" without a political solution. Israel, which has been fighting Gaza militants, refuses to allow building materials into Gaza for reconstruction.

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