Middle East News: World Press Roundup

A Tobias Buck opinion in The Financial Times suggests that recent Israeli offensives have only helped to strengthen Hamas in Gaza (1). The Associated Press reports that US Presidential candidate John McCain supports Israel’s recent operations in the Gaza strip (2). Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat warns that the PA could fal apart if peace fails to break out this year, reports the Agence France Presse (4). The Kuwait News Agency reports that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to approve any bills coming through from the Palestintian Legislative Authority (7). An editorial in Haaretz argues that the formation of a new peace coalition could invalidate Shas (9).





Mccain Backs Israeli Reprisals In Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ian Deitch - March 20, 2008 - 5:19pm


Touring a war-battered town, Sen. John McCain said Wednesday he understands Israel's tough response to Palestinian rocket fire, adding that there is no point in negotiating with the Gaza Strip's Islamic Hamas regime. The Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting also praised the moderate Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, saying he is committed to reaching a peace deal with Israel — though McCain is not meeting Palestinians this time.


Palestinian Rivals' Talks 'fail'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
March 20, 2008 - 5:21pm


Talks between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have collapsed, Palestinian Authority and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas has said. Both sides blamed each other for the failure of the discussions, which took place in Sanaa, in Yemen. Mediators called for Gaza to be returned to the control of a national unity government and new elections. Fatah and Hamas admit their feud is damaging the Palestinian cause but will not yet compromise, correspondents say.


Erakat Warns Pa Could Fall Apart If Peace Fails To Break Out This Year
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
March 20, 2008 - 5:23pm


OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat warned Wednesday that failure to reach a peace deal with Israel this year could lead to a collapse of the Palestinian Authority. "If we fail to produce an agreement in 2008 ... we may disappear," Erakat said. "The impact will not be limited to Israel and the Palestinians," he warned. "Watch the region."


In Praise Of Al-jazeera
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Avi Weinberg - (Opinion) March 20, 2008 - 5:25pm


  Several journalists in Israel immediately stood up to defend the Arab network and condemn the boycott, and this condemnation is indeed justified, because it is improper for a government to limit journalists even if their reports are not to the liking of some cabinet members. Yet al-Jazeera does not need this protection: It can easily continue to report even without Israel’s official spokespersons appears on its shows. In order to document what’s happening on the ground there is no need to interview tie-wearing officials who utter sophisticated messages.


Israel Demolishes Palestinian Homes In West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
March 20, 2008 - 5:28pm


Israeli bulldozers, backed by armed troops, have destroyed five homes in an Israeli-controlled section of the West Bank. The Israeli military said the houses were demolished because they had been built without construction permits. Israeli human rights groups say few building applications are ever granted. That forces Palestinians to build without approval.


Palestinian President Affirms Rejection Of Approving Parliamentary Bills
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Kuwait News Agency (kuna)
March 20, 2008 - 5:29pm


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas affirmed on Thursday his firm opposition to approve or sign any bill forwarded by the Palestinian legislative assembly. The official spokesman of the president said in a statement that Abbas based his unwavering rejection on the constituent law of the parliament regarding legality of the sessions. He added that the president would not alter this stance on the basis that the council's sessions lacked the legal quorum for drafting bills.


Pressure? What Are You Talking About?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shmuel Rosner - (Opinion) March 20, 2008 - 5:31pm


To tell the truth, I didn't ask him," Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs David Welch said in response to a question from U.S. Representative Gary Ackerman (Democrat, N.Y.). The person who wasn't asked was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the question that wasn't asked was whether he planned to run for a second term in a year.


Bring Meretz Into The Government
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) March 20, 2008 - 5:32pm


MK Haim Oron's impressive victory in the internal elections for the Meretz party leadership once again raises the question of whether the party will join the coalition. Oron, who is known for his good working relationship with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and who has won the esteem of the Knesset, should consider this possibility.





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