Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Associated Press reports on continuing Israeli-Palestinian talks aimed at producing a joint document at the Mideast fall meeting (2.) A Forward opinion by Leonard Fein examines the 'psychic dissonance' that is characteristic of an American Jewish community that both supports a two-state solution yet are resistant to assigning any blame to Israel for actions undermining such a solution (3.) Inter Press Service looks at the discrimination and marginalization facing the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon (6.) In the Guardian (UK), filmmaker Clancy Chassay goes to Gaza to witness a debate on the issues that divide the organization (9.) In The Times (UK), former BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston recounts the 144 days he spent as a hostage in Gaza (10.) In Dar Al Hayat (Lebanon) Raghida Dergham contrasts the Mideast fall meeting with the 'Damascus Conference' planned as a counter, suggesting ways for the fall meeting to succeed (12.) Haaretz (Israel) analyzes as two-fold Israel's reasons for imposing further sanctions against the Gaza Strip (15.)

Realizing God's Dream For The Holy Land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
by Desmond Tutu - (Opinion) October 26, 2007 - 5:42pm

WHENEVER I am asked if I am optimistic about an end to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, I say that I am not. Optimism requires clear signs that things are changing - meaningful words and unambiguous actions that point to real progress. I do not yet hear enough meaningful words, nor do I yet see enough unambiguous deeds to justify optimism.

Israel Oks Gaza Electricity Cutoffs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
October 26, 2007 - 5:43pm

Israel approved Thursday a plan to start punitive disruptions of the Gaza Strip's scarce supplies of electricity in response to rocket attacks from the Palestinian territory. Israeli officials, noting that Palestinian militants fire rockets across the border almost daily, said the sanctions could start anytime. The plan calls for initial power cutoffs of 15 minutes, followed by increasingly longer ones each time more rockets fall.

Lebanon: Palestinian Refugees Face Systematic Discrimination
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Simba Russeau - October 26, 2007 - 5:45pm

Denied access to social services, education, adequate housing and employment, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon continue to suffer discrimination and marginalisation. More than half of the 400,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have been forced to live in segregated ghettos since they were forced to flee their lands and homes after the creation of Israel in 1948.

The Good Guys Come Out To Play
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
(Opinion) October 26, 2007 - 5:46pm

One of the comments about Middle East policy that one hears from Senators, House Members and staff with ever-growing frequency is: "Why are obstructionist hawks so forceful a presence on Capitol Hill when they represent only a minority of the community?”  One can hardly exaggerate how often this question is posed to us -- albeit only by those who feel confident that we will not "blow the whistle" on them by publicizing their doubts about the long-standing U.S. approach to the Middle East.  

Inside Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Clancy Chassay - (Special Report) October 26, 2007 - 5:50pm

In the long shadows of early dusk, a large black Mercedes with blacked-out windows picked me up from my hotel and whisked me through Gaza City's dusty, sullied streets. The roads, strewn with rubbish, were largely empty: Gaza was preparing for an Israeli incursion and the routine was familiar.

I Had A Great Sense Of Being At The Very Lowest Point Of My Life
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Alan Johnston - (Special Report) October 26, 2007 - 5:52pm

It had begun out in the spring sunshine, on the streets of Gaza City. A saloon car had suddenly surged past mine, and then pulled up, forcing me to stop. A young man emerged from the passenger side and pointed a pistol at me. The figure with the pistol and another gunman forced me into their car, and as we sped off I was made to lie on the back seat. A hood had been shoved over my face, but through it I could see the sun flickering between the tower blocks. I could tell that we were heading south and east, towards the city’s rougher neighbourhoods.

The Damascus Conference Versus The Conference Of The Fall Grandstanding At The Expense Of The Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al Hayat
(Opinion) October 26, 2007 - 5:56pm

The secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, presented an important report to the Security Council this week. The report returns to the forefront the issue of disarming Hizbullah as a cornerstone to enabling the Lebanese state to recover full sovereignty over its territory. Ki-moon called for implementing the commitment to dismantle all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias and disarm the Palestinian militias operating in Lebanon. He asked Syria and Iran to cooperate in this effort and halt all military supplies and support for these militias.

To Speak Again In One Voice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) October 26, 2007 - 5:59pm

A new Amnesty International report has condemned both Fateh and Hamas for human rights abuses during their infighting this year, which peaked when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in June. Both sides were guilty of harming civilians and of extrajudicial executions and physical torture, the report found, and its authors urged both sides to act to prevent any repetition and punish abusers.

Squeezing Gaza / Stop Sign Between Abbas And Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel And Avi Issacharoff - (Opinion) October 26, 2007 - 6:02pm

There is an enormous gap between the reasons Israel is giving for the decision to impose significant sanctions against Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip, and the real intentions behind them. Defense Minister Ehud Barak yesterday authorized a plan for disrupting electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, as well as significantly shrinking fuel shipments. This is supposed to reduce the number of Qassam rocket attacks against Sderot and the other border communities. In practice, defense officials believe that the Palestinian militants will intensify their attacks in response to the sanctions.

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