Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Michael Slackman reports in the New York Times that Arab leaders are concerned about the prospects of a two-state proposal (1). An MJ Rosenberg opinion in IPF cautions against ignoring Syria (5) while a Gulf News editorial stresses the need for international action on Palestine now (6). Ron Kampeas of the JTA details Obama’s new Israel-related criticisms (8). An Haaretz article wonders where the pressure is in Gaza (10).





Obama's Brain Trust Taking Shape
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Sun
by Eli Lake - February 22, 2008 - 3:09pm


WASHINGTON — When it comes to foreign affairs, Senator Obama's inner circle of advisers includes a Swahili-speaking Air Force general he met on a trip to Africa; a 30-year-old speechwriter who helped draft the final report from the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, and President Clinton's first national security adviser, who in 2005 converted to Judaism under the tutelage of the Navy's chief Jewish chaplain.


Hamas Urges Eu To Up Pressure On Israel Over Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
February 22, 2008 - 3:10pm


Hamas called on the European Union on Friday to step up pressure on Israel to lift its economic and military blockade of the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the Islamist group. "We urge the European Union not to limit its action to purely calling for an end to the siege but also to apply political and practical pressure on Israel," Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said.


Israel Extends Closure Of Palestinian Offices In East Jerusalem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
February 22, 2008 - 3:22pm


Israel is keeping Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem shut tight, despite its pledge to reopen them under a recently revived peace blueprint, Palestinian officials said yesterday. This month, the officials said, Israel renewed its order to close the Orient House, the city ‘s Arab Chamber of Commerce and other heavily symbolic buildings that are a rallying point for the Palestinians’ claims to Jerusalem’s eastern sector as capital of a future state.


You Can’t Ignore Syria
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by M.J. Rosenberg - (Opinion) February 22, 2008 - 3:23pm


Dr. Alon Liel, former director general of the Israeli foreign ministry, is in the United States promoting Israeli-Syrian negotiations. This is Liel’s specialty and has been for many years, a specialty he has pursued in a long career in government and academe. In 2006, Liel engaged in unofficial negotiations with Damascus through a Syrian intermediary. After several long meetings, he became convinced that the Assad government was ready for a deal: peace in exchange for the Golan Heights.


The World Must Act On Palestine Now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
(Editorial) February 22, 2008 - 3:24pm


Palestinians have been living under Israeli occupation for over six decades. During that period, the geopolitical situation changed immensely. While some countries disintegrated, like the former USSR, others took the initiative and declared their independence. And they were recognised by their neighbouring states as well as the world's more powerful nations. If only it were that easy for Palestinians. This is what Fatah official Yasser Abed Rabbo suggested two days ago when he said his people ought to declare a state if peace talks with Israel did not succeed.


Arab Attempts To Lure Damascus Hit The Walls Of Syrian Demands In Lebanon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Raghidadergham.com
by Raghida Dergham - (Opinion) February 22, 2008 - 3:25pm


There is increasing talk of intelligence information about an alleged dispute within the regime in Damascus; some intelligence information even refers to indicators implying that the Syrian regime is willing to accept proposals. A few take this information seriously and encourage responsiveness to any indicators heralding a potential positive change, especially if such change weakens certain figures associated with intelligence activities. Those embracing this view believe that responsiveness can save Syria from collective punishment.


Surging In Primaries, Obama Faces New Israel-related Criticism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - February 22, 2008 - 3:27pm


Even as U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) solidifies his status as the Democratic front-runner with victories Tuesday in Wisconsin and Hawaii, he is facing a new line of attack from some Jewish circles regarding his advisers on foreign policy. In recent weeks, writers associated with several right-wing media outlets have taken aim at what they describe as anti-Israel voices advising Obama on Middle East issues, spurring a rash of mass e-mails voicing similar concerns.


Israel's Waning Tech Edge
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
(Editorial) February 22, 2008 - 3:29pm


Israel has enjoyed three critical advantages in its 60-year confrontation with its Arab neighbors. First, it has enjoyed unity of command, while the Arabs were so often divided. Second, it has chosen its allies and arms suppliers well, from France in the 1950s and 1960s to the United States for the past 40 years. And most important of all, Israel has always enjoyed the technological edge that came from a modernized economy and world-class research and university base.


Who Is Pressuring Gaza?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) February 22, 2008 - 4:35pm


Two news reports, that complemented one another, on the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip were published yesterday. Haaretz reported there is growing international criticism - in Europe, Russia, the United Nations and even in the American administration - of Israel's policy toward the Gaza Strip. Al-Hayat reported that during a recent visit to Turkey, Defense Minister Ehud Barak considered the possibility of establishing a multinational force to oversee the situation in the Gaza Strip.


Hamas: We Won't Rule Out Any Bid For Cease-fire With Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
February 22, 2008 - 4:36pm


A Hamas spokesman praised on Friday a decision by European Union lawmakers in Strasbourg, France on Thursday calling on Israel to end the blockade and open Gaza's border crossings. "We in Hamas are highly appreciative of the initiative and the call made by the EU parliament to end the siege imposed on Gaza," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. "We consider this an important development in the European attitude."


U.s. To Announce New Aid Plan For West Bank, Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - February 22, 2008 - 4:48pm


The United States plans to announce tens of millions of dollars in new aid for the West Bank and Gaza next week to ease the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories, U.S. officials said on Friday. The funds will be channeled through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, which handles U.S. and other assistance for food, health, education and other areas, said U.S. officials, who declined to provide the exact figure as the official announcement will be made during a trip to the region next week.


Europe: Heading For A New Security Deal With Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by David Cronin - February 25, 2008 - 6:25pm


The European Union is considering new steps to deepen its cooperation on scientific research with Israel, despite admitting that previous funds earmarked for that purpose have gone to firms operating illegally in the Palestinian territories. Between now and 2013, the Israeli government is to contribute 440 million euros (652 million dollars) per year so that it can participate in the EU's so-called framework programme for research.





American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017