Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel’s attacks on Gaza continue as civilians suffer the consequences (1,2). The Bush Administration struggles to find a sustainable response, while Arab and Palestinian rifts intensify (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10). Mustafa Barghouthi refutes Israeli arguments, while the Arab News interviews ATFP President Ziad Asali and Geoffrey Aronson of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (9, 11). Kevin Clarke and Eboo Patel urge American religious communities to re-examine their approaches to the conflict (12, 13).

Israel's Punishing Assault on Gaza Continues for Sixth Day
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Sudarsan Raghavan, Griff Witte - January 1, 2009 - 1:00am

A top Hamas leader and several members of his family were killed Thursday in an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, as Israel pressed its offensive for a sixth day and a Hamas rocket destroyed part of an apartment building in the Israeli port city of Ashdod.

In Dense Gaza, Civilians Suffer
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Taghreed El-Khodary - December 31, 2008 - 1:00am

A dentist stood at the bed of a doctor, his good friend Ehab Madhoun, 32, who had just died, his shrapnel-pitted body wrapped in a white shroud.

Bush administration struggles over Gaza approach
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Sue Pleming - December 31, 2008 - 1:00am

With three weeks to go, the Bush administration is struggling over how to tackle Middle East violence, hobbled by the exit of key diplomats and cautious after a dismal diplomatic effort in Lebanon in 2006. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush have worked the phones with Western and Arab allies since Israel attacked Gaza and Hamas fired rockets into the Jewish state with the collapse of a ceasefire.

Divisions Deep at Arab League Meeting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Steven Erlanger - December 31, 2008 - 1:00am

Arab countries appeared deeply divided on Wednesday over how to respond to the latest escalation in fighting between Israel and Hamas, with sharply differing comments from foreign ministers at the opening of an emergency Arab League meeting here. Moderate Arab states generally allied to the United States blamed Palestinian disunity for the crisis and more radical states, some of whom did not attend, urged collective action to defend the Palestinians against Israel.

Saudis blame Hamas amid calls for talks with Fatah
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Ian Black - January 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Saudi Arabia yesterday blamed Hamas for Israel's continuing offensive in the Gaza Strip and urged it to resolve bitter differences with the western-backed Palestinian Authority - even as divisions deepened with a new charge of treachery. Arab League foreign ministers meeting in emergency session in Cairo warned it was not possible to help until the Islamist movement in control of Gaza returned to national unity talks with its rival Fatah.

Israel's Attacks On Gaza Deepen Palestinian Rift
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Griff Witte - January 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip has exacerbated the deep divisions between Palestinians who want to make peace with Israel and those who support Hamas's militant struggle against the Jewish state. The fractures are stark in the West Bank, where sympathy for Hamas appears to be rising in the streets even as the territory's leaders suppress pro-Hamas demonstrations and blame the Islamist movement for the breakdown of a six-month truce with Israel.

Hamas accuses senior Palestinian aides of spying for Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Ben Lynfield - January 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas has accused senior aides of the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, of spying for Israel, underscoring an intensification of Palestinian infighting even in the face of Israel's bombardments in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza attack strengthens Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Joseph Mayton - January 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Rarely do Egyptian demonstrations see thousands of people take to the streets. But, put together anti-Israeli and anti-government sentiments spearheaded by the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, and the result is the country's largest street action since the first anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq in 2004. With Israel vowing a "long" siege against the Gaza Strip, there are concerns that the already strong opposition Brotherhood could become even stronger in the face of Israel's military action against Palestinians.

Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Mustafa Barghouthi - December 29, 2008 - 1:00am

Palestine's Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood The Israeli campaign of 'death from above' began around 11 am, on Saturday morning, the 27th of December, and stretched straight through the night into this morning. The massacre continues Sunday as I write these words.

Gaza hides a war over the Arabs' future
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Michael Young - (Opinion) January 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Amid the carnage in Gaza, it's not immediately obvious that what is taking place has less to do with Israelis versus Palestinians than with Arabs versus Arabs, principally to define the future of the Middle East. The Gaza conflict has become part of an ongoing confrontation between regimes emerging from the Arab state system established over six decades ago, and, with one exception, new regional players vying to take their place.

‘Israeli assault of Gaza empowers Hamas objective’
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Barbara Ferguson - January 1, 2009 - 1:00am

As the siege of Gaza by Israel enters its fifth day, Ziad Asali, president and founder of the DC-based American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), said the US should be working toward a cease-fire as its No. 1 priority of the moment. “All other political considerations have to be negotiated in the absence of fighting on both sides,” he said.

Escaping the Gaza ghetto
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Chicago Tribune
by Kevin Clarke - January 1, 2009 - 1:00am

It's hard to watch the mayhem in Gaza, watch the bloodied faces of children and anguished parents, hard even to watch the death mask of even the most ardent, Israel-hating member of Hamas as he is carted off to his grave, easier to turn it off, and not think about this complex, seemingly intractable mess that is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

US Jews, Muslims Need New Playbook
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Newsweek
by Eboo Patel - January 1, 2009 - 1:00am

The Council of Islamic Relations calls the Israeli attack on Gaza a "disproportionate and counterproductive ... massacre". Its homepage features a photo of a bombed out building in Gaza with a panicked official ushering civilians to safety. The American Jewish Committee's homepage has a picture of Palestinian militants in ski masks holding guns next to a video of AJC Executive Director David Harris speaking of the "intolerable situation" Israel faces and how it had "no choice" but to bomb Gaza.

American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017