Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel schedules early elections for February 10th (1). Chris Phillips examines the Arab-Israeli peace talks in an op-ed for The Guardian (2). A boat of activists arrives on the shores of Gaza to draw attention to Israel’s blockade (3). The Israeli military defends their ‘shoot-to-kill policy, following the deaths of three Palestinian youths last week (4). Hamas warns that the recent arrests of their members in the West Bank may harm the upcoming unity talks (5). Retired Major General Amos Gilad discusses Israel’s current strategic environment in an article published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (9).

Israel schedules early elections for February 10
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israel's political parties decided Tuesday to hold early elections on February 10, a decision that will leave US-backed Mideast peace talks on hold for months. "Following a meeting of the Knesset factions it was decided that the elections will be held on February 10," said Knesset spokesman Giora Pordes, adding that Parliament would adjourn on November 11. Both Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's centrist Kadima party and the right-wing Likud party of hard-line hawk former Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, the two frontrunners for prime minister, had pressed for elections as soon as possible.

Israel's multilateral option
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

The inability of Tzipi Livni to form a coalition government in Israel and her subsequent calling of elections has sadly obscured two unexpected peace proposals that emerged in her final weeks of horse-trading. The first was an examination by the foreign ministry into a possible non-aggression pact with Lebanon. The second comes after Labour leader Ehud Barak proposed a revival of Saudi Arabia's 2002 peace plan which offers Israel universal recognition in the Arab world were it to fully withdraw to its pre-1967 borders.

Boat Arrives in Gaza to Protest Israeli Blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

A boat loaded with protesters has arrived in the Gaza Strip to bring attention to Israel's blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory. The 27 passengers include Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead McGuire. They are scheduled to remain in Gaza for four days. The boat chartered by the U.S.-based group called Free Gaza sailed from the nearby island of Cyprus on Tuesday and arrived in Gaza in pouring rain early Wednesday. Israel had said it would block the boat, but navy ships did not interfere.

So Easy for Israelis to Shoot to Kill
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Cherrie Heywood - October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli soldiers shot and killed three young Palestinians in the Ramallah district of the central West Bank last week. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) claimed the Palestinians were about to throw Molotov cocktails at soldiers and settlers in the Bet El settlement. But the circumstances in which the young men were shot, whether they actually did throw or attempt to throw firebombs, and if they actually threatened the lives of any soldiers or settlers, has been questioned.

Hamas says W. Bank arrests could harm unity talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

Hamas said Tuesday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's security forces had arrested 170 of its members in the West Bank in the past four weeks in a campaign that could hamper Egyptian-sponsored unity talks. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said the detentions could "poison the atmosphere and block the way" toward reconciliation with Abbas's Fatah faction, which lost control of the Gaza Strip to the Islamist group in fighting in June 2007. The latest arrests, Abu Zuhri said, raised the number of Hamas members detained by forces loyal to Abbas to at least 400 in the past year.

Middle East challenges for next president
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Alistair Lyon - October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

Major foreign policy challenges await the next president in the Middle East. Here are some of the intertwined issues that Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain will inherit from President George W. Bush.

Jerusalem youth use music to break down walls
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Common Ground News Service
(Opinion) October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

We need a cultural revolution. We have waited far too long for governments and armies to bring us peace and security. Fear and mistrust of the other side define our reality. Good, peace-loving Israelis and Palestinians are convinced they have no partner for peace. Most are unaware of the fact that every Israeli and every Palestinian holds so much power to shape his or her future. Artists, as well as those involved in media, have tremendous power to help build trust and create human connections despite the political and social barriers that currently divide us.

'Up injunctions for settler violence'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday ordered an increase in the use of injunctions against violent offenders in Judea and Samaria. In a meeting at his Tel Aviv office with senior defense officials, Barak said the recent spate of settler violence was unacceptable and ordered the establishment of a monitoring team to examine events.

Israel's Current Strategic Environment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
by Amos Gilad - October 27, 2008 - 8:00pm

- Hamas could have pretended it wanted a political solution and the whole world would have recognized this. The Quartet posed to Hamas only three conditions: recognize your neighbor, recognize the peace agreements, and avoid terror. But Hamas said, no, Israel has no right to exist. They have a dream - to join the other Islamic forces, to revolutionize the whole Middle East. - The Palestinian Authority is doing better at maintaining law and order in its territory in the West Bank. However, it has far from demonstrated any level of performance in dealing with terror.

Hamas tunnel uncovered by PA near Hebron was arms training site
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

The tunnel near Hebron uncovered about two weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority was used by Hamas as a firing range and for other weapons training, according to PA security officials. The discovery of the tunnel is indicative of the kind of pressure the PA security forces are putting on the military wing of Hamas. The revelation of the tunnel caught by surprise Israeli security officials, who reportedly agree with the PA's evaluation of its purpose. In contrast to tunnels excavated through the Gaza Strip sand, a tunnel in the West Bank is rare.

IDF troops kill Palestinian farmer, 68, near Jenin
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israel Defense Forces troops shot and killed an elderly Palestinian farmer on Wednesday while operating near the West Bank town of Jenin on Wednesday. Palestinian security sources and the IDF both confirmed the incident. An army spokesman said troops on patrol in the area shot the man after he opened fire at them. Advertisement A Palestinian security source identified the Palestinian as a 68-year-old farmer, Mohammed Abahreh, and said he was carrying a shotgun as he herded cattle in the village of Al-Yamoun.

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