Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel’s air attacks against Gaza continue for a fourth day (4, 6, 7, 8, 9). Press speculation grows about the extent of the operation in the coming days and weeks (1, 2, 3). In the Los Angeles Times, Gershom Gorenberg argues that both Israel and Hamas could and should have avoided confrontation, while Daoud Kuttab warns in The Washington Post that Israel may have breathed new life into Hamas through the attacks and the Orlando Sentinel thinks the organization has at least gained in stature (12, 13, 10). Spencer Ackerman in the Washington Independent examines the challenge the violence in Gaza poses to Jewish American peace groups (14).





Israel warns attack on Gaza has just begun
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider, Nico Hines - December 30, 2008 - 12:00am


Israel warned today that the aerial attack on Gaza, which has now entered its fourth brutal day, is only “the first of several” military stages intended to wipe out Hamas. As the army said it was ready to launch a ground incursion and tanks and infantry forces massed on the border, Israeli officials claimed the military “has made preparations for long weeks of action”.


IDF war games predict look of Gaza ground operation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Uri Blau - December 30, 2008 - 12:00am


Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi believes that any occupation of Gaza by the army must end as soon as possible, according to an officer who participated in discussions and war games related to such an operation. At the same time, however, Ashkenazi fears that if the operation ends too quickly, the IDF will only have to go back into the Gaza Strip later. The officer added that Ashkenazi seeks to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians, but recognizes that this cannot be prevented completely.


Hamas is hoping for an IDF ground operation in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - December 30, 2008 - 12:00am


Three days into Operation Cast Lead, Israel is proposing a diplomatic exit. A ground operation likely looms in an effort to increase the pressure on Hamas. At the same time, however, others argue that the air force is close to exhausting its target bank, so if Hamas can be brought to accept a cease-fire on terms convenient to Israel in the near future it would be better to do so. Hamas intensified its rocket and mortar fire at Israel Monday. It is starting to recover from the initial shock of the assault, and the bad weather is helping to protect its launching crews from Israeli aircraft.


Civilians suffer as missiles fly in Gaza and Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux, Ahmed Burai - December 30, 2008 - 12:00am


Reporting from Ashkelon, Israel, and Jabaliya Refugee Camp, Gaza Strip -- Pierced by an Israeli missile, the mosque exploded at 1 in the morning, crushing the Balousha family's flimsy metal roof next door. Anwar Balousha awoke on the floor, covered by rubble, and heard moans from the bedroom next to his. Neighbors crawled over a collapsed wall and pulled him, his wife and four of their nine children to safety.


Gaza Protests Now Target Arab Leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Wall Street Journal
by Farnaz Fassihi - December 30, 2008 - 12:00am


BEIRUT, Lebanon -- On the third day of Israel's attack on Gaza, street protesters across the Middle East broadened their rage toward Israel and the U.S. to include Arab rulers accused of not acting forcefully and fast enough to stop the violence.


‘Prepare to be bombed’: calls mark the start of psychological campaign in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - December 30, 2008 - 12:00am


As the bombs rocked Gaza City, the telephone in the apartment where Mohammed was holed up with eight members of his family rang. When he picked it up, he heard a recorded voice similar to the automated sales pitches used by telemarketing companies.


UN chief demands immediate Gaza cease-fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 30, 2008 - 12:00am


UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and urged Mideast and world leaders to do more to help end the Israeli-Hamas conflict and promote political dialogue. Ban on Monday urged Arab foreign ministers, who are holding an emergency meeting in Cairo on Wednesday "to act swiftly and decisively to bring an early end to this impasse." The bombings have killed at least 360 people — including 62 women and children, according to the U.N. — and wounded some 1,400 others.


Israel downplays criticism of Gaza blitz
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
December 29, 2008 - 12:00am


Israel has played down international criticism of its massive bombardment of Gaza, saying the protests have been generally more measured than on previous occasions. ‘The tone of the criticism is moderate, restrained, more balanced, at least in the case of those countries that count,’ a senior government official said. ‘I’m not talking about Iran or other extremist states,’ he told AFP.


'It's About Time': Satisfaction in Israel Over Gaza Assault
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
December 30, 2008 - 12:00am


ASHKELON, Israel — In southern Israeli towns and cities, anxiety from the casualties inflicted by missiles from Gaza are mixed with satisfaction that Israel's military is trying to settle the score with their militant tormentors. Four Israelis were killed, including a soldier, and two seriously wounded Monday in rocket barrages, some deeper into Israel than ever before. A woman was killed when a missile crashed into a bus stop in the city of Ashdod, 23 miles from Gaza, the farthest Hamas militants have fired to date. Another woman was killed in a village next to Gaza.


Battered Hamas stands to gain in stature
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Orlando Sentinel
December 30, 2008 - 12:00am


For anyone watching the plumes of smoke rising from Gaza in recent days, Hamas dominates the television news and newspaper headlines. It is not only the publicity, but the status conveyed on Hamas as the Palestinians' principal resistance. Its secular rival, Fatah, sits on the sidelines, marginal to the violence unfolding in Gaza, from which Hamas effectively expelled it at gunpoint in the summer of 2007.


Israel stifles free press covering Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from McClatchy News
by Dion Nissenbaum - December 30, 2008 - 12:00am


On one hand, one can't blame the Israeli government for wanting to do what it can to prevent the world from seeing the effects of its devastating Gaza airstrikes that have killed hundreds of Palestinians. In 48-hours, Israel has decimated the Gaza Strip, killed more than 300 Palestinians and injured 1,400 others in a "shock and awe" air campaign.


Israel, Hamas and the seduction of blind force
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Gershom Gorenberg - December 30, 2008 - 12:00am


Reporting from Jerusalem — Asewage reservoir in the northern Gaza Strip was in danger of bursting, my morning paper reported last week. The sewage couldn't be pumped to new filtration ponds because of power shortages caused by Israeli restrictions on fuel supplies to the Hamas-ruled territory. If heavy rain -- or a stray rocket -- cracked the reservoir's earthen sides, a flood of filth would threaten lives and poison the surrounding land. The Haaretz reporter got the story by phone. For security reasons, Israel doesn't let its journalists enter Gaza.


Has Israel Revived Hamas?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Daoud Kuttub - December 30, 2008 - 12:00am


JERUSALEM -- In its efforts to stop amateur rockets from nagging the residents of some of its southern cities, Israel appears to have given new life to the fledging Islamic movement in Palestine.


Progressive Jewish Groups See Test in Crisis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Independent
by Spencer Ackerman - December 30, 2008 - 12:00am


As the Israeli bombardment of Gaza enters its fourth day, there is no shortage of tests. The wisdom of Israeli strategy is being tested. The resilience of the Palestinian people is being tested. The ability of the U.S. and the international community to impose a ceasefire is being tested. And the might of the new progressive American Jewish infrastructure that emerged in 2008 — unapologetically pro-peace and pro-Israel — is undergoing its own test as well: How to effectively argue that an Israeli war is counterproductive to Israel’s long-term security while the bombs are falling.





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