Middle East News: World Press Roundup

USA Today analyzes whether the United States can still be an effective peace broker between Israelis and despite events that have deteriorated the standing of the U.S. in the region in the light of the current trip by President Bush to the region (2.) The Washington Times looks at how tunnels from the Sinai into southern Gaza are able to sustain a basic economy in the strip (4.) A Baltimore Sun opinion by Emily Hauser examines how the volatility and steady rise in the price of oil is linked continuing Israeli-Palestinian tensions (6.) The Christian Science Monitor gauges the reactions of Gazans to the Bush Mideast visit (7.) Also in the Monitor is an opinion by former Mideast correspondent George Moffett in which he outlines Israel's interests in a 2-state solution and the importance of the U.S. in reaching one (8.) A Financial Times (UK) opinion by Zbigniew Brzezinski urges President Bush,as the leader of the only nation able to do so, to spell out the framework of a comprehensive Mideast peace based on four principles (10.) In a Times (UK) comment, Stefanie Marsh encounters despondency and hopelessness during a visit to Gaza (12.) An Arab News (Saudi Arabia) editorial is skeptical of President Bush's ability to achieve a legacy with Israeli-Palestinian peace (14.) In Miftah (Palestine) Joharah Baker is doubtful that the visit of President Bush will yield anything tangible for the Palestinians (15.) A Haaretz (Israel) editorial concludes that the Bush trip is meaningless if facts on the ground, such as outposts, are not being addressed (16.)

Bush Nudges Israel, Palestinians On Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Anne Gearan - January 9, 2008 - 6:04pm

President Bush, in the Mideast to push along a peace deal by the end of his presidency, gave orders to both sides on Wednesday. He told Israelis that "illegal" settlement outposts in disputed land must go and told Palestinians that no part of their territories can be "a safe haven for terrorists."

Mr. Bush In The Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
(Editorial) January 9, 2008 - 6:07pm

AYEAR AGO, the Bush administration introduced a new policy in the Middle East aimed at aligning "moderate" Arab states against Iran while simultaneously promoting the revival of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. As President Bush begins a tour of the region today, both ends of that strategy are in danger of unraveling. Never entirely in sync with the administration's concept of isolating Tehran, Arab states have been given further second thoughts by the recently released National Intelligence Estimate, which reported that Iran had suspended work on a nuclear bomb.

Mideast Leaders Vow To Refocus On Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Bourdreaux - January 9, 2008 - 6:09pm

As President Bush headed to the Middle East to check on their peace talks, Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed Tuesday to launch them in earnest, six weeks late. It was that long ago that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stood beside Bush at an international conference in Annapolis, Md., and announced the start of full-scale negotiations with the aim of creating a Palestinian state by the end of 2008.

An Incentive For Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Baltimore Sun
by Emily L. Hauser - (Opinion) January 9, 2008 - 6:10pm

Despite the recent Annapolis peace conference, Israeli-Palestinian violence is escalating. Last week, Palestinian rockets fell on Israeli cities, and Israel launched retaliatory airstrikes; in one day, nine Palestinians died, including a 3-year-old girl. Even as President Bush visits the region this week for the first time since taking office, Americans might be forgiven for not placing much faith in their government's attempts to broker peace.

In Isolation, Gazans Dismiss Bush's New Push For Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Dan Murphy - January 9, 2008 - 6:11pm

As Israel and the Palestinian Authority gear up for President Bush's first visit to the Jewish state and the West Bank, in which the president is expected to nudge along a hoped-for peace deal between the two sides, many residents of the isolated Gaza Strip are looking on with anger and cynicism. This densely populated coastal territory has been largely shut off from the outside world since Hamas, the Islamist militant group that the US and Israel consider terrorists, seized control from their rival Fatah here in June.

In The Middle East, No Time To Spare
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by George Moffett - January 9, 2008 - 6:12pm

As President Bush commences his twilight foray into Arab-Israeli diplomacy, he is confronted by a singular and regrettable fact: Israel's long-term survival is not necessarily a given. Threatened by Islamic radicalism, demographic trends, and advances in missile technology, the Jewish state may be living on borrowed time. If he is to help redeem Israel from a tenuous future, Mr. Bush must reiterate one message above all: There will be no peace without a viable Palestinian state.

