Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The Economist examines the spasm of settler violence in Hebron following last week's building evacuation (1). In an article for the New Republic, Shmuel Rosner discusses the implications of a possible Netanyahu-led government in Israel (2). MJ Rosenberg expresses hope that President-elect Obama can bring a new vision to the American-Israeli relationship (3). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to hold a 'farewell' meeting with outgoing President Bush in Washington next week (4). Wednesday's release of a settler caught on film shooting Palestinians in Hebron is challenged in arguments before the Israeli Supreme Court (6).





A pogrom is declared
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
December 11, 2008 - 12:00am


A VAUNTED “fight unto death” by Jewish militants holed up in a disputed building in Hebron, a city on the Palestinian West Bank that is venerated by both Jews and Muslims, ended in their quick and relatively easy eviction by Israeli police on December 4th. But the Israeli police and army failed to prevent a subsequent splurge of violence against Palestinians in the city and elsewhere in the West Bank, which Israel’s outgoing prime minister, Ehud Olmert, termed a “pogrom”. A Jewish settler was filmed shooting and wounding two local Palestinians.


Bibi's Blunders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New Republic
by Shmuel Rosner - December 12, 2008 - 12:00am


In October, when Tzipi Livni, who had won the race to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as head of Israel's ruling Kadima Party, announced that she was unable to form a governing coalition, you could almost hear the groans coming from across the Atlantic and from European capitals. The reason? Livni's failure to assemble a government means new elections will take place in February.


Settler Scourge
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by M.J. Rosenberg - December 12, 2008 - 12:00am


The Chicago Tribune reported this week that President-elect Barack Obama intends to visit the Middle East very early in his term, perhaps within his first month as President. He will visit an Arab capital and deliver an address to the Arab world stating his determination to fight global terrorism and establish Middle East peace. In general, I like the idea although—given the security situation in the region— I’d rather have our President stay out of the Middle East and deliver the address from the Oval Office.


Abbas, Bush to hold 'farewell' meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 12, 2008 - 12:00am


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will travel to Washington for a "farewell" meeting with President Bush, a Palestinian official said Friday, as impending leadership changes raise questions about the future of peace talks. The Palestinian leader will meet Bush at the White House on Dec. 19, Abbas aide Saeb Erekat said. The two will discuss peace negotiations with Israel, he said, but "it will also be a farewell meeting between the two men."


Arabs urge Obama to focus on Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
December 12, 2008 - 12:00am


The Arab League has urged US president-elect Barack Obama to focus on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after he takes office in January, spokesman Hisham Yussef said on Thursday. The 22-member pan-Arab institution detailed its vision for an end to the decades-old conflict in a letter signed by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal and delivered to Obama via an aide, Yussef told AFP. "The letter explains our stance on the conflict, focusing on the Arab peace proposal," he said.


State to court: Rescind release of settler who shot Hebron Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Tomer Zarchin - December 12, 2008 - 12:00am


The state petitioned the Supreme Court on Friday to rescind the release to house arrest of a West Bank settler caught on film allegedly shooting two Palestinians in Hebron last week. The state prosecution argued that Ze'ev Braude, who allegedly shot the Palestinians during the evacuation of Hebron's so-called House of Contention, should not be freed on the grounds that he posed a threat to the general public. On Thursday, a judge at Jerusalem District Court Thursday tightened conditions for Braude's release, confining him to full house arrest.


Amira Hass returns to Gaza after a two-year absence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - December 12, 2008 - 12:00am


The first thing that captures your eyes, after two years away, is a visual quiet. Gone are the flags of every color (including green) that once flew everywhere; the billboards commemorating shaheeds with their weapons, new ones popping up nearly every day; the large banners emblazoned with slogans. Yes, here and there you still come across a tattered flag or faded sign, old graffiti on the walls, or a smiling Arafat beaming down from a giant poster that no one took the trouble to remove, the colors dulled by time.


Two Qassams hit Negev, days before Gaza cease-fire set to end
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
December 12, 2008 - 12:00am


Gaza militants fired two Qassam rockets into the Western Negev on Friday, a few days before Israel's truce with Hamas was set to come to an end next week. The rockets stuck open areas and caused neither damage nor casualties. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday to discuss the future of Israel's policy on the Gaza Strip. Just hours before the meeting, a Qassam rocket struck the western Negev, following a two-day lull in fire from Gaza.





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