Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Los Angeles Times examines how the opening of the Gaza-Egypt border has altered the political and security landscape (2.) A New York Times editorial is critical of all parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for using the civilian population of Gaza as pawns in their political struggle (3.) Reuters looks at how Israel is considering responding to the Gaza border breach (5.) A Baltimore Sun opinion by former Fatah militant and co-founder of Combatants for Peace Bassam Aramin urges an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories if peace based on justice is to be established (6.) The Times (UK) looks at how Hamas planned its breach of the Gaza border wall for months leading up to the action (11.) A Daily Star (Lebanon) editorial cautions of the detrimental effect of the Gaza situation on any prospects for peace and U.S. credibility in the Middle East (12.) A Haaretz (Israel) editorial urges using the Gaza border issue as an opportunity to turn over border crossings to the Palestinian government and international organizations (15.)

As Gazans Pour Across, A Region Alters
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Rushdi Abu Alouf, Richard Bourdreaux - January 24, 2008 - 5:55pm

The collapse of Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday altered the region's political and security landscape as suddenly as it changed the fortunes of Palestinians who poured out of the enclave to stock up on goods made scarce by an Israeli blockade. After masked gunmen used land mines to blast through a 7-mile-long border wall, tens of thousands of jubilant Gazans went on an Egyptian spree, buying gasoline, heating oil, rice, sugar, milk, cheese, cigarettes, tires, cement, television sets and cellphones.

Trapped In Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) January 24, 2008 - 5:56pm

The neglect and mistreatment of the 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in the Gaza Strip is a disgrace, and a very dangerous one. They are pawns in the struggle among Hamas, which controls Gaza and uses the territory to bombard Israel daily; its rivals in the Fatah movement that run the Palestinian Authority and the West Bank; and Israel. If something isn’t done quickly to address the Gazans’ plight, President Bush’s Annapolis peace process could implode.

Breach In Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
(Editorial) January 24, 2008 - 5:57pm

THE HAMAS movement provided a dramatic illustration yesterday of its ability to disrupt any movement toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians. As tens of thousands of residents of the Gaza Strip surged across the border into Egypt, Hamas security forces directed traffic; earlier, they stood by as organized groups of militants blew up the fence along the previously sealed border.

Israel Wants To Cut Gaza Links After Border Breach
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Adam Entous, Rebecca Harrison - January 24, 2008 - 5:58pm

Israel wants to cut its links with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip after militants blasted open the territory's border with Egypt in defiance of an Israeli blockade, Israel's deputy defense minister said on Thursday. Israel, which occupied the Gaza Strip in 1967, pulled troops and settlers out in 2005 but still controls its northern and eastern borders, airspace and coastal waters, and has imposed a blockade it says is meant to counter militant rocket fire.

End The Occupation - And Get Justice For Its Victims
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Baltimore Sun
by Bassam Aramin - (Opinion) January 24, 2008 - 5:59pm

This month, President Bush visited the Israeli-occupied West Bank towns of Bethlehem and Ramallah and declared that the occupation must end. These were no doubt welcome words to Palestinians and Israelis alike. They provide hope for peace; for without occupation, peace is truly possible. Unfortunately, for many, including my 10-year-old daughter Abir, it is too late. One year ago, Abir was shot in the head by Israeli border police as she left school. The soldiers allege that they were fighting with children who were throwing rocks.

A Broken Society
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
(Editorial) January 24, 2008 - 6:02pm

If you bottle up 1.5 million people in a territory 25 miles long and six miles wide, and turn off the lights, as Israel has done in Gaza, the bottle will burst. This is what happened yesterday when tens of thousands of Gazans poured into Egypt to buy food, fuel and supplies after militants destroyed two-thirds of the wall separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt. It was the biggest jail break in history.

