Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Mahmoud Darwish, respected Palestinian poet, dies after complications from heart surgery at the age of 67, and will be honored with an official funeral (1) (7). The BBC looks at life on the ground in blockaded Gaza (3). Eight Palestinians are killed as an underground smuggling tunnel collapses near the Egypt-Gaza border (5). Israel’s recent decision to build 447 new settler homes around Jerusalem draws criticism from the French EU Presidency (9). Three articles from Bitterlemons.org examine different scenarios for the Annapolis process (10) (11) (12).

Palestinians Doubt Two-state Deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
August 11, 2008 - 4:26pm

Israel's strategy in negotiations could force the Palestinians to abandon their goal of a two-state solution, a top Palestinian negotiator says. Ahmed Qurei says they may instead seek a binational solution, that is a single state for Israelis and Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Israel fears such a this would spell the end of the Jewish majority state. Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza in 1967. Its negotiators have always resisted full withdrawal from them.

Guide: Gaza Under Blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bbc News
by Heather Sharp - (Analysis) August 11, 2008 - 4:38pm

  The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since the militant group Hamas seized control in June 2007. What gets in and out of Gaza, what has been the impact of the restrictions, and what has changed since the truce between Israel and Hamas in June 2008? OVERVIEW For the past year, Gaza's 1.5m people have been relying on, on average, less than a fifth of the volume of imported supplies they received in December 2005. Some weeks significantly less than that has arrived.  

Lebanon’s Palestinian Ghetto Redesigned
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Le Monde Diplomatique
by Don Duncan - (Special Report) August 11, 2008 - 4:41pm

Lebanon proposes to rebuild Nahr al-Bared, the Palestinian city-camp near Tripoli pulverised in a long siege last year in an attempt to kill Sunni militants holed up there. The new, as yet only imagined, town is intended to preserve the memories of the old, yet return the area to the control of Lebanon.

Hamas Blames Egypt For Deaths Of 8 Palestinians In Border Tunnels
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
August 11, 2008 - 4:43pm

Hamas blamed Egypt on Monday for the deaths of eight Palestinians, claiming it used water, gas and explosives to seal a network of tunnels under its border with the Gaza Strip. Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Ehab al-Ghsain criticized Egypt's anti-smuggling tactics as dangerous. Three Palestinians were crushed to death on Monday when their tunnel under the border collapsed, medics said. Five others suffocated on Aug 1.

Pro-peace West Bank Radio Station Closes Down Due To Lack Of Funding
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
August 11, 2008 - 4:46pm

A West Bank radio station that sought to bring Israelis and Palestinians together to the tune of easy-listening rock music has gone of the air because of a lack of funding. RAM-FM had been broadcasting English-language talk shows and artists like Michael Bolton and Air Supply from a studio in the town of Ramallah since last year. An official from the station confirmed Monday it went off the air last week. In a statement, the station said it was unable to generate sufficient advertising revenues to sustain its ongoing operation.

Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian Poet, Is Dead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from International Herald Tribune
August 11, 2008 - 4:48pm

RAMALLAH, West Bank: Mahmoud Darwish, whose prose gave voice to the Palestinian experience of exile, occupation and infighting, died Saturday in Houston. He was 67. The preeminent Palestinian poet, whose work has been translated into more than 20 languages and has won numerous international awards, died from complications after open heart surgery at a Houston hospital, said Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for the Palestinian presidency.

Hamas Bans Use Of Cooking Gas-run Cars Citing Shortage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
August 11, 2008 - 4:49pm

Gaza City: Gaza's Hamas-run government banned the use of cooking gas to fuel cars in the territory on Saturday, citing expected shortages ahead of Ramadan. Earlier this year, Israel slashed fuel shipments in response to attacks from the Gaza Strip, leading to a severe shortage. As a result, around 8,000 Gaza residents converted their vehicles to run on cooking gas, said Ahmad Ali, of the Palestinian Petroleum Commission.

Eu: Settlements Undermine Peace Process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
August 11, 2008 - 4:51pm

French EU Presidency expresses deep concern over Israel's intention to build 447 new housing units Israel's decision to approve the building of hundreds of new housing units in the Jerusalem area undermines the credibility of the Middle East peace process, the European Union said on Friday. A statement from the French EU Presidency said it was deeply concerned by the Israeli move.

Serious But Inconclusive
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Ghassan Khatib - (Opinion) August 11, 2008 - 4:53pm

Because the 1993 declaration of principles (Oslo agreement) took everybody by surprise by arriving in the middle of the overwhelming pessimism that surrounded the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations in Washington at the time, analysts have since become very alert to possible similar sudden breakthroughs.

ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Alpher - (Opinion) August 11, 2008 - 4:54pm

An Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement between PM Ehud Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas is not likely. The two leaders are weak, Olmert's days as leader are numbered, Abbas too may not last long and the two sides are too far apart on the core issues of Jerusalem and refugees/right of return. But let's assume they surprise us and produce an agreement "in principle" while they are both still in office, i.e., in the coming months and perhaps even weeks.

On Borrowed Time
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Bitterlemons
by Yossi Beilin - (Opinion) August 11, 2008 - 4:56pm

No peace agreement between Israel and its neighbors will be signed before the end of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's term of office. The most far-reaching move imaginable would be some sort of agreements in principle between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and the Syrians. The chances of that happening don't appear very good, but it's not impossible.

Barak Questions If Livni Would Be 'wise' Choice For Premiership
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
August 11, 2008 - 4:57pm

The atmosphere of the approaching September primary election within the Kadima party prompted even Defense Minister and Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak to break his media silence and hint that Kadima front-runner Tzipi Livni would not be a wise choice to lead the country.

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