Middle East News: World Press Roundup

An ATFP translation of a Hassan Khader article in Al-Ayyam daily examines the struggle between the Palestinian national movement and Hamas (1). BBC News features an interview with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (2). The plight of Gaza's civilians is highlighted over the Thanksgiving holiday (3) (4). Israel continues settlement activity to continue despite a stated commitment to Road Map principles (4) (7). The prospect of Sen. Hillary Clinton serving as US Secretary of State provokes a variety of international responses (8).

Analyzing the National Situation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ayyam
by Hassan Khader - November 30, 2008 - 1:00am

The Palestinian political struggle is not between Fatah and Hamas, but is between the Palestinian national movement as such and an armed militia that is supported by Syria, Iran, Qatar, and Muslim Brotherhood cells in the Arab world and beyond. And if both sides are accorded equal political status, then the national movement will lose.

Still talking: Annapolis one year on
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC World News
by Paul Wood - November 26, 2008 - 8:00pm

At dinner in Ramallah recently, amid heaped plates of rice and chicken, a raucous but friendly political debate was going on with the usual arm waving and raised voices. One of those at the table was a tough-looking young officer in an elite unit of the Palestinian security forces. He brandished his forearm, declaring: "If you cut my veins open, the blood will fall on the ground to make the word 'Fatah'". Who was the most important enemy: Hamas or the Israelis, I asked. Hamas, everyone told me. They had to be dealt with before anything else could be accomplished.

On Thanksgiving, not much to give thanks for in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Time
by Tim McGirk - November 25, 2008 - 8:00pm

IN Gaza, food's going fast. As you sit down to a Thanksgiving feast, please spare a thought for the starving Palestinians of Gaza. There are 1.5 million of them, most of them living hand to mouth, or on UN handouts, because Israel has them under siege. It's a vicious cycle, one that's being repeated every few months or so. The Islamic militants do something crazy, Israel strikes back, the militants fire missiles into southern Israel and then the entry points into Gaza slam shut. Food and the basic necessities of life are squeezed off to the barest minimum.

Israel punishes Gaza’s civilians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Sunday Herald
by Louisa Waugh - November 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

"WE HAVE power cuts for about 10 hours every day. So if we have electricity at home in the morning, we know there will be no light in the evening. I bought two lamps with rechargeable batteries for the house, and that helped us, but now they are not working, and there are no spare parts to repair them, so we are using candles."

Israeli court rebukes state over illegal outposts
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - November 27, 2008 - 8:00pm

An Israeli government effort to make good on a five-year-old commitment to the US and Palestinians to rein in settlement expansion in the West Bank is coming under legal fire at home. Under the 2003 "road map" peace plan, Israel promised to remove about two dozen or so unauthorized hilltop outposts as a way to build confidence in Palestinian peace talks, but has so far avoided dismantling the outpost communities for fear of violent clashes with settlers.

Looking ahead to a Clinton State Department, Israelis and Arabs retool their expectations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Bourdreaux, Jeffrey Fleishman, Paul Richter - November 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

Nearly a month after Barack Obama's election, his decision to nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton for secretary of State is causing Arabs and Israelis to readjust expectations of his administration's policies toward the Middle East. During the campaign, Obama carried the hopes of many Arabs for a new brand of diplomacy more open to their views, one that would revive America's power and prestige in the region and end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A mockery, not a compromise
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Americans For Peace Now
by Lara Friedman, Hagit Ofran - November 27, 2008 - 8:00pm

As a new American president prepares to take office, and as Israel prepares for national elections, the government of Israel has announced a "compromise" on the illegal West Bank outpost of Migron. The deal makes a mockery of government pledges to deal seriously with illegal settler activity. It also challenges the seriousness of Israel's commitment to achieving peace with the Palestinians. Understanding why requires a closer examination of the details hidden behind the announcement.

PA, Hamas praise prisoner release
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - November 29, 2008 - 8:00pm

Senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat on Sunday afternoon praised the cabinet's approval of a pledge made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to release 250 Fatah prisoners as a goodwill gesture to mark the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. Erekat said the prisoners' issue was a top priority for the Palestinian people, Army Radio reported. He added that Israel had not yet notified the Palestinian Authority whether jailed Fatah-Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti would be released. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum also approved of the decision.

Israel alarmed by EU bid to reopen Orient House as part of peace plan
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - November 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

Israeli officials are deeply concerned over an internal European Union document outlining the EU's plans for advancing an Israeli-Palestinian deal in 2009. Inter alia, it calls for increased pressure on Israel to reopen Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem, including Orient House, which formerly served as the Palestinian Authority's headquarters in the city. The document, a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz, was written by the French Foreign Ministry, as France currently occupies the EU's rotating presidency.

Hebron settlers ask public for concrete info on IDF eviction plans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nadav Sharagi - November 30, 2008 - 8:00pm

Supporters of settlers who refuse to vacate a disputed house in the West Bank city of Hebron are calling on the public to disclose "any information" possible regarding concrete Israel Defense Forces' plans to evacuate the premises. "In light of media reports regarding the intentions of the defense minister to evacuate the house under strictly secret methods, we have decided to call out to lovers of the Land of Israel for their help and alertness in gathering information on plans for the evacuation, which could take place any day now - heaven forbid," reads the public notice.

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