Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Reuters reports on Egypt's attempts to begin closing the Gaza border breach and Hamas actions challenging these attempts (1.) The Christian Science Monitor examines how the breaching of the Gaza border into Egypt has resulted in political jockeying over responsibility for Gaza's future (3.) A Boston Globe editorial is critical of the collective punishment of Gaza's population as a counterproductive policy driving the population into the arms of Hamas and discrediting the Palestinian government (4.) The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (6) and BBC (8) examine the new strategic considerations for Israel as a result of the Gaza situation. The Economist (UK) analyzes the unintended consequences of Israel's Gaza policy to-date (9.) An Independent (UK) opinion by Mary Dejevsky gives an Israeli perspective from the border town of Sderot on the impact of Palestinian militant rocket fire on life there (10.) Haaretz (Israel) looks at a public dispute between Israel's current and former ambassador to the U.S. over how good an Obama presidency would be for Israel (11.) Also in Haaretz, Amos Harel and Avi Issacharaoff analyze how Hamas' breach of the Gaza border was a political outmaneuvering of Israel (13.) Arab News (Saudi Arabia) reviews Israeli press reporting on Hamas' Gaza border breach (15.)

Tens Of Thousands More From Gaza Enter Egypt Seeking Consumer Goods
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Steven Erlanger - January 25, 2008 - 6:12pm

Tens of thousands more Palestinians flooded across the breached border crossing from Gaza into Egypt on Thursday, and Egyptian merchants greeted them with a cornucopia of consumer goods and higher prices than on Wednesday, when Hamas militants toppled large sections of the fence. Many more Egyptian police officers were at various ruptures in the barrier at Rafah, more of them in riot gear and some using batons with small electric charges to keep the huge, pushing crowds in some form of order.

Israel Sees Upside In Hole In Gaza Wall
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - January 25, 2008 - 6:13pm

When Palestinians toppled a metal wall separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt Wednesday, many expected Israeli officials to howl over Egypt allowing Hamas "terrorists" to rearm. After all, a cornerstone of the current peace process was supposed to be isolating Gaza. But the Israeli response has been surprisingly muted. In fact, some Israeli officials see some advantage in the breach.

The Agony Of Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
(Editorial) January 25, 2008 - 6:13pm

THE BREACHING early Wednesday of the barrier separating Gaza from the Egyptian side of the border town Rafah allowed an estimated 300,000 Gazans to seek staples and a brief experience of liberty outside their enclosed, suffocating strip of land. The highly publicized breakout of those Gazans also made it impossible to ignore the collective punishment being imposed on them by Israel's policy of closure and economic blockade.

Gaza-egypt Border Breach Has Israel Re-thinking Strategy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Roy Eitan - January 25, 2008 - 6:15pm

The few hundred pounds of TNT that brought Rafah’s border wall tumbling down also has shaken Israel’s strategy of isolating Hamas. The Olmert government watched helplessly on Wednesday as the Islamist group, responding to Israel’s tightening of its blockade on the Gaza Strip, blew holes through the border wall between Gaza and Egypt, enabling tens of thousands of Palestinians to surge across the border and stock up on food, fuel and other provisions.

Israel Considers Palestinian Proposal To Open Up Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Deutsche Presse Agentur
January 25, 2008 - 6:16pm

The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was offered a glimmer of hope Thursday that Israel would ease its blockade of Gaza. He used a discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to call on Israel to open up "passages" to the territory which he proposed the authority should oversee which he said should be set up within days. The Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak replied that his government had stated its willingness to consider the passages

Israel Torn Over Relationship With Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
by Martin Patience - January 25, 2008 - 6:17pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert delivered a keynote speech on Wednesday night presenting himself as an experienced leader in difficult times. But notably absent was any mention of the tens of thousands of Palestinians crossing from Gaza into Egypt after the militant group Hamas blew up sections of the border fence. Israel is closely monitoring the situation but is reluctant to use force to end the crisis, which would be likely to spark international condemnation.

Mary Dejevsky: The Town That Measures Life In 15-second Intervals
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Mary Dejevsky - (Opinion) January 25, 2008 - 6:19pm

You can tell almost as much about a country from the things they want you to see as the things they would prefer you didn't. And just now one of things Israel really wants the outside world to see is daily life as it is lived in the depressed southern town of Sderot.

Ambassador Vs. Ambassador: Is Obama Good For Israel?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shmuel Rosner - January 25, 2008 - 6:21pm

The debate surrounding Barack Obama's attitudes toward Israel refuses to calm down. On Wednesday, Obama sent a letter to the U.S. ambassador to the UN, calling upon him to make sure that any Security Council decision dealing with the events in Gaza will not be biased against Israel. But this did not yet convince all the doubters, Jewish and Israeli. Obama also has quite a few supporters in the Jewish community, but those opposing him are fairly vocal, and seem to be even more so as the campaign progresses.

The Siege Of Gaza Has Failed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) January 25, 2008 - 6:22pm

While politicians and the media are waiting with bated breath for publication of the Winograd report on the Second Lebanon War, a new situation is taking shape on the Egyptian border that might eventually result in a new investigative committee. The diplomatic and security situation that arose on the Israeli-Egyptian border once the Egypt-Gaza border was flung wide open has apparently not yet penetrated the Israeli consciousness. But it is time to start asking pointed questions about the events of this week instead of about those of July 2006.

Analysis: Hamas Outmaneuvers Israel With Three Quick Moves
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amoss Harel - (Analysis) January 25, 2008 - 6:23pm

In a week when Israeli leaders were boasting about their successful adoption of the conclusions in the Winograd Committee's interim report, which included in their view the attack on Syria, recent events on the Gaza Strip and Egyptian border are raising concerns to the contrary: Perhaps not enough lessons were learned or have been implemented.

Hamas Scores Another Victory: Israeli Media
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Mohammed Mar’i - January 25, 2008 - 6:24pm

Israeli media outlets yesterday said that Hamas has added another victory to its achievements in handling the strict siege imposed on Gaza Strip since the movement ousted the security sources of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and senior officials of rival Fatah movement last June.

Naming Names From Gaza To Damascus And All The Way Through Lebanon!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Raghidadergham.com
by Raghida Dergham - (Opinion) January 25, 2008 - 6:27pm

There are times when naming names becomes inevitable because any reluctance to do so, whether in the name of diplomacy, politics or any other consideration, may terribly discredit the hesitant party and hurt the victims of harmful maneuvering, be they innocent civilians in Palestine or an entire generation in Lebanon. There are times when entrusted mediators or self-proclaimed backchannels have to act according to their consciences under a moral and political responsibility that obliges them to name things as they are.

360 Days
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by M.J. Rosenberg - (Opinion) January 28, 2008 - 7:18pm

Reading about the Vietnam War, as I have been doing lately, is maddening. As President Lyndon B. Johnson makes fateful decisions that will ultimately leave 50,000 Americans dead and destroy his presidency, I almost want to shout out, “Stop! Are you blind? Can’t you see where this is leading?” But, of course, LBJ couldn’t see that.

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