Secretary Rice fights peace-process inertia
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - November 9, 2008 - 8:00pm

Inertia, history shows, can be a dangerous thing in the Middle East. It leaves room for radicals and rockets to reset the agenda. That's why US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice – and members of The Quartet – were in Egypt Sunday: To keep the peace train running, or at least to keep its engine warm. "I believe that the Annapolis process is now the international community's answer and the parties' answer to how we finally end the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis," Rice told reporters afterward.

Hamas and the Art of Time-Wasting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - November 9, 2008 - 8:00pm

An official Egyptian statement released the day before yesterday expressed regret over Hamas's decision to boycott the reconciliation talks with Fatah in Cairo and in the process wasting an opportunity for national unity, despite the strenuous efforts exerted by the Egyptians the statement said. But the question here is; what's new about that?

Rice Visits West Bank City; U.S. Announces Aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - November 7, 2008 - 8:00pm

In the first visit by an American secretary of state to the city of Jenin, a once-infamous hub of Palestinian militancy, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sought to strike a positive chord at the close of what will probably be her last official trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Ms. Rice has acknowledged that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is unlikely to achieve its goal of an agreement by the end of the year and has devoted this trip to other aspects of the process, chiefly the building of reliable Palestinian institutions in preparation for a state.

Fatah and Hamas in unity government talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy - November 6, 2008 - 8:00pm

The rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah will meet in Cairo on Sunday for the first time in more than a year in an Egyptian-led effort to agree a unified government and end their divisions. Egyptian officials have prepared an outline deal that would include a "national reconciliation government", but it is short on details and could take weeks of negotiation. The last effort at a unity government, arranged by the Saudis in February 2007, collapsed and the factions reverted to a near civil war until Hamas seized full control of Gaza months later.

Hamas says W. Bank arrests could harm unity talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

Hamas said Tuesday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's security forces had arrested 170 of its members in the West Bank in the past four weeks in a campaign that could hamper Egyptian-sponsored unity talks. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said the detentions could "poison the atmosphere and block the way" toward reconciliation with Abbas's Fatah faction, which lost control of the Gaza Strip to the Islamist group in fighting in June 2007. The latest arrests, Abu Zuhri said, raised the number of Hamas members detained by forces loyal to Abbas to at least 400 in the past year.

'Plan to end Hamas-Fatah rift reached'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - October 26, 2008 - 8:00pm

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced Monday that he has reached an agreement with Egypt on ways of ending the Hamas-Fatah power struggle and achieving reconciliation among all Palestinian factions. However, Abbas did not give details about the agreement. He is scheduled to fly to Saudi Arabia to brief the Saudi leaders on the latest developments surrounding the crisis with Hamas and the political turmoil in Israel following Tzipi Livni's decision to call early elections.

Chances for peace emerge in Mideast clashes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - October 23, 2008 - 8:00pm

Both Israel and the United States soon will have new leaders at the helm. The Palestinians, too, are facing possible elections. During such transitional times for the three major players in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, few expected any concrete steps toward peace. But a new calm has emerged in the cross-border battle between Gazan militants and the Israeli army, Palestinian rival factions Fatah and Hamas are preparing for reconciliation talks, and on Thursday in Egypt Israeli President Shimon Peres backed the "spirit" of a 2002 Arab initiative that maps out regional peace.

Abbas 'Changing Old Guard' With Removal of Intel Chief
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
by Sana Abdallah - October 22, 2008 - 8:00pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has sacked his intelligence chief in the West Bank, Brig-Gen. Tawfiq al-Tirawi, in a move widely believed to be part of security reforms linked to ensuring the success of upcoming reconciliation talks between rival Fatah and Hamas in Cairo next month.

Hamas backs Egypt's plan for thaw with Fatah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
October 21, 2008 - 8:00pm

Hamas gave its tentative support Tuesday to an Egyptian plan to reconcile the Islamist movement and the rival Fatah faction of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas amid a looming constitutional crisis. "We will agree to the draft of the agreement and will not reject it," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum told AFP, but he added that the plan would require some "modification" before it could be implemented. "The draft contains positive elements, but also has some points that need modification and some points that need clarification from the Egyptian leadership," he said.

Israeli, Egyptian leaders to meet on Mideast peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Aron Heller - October 21, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli President Shimon Peres will discuss an Arab proposal for comprehensive Mideast peace when he meets with Egypt's leader this week, Peres' office said Wednesday. Peres has been promoting the Saudi initiative recently because Israel's separate peace talks with Syria and the Palestinians appear to be making little progress. Peres spokeswoman Ayelet Frisch confirmed the Arab peace plan would "come up" when he meets President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt on Thursday.

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