Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama kicks off an international tour including five Middle Eastern states (1). An op-ed in the German daily Der Speigel urges a strong American presence in the Middle East peace process (3). A recent poll by J Street, a Washington based Jewish lobby, finds that the views of American Jews on the Middle East may be more dovish than is commonly believed (5) (11). The Israel-Hamas ceasefire continues to hold, but few tangible gains have been made for Gazans (7). The Fatah government intervenes in the IDF crackdown on allegedly Hamas-affiliated organizations in the West Bank (8) (10).





Blair Says Peace Deal Is Being Undermined By Doubts Over Ehud Olmert
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - July 17, 2008 - 2:12pm


A day after he was prevented from visiting Gaza by an assassination threat, Tony Blair raised doubts for the first time yesterday that a peace deal could be concluded between Israel and the Palestinians by the end of the year. Mr Blair, the international community’s envoy to the Middle East, said that the uncertain political future of Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, was undermining efforts to conclude a deal, which President Bush had said would be signed in 2008.


Peace In The Middle East Still Needs The Americans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Der Spiegel
by Gerhard Sporl - (Opinion) July 17, 2008 - 2:13pm


The French president has thrown parties for mortal enemies in the Middle East, and toasted himself as peacemaker. But as bodies and prisoners are exchanged this week it's clear just how hopeless the region has become. The process is waiting on Washington.


Olmert's Lawyers Attempt To Discredit Key Witness
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - July 17, 2008 - 2:15pm


Lawyers representing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert cross-examined an American businessman Thursday, hoping to undermine his allegations that Olmert illicitly accepted cash-stuffed envelopes from him to help fund a luxurious lifestyle. The businessman, 75-year-old Morris Talansky, appeared nervous in the Israeli court room, drumming his fingers on the table, fidgeting with a plastic cup and at one point asking for a break. He insisted he told the truth in previous testimony.


Doves Outnumber Hawks In Jewish Community
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Daniel Luban - July 17, 2008 - 2:17pm


A new poll suggests that US Jews hold views about the Middle East that are considerably more dovish than frequently acknowledged, with large majorities favoring diplomacy with Iran, supporting a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine, and advocating US withdrawal from Iraq. US Jews also favor Barack Obama over John McCain by a wide margin in the upcoming November presidential elections, according to the poll, which was released Wednesday by the Jewish advocacy group J Street.


Israeli Claims Over Journalist Challenged
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Sanjay Suri , Mel Fryberg - July 17, 2008 - 2:18pm


Medical reports seen by IPS appear to confirm the testimony of IPS Gaza correspondent Mohammed Omer of physical abuse at the hands of Israelis last month. Omer said he was physically and mentally abused at the Allenby crossing into Gaza while on his way back from a European tour. In London, he was awarded the Martha Gellhorn prize for investigative reporting.


Militants Cast Doubt On Gaza Ceasefire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Omar Karmi - July 17, 2008 - 2:20pm


Amir al Sharif is keen to talk. For nearly two hours he does so almost non-stop, opining that Hamas was originally supported by Israel’s Shin Bet security service to challenge the PLO and Fatah. He said since then the Islamist movement had never missed an opportunity to weaken Fatah and complained that since Hamas had agreed to a ceasefire with the “Zionist enemy”, it was acting as “Israel’s policeman” in the Gaza Strip.


Israeli Forces Retreat From Decision To Close A Shopping Mall In Nablus
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Kuwait News Agency (kuna)
July 17, 2008 - 2:21pm


Israeli occupation authorities on Thursday retreated from its decision to close a shopping mall in the city of Nablus. City Governor Jamal al-Mohaisen told the press that the decision came after political moves carried out by President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. He added that the peace process envoy, General William Fraser has mediated to the Israeli side, a matter that contributed to the retreat of Israel on its decision.


Don't Paint All Arabs With The Same Brush
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) July 17, 2008 - 2:23pm


The newly appointed US Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, James K. Glassman, who replaced Karen Hughes, a confidant of the US President George W. Bush, is in an unenviable position. For a start his term in office is only for six months unless, of course, Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee wins the national elections in November and decides to hold on to him, or he may still be replaced since the senator may want someone who is closer to his views.


Israeli Attacks Backfire, Unite Hamas, Fatah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Times
by Mel Frykberg - July 17, 2008 - 2:24pm


During the last few weeks Israeli troops have raided and closed down mosques, medical centers, charities, soup kitchens and shopping malls in Nablus, confiscating computers and buses, and causing extensive damage, as they target Hamas-linked institutions which they claim are "supporting terrorism," in a bid to stem the growing influence the Islamic organization has over the West Bank.


Poll: 55% Of American Jews See Mideast Peace As 'core' U.s. Interest
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shmuel Rosner - July 17, 2008 - 2:26pm


Can you imagine a J Street poll suggesting that most American Jews oppose a vigorous Israeli-Palestinian peace process? Can you imagine such a poll asserting that American Jews oppose any American pressure on Israel to make compromises? If you can't, this is your lucky day. J Street just released a public opinion pollwith no such surprises. Not if you read the press releases accompanying it. American Jews, the poll says, want peace, readily support American pressure, and believe that Middle East peace is "a core American interest" (55 percent).





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