Middle East News: World Press Roundup

A State Department Press Release features Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s remarks prior to the Berlin Conference held earlier today (1). The ceasefire between Hamas and Israel is reportedly broken as Palestinian rockets from Gaza land in southern Israel (4) and two Palestinians are killed in the West Bank (11). The suicide of an Israeli policeman at French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s departure ceremony mars his visit after a productive meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (5). Progress on security assistance reported at the Berlin conference (6), but challenges remain (7).

Cameras Emerge As A Tool In A Conflict Over Land
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - June 24, 2008 - 4:12pm

The conflict between Arabs and Jews over grazing land and water wells in the ancient, arid hills south of Hebron in the West Bank has a distinctly biblical feel, like the flimsy tent encampments and dank caves in which some local Palestinian farming families dwell.

Labour Backs Knesset Dissolution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
June 24, 2008 - 4:14pm

Israel's Labour party is to support a motion to dissolve parliament that could bring down embattled Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government. The bill will have its first reading on Wednesday. It would have to be put to a further two parliamentary votes before it can be passed. Mr Olmert is under investigation for alleged corruption and Mr Barak has previously called for his resignation. The Labour party is Mr Olmert's main coalition ally.

Rockets Hit Israel, Which Says Truce Broken
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - June 24, 2008 - 4:18pm

Palestinian militants on Tuesday fired three homemade rockets into southern Israel, the first such attack since a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza militants took effect last week. Israel condemned the attack as a "gross violation" of the truce, but did not say whether it would retaliate. The barrage wounded two people and capped a day of violence that presented the truce with its first serious test.

Israeli Policeman Kills Self At Sarkozy Ceremony
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Dan Balilty - June 24, 2008 - 4:20pm

An Israeli police officer fatally shot himself in the head at an airport farewell ceremony Tuesday for French President Nicolas Sarkozy, prompting bodyguards to whisk the visiting leader and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to safety, officials said. A military band was playing at the time of the shooting, and the dignitaries apparently didn\'t hear anything. Dark-suited security men quickly ushered Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, up the stairs of his plane at Ben-Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv.

Countries Commit $242m To Strengthen Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Geir Moulson - June 24, 2008 - 4:23pm

Countries at an international conference Tuesday agreed to commit $242 million to strengthen the Palestinian Authority's police and judicial systems, sending what Germany's foreign minister called a "clear signal of support" for building a Palestinian state. The money will go to projects that include police training, building a forensic lab and prisons, installing communications networks, and creation of courthouses.

Palestinian Police Chafe At Israeli Limitations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Alastair Macdonald - June 24, 2008 - 4:30pm

For Palestinian police chief Radhi Assida, an international fundraising conference in Berlin on Tuesday may provide welcome cash for kit and training. For the aid to help bring peace and security to the Middle East, however, the colonel wants the governments attending to focus on something more -- pressuring Israel to trust his force more and to end what he says are policies that limit its effectiveness and undermine its credibility among Palestinians.

Palestinian Leader Calls For More Eu Support For Peace Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Kuwait News Agency (kuna)
June 24, 2008 - 4:33pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Tuesday for more active support by the European Union (EU) for the Middle Eastern peace process. Speaking at a joint press conference with French President Nicholas Sarkozy in Bethlehem, he said the peace process required a "strong push" by the international community, and by the EU, whose rotating presidency was currently held by France.

On The Contacts Of Defiant Arabs With Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al Hayat
by Elias Harfoush - (Opinion) June 24, 2008 - 4:34pm

"Indirect" is so far the status of current contacts established between the three defiant sides in the region, namely Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, with Israel. Despite their indirect nature, such contacts seem to bear promising results regarding issues where positive developments had until recently been difficult to imagine.

Greece, Israel Held Two Military Test Runs For Attack On Iran
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
June 24, 2008 - 4:35pm

A top Greek air force official has revealed that Greece participated in two major military exercises over the Mediterranean Sea with Israel in recent weeks as test runs for possible long-range strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities. News of a secret exercise was broken by the New York Times last Friday, citing U.S. officials as saying that more than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighter jets took part in preparation for long-range strikes in the first week of June.

Israeli Forces Kill 2 Palestinians In West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Atef Saad - June 24, 2008 - 4:40pm

Israeli forces killed two Palestinians, including an Islamic Jihad commander, in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday in the first fatal raid since a ceasefire took hold in the Gaza Strip last week. Islamic Jihad threatened to launch attacks inside Israel to avenge the death of Tarek Juma Abu Ghali, whom the militant group described as one of its most senior commanders in the northern West Bank. A second Palestinian, affiliated with the Islamist militant group Hamas, was also killed in the overnight raid, Palestinian security sources said.

Divide And Conquer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) June 24, 2008 - 4:41pm

The ceasefire agreement that was reached between Israel and the Hamas leadership through Egyptian mediation and that has been observed successfully by the two parties since Thursday marks a very significant development with potentially far reaching consequences.

Egypt Vows Rafah To Remain Closed Until Shalit Free
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - June 24, 2008 - 4:45pm

With the volatile ceasefire holding up despite threats made by the Islamic Jihad to breach the shaky agreement following the killings of two organization members in the West Bank duringan IDF operation – Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stopped by for a brief visit to Egypt, where he hopes to advance the negotiations for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Olmert met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the Sharm el-Sheikh resort on Tuesday afternoon, and received the latter's assurance that Cairo was exerting considerable efforts to free the Israeli soldier.

Ayoon Wa Azan (he Never Says That He Guarantees Peace)
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al Hayat
by Jihad El-khazen - (Opinion) June 25, 2008 - 5:34pm

President Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Meshaal have at least one point in common. They do not want reconciliation to be solely restricted to Fatah and Hamas. Instead, they seek a Palestinian reconciliation with the participation of all Palestinian sides and an Arab blessing.

Sarkozy Moves To Boost Palestinian Economy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - June 25, 2008 - 5:40pm

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed an agreement on Tuesday to establish an industrial zone in the Bethlehem area to boost the Palestinian economy. The agreement was signed during Sarkozy's visit to Bethlehem, where he met with Abbas and other PA leaders. Abbas thanked Sarkozy for agreeing to fund the $21 million project, which is expected to provide thousands of jobs. Abbas also called on the European Union to play a more active role in solving the Israeli-Arab conflict.

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