Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Reuters reports on talks between the Palestinian government and Egypt over the Gaza border with Hamas seeking a role in any future arrangement (1.) In Salon, Gary Kamiya argues that the Gaza border crisis is a result of failed U.S. and Israeli policies regarding Hamas (3.) In Inter Press Service, Jim Lobe finds little prospect for major U.S. Mideast foreign policy change in the last year of the Bush presidency (5.) An IHT opinion by famous Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim urges Israelis to be sensitive to the rights of the Palestinian people as partners sharing the same land (7.) The Independent (UK) reports from Gaza on how power cuts are affecting one Palestinian family who has a son on a respirator (9.) The Telegraph (UK) reports on the halting of the building of a new sewage plant in Gaza, one of Quartet envoy Blair's main projects, due to Israel's refusal to allow the delivery of construction materials (10.) A Daily Star (Lebanon) opinion by Daoud Kuttab, published in collaboration with Project Syndicate, analyzes how the collective punishment of Gaza's population weakens the moderate majority and strengthens the extremist minority (12.) Haaretz (Israel) looks at a UN report on growing religious intolerance in Gaza (13.) Also in Haaretz, an editorial warns of the consequences of the smear campaign directed against Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama by certain right-wing elements in the Jewish American community (15.)

Better U.s. Image Abroad: How To Attain It?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Howard Lafranchi - (Opinion) January 30, 2008 - 5:45pm

Hillary Rodham Clinton would send prominent emissaries to world capitals the day after being elected president. John McCain would close the Guantánamo detention facility and renounce the use of torture. Barack Obama would speak to all foreign leaders, even America's worst enemies.

Report On Lebanon War Threatens Ehud Olmert Power Amid Call For Resignation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - January 30, 2008 - 5:50pm

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, will face one of his toughest challenges today when a damning report into his leadership during the 2006 Lebanon War is released, threatening his political career and the renewed peace process on which he has staked his reputation.

A Fight For Life In A Power Struggle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Donald Macintyre - January 30, 2008 - 5:51pm

It's 8pm on Monday evening and the Aseli family is in full emergency mode. The power has just gone down in their apartment – for the second time that day – blacking out the lights and the electric heater.

Israelis Halt Gaza Project Backed By Tony Blair
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Telegraph
by Tim Butcher - January 30, 2008 - 5:52pm

Work on a Palestinian water treatment plant, championed by the former prime minister, has been halted after Israel refused to allow construction materials into Gaza to finish the job. Further delay risks what Mr Blair has called "a humanitarian catastrophe" as winter rains threaten to cause the existing facility to overflow, flooding the homes of more than 10,000 people who live nearby.

Punishing Gaza Only Harms Those Backing Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) January 30, 2008 - 5:54pm

  When the Gaza Strip was plunged into darkness last week as a result of the Israeli fuel blockade, many people around the world were surprised. But the optimism produced by the Annapolis peace process, which included President George W. Bush's promise of an agreement in 2008 to create a Palestinian state, was clearly unrealistic.

Un Envoy: Women In Gaza Feel Coerced To Cover Heads
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - January 30, 2008 - 5:55pm

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief says women in the Gaza Strip have recently felt coerced into covering their heads, while Christians there have faced rising intolerance. The UN envoy, Asma Jahangir, visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority last week and published a report on her eight-day trip. "Women seem to be in a particularly vulnerable situation and bear the brunt of religious zeal. I was informed about cases of honor killings carried out with impunity in the name of religion," she added.

Finally, A Popular Uprising
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) January 30, 2008 - 5:56pm

The fall of the Rafah wall was a fitting combination of planning and the precise reading of the social and political map by the Hamas government, mixed with a mass response to the dictates of the overlord, Israel.

Obama And The Jewish Question
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) January 30, 2008 - 5:57pm

Not a year has passed since Danny Ayalon completed his term as Israel's ambassador in Washington, but he has already seen fit to criticize Barack Obama, who may well be the next U.S. president or vice president. In an article published in The Jerusalem Post, Ayalon wrote that during his two meetings with Obama, he got the impression that the Democratic candidate was "not entirely forthright" regarding Israel. Similar and even worse smears can be found in abundance in American blogs and e-mail chain letters.

High Court Affirms Plan To Reduce Power To Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Ellen Knickmeyer - January 31, 2008 - 5:58pm

srael's Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the government's decision to reduce fuel and electricity deliveries to the Gaza Strip as a form of "economic warfare" against the armed Hamas group in control there. In doing so, the three-judge panel rejected the arguments of Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups that the blackouts and shortages caused by the cuts represent a form of collective punishment against Gaza's 1.5 million residents.

Abbas Sets Conditions For Gaza Talks With Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Alaa Shahine - January 31, 2008 - 6:00pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected demands on Wednesday by Hamas rivals for control of the breached Gaza-Egypt border and told the Islamist group to "end its coup in Gaza." Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in June after routing Abbas's more secular Fatah forces, blasted open the Egyptian border last week in defiance of an Israeli-led blockade, letting Gazans pour into Egypt to stock up on goods.

Methodist Church Renews Drive For Divestment From Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - January 31, 2008 - 6:02pm

Tensions are re-emerging between Jewish organizations and some mainline Protestant churches in the wake of a renewed drive for churches to divest from companies doing business with Israel.

Egypt Issues Ultimatum To Pa, Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - February 1, 2008 - 6:38pm

Egypt has threatened to close its border with the Gaza Strip indefinitely unless the Palestinian Authority and Hamas reach an agreement on controlling the Rafah border crossing, Palestinian sources in Ramallah said Wednesday. The threat came as PA and Hamas representatives arrived in Cairo Wednesday for talks with Egyptian leaders on ways of ending the crisis along the Gaza-Egypt border. The PA delegation, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, held talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and other senior government officials in Cairo.

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