Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski argue in the Washington Post that President Obama's team should move quickly on Israeli-Palestinian peace (1). Israel allows limited amounts of fuel and food aid into Gaza (2). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he may call for elections in 2009 (3). Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud OImert is in Washington for a farewell meeting with outgoing President Bush (4). An internal report by the Israeli government reportedly recommends peace talks with Syria (5).





Middle East Priorities For Jan. 21
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft - (Opinion) November 23, 2008 - 7:00pm


The election of Barack Obama to be the 44th president is profoundly historic. We have at long last been able to come together in a way that has eluded us in the long history of our great country. We should celebrate this triumph of the true spirit of America. Election Day celebrations were replicated in time zones around the world, something we have not seen in a long time. While euphoria is ephemeral, we must endeavor to use its energy to bring us all together as Americans to cope with the urgent problems that beset us.


Israel lets limited aid into Hamas-run Gaza Strip
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Nidal Al-Mughrabi - November 23, 2008 - 7:00pm


Israel opened border crossings with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Monday, allowing in limited amounts of food and fuel for the second time in three weeks after the United Nations warned of a looming humanitarian crisis. Aid groups said the one-day shipment would have minimal impact because border crossings have been closed for so long, depleting reserves of everything from flour to animal feed. "It is just not enough," said Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).


Abbas says may call for Palestinian elections
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Wafa Amr - November 23, 2008 - 7:00pm


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday he would call for elections in 2009 if his secular Fatah movement and its Islamist rivals Hamas do not reconcile by the end of this year. "If the dialogue does not begin, and if we fail, I will issue a presidential decree early next year calling for simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections," Abbas told members of the Palestine Liberation Organization. He did not name a date. Elections could be held 90 days after his decree, but there was no hint of when that might be.


Olmert in Washington for 'farewell' talks with Bush
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
November 23, 2008 - 7:00pm


Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert arrived in Washington on Sunday ahead of a farewell meeting with President George W. Bush, with Iran's nuclear drive set to overshadow stagnant Middle East peace talks. The Monday meeting is likely to be their last face-to-face exchange before Bush, who had once hoped to seal a Palestinian-Israeli deal in 2008, hands president-elect Barack Obama the keys to the White House on January 20.


Official Israeli study recommends deal with Syria, blocking of Palestinian polls
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
November 23, 2008 - 7:00pm


Israel should pursue peace talks with Syria next year to help contain perceived threats from Iran's nuclear program and Hamas, says an internal Israeli government report, which also highlighted the need to halt Palestinian democracy. Compiled by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's National Security Council (NSC) and published in part by an Israeli newspaper on Sunday, the report argues for "paying the heavy price" of an accord with Syria - the return of the Occupied Golan Heights in line with international law.


'Humanitarian crisis looming in Gaza’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
November 23, 2008 - 7:00pm


His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday urged the international community to act immediately to end the suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, warning that a humanitarian crisis with a devastating impact is looming in the enclave. He called for breaking the Israeli siege on the strip to allow in badly needed humanitarian assistance. King Abdullah made his remarks yesterday during a business lunch hosted by French Ambassador to the Kingdom Denys Gauer, attended by EU ambassadors.


PLO body elects Abbas 'President of Palestine'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
November 23, 2008 - 7:00pm


Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of Palestine on Sunday by a key decision-making body of the PLO, amid tensions with rival Islamists, officials said. The symbolic vote was taken at a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's (PLO) 120-member central council. "I announce that the PLO central council has elected Mahmoud Abbas president of the state of Palestine. He takes on this role from this day, November 23, 2008," the body's chairman Salem Al Zaanun told reporters. He said the vote was taken on a proposal from 75 members of the council.


What Obama Needs to Do First
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by M.J. Rosenberg - (Opinion) November 20, 2008 - 7:00pm


The Palestinian Authority, in a brilliant display of public relations, ran Hebrew-language ads this week, in Israel’s four major newspapers, endorsing the Arab Peace Initiative (formerly known as the Saudi plan) and calling on Israelis to support it, too. The Palestinian Authority is also urging President-elect Barack Obama to put his prestige behind the initiative as a critical first step to help end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.





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