Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Isabel Kershner of the New York Times reports on the fading likelihood of a peace agreement by year’s end (1). Israel seals West Bank and Gaza borders for Jewish holiday (3). Hamas and Fatah met in Senegal over the weekend for talks (4). A recent poll shows support for President Abbas rising (5) (8). Sources within Israel’s Military and Defense establishments downplay the certainty of a Gaza operation (10).

Israel Seals Gaza, West Bank Borders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
June 9, 2008 - 4:14pm

RAMALLAH, West Bank, June 8 (UPI) -- Israel Sunday closed the country to entry from the occupied Palestinian territories for the Shavuot holiday, sealing off the West Bank and Gaza. The closure was announced on Israeli radio and was planned to last until Monday, reported KUNA, the Kuwaiti news agency. It said the decision bans entry into the country from the occupied territories except for emergencies, and tightened security at checkpoints and demarcation lines to guard against terrorist attacks. The decision was made by the Israeli Army, KUNA said.

Talks Seek To Bridge Hamas-fatah Rift
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
June 9, 2008 - 4:16pm

DAKAR, Senegal (Reuters) — The Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas met in Senegal over the weekend for talks aimed at bridging the violent rift between the groups. The two sides released a joint statement on Sunday saying that the meetings had restored “an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect,” though there were no details about progress on specific issues.

Poll: Abbas More Popular Than Haniyeh After Call For Hamas Dialogue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
June 9, 2008 - 4:20pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's popularity rebounded in a survey released on Monday after he renewed his call for dialogue with the Hamas Islamists who control the Gaza Strip. The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, suggested that Abbas would win 52 percent of the vote against 40 percent for Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh if a presidential election were held in the Palestinian territories now. A survey by the same group in March showed Haniyeh leading Abbas by 47 percent to 46.

Hamas Takes Responsibility For Attacks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
June 9, 2008 - 4:24pm

Hamas has claimed belated responsibility for a string of terror attacks in Israel carried out several years ago. A Hamas web site lists nine attacks that killed 26 Israelis from 2002 until 2005. Other Palestinian groups claimed responsibility for some of those attacks at the time. The group says it kept quiet about its role until now for security reasons. The web site says all the attackers came from the West Bank.

Drafting To Start On Mideast Peace Deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by Hossam Ezzedine - June 9, 2008 - 4:28pm

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) Top Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qorei said Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are to start drafting a document, in remarks published Saturday on progress in US-backed peace talks. In an interview with two Palestinian newspapers, Qorei said the two sides were discussing all the core issues of the decades-old conflict, including borders, Jerusalem, and Palestinian refugees.

Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No. 28
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Palestinian Center For Policy And Survey Research
June 9, 2008 - 4:30pm

These are the results of the latest poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 5 and 7 June 2008. This period witnessed the declaration by the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmud Abbas of his desire to renew dialogue with Hamas. It also witnessed continued closure of the Rafah border crossing despite Hamas’s attempt to open it.

Chances For A Ceasefire Are Minimal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) June 10, 2008 - 4:51pm

Egyptian efforts to secure a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel in Gaza are continuing, but the different parties' interests and their definition of what a ceasefire should constitute are throwing obstacles in the way.

Abbas Retakes Lead In Palestinian Poll
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Itamar Sharon - June 10, 2008 - 4:53pm

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has received a boost in popularity in light of his recent efforts to reconcile with Hamas, while the terror organization's standing with the Palestinian public has declined, a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) shows.

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