Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Associated Press reports on the decision by Israeli and Palestinian leaders to continue working towards a final peace settlement despite the dispute over the Har Homa settlement (2.) The Forward examines efforts by right-wing Jewish American groups and their allies in Congress to abrogate the language of an old Palestinian document despite Israeli and mainstream Jewish American opposition to these efforts (4.) Time Magazine uses the example of the closed soft drinks factory in Gaza to illustrate how the continuing Israeli blockage of the territory is driving moderate Palestinians into the arms of Hamas (5.) A Middle East Times editorial is critical of Israeli settlement activity and checkpoints for side-tracking Israeli-Palestinian negotiations (7.) BBC (UK) reports on efforts by the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to revive peace talks (8.) A Miftah (Palestine) opinion by Ferris professor of journalism at Princeton university Daoud Kuttab analyzes how the recent weakening of the Christian Zionist movement in the United States and its effect on policy towards Israel/Palestine (10.) In Haaretz (Israel) Akiva Eldar is critical of Israeli PM Olmert's reluctance to address the Palestinian prisoner issue in any meaningful way, particularly as the issue is one of great sensitivity to all Palestinians (12.) Also in Haaretz, Shmuel Rosner and Aluf Benn examines how the Annapolis meeting and consequent efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process have exacerbated tensions between U.S. Secretary of State Rice and Israeli PM Olmert (13.) A Jerusalem Post (Israel) opinion by David Kimche hopes that 2008 will prove to be a year where Israeli leaders will rise as statesmen to make peace with the Palestinians (14.)

Rice\'s History Lessons
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
by Daniel Levy - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 2:29pm

With the Annapolis conference and the Paris fund-raising effort to aid the Palestinians behind us, the Middle East peace process is now in need of constant vigilance. President George W. Bush will visit the region in January, but it is Condoleezza Rice who will be looked upon to provide a guiding hand. The new peace effort is very much her baby. A look at the war in Lebanon last summer, and Rice's management of it, provides some clues to the challenges ahead.

Olmert Seeks To Tighten Grip On West Bank Building
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ari Rabinovitch - December 28, 2007 - 4:15pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has ordered the Housing Ministry not to unilaterally issue any additional building permits on occupied land in the West Bank, Israeli officials said on Friday. Olmert was caught off guard by a series of Housing Ministry announcements on settlements that have opened a rift in month-old peace talks with the Palestinians, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

Israeli And Palestinian Leaders Meet To Ease Tensions
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Steven Erlanger - December 28, 2007 - 4:19pm

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, met here on Thursday to try to dispel the tensions of recent days, and they recommitted themselves to refrain from acts that would prejudice a final peace treaty while they try to negotiate one, officials from both sides said.

Olmert, Abbas Try To Revive Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
December 28, 2007 - 4:31pm

Palestinian and Israeli leaders have pledged to press on with peace talks despite a continuing row about Jewish settlement activity. Mahmoud Abbas urged Ehud Olmert to stop building homes for Jews in occupied East Jerusalem, officials said. Israel has said the hundreds of new homes in the Har Homa settlement are within existing boundaries. Follow-up peace efforts since the US-sponsored Annapolis summit last month have been paralysed by the issue.

West Bank Houses "killing Peace Process"
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Sheera Frenkel - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 4:33pm

A meeting between Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, failed yesterday to resolve a growing crisis over the construction of Jewish settlements that has stalled peace negotiations since the Annapolis summit last month. The meeting at Mr Olmert’s Jerusalem residence was the first between the two leaders since the talks in Maryland, where they set the goal of reaching a statehood agreement before President Bush leaves office in January 2009.

The View From Bethlehem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Jonathan Power - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 4:41pm

Perhaps the biggest single irony of Western history is best understood by standing in the town square of Bethlehem, allowing one’s gaze to pass over the rooftop of the church that covers the stable where Jesus was supposedly born, and let one’s eye drift into the blue sky beyond and thinking: how on earth could it be that the Christians, whose belief in the divine centre around Jesus’ crucifixion carried out by Roman soldiers but done at the behest of the Jewish populace, could turn round nearly two millennia later and say to the Jews in effect: we buy the argument that yo

Reconciliation Begins In Prison
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 4:43pm

"I came here today to extend a hand in peace to the Palestinian people and to our neighboring Arab states," the prime minister declared at the start of his speech at Annapolis on November 27. "I have no doubt that the reality created in our region in 1967 will change significantly," Ehud Olmert promised. He knows that "it will be as hard as Hell for some of those among us," but assured his listeners that "we are ready for it."

What's The Hurry?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn And Shmuel Rosner - (Opinion) December 28, 2007 - 4:45pm

The Annapolis summit and the efforts to revive the peace process have exacerbated the tension that already existed between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Olmert's personal charm doesn't work on Rice, and the Prime Minister's Office is anxious about her tendency to push ahead too quickly with political contacts.

Tech Startup Bridges Mideast Divide
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Speigel International
December 31, 2007 - 6:41pm

Zvi Schreiber is a British-born serial entrepreneur who established the headquarters of his latest tech startup, a software company called Global Hosted Operating System (G.ho.st), in Israel last year. G.ho.st has developed a "virtual PC" that saves all of a person's files online so data and programs can be gathered from any computer. As Schreiber sees it, the Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh operating systems that cram applications and documents all inside one physical computer will soon be obsolete.

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