Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The LA Times reports on how renewed Israeli-Palestinian final status negotiations are causing tensions within Israel's governing coalition (2.) The Jewish Telegraphic Agency gives an Israeli perspective on what significance the Bush Mideast visit has (4.) A Middle East Times opinion by Maria Appakova gauges the possibility of reaching a Mideast peace deal by the end of 2008, spurred on by President Bush's professed zeal in achieving this goal (6.) A Financial Times (UK) editorial stresses the importance for President Bush's wider Mideast foreign policy agenda in achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace (7.) Der Spiegel (Germany) examines the resonance of the Bush democracy agenda during his current Mideast visit (9.) A Daily Star (Lebanon) opinion by UK secretary of state for international development Douglas Alexander, published in collaboration with Common Ground News Service, stresses the importance of the international community's financial and political support for the Palestinians in order to capitalize on the momentum of Annapolis and the Paris donor conference (11.) An Arab News (Saudi Arabia ) editorial is critical of the Bush attempt to rally and Arab coalition against Iran as heavy on threats and light on diplomacy (13.) Haaretz (Israel) reports on clarification regarding U.S. opposition to both settlement 'natural growth' and expansion in East Jerusalem and the West Bank (14.) Also in Haaretz, an opinion by Amir Oren analyzes how Secretary Rice has prepared a team of U.S. officials to push for Israeli actions that yield positive results on the ground (15.)

Mideast Peace Talks Get Underway
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Bourdreaux - January 15, 2008 - 5:39pm

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators began addressing the most difficult issues of their decades-old conflict Monday, keeping a promise to President Bush but putting Israel's coalition government under strain. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Korei emerged from a two-hour session at a Jerusalem hotel with little to say about what they had discussed. Israeli officials said the two lead negotiators planned to meet at least once a week.

Bush's Arab World Tour Is Significant For Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Leslie Susser - January 15, 2008 - 5:40pm

With its focus on strengthening the moderate Arab coalition against Iran, President Bush’s tour of the Persian Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia and Egypt could prove extremely significant for Israel. From an Israeli perspective, the three key elements were isolating Iran, coaxing moderate Arab countries into moving toward normalization with Israel and getting oil-rich Arab states to honor their financial pledges to the Palestinians. Progress on all or some of these issues would significantly boost Israeli foreign policy goals.

Gaza's Christian Population Wanes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from World Peace Herald
by Erica Silverman - January 15, 2008 - 5:42pm

A small group of Palestinian Christians stands outside Gaza City's Baptist Church on a Sunday morning, waiting for the generator to power up. The church is cold and dark in the dead of winter, Israel having reduced fuel supplies to Gaza in an effort to pressure Hamas to halt rocket fire into Israel.

Maria Appakova
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
January 15, 2008 - 5:52pm

After his talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah, U.S. President George W. Bush said that an Arab-Israeli peace agreement would be reached by the end of the year. He was less optimistic of a settlement within Palestine; and he was unsure that the Palestinian president would be able to resolve the problem anytime soon.

Bush Seeks Saudi Support For Fragile Middle East Peace Talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ian Black - January 15, 2008 - 5:55pm

President George Bush was last night working to persuade Saudi Arabia to maintain its support for a revived, but fragile, Israeli-Palestinian peace process and to confront Iran across the Middle East. Arriving in Riyadh on the penultimate stage of his regional tour, Bush went into talks with King Abdullah as the administration prepared to notify Congress of a $20bn (£10.2bn) arms package for the Saudis - satellite-guided weaponry and other high-tech munitions - highlighting the oil-rich kingdom's privileged relationship with Washington.

Israeli Troops Kill Hamas Chief's Son
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - January 15, 2008 - 5:57pm

Israeli forces killed 17 Palestinians in an intense battle today, including the son of Mahmoud Zahar, the hardline leader of Hamas. A Palestinian sniper also shot dead a volunteer from Ecuador who was working on a communal farm near the volatile coastal territory. The latest clashes were the most intense since the recent visit by President Bush to push Israel and the Palestinians towards renewed peace talks, and threatened to undermine negotiations.

Let's Not Forget The Hardship In Palestinian Areas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Douglas Alexander - (Commentary) January 15, 2008 - 5:59pm

Politics isn't just about words and ideas; it has to be about action. The recently held Palestinian donors' conference in Paris was a day when the international community collectively put its money where its mouth is and committed the funds which are desperately needed if the Palestinians are to rebuild their economy and take further strides down the road to peace.

America Must Listen To Its Friends
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
(Editorial) January 15, 2008 - 5:59pm

America has to learn to listen to its friends in the Middle East, and should stop lecturing them from a prepared script. George W. Bush's historic visit to the region is the first time a sitting US president has come to the UAE, and it has given him a tremendous opportunity to hear from the leaders and the people of the region how to tackle the region's serious issues.

Peace Now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
(Editorial) January 15, 2008 - 6:00pm

Our region is not short of bloodshed and instability. Iraq, Lebanon, the occupied Palestinian territories and Afghanistan are all scenes of past and present conflicts where largely innocent blood has flowed in plenty. We do not need yet another dangerous conflict.

Diplomat: U.s. Firmly Opposes All W. Bank, E. J'lem Construction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - January 15, 2008 - 6:03pm

The United States clarified to Israel during U.S. President George Bush's visit this week that it disapproves of all building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank - including in the large settlement blocs, a senior Western diplomat said Tuesday. The diplomat added that Israel and the U.S. differ on their interpretation of the letter President Bush sent to former prime minister Ariel Sharon in April, 2004.

The Generals Of Professor Rice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amir Oren - January 15, 2008 - 6:04pm

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the main impetus in the Bush administration for squeezing something out of the 2008 drought year, convinced the president to break from his principle of linkage - the basis of his road map - and skip to the final stage, the final status framework. This is a concession to Palestinian demands, and a further reversal for the Israeli position since Yasser Arafat opened fire in September 2000 and frightened Israel with the possibility that he might declare an independent state unilaterally (the "Magic Melody" scenario).

Bush Trip Revives Israeli Push For Pardon Of Spy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Jonathan Finer - January 16, 2008 - 5:23pm

A balding, bearded visage loomed over President Bush's visit here last week, peering down from banners and from posters on buses barreling along quiet streets. The face was that of Jonathan Pollard, an American who pleaded guilty in 1986 to passing top-secret information to Israel. Israeli supporters seeking his release were rebuffed by President Bill Clinton during the last period of extended negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Now they are ramping up their campaign for a presidential pardon.

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