Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Ha'aretz profiles Israel's security chief, Amos Gilad (1). Tensions rise as the cease-fire in Gaza expires (3, 4, 7). AP evaluates the implications of the removal of settlers from a house in Hebron (6). The New York Times profiles former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg's disillusionment with Israeli nationalism, while MJ Rosenberg observes that too much rhetorical support without enough concrete action may be "killing" the prospects for peace based on two states (2, 8).





Amos Gilad, the man in charge of Israel's security
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - December 21, 2008 - 12:00am


The Israeli media has been awash in recent weeks with statements that the country is not being run, but is basically running itself. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's resignation (which does not actually involve leaving the Prime Minister's Office), the elections and the bottomless pit of hatred between him, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak have all but paralyzed the political-security system. Israel's slide into the end of the Gaza cease-fire is often touted as proof of this reality, supposedly proving that Hamas, more than Israel, calls the shots in the region.


Once a Political Riser, an Israeli Challenges His Country’s Identity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - December 20, 2008 - 12:00am


JERUSALEM — THERE was a time not so long ago when Avraham Burg was viewed by many Israelis as proof that the inherent tensions of Zionism — religious versus secular, insular versus worldly, Jewish state versus state of all its citizens — could be reconciled with grace. Here was a religiously observant Jew with a cosmopolitan outlook, a decorated paratrooper who believed deeply in peace with the Arabs, an eloquent, fast-rising public figure accessible to a broad range of citizens.


Israel Strikes Gaza Day After Truce Expires
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 20, 2008 - 12:00am


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- An Israeli airstrike against a Palestinian rocket squad killed a militant Saturday, the first death in Gaza since Hamas formally declared an end to a six-month truce. Palestinians fired 10 rockets and at least 23 mortar shells from Gaza into Israel, causing some property damage but no casualties, the Israeli military said. An Israeli airstrike at one of the rocket squads in northern Gaza killed a militant, said the army and Palestinian medics.


Gaza Incursion Nears; Hamas Mulls Renewal of Suicide Bombing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
by Mel Frykberg - December 22, 2008 - 12:00am


JERUSALEM -- Over the weekend, a barrage of rockets hit Israeli towns bordering the Gaza Strip following the end of a six-month truce between Israel and the Islamic resistance movement Hamas. While Israeli security officials prepare for a possible large-scale military invasion into Gaza, Hamas officials have said that they may renew suicide bombings. Hamas accused Israel of reneging on promises to open Gaza crossings and lift the economic blockade that has caused major suffering to the coastal territory's 1.5 million citizens, the vast majority of them civilian.


World Bank calls for steps to ease West Bank trade
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 22, 2008 - 12:00am


RAMALLAH, West Bank: The Palestinian private sector won't prosper as long as trade in the West Bank is hampered by Israeli checkpoints and cumbersome cargo crossings, the World Bank said in a report Monday. Israel has been slow in easing its tight restrictions on Palestinian movement, citing security concerns. However, the World Bank said Israel could make improvements even within those restrictions. It singled out the Israeli-run Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, the main route for Palestinian exports to the Arab world.


West Bank settler eviction offers warning, hope
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - December 21, 2008 - 12:00am


HEBRON, West Bank -- Israel's swift eviction of Jewish zealots from one of the most volatile West Bank flashpoints offers encouragement to people both inside and outside Israel who hope it is still possible to uproot settlers to make room for a Palestinian state. Israeli police and soldiers encountered little resistance this month when they expelled some 200 extremists from a contested house in Hebron, near the traditional burial site of Abraham, the shared patriarch of Muslims and Jews.


Ignoring the plight in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
by Yousef Munayyer - (Opinion) December 21, 2008 - 12:00am


The lights are out in Gaza again and few are paying attention. The 1.5 million Palestinians living in the densely populated strip are being collectively punished once more, while Israel attempts to strangle the Hamas government. The UN agency that feeds hundreds of thousands of people is unable to get supplies in because the border is closed, and a plea from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has been ignored.


Loving The Two-State Solution to Death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Israel Policy Forum
by M.J. Rosenberg - December 19, 2008 - 12:00am


It didn’t take long for the “two state solution” to move from the category of radical to banal, but that is what has happened. Today the “two-state solution” is everyone’s favorite remedy. And yet it is farther from realization than ever. Its fate may, in fact, be that rare instance of a concept being killed by kindness.





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