Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Washington Post reports from the occupied West Bank on how Israel's separation barrier has decimated Palestinian businesses and the economy (1.) The Associated Press examines differences in the hardline and pragmatic forces within Hamas concerning the Gaza takeover, that surfaced in a letter from the former Hamas government spokesperson calling the takeover a mistake (3.) In Middle East Progress, ATFP president Asali identifies the measures for success at the fall Annapolis Mideast meeting and the critical role of the United States in pushing all parties to meet these measures (5.) The Guardian (UK) looks at the debate in Israel over the release of a report on the abuse of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers (7.) An Arab News (Saudi Arabia ) editorial offers a critical assessment of the effectiveness of the Middle East Quartet to-date (10.) In BitterLemons (Israel/Palestine), former Palestinian minister of planning Ghassan Khatib argues for the lowering of expectations regarding the fall meeting (11.) A Haaretz (Israel) opinion by Akiva Eldar takes the Israeli Left to task for not insisting that Israeli PM Olmert follow up his statements in favor of peace with actions on the ground (13.)

Disagreements In Hamas Camps Laid Bare
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - October 22, 2007 - 1:09pm

Four months after the Hamas takeover of Gaza, the usually hidden arguments between the group's rival camps were unexpectedly laid bare, when a well-known pragmatist said seizing control by force was a mistake and had caused great hardship. Hamas hard-liners, however, still appear to have the upper hand. In a five-page letter posted Sunday on a Web site affiliated with Hamas' rival, Fatah, former Hamas government spokesman Ghazi Hamad wrote that the takeover was a "serious strategic mistake that burdened the movement more than it can bear."

School Crosses Religious Divide To Teach Children A Lesson In Unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - October 22, 2007 - 1:22pm

When she told her cousin that her 12-year-old Jewish schoolfriend had slept over at her house one night, Aeen, an Arab-Israeli schoolgirl, was shocked at the response.

Quartet In The Dock
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) October 22, 2007 - 1:23pm

If the UN withdraws from it, the damage done to the Quartet might not be extensive, seeing how insipid the group’s members have been thus far in their attempts to break ground in the Palestinian-Israeli impasse. Still, a dropout would be considered a serious blow to peace efforts. The possible UN departure from the Quartet makes the outlook for the major US-sponsored peace conference between the Palestinians and Israel, expected next month, even bleaker than at present.

Lower Expectations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) October 22, 2007 - 1:25pm

On one level, the American initiative to convene a peace meeting at Annapolis marks a positive transformation in the American approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. But on another, it reflects a continuation of the past.

While Olmert Was Talking
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) October 22, 2007 - 1:29pm

Veteran activists of the left who have met Ehud Olmert recently report that the prime minister is determined to pull out from the territories and bring the conflict to an end. They say Olmert recognizes that a failure of the Israeli-Palestinian-American summit in Annapolis means a victory for the extremists of the settlements, Hamas and Iran. They say that were it only up to him, the prime minister would make a deal with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestine: A Policy Of Deliberate Blindness
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Le Monde Diplomatique
by RĂ©gis Debray - (Opinion) October 22, 2007 - 2:49pm

Dennis Ross, formerly the United States envoy to the Middle East, admitted back in 2000 that mistakes had been made in the 1978 Camp David accords: the diplomatic process had not taken enough account of developments on the ground, especially the settlements. The number of Jewish settlers in the Palestinian territories doubled from 1994 to 2000. As many Israelis have settled in the West Bank since the Oslo accords of 1993 as in the previous 25 years. With an international conference again being discussed, it would be a mistake to continue to ignore the real state of affairs.

Mideast Agreement Must Pass Israeli Vote
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Mark Lavie - October 24, 2007 - 10:29am

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has pledged to seek parliamentary approval for any significant agreement with the Palestinians, including the joint declaration of principles he is trying to reach ahead of a U.S.-sponsored Mideast conference later this year, according to a letter released Monday. Approval would be far from automatic if the declaration commits Israel to giving up parts of Jerusalem or other main concessions sought by the Palestinians. Hawkish parties in Olmert's coalition have threatened to bring his government down if he agrees to such steps.

It's Islamo-fascism Awareness Week!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Nation
by Barbara Ehrenreich - (Opinion) October 24, 2007 - 10:31am

I've never been able to explain Halloween to the kids, with its odd thematic confluence of pumpkins, candy and death. But Halloween is a piece of pumpkin cake compared to Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, which commences today. In this special week, organized by conservative pundit David Horowitz, we have a veritable witches' brew of Cheney-style anti-jihadism mixed in with old-fashioned, right-wing anti-feminism and a sour dash of anti-Semitism.

With Book, Foxman Grabs Lead Role
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ami Eden - (Interview) October 24, 2007 - 10:33am

As patrons filed into Manhattan's 92nd Street Y to catch a sold-out appearance by Larry David, the scene outside was producing a punchline straight out of his HBO sitcom "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

Persona Non Grata In Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Conal Urquhart - (Special Report) October 24, 2007 - 10:34am

At the end of the afternoon, Rami Ayad said goodbye to his fellow workers at Gaza's Bible Society and headed home. He never got there. In the hours after Mr Ayad's failed to return home, his wife and his brother spoke to him on his mobile phone. Both were concerned that something was wrong. His brother, Ramzi, said he had heard fear in his voice. Later, Rami called his wife and told her he was in a faraway place and would be very late; the next morning, his body was found in a street. He had been stabbed several times and shot in the head.

Middle East Modesty
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Korean Times
by Richard N. Haass - (Opinion) October 24, 2007 - 10:41am

"Ripeness is all," concludes Edgar in King Lear. I will leave it to Shakespeare scholars to decipher what he had in mind. But for diplomats and historians, understanding the concept of ripeness is central to their jobs: it refers to how ready a negotiation or conflict is to be resolved.

The Us Should Submit A Dop
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Oded Eran - (Opinion) October 24, 2007 - 10:42am

It is too late to question the wisdom of floating the idea of a Middle East "meeting". The challenge now is to manage or minimize the potential liabilities and damages that may result from either holding the meeting in Annapolis without ensuring in advance even a limited success, or postponing it sine dei.

Peacemaking Truths And Lies
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Gershon Baskin - (Opinion) October 24, 2007 - 10:48am

For 60 years Palestinian and Arab leaders have been lying to their people. Creating and sustaining the lie that the Palestinian refugees of 1948 would return to their original homes and lands makes it almost impossible for President Mahmoud Abbas to reach an agreement with Israel on this, the most central issue in the conflict.

A Minimum Strategic Goal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Daoub Kuttab - (Opinion) October 24, 2007 - 2:45pm

In all previous attempts at negotiations with Israel, Palestinians have never made any real breakthrough. Progress has only been made on procedural or superficial issues, even if expectations were always raised unreasonably high, which in turn created exaggerated hopes for the peace process. This has been the case since the Madrid peace conference and was true of the Oslo process. Throughout, the Palestinian position was in permanent retreat and concessions were offered Israel at no cost.

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