Hamas 'spent Months Cutting Through Gaza Wall In Secret Operation'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - January 24, 2008 - 6:03pm

As tens of thousands of Palestinians clambered back and forth between the Gaza strip and Egypt today, details emerged of the audacious operation that brought down a hated border wall and handed the Islamist group Hamas what might be its greatest propaganda coup. Hamas, which took control of the coastal territory last June after a stand-off with Fatah, has denied that its men set off the explosions that brought down as much as two-thirds of the 12-km wall in the early hours.

Bush's Silence Won't Make Israel's Brutality Any Less Counter-productive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
(Editorial) January 24, 2008 - 6:05pm

Washington's refusal to endorse a draft United Nations Security Council statement condemning Israel's siege of Gaza effectively advocated the collective punishment of 1.4 million Palestinian men, women and children. The US ambassador to the United Nations said that the initial draft statement produced by Libya was "unacceptable" because it did not mention Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.

Silence Of The Lambs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Special Report) January 24, 2008 - 6:06pm

Before it is dark and when there is no communication with the world," wrote Dr Eyad Sarraj, the prominent human rights advocate, from Gaza last Tuesday night, "I want to tell you that current Israeli policy of squeezing on has the aim of pushing Egypt to open its borders with Gaza and bring the situation to prior 1967." He went on: "Israel will then close its borders with Gaza, separate the (Gaza) Strip from the West Bank and destroy the peace proposals of one or two states. In short Israel is fulfilling the (Ariel) Sharon unilateral withdrawal strategy.

Analysis: Gaza Border Breach Shows Israel That Hamas Is In Charge
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amoss Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Analysis) January 24, 2008 - 6:06pm

A few Israel Defense Forces Engineering Corps officers surely shed a tear yesterday while viewing the television reports from Rafah: The barrier built by the IDF with blood and sweat along the Philadelphi Route, on the Gaza Strip border with Egypt, was coming down.

Opportunity In Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) January 24, 2008 - 6:07pm

The closure imposed a year ago on the Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt was effectively lifted yesterday after hundreds of thousands of Gazans overran the Egyptian border. According to United Nations reports, about 20 percent of Gaza's population crossed into the Egyptian side of Rafah on foot and in cars after explosives were used to destroy about two-thirds of the border barrier overnight Tuesday.

Politics-us: Neocons Shaken, But Not Deterred
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Jim Lobe - January 25, 2008 - 6:14pm

Almost exactly five years after it reached its zenith with the invasion of Iraq, the influence of neo-conservatives has waned sharply in Washington, as their nemeses, the "realists" in the national security bureaucracy, have increasingly asserted control over U.S. foreign policy.

Busting The Blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
January 25, 2008 - 6:18pm

UNDER the pressure of Israeli sanctions, Gaza this week blew a gasket. On January 23rd Palestinian militants blasted holes in the metal wall along the sealed Gaza-Egypt border. A bulldozer broadened the gaps. Tens or even hundreds of thousands of Palestinians poured through to buy fuel, food, spare parts and other supplies. Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, was annoyed but ordered his troops to let them in, saying they were “starving due to an Israeli siege”.

Abu Mazen’s Conundrum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Miftah
by Caelum Moffatt - January 25, 2008 - 6:24pm

Israel’s current siege of Gaza must be inflicting the Palestinian President, Abu Mazen, with a sharp pain to the temples. This ache, which has been intermittent since June 2007, is undoubtedly caused this time by the confusion over how to act in response to the newest demonstration of Israeli aggression. The 1.5 million people of Gaza, the president’s people, are caught up as innocent victims in a fray between Palestinian rockets from the coastal strip and Israeli air strikes.

Gaza’s Misery Has To Be Stopped
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
(Editorial) January 28, 2008 - 7:23pm

The tens of thousands of Palestinians who burst out of Gaza into Egypt this week in search of food, fuel and medicine have temporarily broken the siege that had tightened like a noose around this teeming territory ever since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip last June. Like the lid coming off a pressure cooker, the blown-up border fence has avoided a bigger explosion – for now. But Gaza’s humanitarian disaster and conflict shows every sign it could escalate into war if it is not brought under control.

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