Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Christian Science Monitor looks at how the situation in Gaza is entrenching Hamas control and hardline positions (1.) The Associated Press assesses whether the promises made to and by President Bush during his Mideast trip will translate into a renewed momentum for peace (4.) In an editorial, the Middle East Times concludes that the Bush Mideast peace push is too little too late (5.) BBC (UK) analyzes the motivations behind the Bush Mideast visit (8.) A Daily Star (Lebanon) opinion by Rami Khouri examines a paper by a high-ranking U.S. military figure on the root causes of the terror problem (10.) A Haaretz (Israel) opinion by Amira Hass explains why the granting of Palestinian citizenship to the famous Israelli conductor Daniel Barenboim obscures the fact that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has little control over population or citizenship issues (12.)

Faith, Freedom And Bling In The Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Maureen Dowd - (Opinion) January 16, 2008 - 5:21pm

As a Saudi soldier with a gold sword high-stepped in front of him, President Bush walked slowly beside King Abdullah through the shivery gray mist enveloping the kingdom, following the red carpet leading from Air Force One to the airport terminal. When the two stepped onto the escalator, the president tenderly reached for the king’s hand, in case the older man needed help. He certainly does need help, but not the kind he is prepared to accept.

Bush Gets Peace Talk Promises
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Anne Gearan - (Analysis) January 16, 2008 - 5:24pm

President Bush received renewed promises of bargaining for Mideast peace and a polite hearing for his warnings about Iran, and he collected major bling from his Arab hosts. But neither Israel nor its Arab neighbors assured Bush that they will do what the United States asks on issues ranging from democratic reform and unauthorized Israeli housing expansion to high gas prices.

One Hand Clapping
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
(Editorial) January 16, 2008 - 5:25pm

The first thing to say about U.S. President George W. Bush's travels around the region to push the cause of an Israeli-Palestinian peace is that it is extremely welcome: The second thing to say is that it would have been much more welcome had it occurred seven years ago, before 3,000 to 5,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis had lost their lives during the second intifada.

Bloody Reality Bears No Relation To The Delusions Of This President
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Robert Fisk - (Opinion) January 16, 2008 - 5:28pm

Twixt silken sheets – in a bedroom whose walls are also covered in silk – and in the very palace of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, President George Bush awakes this morning to confront a Middle East which bears no relation to the policies of his administration nor the warning which he has been relaying constantly to the kings and emirs and oligarchs of the Gulf: that Iran rather than Israel is their enemy.

Optimism Drives Bush's Peace Push
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
by Matthew Price - January 16, 2008 - 5:29pm

George W Bush has changed his approach to the Middle East but, as he heads home from his tour to the region, the question is whether it is too late to make any difference. The president, who came to power seven long years ago with little knowledge of global affairs, rounded off a marathon trip to a region that more than any other has been at the receiving end of his foreign policy. For over a week, we have heard from an optimistic president. But ask White House insiders for a list of concrete achievements from the last eight days, and there are few specifics.

Election Power Of The Israel Lobby
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al Jazeera English
by Rob Winder - January 16, 2008 - 5:31pm

As US presidential candidates battle it out to become the leader of the world's only superpower there is one subject on which they all, in public at least, agree - the US relationship with Israel. To leading politicians on both sides of the partisan divide the special relationship is sacrosanct, largely due, critics say, to the power of pro-Israel lobby groups.

One Soldier's Assessment Of The Global War On Terror
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - January 16, 2008 - 5:32pm

I do not spend much time mingling with officers in the United States armed forces, but when I do, usually at a conference or international gathering, or reading texts on the Web, I always come away from the experience more heartened than threatened. Presumably, so does President George W. Bush, who spends much of his time deploying or threatening to use the US military against terrorists around the world, Iran, or mainstream Islamist movements that defy the US.

Haaretz Probe: Shin Bet Count Of Gaza Civilian Deaths Is Too Low
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - January 16, 2008 - 5:33pm

Israeli security forces killed 810 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in 2006 and 2007, Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin reported Sunday at the weekly cabinet briefing in Jerusalem. He estimated that some 200 of those killed were not clearly linked to terrorist organizations.

Honorary Citizenship Of The Moon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - January 16, 2008 - 5:34pm

"Daniel Barenboim, the world-renowned Israeli pianist and conductor, has received Palestinian citizenship" and a Palestinian passport, the Haaretz English edition reported on Monday, using a Reuters story. The Ynet version said that the Palestinian Authority had granted Palestinian citizenship to Barenboim, whereas The New York Times reported that the Argentinian-born Israeli pianist and conductor had agreed to accept Palestinian citizenship and an honorary Palestinian passport.

Peace No Closer After Bush’s Departure
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
(Opinion) January 18, 2008 - 6:30pm

As Air Force One took off from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport last week, taking President Bush off to the second leg of his Middle East tour, the air of optimism surrounding peace prospects in the region gave way to a more sober and downbeat approach. The promise held out by Bush of an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord before year’s end is now regarded, by experts and policymakers in Jerusalem and Washington, as unrealistic or even misguided.

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