Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The BBC examines how the Israeli blockade is affecting Gazans (1). Meanwhile, a protest against it in Amman, Jordan draws thousands (8) and King Abdullah also joins Palestinian President Abbas in condemning the blockade (9). Israeli police remove a tent set up in protest by a Palestinian family recently evicted from their home (2). A group of extremist Jewish settlers desecrate a Palestinian mosque (3). The PLO places advertisements in Israeli papers promoting the Arab peace plan (4). A pair of polls show Netanyahu’s Likud party with a slight edge over Livni’s Kadima party in the run-up to February elections (6). Leaders of the world’s largest media organizations file a formal protest with Prime Minister Olmert over the banning of foreign journalists from Gaza (7).





Gazans despair over blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
by Aleem Maqbool - November 19, 2008 - 7:00pm


"People in Gaza are waiting in lines for almost everything, and that's if they're lucky enough to find something to wait for," says Bassam Nasser, 39. An aid worker in Gaza City, he, like so many others there, including the UN relief agency, says living conditions are the worst he has ever seen in the strip. "People queue for two or three hours for bread, but sometimes there's no cooking gas or flour, so no bread. "People wait in line for UN food handouts, but sometimes there aren't any. The suffering is reaching every aspect of life."


Israel police remove protest tent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
November 18, 2008 - 7:00pm


Israeli police have pulled down a protest tent set up by a Palestinian family evicted from their home of 52 years in East Jerusalem. They also arrested three international activists and one Palestinian. Fawzia al-Kurd, 57, had been sleeping in the tent since she and her disabled husband were forced from the house last week on the basis of a court ruling. Jewish groups have claimed ownership of the site as part of efforts to settle the Israeli-occupied east of the city.


Jewish settlers daub 'Muhammad is a pig' on Palestinian mosque
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by David Byers - November 19, 2008 - 7:00pm


An escalating stand-off between the Israeli Army and a group of extremist Jewish settlers encamped illegally in a Palestinian town took a sinister turn today after radicals desecrated a Muslim cemetery and mosque and attacked soldiers. Israel's military, which is trying to force the settlers to leave the property in Hebron, said it had removed the graffiti "Muhammad is a pig" from a local mosque and had cleared the cemetery, in which gravestones were sprayed by radicals with Stars of David.


Palestinians advertise peace plan in Israeli press
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Ari Rabinovitch - November 19, 2008 - 7:00pm


The PLO took the unprecedented step of placing advertisements in Israeli newspapers on Thursday to promote a six-year-old Arab peace plan for the region. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organisation published the full-page notices in Hebrew in four major dailies. They described the Arab plan, which was first proposed in 2002 but has long found little interest from Israel.


Hamas, Israel trying to rewrite truce
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Karin Laub - November 19, 2008 - 7:00pm


A June truce between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers comes up for renewal next month, and it looks as if both sides are trying to dictate more favorable terms. That would explain why Israel and Hamas have been trading rocket fire and air strikes for two weeks, even as they keep saying they're interested in a continued cease-fire. The attempt to establish new ground rules could easily spin out of control, especially if there are civilian casualties. Domestic concerns further complicate the situation.


Polls show Israel's Likud party leading
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Aron Heller - November 19, 2008 - 7:00pm


A pair of polls published Thursday showed opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu's hardline Likud party leading Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's moderate Kadima party in the run-up to Israel's Feb. 10 elections. The polls also indicated strong support for Netanyahu's hard-line allies. If that support stands through the elections, it would position Netanyahu to put together a hawkish coalition that would likely end peace talks with the Palestinians, at least in their current form.


Global media executives protest Gaza press ban
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
November 19, 2008 - 7:00pm


Leaders of the world's biggest media organizations filed a protest with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert criticizing the government's decision to ban journalists from entering the Gaza Strip for the last two weeks. Wednesday's protest was the latest in a chorus of international criticism of the Gaza blockade, tightened after a five-month truce began unraveling about two weeks ago in a flurry of IAF strikes against terrorists and Palestinian rocket barrages targeting southern Israel towns.


Hundreds protest Gaza blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Mohammad Ben Hussein - November 19, 2008 - 7:00pm


Hundreds of activists demonstrated in Amman on Wednesday to protest Israel’s blockade of Gaza, highlighting the worsening humanitarian conditions in the coastal enclave. Carrying green flags representing the Islamist movement, Palestinian flags and banners, protesters marched from the Islamic Action Front (IAF) headquarters to the Parliament building calling for an end to the embargo.


Abdullah, Abbas condemn Gaza blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - November 19, 2008 - 7:00pm


Following a clandestine meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, King Abdullah of Jordan invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for a chat in Aqaba, Thursday. The two warned against any unilateral Israeli actions in Gaza or the West Bank and emphasized that an increased blockade of Gaza would only lead to increased Palestinian suffering and escalating tensions.


Abbas to shun Arab League Cairo meet
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - November 19, 2008 - 7:00pm


The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is "extremely disappointed" with the Arab countries over their refusal to hold Hamas responsible for the failure of Egyptian efforts to end the Islamic movement's dispute with Fatah, PA officials said Wednesday. The officials said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas had decided to boycott the upcoming meeting of the Arab League Foreign Ministers in Cairo in protest against the Arab countries' position.





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