Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The New York Times reports on Israeli settlers eager to quit the West Bank (1). The Israeli blockade forces Gaza City's power plant to shut down (2). The Saudi government gives a cool reception to Israeli President Shimon Peres' support of the Arab peace plan (3). Violence on the Gaza-Israel border continues to threaten the ceasefire (4) (5) (6). Jordan King Abdullah restates his support for a two-state solution (7). Britain announces plans to label Israeli products manufactured in West Bank settlements (8). Defense Minister Ehud Barak continued to approve settlement construction despite the Israeli commitment to the Road Map (9).





Settlers Who Long to Leave the West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - November 12, 2008 - 7:00pm


Surrounded by hostility, living on land most of the world wants turned over to Palestinians for a state, they meet quietly in Jewish settlements like this one, plotting the future. But these besieged West Bank settlers, widely viewed as an obstacle to peace, want only one surprising thing: to get out. While the vast majority of settlers vow never to abandon the heart of the historic Jewish homeland — these ancient and starkly beautiful hills whose biblical names are Judea and Samaria — thousands of other settlers say they want to move back to within the pre-1967 borders of Israel.


Israel blockade leaves much of Gaza City without power
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Rushdi Abu Alouf, Richard Boudreaux - November 13, 2008 - 7:00pm


Much of Gaza City fell into darkness Thursday night after an Israeli blockade, tightened in response to Palestinian hostilities, caused the city's electricity plant to run critically low on fuel and shut down. Israel also barred 30 truckloads of relief supplies from entering the Gaza Strip, leaving a United Nations agency without food to distribute to needy families that make up half the Palestinian territory's 1.5 million people.


Saudis Cool to Israeli Overture
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
November 13, 2008 - 7:00pm


Israel should not parse the Arab peace plan, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, said Thursday after a speech by Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, during a two-day interfaith dialogue at the United Nations. Mr. Peres and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia were in rare, close proximity. Although they did not meet, Mr. Peres addressed the king from the podium and read extracts that he supported from the peace plan first proposed by the kingdom in 2002. But Prince Saud said later that Mr.


Gaza ceasefire continues to unravel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck - November 13, 2008 - 7:00pm


The ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip continued to unravel on Friday, as several Israeli towns close to the territory came under attack from rockets and mortars. The two sides have been trading attacks since early last week, when an Israeli military incursion into Gaza killed six militants belonging to Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the territory. Gaza-based groups responded with a barrage of rocket and mortar fire, and the violence escalated further when a second Israeli incursion claimed the lives of four more Palestinian militants this week.


Gaza violence flares again as UN food handouts stop
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
November 13, 2008 - 7:00pm


Violence flared again around Gaza on Friday, wounding two militants and an Israeli woman and putting a five-month-old truce in jeopardy as UN food handouts to the Hamas-ruled strip ground to a halt. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held emergency talks with Defence Minister Ehud Barak and military top brass following the firing of nearly 20 rockets from Gaza into southern Israel on Friday. Olmert said at the meeting that the rocket fire was "a blatant and fundamental violation" of the June 19 Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that followed months of deadly clashes between Israel and Hamas.


Hamas fires long-range rockets at Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Abed Shana - November 13, 2008 - 7:00pm


Hamas Islamists fired long-range rockets at a southern Israel city on Friday after an Israeli air strike on their Gaza stronghold in the 11th day of skirmishes that threaten a five-month-old truce. The armed wing of the Islamist group said it fired five Grad rockets, the longest-range weapon it has used against the Jewish state. Israel said they hit Ashkelon, north of Gaza on the Mediterranean coast, with no casualties.


‘Two-state solution remains best answer to Mideast conflict’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
November 13, 2008 - 7:00pm


His Majesty King Abdullah said on Thursday the two-state solution is the sole way to end the conflict in the Middle East and bring about security and stability in the region. He called for rallying international efforts to support Palestinian-Israeli negotiations based on this solution. In a lecture at the Royal College of Defence Studies during a visit to London, the Monarch said the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative still provides a proper ground to achieve comprehensive peace that addresses the various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict.


Israel infuriated by U.K. plan to label West Bank produce
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Anshel Pfeffer, Barak Ravid - November 13, 2008 - 7:00pm


Relations between Israel and Britain remained strained on Thursday over Downing Street's intention to label products manufactured in West Bank settlements, a week before the expected arrival of British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, David Miliband, to the Middle East.


Barak approved settlement expansion despite Road Map
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Uri Blau - November 13, 2008 - 7:00pm


Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved dozens of construction projects in the West Bank in recent months, contradicting Israel's commitments to the Road Map, Haaretz has learned. Barak also approved the marketing of hundreds of housing units in settlements. Some of the permits for construction projects were granted in settlements to the east of the separation fence, which are beyond the areas the state defines as "settlement blocks" and it expects to retain under Israel's control following a permanent agreement with the Palestinians.





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