Middle East News: World Press Roundup

In the Washington Post, Jackson Diehl discusses the potential or Israeli action in Gaza (1).The Agence France Presse reports on the meeting of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (4). A MJ Rosenberg opinion in the Israel Policy Forum examines what the Israeli-Arab debate will look like after current US President George W. Bush leaves office (5). In BitterLemons, Nimrod Novik suggests relaxing restrictions on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and letting him negotiate with Hamas (6). Lawrence Pintak warns readers to ignore Al-Jazeera at their own peril in The Daily Star (8).

Olmert, Abbas To Meet Again After Seven Weeks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
April 7, 2008 - 5:38pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas meet on Monday for the first time in six weeks as Middle East peace talks get back on track under heavy US pressure. Abbas, who suspended his bi-weekly meetings with Olmert at the beginning of March after an Israeli military operation in Gaza killed more than 130 people, said on Sunday that he would not accept a peace deal at any price.

Israel Seeks To Calm Tensions Over Missile Drill
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
April 7, 2008 - 5:47pm

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sought to reassure Syria and Lebanon on Sunday that Israel did not want a major missile attack drill to worsen tensions along its northern border. "The goal of the exercise is to check the authorities' ability to carry out their duties in times of emergency and for preparing the home front for different scenarios," Olmert told a weekly Cabinet meeting. "There is nothing else hidden behind it. All the reports on tension in the north can be moderated and cooled down. We have no secret plans," he added.

Ignore Al-jazeera At Your Own Peril
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Lawrence Pintak - (Opinion) April 7, 2008 - 5:53pm

It appears that Israel is taking a page from the George W. Bush MBA-Presidents Sep-07 book of public diplomacy: It is attempting to influence coverage in Arab media by boycotting the most influential television station in the Arab world. In the latest news from Jerusalem, it seems that the Ehud Olmert government has decided Al-Jazeera favors Hamas over Israel in the Gaza conflict and will now refuse to deal with its reporters.

Poll: Israelis Ready For Arab Anchor
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Meirav Crystal - April 7, 2008 - 5:55pm

The Israeli public is more than ready for an Arab newscaster, a survey held by Agenda, the Israeli Center for Strategic Communications, revealed Sunday.  The poll, performed by Agenda and the Teleseker polling company, included 400 native Israelis, 200 Israelis who emigrated from the former Soviet Union and 200 Arab Israelis, making up 800 participants.

Damascus, Ramallah Or Tehran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amir Oren - (Opinion) April 7, 2008 - 5:57pm

In September 1984, when he became defense minister, Yitzhak Rabin summoned the American ambassador, Samuel Lewis, and surprised him with a message for Washington: a request to begin examining secretly to what extent, and under which conditions, Syria was prepared for peace with Israel. Rabin's initiative had no follow-up. The administration of Ronald Reagan and the regime of Hafez Assad were in direct confrontation, the Israel Defense Forces had not yet withdrawn from central Lebanon and Syria was clinging to its "strategic support," the Soviet Union.

Settlement Bloc Expansion Is The Most Destructive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yariv Oppenheimer - (Opinion) April 9, 2008 - 8:46am

Recently, the Israeli and international media has featured reports on progress in peace negotiations. Chief negotiators Ahmed Qurei and Tzippi Livni maintain silence about the details, but allow that the talks are ongoing, detailed and purposeful. Now of all times, when the core issues never before discussed appear to be on the agenda, the negotiating theater seems to be infinitely distant from the reality unfolding on the ground.

The Palestinians Are Under Inner And Outer Siege
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Bassem Eid - (Opinion) April 9, 2008 - 8:54am

Before Oslo, Palestinians primarily desired unity and an end to the occupation. But as soon as the first intifada began to fade, divisions among Palestinians emerged. Throughout the Oslo years, these rifts continued to widen. While scores of Palestinians took to the streets, armed with stones and kitchen appliances, during the first intifada, the present uprising is increasingly characterized by the deadly firepower of small arms.

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