Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The American Prospect examines how funds raised in the U.S. by groups like the Hebron Fund go beyond their ostensible support for Israel and perpetuate the oppressive reality of life for Palestinians in Hebron (1.) A Boston Globe editorial comes out in favor of an ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as a way to end rocket fire against Israel, and possibly being the transformation of Hamas into a political participant in the two-state solution process (3.) The Forward reports on growing U.N. concerns with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza (4.) An International Herald Tribune opinion by Eric Alterman uses the figures of the latest survey of American Jewry to point out the paradox between the values of the American Jewish mainstream and the right-wing in the community that frequently speaks for them (7.) The Economist (UK) examines the prospects of success for President Bush's upcoming tour of Middle East countries (10.) A Gulf News (UAE) opinion by former Pakistan foreign secretary Tanvir Khan analyzes the continuing uncertainty regarding Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking in spite of the positive results of the Annapolis meeting and Paris donor conference (13.) A Haaretz (Israel) opinion by Daniel Gavron urges Israel to remove unmanned roadblocks of no security function in the occupied West Bank (14.) Also in Haaretz, an opinion by U.S. ambassador to Israel Richard Jones details how peace education is critical to supporting and reinforcing Israeli-Palestinian political negotiations (16.)

A Ceasefire From Hamas?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
(Editorial) December 21, 2007 - 3:22pm

THE ISRAELI government reacted warily at first - and understandably so - to the proposal of a ceasefire in Gaza from Ismael Haniyeh, leader of the group Hamas. But after initially rebuffing the offer, Israeli officials are seriously considering it, according to an Israeli television report yesterday. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government would be wise to explore a ceasefire with Hamas, for it could not only save lives but also prepare the way for a comprehensive peace agreement.

Israel Looking At Hamas Truce Idea
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Laurie Copans - December 21, 2007 - 3:23pm

Israel is examining a Hamas truce proposal delivered by Egypt, defense officials said, but violence persisted Friday as a Hamas militant was killed in what the group said was a clash with Israeli troops near the Israel-Gaza border. Israeli calls for cease-fire talks with the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip grew Friday as an Israeli Cabinet minister said he supported such negotiations under certain conditions.

(settlement) Blocks To The Roadmap
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by Sadie Goldman With Jason Proetorius And Ipf Staff - (Analysis) December 21, 2007 - 3:26pm

On the heels of the first meeting of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating team, Israel announced its approval of the construction of 307 new homes in Har Homa, a settlement south of East Jerusalem. The announcement produced strong and negative responses from the European Union, the United Nations, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, all of whom expressed the concern that Israel’s action was contrary to its Roadmap obligations to freeze settlement construction, as confirmed in the agreements reached at Annapolis.

Bad For The Jews
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
(Opinion) December 21, 2007 - 3:28pm

Today's topic is the paradox - or one of them, anyway - of American Jewish political behavior. No, it's not that hoary old cliché that they "earn like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans." Rather, it's that they think like enlightened liberals yet allow belligerent right-wingers and neocons who frequently demonize, distort and denounce their values to speak for them in the U.S. political arena.

Kosovo's Independence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Dinah Spritzer - December 21, 2007 - 3:31pm

Hashim Thaci may be the tough-talking prime minister of Kosovo and ex-commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army, but he gushes over Israel like a kid recalling a trip to Disney World. "I love Israel. What a great country. Kosovo is a friend of Israel," the grinning Thaci, 39, tells JTA in a Pristina hotel crowned by a miniature statue of liberty. "I met so many great leaders when I was there -- Netanyahu, Sharon — I really admire them," Thaci continued, referring to former Israeli prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon.

Farewell Tour
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
December 21, 2007 - 3:33pm

George Bush is heading to the Middle East The US president, George W Bush, is planning an eight-day visit to the Middle East in early January in a bid to salvage some positive achievements from his administration's largely dismal legacy to the region. The main purpose of the visit will be to try to maintain the momentum of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process relaunched at last month's Annapolis conference. A subsidiary theme will be an effort to stiffen the resolve of the US's principal Arab allies in the face of Iran's perceived drive for regional hegemony.

The Other Middle East Conflict: Israel Vs. Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Stephen D. Hayes - December 21, 2007 - 3:36pm

The Annapolis Middle East conference has now come and gone. There is not enough political capital or “time left on the clock” in Washington for this initiative to be of much value. But, the initiative can serve as a useful catalyst to showcase another dimension of the struggle in the region.

Start With The Unmanned Roadblocks!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Daniel Gavron - December 21, 2007 - 3:39pm

This week's request from French President Nicholas Sarkozy, made at the conference of nations donating money to the Palestinian Authority, that Israel remove the roadblocks in the West Bank is hardly new. World Bank reports have been saying for years that the roadblocks are a major impediment to Palestinian economic development. Tony Blair, the Quartet's special envoy, one of whose briefs is to help develop the Palestinian economy, has also made the same point several times.

Constructing The Defenses Of Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Richard Jones - December 21, 2007 - 3:40pm

The American poet and public figure Archibald MacLeish once wrote that "since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed." These words, subsequently incorporated into the preamble of UNESCO's 1945 constitution, remain as relevant today as they were when they were penned during the waning days of World War II.

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