Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel recloses Gaza border crossings despite concern over food and fuel shortages (1) (2). Sports activities in integrated public schools unite Israeli and Palestinian children through sports (3). The Financial Times speculates on President-elect Obama's Middle East policy (4). Israel is set to free 250 Palestinian prisoners in a goodwill gesture to President Mahmoud Abbas (5). Israel launches an incursion into southern Gaza (6). Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad urges the international community to increase pressure on Israel to stop settlement activity (10).





Israel Renews Blockade Of Gaza Crossings
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
November 17, 2008 - 7:00pm


Israel resealed border crossings with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, blaming continued rocket fire at its towns, despite warnings from world aid groups of looming shortages of food and fuel in the coastal territory. Israel had allowed 33 truckloads of supplies into Gaza for the first time in two weeks on Monday, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas he would not permit a humanitarian crisis to develop there.


New IDF Gaza commander to take post
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Yaakov Katz - November 17, 2008 - 7:00pm


A changing of the guard at the helm of the IDF's Gaza Division is to take place Wednesday morning, despite the continued Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. Last week, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi postponed the ceremony, at which Brig.-Gen. Eyal Eizenberg is to replace Brig.-Gen. Moshe Tamir. That move was interpreted as a possible indicator that Israel was considering launching a wide-scale operation inside Gaza. "This is not the case," a senior IDF source said Tuesday. "Israel is working to keep the cease-fire alive and Hamas ultimately wants the same."


Israelis and Palestinians find peace on the playground
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
November 17, 2008 - 7:00pm


Israeli and Palestinian youngsters are finding some common ground on a school playground. Basketball games, hosted in Jerusalem by Hand in Hand, one of the few Israeli public schools where Jews and Arabs study together, are giving youths aged 10 to 16 a chance to try to bridge a wide political and religious divide. "I'm not afraid but I'm tense," said Azeza Shiquart, 15, of the village of Jabal Mukaber, in the occupied West Bank on the edge of Arab East Jerusalem, preparing for her first basketball game against Jewish teenagers from west Jerusalem.


Is Obama a Middle East ‘splitter’?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Gideon Rachman - November 17, 2008 - 7:00pm


Historians are sometimes divided into lumpers and splitters. The splitters like to chop problems up into lots of small bits. The lumpers like to link them altogether. Would-be Middle East peacemakers can be categorised in the same way. The lumpers want a “comprehensive peace settlement” that links together all the problems in the region – Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Israel-Palestine, even Iran. The splitters want to deal with all these problems separately.


Israel to free 250 Palestinian prisoners in goodwill gesture to Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
November 17, 2008 - 7:00pm


Caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Monday that 250 Palestinian prisoners would be freed in a goodwill gesture, as Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas urged Israel to maintain the Gaza truce. The pair met in Occupied Jerusalem for the first time in two months, amid rising tension in and around the besieged Gaza Strip.


Israeli incursion into south Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
November 17, 2008 - 7:00pm


The Israeli military has launched an incursion into the Gaza Strip and clashed with Palestinian gunmen there. Witnesses say the Israeli troops were accompanied by bulldozers which have been destroying agricultural land east of the town of Rafah, in southern Gaza. There was no immediate reports of any injuries or deaths. Meanwhile, Israeli defence officials say they have re-imposed a total closure of the border crossings into the Gaza Strip. A convoy of 33 trucks of humanitarian aid was allowed in on Monday, but United Nations officials say the supplies will run out within days.


Dark days in Gaza: Residents worried about winter
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - November 17, 2008 - 7:00pm


The sound of generators on the sidewalks of Gaza on the weekend made it hard for pedestrians to hear one another. Even though only a few of the well-kept stores on Omar el-Mukhtar Street, one bank and two carpentries, used generators, the noise was still great. The power outage meant most stores were dark, but it did not matter much anyway: There were no shoppers on the street. Traffic was also sparse, much less than what one might expect on a Saturday that is followed by a national holiday: 20 years since Yasser Arafat's declaration of Palestinian independence.


PA to publish ads in Israeli media
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - November 17, 2008 - 7:00pm


The Palestinian Authority will try to influence public opinion in Israel ahead of the general elections in February by publishing advertisements in Israeli newspapers. The ads, which outline the Saudi peace plan, will appear in the papers as of this Thursday. This is the first time that the PA is using this channel to communicate with the Israeli public. A source said that similar ads will be published in American and European newspapers as well.


Abbas said to ask Olmert to free Barghouti as goodwill gesture
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff - November 17, 2008 - 7:00pm


Ramallah-based paper Al-Ayyam reported Tuesday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday to release Fatah militant leader Marwan Barghouti a goodwill gesture. The paper reported that Abbas asked that Barghouti be freed ahead of next month's Eid al-Adha festival, making the request during a meeting with Olmert on Monday. Abbas also reportedly asked the prime minister to release Popular Front Secretary General Ahmad Sadat, and Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker and Hamas member Aziz al-Dweik.


Palestinian PM: Settlement building will destroy peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - November 17, 2008 - 7:00pm


Palestinian Prime Minister and Finance Minister Salam Fayyad called on the international community to up the pressure on Israel to suspend all construction in the settlements and implied that the Palestinian Authority could apply to the International Court of Justice in this regard, adopting the example of the separation fence.





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