Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Washington Post reports from Gaza on the increasing humanitarian toll borne by its civilian residents due to the blockade of the territory (1.) Salon sheds light on the new coalition of the religious right-wing aiming to prevent any return of sharing of Jerusalem with the Palestinians as part of a future peace settlement (3.) The Independent (UK) looks at Saudi reluctance to commit budgetary support to the Abbas/Fayyad government (5.) The Telegraph (UK) reports on statements by Palestinian president Abbas at the Paris donor conference warning of the consequences of insufficient financial support for the Palestinians (7.) An Arab News (Saudi Arabia) opinion by Jonathan Power examines Israel's excessive reliance on military power in the face of an Arab world not posing such a threat (8.) In Miftah, Caelum Moffatt analyzes the challenges facing both the two and one state solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (10.) A Haaretz (Israel) editorial sees the establishment of a Palestinian unity government as the only way to end militant rocket fire into Israel from Gaza (11.) Also in Haaretz is an examination of how the issue of removal of Israeli roadblocks in the occupied West Bank will feature prominently in today's Paris donor conference (13.)

Donors Pledge Aid For Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - December 17, 2007 - 1:18pm

The world rallied to the support of the embattled Palestinian government Monday, and the co-chairman of a donors' conference said he was confident they could meet a $5.6 billion target in aid. World leaders at the conference also urged Israel to ease restrictions on movement in the West Bank and Gaza to make a recovery of the Palestinian economy possible. Some 90 countries and international organizations came together in Paris for the biggest pledging conference in more than a decade.

International Donors Are Cautiously Optimistic On Eve Of Palestinian Aid Meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Howard Lafranchi - December 17, 2007 - 1:19pm

PARIS With Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seeking a large increase in aid for his would-be country, the international community gathers at a donors' conference here Monday to grapple with how to turn the billions of dollars the Palestinians receive into a tool for peace.

Blair Presses Donors To Bankroll Middle East Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Adam Sage - December 17, 2007 - 1:22pm

Tony Blair was seeking to persuade world leaders to provide $5.6 billion (£2.75 billion) in aid to shore up the Palestinian economy and breath life into the revived Middle East peace process at an international donors' conference in Paris today. Britain's former prime minister is joint chairman of the conference, which was billed as a make-or-break event by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President.

Abbas: Palestinians Close To 'catastrophe'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Telegraph
by Richard Holt - December 17, 2007 - 1:23pm

Mahmoud Abbas has urged the international community to increase support for the Palestinians or risk a "total catastrophe" in the occupied territories. The Palestinian president used a donor conference in Paris to appeal for $5.6bn (£2.8bn) in aid by 2010 to help work towards setting up a viable Palestinian state. "Without this support, without the payment of aid that will allow the Palestinian treasury to fulfill its role, we will be facing a total catastrophe in the West Bank and Gaza," Mr Abbas told delegates.

Israel And Iran’s Bomb
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Jonathan Power - (Opinion) December 17, 2007 - 1:24pm

Across most of the political spectrum Israel is in a state of shock. The recently released US National Intelligence Estimate which concludes that Iran probably stopped work on its nuclear bomb back in 2003 has pulled the rug from under Israel’s proclivity to shoot first and ask questions after. The Israeli media and government have done a good hatchet job on the inconsistencies buried within the fine text of the estimate but they have nonetheless got the message that the Bush administration seems intent on delivering.

Pledges To Be Kept
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
December 17, 2007 - 1:25pm

The conference of the 90 donor countries for the Palestinians kicks off today in Paris amidst hopes that investment towards the economic development of the Palestinian territories also will be a critical investment in the peace process.

The Military Option Failed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) December 17, 2007 - 1:26pm

The rain of Qassam rockets on Sderot and other communities in the western Negev has developed into a dangerous routine. This is not just because of the harm to people and property, but because of the growing feeling that Israel sees this strip of land's fate as sealed. To repel this feeling, and especially the accusation that the state is doing nothing to defend its citizens, the Israel Defense Forces and government are disseminating a counterthreat. For weeks, they have been saying that a major assault on Gaza is nearing - a huge blow that will end the Qassam plague once and for all.

Fayyad's Alibi
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - December 17, 2007 - 1:27pm

Today's donors conference to the Palestinian Authority, taking place in Paris, is a time for Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to shine. A mere six months since he was appointed to the post, Fayyad has managed to win the international community's support for the economic plan that is the fruit of his labors.

Israel To Allow Building In Settlements
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Adam Entous - December 18, 2007 - 12:20pm

Israel will allow construction within built up areas of existing Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, but will not expand beyond those areas, Israeli officials said on Monday. The position could widen the rift in U.S.-backed peace talks launched by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Annapolis, Maryland last month.

The Demographic Argument Is Inherently Racist
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Hanan Ashrawi - (Interview) December 18, 2007 - 12:34pm

bitterlemons: Israel's demand to be recognized as a "Jewish state" at Annapolis caused an uproar among Palestinians. This doesn't seem like a new demand, so why the uproar?

Vol. 9, Issue 15
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Americans For Peace Now
by Middle East Peace Report - December 19, 2007 - 3:39pm

THE LEFT BANK: Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad is expected to ask donor states at a conference in Paris today to pledge $5.6 billion over three years in financial assistance to help build the future Palestinian state. The Paris conference is the first forum for international states to make pledges to assist the Palestinian Authority since 1996.

A Total Lack Of Confidence In The Annapolis Process Keeps Hamas’s Popularity Stable Despite Worsening Conditions In The Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Palestinian Center For Policy And Survey Research
December 19, 2007 - 4:05pm

These are the results of the latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during December 11-16, 2007. Total size of the sample is 1270 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 3%. This poll release covers Palestinian domestic issues. A separate joint Palestinian-Israeli press release will cover issues related to the peace process and Israeli-Palestinian relations. For further details, contact PSR director, Dr.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017