Middle East News: World Press Roundup

The stories in today’s special Sunday news roundup all cover fallout from the massive Israeli airstrikes that killed and injured hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza yesterday. News articles are followed by opinion and analysis.

Israeli Attacks in Gaza Strip Continue for Second Day
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner, Taghreed El-Khodary - December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

GAZA — Israeli airstrikes against Hamas facilities in Gaza continued for a second day on Sunday and the death toll rose to more than 280 as Israel retaliated for rocket fire from the area with its most severe campaign against Palestinian militants in decades. The Palestinian groups again launched barrages of rockets and mortars into Israel on Sunday, extending their reach further than ever before, and the Israeli government approved the emergency call up of thousands of army reservists in preparation for a possible ground operation.

Gaza humanitarian plight 'disastrous,' U.N. official says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CNN
December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

(CNN) -- Israeli airstrikes pounding Gaza are deepening the humanitarian crisis in an area that was already in deep distress, according to a United Nations aid official. "The situation is absolutely disastrous," U.N. official Christopher Gunness told CNN on Sunday, as a second day of aerial attacks brought the death toll in Gaza close to 300. Hundreds more people have been injured.

'Little Baghdad' in Gaza - bombs, fear and rage
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

There are many corpses and wounded, every moment another casualty is added to the list of the dead, and there is no more room in the morgue. Relatives search among the bodies and the wounded in order to bring the dead quickly to burial. A mother whose three school-age children were killed, and are piled one on top of the other in the morgue, screams and then cries, screams again and then is silent.

Israel Defends Action In Gaza, Says No Plans To Reoccupy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Voice of America
by Paula Wolfson - December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is defending the country's massive attack on Gaza, but says there are no plans to reoccupy the Hamas controlled territory. Just hours after a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, the Israeli foreign minister appeared on American television to explain and defend the assault on the Gaza Strip. In addition to hundreds of airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, Israel has also called up army reservists, triggering fears of a ground assault. But speaking on NBC's Meet the Press, Livni denied Israel plans to re-occupy Gaza.

White House Puts Onus on Hamas to End Violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Robert Pear - December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

CRAWFORD, Tex. — As world leaders called on Saturday for an end to the Middle East violence, the Bush administration issued blistering criticism of Hamas, saying the group had provoked Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza by firing rockets into southern Israel. Gordon D. Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said that Hamas, the group that controls Gaza, was responsible for the outbreak of violence and called its rocket attacks ”completely unacceptable. These people are nothing but thugs,” he said. “Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas.”

UN Security Council calls for immediate halt to Gaza violence
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

The United Nations Security Council called early on Sunday for an immediate end to all violence in Gaza after the death toll climbed past 270 on the second day of Israeli air strikes in retaliation for rocket and mortar fire by Gaza militants. The statement, agreed upon after four hours of closed-door council discussions, called on all parties to address "the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza."

Abbas blames Hamas for bloodshed
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has blamed Hamas for triggering Israel's deadly raids on Gaza, by not extending a six-month truce with the Jewish state. He also blamed Hamas, which controls the coastal Gaza Strip territory, for disrupting national unity talks that could have paved the way for general and presidential elections. "We have warned of this grave danger," he said in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday. "We talked to them [Hamas] and we told them, 'please, we ask you, do not end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop", so that we could have avoided what happened."

Israeli troops kill 2 West bank Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

RAMALLAH, West Bank: Israeli troops in the West Bank shot dead a Palestinian man and gravely wounded another on Sunday during a violent protest against Israel's deadly air campaign against Gaza militants, the army and a Palestinian medic said.

Israel calls up 6,000 military reservists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- The Israeli government Sunday approved a draft of more than 6,000 military reservists it says may be necessary for a ground offensive in Gaza, observers said.

Israel mounts PR campaign to blame Hamas for Gaza destruction
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Toni O'Loughlin - December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

Israel has mounted a public relations campaign to convince international hearts and minds that Hamas is to blame for the death and destruction they are seeing on their television screens. Stung by the wave of international criticism earlier this year when Israel invaded Gaza to stop militants firing rockets, in an operation dwarfed by its current attack, Israel decided to go on the offensive.

Israel plays for high stakes in Gaza attack
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck, Andrew England - December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

Less than 28 months after the end of Israel’s botched war in Lebanon, the country has launched another massive assault against a militant Islamist group in the region. This time, the enemy is Hamas not Hizbollah. And this time, Israelis are hoping fervently that their political and military leaders know what they are doing.

With Gaza raid, Barak is back in the political ring
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Yossi Verter - December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

Two months after Ehud Olmert was elected as Israel's prime minister, the Second Lebanon War broke out. Two months before Olmert departs, the military campaign in the south breaks out.

Delusions of victory in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

As of yesterday, politicians and the public at large have been enthralled by a new prospect: that of a wide-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip. Such a prospect answers all their heart's secret wishes: Avenging the rocket fire by Gazan militants, reclaiming Israel's prestige, delivering a fatal blow to Hamas, providing payback for Israel's 2005 pullout from Gaza, sending a strong message to Iran, an implicit one to Hezbollah, and also showing the government's concern for its citizens and scoring some points with the electorate ahead of the elections.

The Blood of Gaza…A Business Venture!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

A grim and bloody theatrical play named the "Palestinian cause" has been recurring for decades, with the same scenes, and lies; there is nothing new except for its victims. [A play with] opportunistic factions and Israeli crimes, and Arab denunciation and condemnation. What is the difference between what is happening in Gaza and what took place in the Israeli-Hezbollah War [2006 Lebanon War]?

Israel is poised for the latest act in a long history of tragic folly
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
December 27, 2008 - 1:00am

It is no secret that the period of Hamas' rule in Gaza since 2007 has been one of little or no accomplishment and of supremely unimaginative leadership. The Islamist movement has provided its enemy with a pretext to bring ruin on the very people whose rights a resistance group is supposed to defend.

Gratuitous massacre
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
December 28, 2008 - 1:00am

Yesterday one could feel gloom and fury in the streets of Amman, as people were following with shock and horror news of Israel’s devastating, barbaric attacks on the Gaza Strip, which left more than 200 people dead and 300 wounded, 120 of them seriously. As soon as news of the attacks and their unprecedented toll were reported live by satellite television stations, Jordanians around the Kingdom took to the streets in spontaneous demonstrations to express solidarity with their helpless brethren in the impoverished, besieged strip.

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