An 11th Hour Attempt To Make History
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Speigel International
by Pierre Heumann - January 9, 2008 - 6:14pm

US President George W. Bush made his first trip to Israel on Wednesday in a bid to put Israelis and Palestinians on course for a peace agreement within a year. He wants to solve the 60-year-old crisis in his remaining 12 months in office. The hurdles are huge. Air Force One landed at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport, where President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other Israeli officials waited to greet Bush, seen by many Israelis as the best friend the Jewish state has had in the White House.  

Analysis: Bush Could Find Time Running Out For Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Richard Beeston - (Analysis) January 9, 2008 - 6:19pm

When President Bush set foot in Israel today for the first time in a decade, he may have been tempted to believe that peace could finally be at hand in that tortured land. On the apron of Ben Gurion Airport, Israeli leaders and dignitaries turned out in force to pay their respects to the man regarded as the Jewish state’s most powerful supporter. Tomorrow, Mr Bush will receive a no less respectful reception when he travels to the West Bank to be greeted by President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership.

Hopeless In Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Stefanie Marsh - January 9, 2008 - 6:21pm

We were in east Jerusalem, the day before we were due in the Jordan Valley to document the plight of Palestinian farmers, when the man from Oxfam burst in to the room. This was last week, when I spent five days in the occupied territories – Gaza, Hebron, the Jordan Valley and Bethlehem – inspecting living conditions in anticipation of President George Bush’s visit to Israel today.

The Time For Mere Talk Of Palestinian Statehood Is Well And Truly Over
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) January 9, 2008 - 6:23pm

US President George W. Bush is scheduled to arrive in the region today to press forward with a mission into which many of his predecessors have put more effort and still failed. Many of his critics have already concluded that his belated push for Middle East peace during his final months in office is about as likely to succeed as the efforts of a lazy student who whittles away an entire semester in fraternity halls before cramming at the last minute for final exams.

7 Years Late
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) January 9, 2008 - 6:23pm

Seven years after he inherited the power to bring Israel to heel and the power to make a just and honorable future to the Palestinians, President George W. Bush finally arrives today. He arrives at the site of the foreign policy failure that has undermined everything else he has tried to achieve in the Middle East and in the wider Muslim world.

The President Has Arrived
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Miftah
by Joharah Baker - (Opinion) January 9, 2008 - 6:24pm

No doubt, the subject of the hour is US President George W. Bush’s visit to Israel and Palestine, which begins today, January 9. Both Israel and the Palestinians are taking extraordinary measures to ensure that Bush’s visit proceeds without a hitch. In Jerusalem, where the US President will be staying, a reported 8,000 Israeli police and security guards have been stationed for his protection.

Bush, Accessory After The Facts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
January 9, 2008 - 6:25pm

The Migron outpost, which was established on privately owned Palestinian land, and whose dismantlement the United States has been demanding with fake determination, is already an established locale: It is seven years old, with well-tended gardens, swings, a nursery, a kindergarten, infrastructure in which NIS 4 million of state funds have been invested and inhabitants who look not like "hilltop youth" but like ordinary citizens, the sort who work for their living in Jerusalem and come home every night and never even dream that anyone might dare to evacuate them some day.

Situation Assessment / What Bush Can And Can't Accomplish
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - January 9, 2008 - 6:26pm

All it took was for the engines of Air Force One to fire up to produce two major breakthroughs in talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The first was the announcement by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that they were willing to start talks dealing with the conflict's core issues. The second was Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman's promise not to cause a coalition crisis by withdrawing from the government during Bush's visit.

Bush’s 5 Objectives
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Eytan Gilboa - (Opinion) January 10, 2008 - 4:53pm

Leaders visit other countries and take part in international events in order to demonstrate support for allies, change the positions of rivals, promote issues and interests, mediate conflicts, and boost approval ratings back home. Despite the close ties between Israel and the United States, American presidents tend to stay away from Israel during their term in office, including the ones considered Israel’s greatest friends, such as Ronald Reagan.

Threat To Cut U.s. Aid Opens Rift With Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - January 15, 2008 - 5:39pm

Pro-Israel advocates in Washington refrained from contesting a congressional decision last month to withhold part of American military aid to Egypt, in what appears to be a departure from a 30-year-old unwritten understanding that Israel would help Cairo fight off any efforts to cut American assistance to Egypt.

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