Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Christian Science Monitor examines how Bush administration goals and policies for the Middle East have evolved over the years (2.) The Washington Post looks at the different reasons for the faltering peace process following the Annapolis meeting (4.) The Los Angeles Times reports on mixed feelings among Israelis regarding his support for Israel and the consequences of U.S. Mideast policies for their country (5.) In the New Republic, WINEP counselor and fellow Dennis Ross urges President Bush to work with Israelis and Palestinians on adopting modest and achievable steps towards peace that can be built upon with progress and revive both publics' faiths in a negotiated settlement (7.) The Jewish Telegraphic Agency examines how this week's trip to Israel and Palestine by President Bush might be used to exert some pressure on Israel on the issue of settlements (8.) The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) looks at the Israeli Defense Ministry's opposition to the publication of an official government report revealing greater settlement activity than admitted (9.) BBC (UK) analyzes the timing of the Bush trip to Israel and Palestine, seven years after he became president (11.) Asharq Alawsat (pan Arab) examines how efforts to reconcile Fatah and Hamas have not yielded progress to-date (14.) A Haaretz (Israel) editorial is critical of the Olmert government for only utilizing military means to deal with the Hamas issue while neglecting offering Palestinians a diplomatic horizon to a future state (16.)

Bush To Visit An Ambivalent Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Bourdreaux - January 8, 2008 - 6:06pm

For seven years, President Bush has been a distant defender of Israel, working from Washington to tilt America's policies in the Middle East more firmly behind its longtime ally. When he arrives here Wednesday on his first presidential visit, however, Bush will find an ambivalent Israeli public. It is appreciative of his efforts, yet critical of U.S. setbacks that have made the region feel more threatening.

Politics & Policies: Mideast More Unstable
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
by Claude Salhani - (Opinion) January 8, 2008 - 6:07pm

It is under a cloud of heavy pessimism that U.S. President George W. Bush leaves for the Middle East, a region that one former administration official described as today being more dangerous, unstable and problematical for the United States than since before the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the former high-ranking member of the Bush administration said that most of the trends are bad and are not likely to get better anytime soon. "That's the context under which the president departs," he said.

Baby Steps
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New Republic
by Dennis Ross - (Commentary) January 8, 2008 - 6:08pm

To: President George W. Bush From: Dennis Ross Subject: This week's visit with the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority Mr. President, no doubt you have received many briefings on this topic, but having negotiated with everybody you will be seeing this week and having just returned from the area, I would like to convey a few impressions that I hope will be of use to you.

Ahead Of Visit, Bush Talks Israel Ties -- And Pressure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - January 8, 2008 - 6:09pm

The message from the White House on the eve of President Bush's first presidential visit to Israel is that his staunch support for the Jewish state has set the stage for peace -- and given him room to exert some pressure on Jerusalem. Bush launches an eight-day tour of the region on Wednesday, beginning with three days in Israel and the West Bank and continuing to Persian Gulf states, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Bush And The Mid-east Legacy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
by Matthew Price - January 8, 2008 - 6:12pm

A year before George W Bush hands over the reins of power in Washington DC to his successor, he is embarking on his first trip as president to Israel and the Palestinian territories.   The question though has to be, why only now? After all, this is a president who has made much during his time in power of his commitment to the creation of an independent Palestinian state living alongside Israel. Is the timing just a simple case of an unpopular president desperately seeking a legacy?

Bush's Middle East Peace Mission Gets Off To A Shaky Start
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Richard Beeston - January 8, 2008 - 6:13pm

President Bush’s peace mission to the Middle East is in trouble even before the US leader sets off for Jerusalem today on his maiden visit to the Holy Land. Violence has broken out between Israel and Islamic militants on two fronts, peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians have faltered and there are real fears that the situation in the region could deteriorate sharply.

Hamas And Fatah Still At Loggerheads
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Manal Lutfi - January 8, 2008 - 6:15pm

Officials of the Palestinian opposition factions in Damascus have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat their plans to hold a Palestinian national conference on 23 January to discuss the issue of the Palestinian refugees and Palestinian national rights. The officials said that most Palestinian factions will attend the conference but that the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine will not attend. They pointed out that it is likely that the Fatah Movement, which has received an invitation, will attend the meeting.

Border Control / But He Loves Me The Most
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) January 8, 2008 - 6:16pm

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's aides are not hiding their mission to get U.S. President George W. Bush to help rescue Olmert from the claws of the Winograd Committee. If it were up to them, Olmert would follow Bush even into the bedroom. In preparatory talks with the U.S.

Neither Carrot Nor Stick
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) January 8, 2008 - 6:16pm

It is illogical to wait for the day a rocket falls on a kindergarten in Sderot and claims many victims. Every Qassam rocket is a strike on a kindergarten avoided by chance, and every rocket that falls in Israeli territory is a strike against the sovereignty of the state. When the fortification of Sderot against rockets becomes the fortification of Ashkelon against rockets, the lack of logic in the tactic of fortification becomes clear.

Bush's Trip To Mideast To Test His Credibility
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Usa Today
by Charles Levinson - January 9, 2008 - 6:06pm

President Bush is due in the Middle East on Wednesday to try to rekindle hope for a lasting peace, but first he'll have to win over skeptics such as Ghazi Bustami. "For seven years, Bush served Israel and made war," says Bustami, 31, the portly, soft-spoken Palestinian owner of a TV repair shop in this West Bank city. "Now with a few months left in his presidency he thinks of the Palestinians. But it's too late."

Egypt's Tunnels Sustaining Hamas Economy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Erica Silverman - January 9, 2008 - 6:08pm

An elaborate network of tunnels from Egypt has become the primary transport route for commercial goods entering the Gaza Strip, enabling the area's Hamas rulers to maintain a rudimentary economy in the face of an Israeli embargo. Food products, machinery parts, raw materials and even antibiotics are delivered to Gaza through the tunnels, subject to fees from private families that own some of the passages and to taxes by Hamas. Other smuggled products range from cigarettes to mobile phones.

Bush Must Dispense Bitter Pills For Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Zbigniew Brzezinski - (Commentary) January 9, 2008 - 6:17pm

President George W. Bush embarks this week on a trip to the Middle East that may determine how history judges his legacy. So far, it is safe to say that the judgment will be largely negative. Mr Bush’s foreign policy has undermined America’s global legitimacy, not to mention his own credibility. He has plunged the US into a protracted conflict in the Gulf region while neglecting the increasingly ominous al-Qaeda challenges in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Last, global public opinion has turned against the US.

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