In Gaza, Hamas Finds Popularity Waning
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from National Public Radio (NPR)
by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro - October 27, 2009 - 12:00am

It has been more than two years since the militant Palestinian group Hamas took over the Gaza Strip after a short but bloody war with the rival Fatah movement, which rules the West Bank. Since then, Hamas has been consolidating its political power. But the recent conflict with Israel and Gaza's continuing isolation are taking a toll on the group's popularity on the streets.

Opportunities Fade Amid Sense of Isolation in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - (Analysis) October 26, 2009 - 12:00am

The bank executive sits in a suit and tie behind his broad empty desk with plenty of time to talk. Almost no loans are being issued or corporate plans made. The Texas-trained engineer closed his firm because nothing is being built. The business student who dreamed of attending an American university — filling a computer file with meticulous hopes and plans — has stopped dreaming. He goes from school to a part-time job to home, where he joins his merchant father who sits unemployed.

PA seeks to reverse Gaza fuel terminal closure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 24, 2009 - 12:00am

Nathmi Mhanna, the Palestinian Authority's head of borders and crossings, said he and others were working hard to thwart Israel's recently announced plan to shut down Gaza's main fuel terminal. Israel's military said on Thursday is planned to close the Nahal Oz crossing, which is the only border terminal staffed jointly by Israelis and Palestinians as per previously signed agreements with the PA. In an interview, Mhanna said Israel was seeking to shut down the crossing due to unspecified security concerns voiced by individual soldiers.

Goods Flood Gaza’s Tunnels, Turning Border Area Into a Shopping Mecca
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Rafah Journal
by Taghreed El-Khodary - October 21, 2009 - 12:00am

RAFAH, Gaza — Dusty sacks filled with cans of Coca-Cola were being loaded onto trucks by young boys, headed for supermarkets in Gaza City. Thousands of motorcycles were lined up on display in a nearby stadium, ranging in price from $2,000 to $10,000.

Global promises to restore Gaza `dreams, illusion'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Star
by Linda Gradstein - October 8, 2009 - 12:00am

GAZA CITY, GAZA–Almost 10 months after the end of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, a cherry-red bulldozer is scooping up huge chunks of concrete and twisted metal struts at what used to be the Palestinian security forces headquarters. While some of the rubble has been cleared and trucked to southern Gaza, many half-destroyed buildings are still standing and almost no reconstruction has been done. According to United Nations estimates, some 4,000 homes were destroyed in the 22-day Israeli bombardment and 17,000 were partially destroyed.

What to Do With Hamas? Question Snarls Peace Bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider - October 7, 2009 - 12:00am

In the two years since it seized power here, the militant Hamas movement has undercut the influence of the Gaza Strip's major clans, brought competing paramilitary groups under its control, put down an uprising by a rival Islamist group, weathered a three-week war with Israel, worked around a strict economic embargo -- and through it all refused a set of international demands that could begin Gaza's rehabilitation.

Hamas Finds Gaza Tunnels’ $500 Million Loss Worse Than Madoff
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bloomberg
by Jonathan Ferziger - October 7, 2009 - 12:00am

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Investment opportunities are rare in the Gaza Strip. So when Nabila Ghabin saw one last year, she pawned her car and jewelry and put $12,000 into a network of tunnels that brought in supplies smuggled from Egypt. She was one of about 4,000 Gazans who gave cash to middlemen and tunnel operators in 2008 as Israel blocked the overland passage of goods. Then Israeli warplanes bombed the tunnels before and during the Dec. 27 to Jan. 18 Gaza offensive and the investments collapsed.

UN: number of `abject poor' in Gaza triples
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Ben Hubbard - October 2, 2009 - 12:00am

The number of Gazans living in "abject" poverty has tripled this year to 300,000, or one in five residents, the Gaza head of the U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees said Thursday. Gaza's economy has foundered under an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade imposed after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007 from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. John Ging, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency's top official in Gaza, called the rise in poverty a "predictable consequence" of the border blockade.

Israel ramps up efforts to block Hamas fund-raising network
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer - September 29, 2009 - 12:00am

The defense establishment recently relaunched its campaign with its Western partners to block Hamas' fund-raising network, Haaretz has learned. The government, meanwhile, is considering launching an awareness campaign to highlight the link between fund-raising for Palestinian causes and terror funding. Israeli efforts have had some success in recent years, when Western governments forced certain charity organizations to reveal their records and sever ties with the Charity Coalition, the umbrella organization for groups that raise funds for Hamas abroad.

At Gaza's only spa, the well-heeled find relief
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by Joseph Krauss, Mai Yaghi - September 17, 2009 - 12:00am

High above the pot-holed streets, donkey carts and militant graffiti that have come to define the besieged Gaza Strip sits Rosy, the territory's only spa and a refuge for its unlikely upper crust. The spa's luxurious setting and its upscale clientele stand in stark contrast to the poverty gripping the war-battered Palestinian territory of 1.5 million people, the vast majority of whom rely on foreign aid. "We have the highest quality services in the region," says Mohammed Faris, who launched the spa with his British wife in 1999.

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