Middle East News: World Press Roundup

New York Times columnist Helene Cooper examines the options for the location of President-elect Obama's planned speech in a major Muslim capital city (1). Jewish settlers fear a future Israeli withdrawl from the West Bank (2), meanwhile police evict settlers from a house in Hebron (3). Israel agrees to allow some humanitarian aid into the blockaded Gaza strip (4). Reuters interviews Palestinians who report alleged abuse in West Bank jails (6). MJ Rosenberg urges President-elect Obama to appoint a Middle East envoy charged with implementing the Arab peace initiative (8).





Looking for the Ideal Spot to Make a Speech
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Helene Cooper - (Opinion) December 4, 2008 - 12:00am


President-elect Barack Obama’s aides say he is considering making a major foreign policy speech from an Islamic capital during his first 100 days in office. So where should he do it? The list of Islamic world capitals is long, and includes the obvious —Riyadh, Kuwait City, Islamabad — and the not-so-obvious — Male (the Maldives), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Tashkent (Uzbekistan). Some wise-guys have even suggested Dearborn, Mich., as a possibility.


Jewish settlers in West Bank fear an Israeli withdrawal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Ashraf Khalil - December 4, 2008 - 12:00am


Young Harel-David Rosenthal squirmed and screeched in his grandfather's arms as if he knew what was coming. The rabbi's practiced hands moved quickly and efficiently, and more than 100 relatives and well-wishers quietly whispered Hebrew prayers to comfort the infant and mute his outraged screams. It was a bris -- the circumcision of a newborn boy, whose parents are among the 23 families staking a claim here.


Israeli police evict Hebron settlers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by Jack Guez - December 4, 2008 - 12:00am


Israeli police evicted settlers from a disputed house in Hebron on Thursday, carrying or shoving some of them out the door, and prompting clashes that left about 20 people hurt, witnesses and official media said. After more than 100 officers moved into the house, including members of an elite squad, a young settler fired an automatic rifle into the air and a stun grenade could be heard exploding. Furious settlers hurled rocks at nearby homes, and army radio said about 20 people were injured in the ensuing clashes.


Israel eases Gaza blockade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
December 4, 2008 - 12:00am


Israel has confirmed it will allow some humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, easing a month-old closure it imposed on the Hamas-ruled territory after a surge in violence. Defence Minister Ehud Barak authorised the delivery of 70 truckloads of food and basic supplies into Gaza and an unspecified quantity of fuel for the impoverished territory's sole power plant, his office said in a statement. The statement said the decision was taken as a gesture of goodwill ahead of next week's Eid al-Adha, the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice.


Blair wants new Gaza strategy, fears for two-state solution
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
December 4, 2008 - 12:00am


Middle East envoy Tony Blair called here Wednesday for a new strategy to bring the Gaza Strip back into the peace process and warned a proposed two-state solution risked slipping away. Blair offered few details for the future of Gaza but entertained the idea that the Islamist Hamas could either be ousted from power in elections there or could even join the political process if it drops its anti-Israeli stand. "We need a new strategy for Gaza," Blair told foreign policy specialists at a gathering in Washington hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think tank.


Palestinians recount abuses in West Bank jails
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Alastair MacDonald - December 4, 2008 - 12:00am


Allegations of torture, arbitrary arrest and other abuses of due legal process have long been common from Palestinians in the West Bank. But lately more such accusations are leveled not at Israeli occupying forces but at fellow Palestinians, part of the bitter factional rivalry that has divided families and made the two Palestinian territories fiefdoms of the warring camps -- Hamas Islamists in the Gaza Strip and secular Fatah in the West Bank.


Q&A: What is the Palestinian split all about?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
December 4, 2008 - 12:00am


Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority and leader of the long-dominant, secular Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), is in conflict with Hamas, the Islamist movement which won a parliamentary election in 2006. Since June 2007, when Hamas routed Abbas's forces in the Gaza Strip, prompting Abbas to fire a Hamas-led government and appoint his own in the West Bank, each side has accused the other of persecutions. Human rights monitors say there has been an upsurge in torture and detentions in the West Bank recently.


President Obama: Go For It
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by M.J. Rosenberg - (Opinion) December 4, 2008 - 12:00am


It is impossible to get Mumbai out of my mind. I keep thinking about two-year old, Moshe, sitting in his parents’ blood, crying out to a mother and father who are gone forever. It is hard to imagine how anyone can justify terror against children but many people do. In fact, fanatics of virtually every faith and nationality justify killing kids or leaving them orphans. It is sickening. Until humanity comes to the understanding that there is no justification—none, whatsoever—for killing children or making them orphans, we remain uncivilized.


An Intolerable Spot for a Museum
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Buzz Gordon - December 4, 2008 - 12:00am


In the Jewish community, the name Simon Wiesenthal is sacrosanct — which is why Rabbi Marvin Hier chose to establish his West Coast empire on the bedrock of the Nazi hunter’s reputation when Hier entered the institutional Judaism vacuum of Los Angeles 30 years ago. Over the course of the past three decades, the Simon Wiesenthal Center brand has been enhanced by its Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, but recent developments in Israel have begun to tarnish the institution’s reputation.


A matter of choice
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) December 4, 2008 - 12:00am


Nothing illustrates better the “separate laws for separate people” ethos of the Israeli state than the standoff over a house in Hebron that has been taken over by Jewish extremists. The presence of a few hundred extremist Jewish settlers in the centre of Hebron has long been an outrageous provocation to the city’s 150,000 Palestinians. The settlers in Hebron, furthermore, are of the very worst kind. They are racist and anti-Muslim, and sustain a supremacist arrogance derived from their belief in divine entitlement.


Arabs need to work with Clinton
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Francis Matthew - (Editorial) December 4, 2008 - 12:00am


The Arab world has reacted badly to the appointment of Hillary Clinton as Barack Obama's Secretary of State. But it would be a mistake to write her off before she has even started.





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