Middle East News: World Press Roundup

A New York Times editorial emphasizes the importance of matching financial assistance to the Palestinians with diplomatic progress in negotiations towards a final peace settlement (2.) Reuters reports on an Israeli housing ministry preliminary proposal on further settlement expansion in the Qalandia area of the occupied West Bank (4.) Americans For Peace Now present their weekly translated excerpts from the Israeli press (6.) A Toronto Star (Canada) editorial (8) and a Miftah (Palestine) opinion by Caelum Moffatt (13) join the chorus of newspapers urging Israeli easing of Palestinian movement restrictions to take advantage of funds pledged at the Paris donor conference (8.) The Australian (Australia) interviews Israeli Labor party minister Isaac Herzog on the parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and the obstacles to achieving it (11.) Palestine Center for Policy and Survey Research presents its latest poll of the Palestinian people revealing a stabilization of support for Hamas due to a lack of public confidence in the Annapolis meeting (14.) A Haaretz (Israel) opinion by Nehemiah Shtrasler takes the Israeli media to task for a 'double standard' in reporting on the issue of Gaza and militant rocket fire out of it directed against Israel (15.) A Jerusalem Post (Israel) opinion by Michael Felsen urges American Jews, Israelis and Palestinians to acknowledge mistakes in their dealings with each other (17.)

Down Payment On Mideast Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) December 19, 2007 - 3:07pm

The political and territorial challenges facing Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators are formidable and familiar. The economic obstacles to the creation of a viable Palestinian state are also formidable, but easier to make a dent in — if all the donors who claim to care about the Palestinians and peace live up to their promises.

Palestinian Militants Die In Israeli Strikes On Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Rushdi Abu Alouf, Ken Ellingwood - (Special Report) December 19, 2007 - 3:08pm

Israel on Tuesday carried out more airstrikes against Palestinian rocket squads based in the Gaza Strip, killing at least six more militants a day after slaying Islamic Jihad's military chief. Israeli air operations have killed at least 11 militants since Monday evening. Most belonged to Islamic Jihad, which has claimed responsibility for dozens of cross-border rocket attacks into southern Israel in recent months.

Israeli Plan For Homes Near Jerusalem Under Fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Adam Entous, Ari Rabinovitch - December 19, 2007 - 3:36pm

Israel's Housing Ministry has drawn up a preliminary proposal to build new homes on occupied land near Jerusalem but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said on Wednesday the plan has not been authorised. The issue of Israeli settlement building in the Jerusalem area has clouded renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians launched at a U.S.-sponsored conference last month.

A Second Win For Ms. Rice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Baltimore Sun
(Editorial) December 19, 2007 - 3:37pm

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was as successful in passing the hat for the Palestinians this week as she was in persuading reluctant Arab leaders to attend last month's peace summit. She had to be because the limited progress made at the Annapolis meeting isn't going to be enough to sustain peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority without improvements in the daily lives of its citizens.

Egypt: Israel Recognised By Govt, Not By People
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Khaled Moussa Al-omrani, Adam Morrow - December 19, 2007 - 3:40pm

Thirty years after late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat's historic trip to Israel, Egyptian diplomatic relations with the Hebrew state remain cordial. On a popular level, however, the relationship -- buttressed by the 1979 Camp David peace agreement -- still represents a major source of contention. "The so-called peace between Egypt and Israel continues to lack popular approval," Ahmed Thabet, professor of political science at Cairo University told IPS. "Meanwhile, Israel has exploited the situation to maintain racist, expansionist policies."

Funding Mideast Hope
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Star
(Editorial) December 19, 2007 - 3:42pm

Canada and the world have just cast a vote of confidence in the Mideast peace process by pledging $7.4 billion in aid to the Palestinians at a donors conference in Paris. The show of generosity surprised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who had asked for $2 billion less.

Jerusalem: What's In Your Fridge?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
December 19, 2007 - 3:43pm

As part of the BBC's season looking at sustainable food, we take a peek in the fridges of people in cities around the world and ask what motivates their food choices. Khalil Abu Arqub is a 50-year-old Palestinian headmaster who lives in Jerusalem. Contents: tomatoes, peppers, lemon, cucumber, bananas, apples, hummous, labneh (yoghurt), tuna, spam, sugary water (for Arabic desserts), potatoes, pepper sauce (for chicken) and ketchup. In the freezer are 2kg of chicken and 2kg of chicken liver.

Much European Ado About Nothing In Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) December 19, 2007 - 4:02pm

I was in Germany talking to Europeans involved in Middle East issues during the run-up to the Paris conference on Palestinian aid, which on Monday pledged $7.4 billion over three years to the Palestinian half-government headed by President Mahmoud Abbas. Europeans seem again to respond to the challenges of engaging in the Arab-Israeli conflict with their usual financial generosity and political wishful thinking.

Will Donor Dollars Ensure Future State?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Miftah
by Caelum Moffatt - December 19, 2007 - 4:04pm

On December 17, the highly anticipated day-long donor’s conference commenced in Paris. The conference, brainchild of Middle East envoy Tony Blair and attended by 70 countries and 20 organizations, aimed at providing a monetary basis to reform and develop the dire economic situation in Palestine as well as to set the conditions for the creation of a secure, stable and sustainable Palestinian state.

So What Have We Done To Them
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nehemia Shtrasler - December 19, 2007 - 4:06pm

An old Jewish joke tells of a devoted mother who briefs her son before he sets out to battle: "Kill a Turk and rest," she advises. But the son asks: "And what happens if in fact the Turk tries to kill me?" She opens her eyes wide in surprise: "Why would he want to kill you? What have you done to him?"

Looking For A Home In Pisgat Ze'ev
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Danny Rubenstein - December 19, 2007 - 4:07pm

The separation fence surrounding eastern Jerusalem winds north of the city among the crowded houses of the Dahit al-Barid neighborhood. The wall is not finished and, in a few places, there are openings enabling passage (which confirms the graffiti drawn nearby by an Israeli tagger, "Yoram Arbel was right," i.e., this is not how you build a wall).

Hamas Calls For Truce With Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Sarah El Deeb - December 20, 2007 - 4:43pm

On Islam's most important holiday, the leader of Gaza's Hamas government appealed Wednesday for a cease-fire with Israel and said his people — battered by Israeli military strikes and international sanctions — are greeting this year's feast with "tears in our eyes." Hamas until it renounces violence and recognizes Israel, though one Cabinet minister said Israel might consider outside mediation with the Islamic militants.

Israeli Operations In Gaza Meet Little Resistance In Washington
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - December 20, 2007 - 4:46pm

As Israel stepped up air attacks on Gaza this week, the Bush administration refrained from blocking any measures or criticizing Israel’s activity. The Israeli Air Force last week renewed the practice known as “targeted killing” against members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in Gaza. Israeli officials have said in recent weeks that if rocket fire against Israeli towns is not stopped, further escalation might be imminent, including a full-scale ground incursion into the Hamas-controlled strip.

U.n. Advocates For Gazans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Marc Perelman - December 21, 2007 - 3:24pm

The top humanitarian official at the United Nations said he found “shocking” the lack of international attention to the worsening situation in Gaza, which was caused by the Israeli blockade since Hamas took over the territory last June.

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