Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel’s air attacks against Gaza continue for a seventh day, and a ground attack seems imminent (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). The Chicago Tribune examines the role of Israeli domestic politics in the attack, while The New York Times asks what this means for Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton (10, 12). Deep divisions in Arab reaction to the violence continue, while international leaders call for an end to the carnage (11, 13, 14).

IAF strikes more than 30 Hamas targets in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Yoav Stern - January 2, 2009 - 1:00am

The Israel Air Force pressed on with its assault on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip Friday evening, bombing the home of Hamas member Mohammed Madhoun, who was responsible for rocket attacks against Israel. Madhoun's house was also used as a laboratory for the manufacturing of rockets and explosive devices and as a storage facility for rockets, mortar shells, and various weapons. At least eight people, among them five children, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on Friday. In all, the IAF reportedly hit 35 Hamas targets throughout the day Friday.

Hamas Resilient Despite Israeli Onslaught
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
January 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel is methodically targeting the Hamas domain, bombing government offices, security compounds, commanders, and even Hamas-linked clinics, mosques and money changers. Yet Gaza's Islamic rulers show no sign of buckling under the aerial onslaught. Israel says Hamas still has thousands of rockets. Hamas TV and radio remain on the air, broadcasting morale-boosting battle reports. Hamas' political and military leaders communicate from hiding places by walkie-talkie. Police patrol streets to prevent price gouging and looting.

Israel Lets Some Foreigners Leave Gaza as Bombing Continues
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Taghreed El-Khodary, Isabel Kershner - January 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli warplanes pounded Hamas targets in Gaza for a seventh day on Friday while Israel allowed hundreds of foreigners, many of them married to Palestinians, to leave the enclave, raising fears here that Israel was planning to escalate its week-old campaign. Tensions spread to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where Palestinian anger at reports of civilian casualties in Gaza seemed to be translating into at least a temporary increase in popular sympathy for Hamas.

Gaza invasion appears imminent
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Mitchell Prothero - January 2, 2009 - 1:00am

An Israeli ground invasion of Gaza looked increasingly likely last night as a hospital in Ashqelon, 10km from the Gaza Strip, was evacuated to make way possibly for mass casualties from a ground assault, Israeli television reported. An Israeli military source reached by telephone said the move was indicative of preparations for a ground assault of the strip.

Israel destroys Hamas homes, flattens Gaza mosque
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
January 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel destroyed the homes of more than a dozen Hamas operatives and bombed one of its mosques on Friday, the seventh day of a blistering offensive in Gaza and the day after a deadly strike killed a prominent Hamas figure. In what appeared to be a new Israeli tactic, the military called at least some of the houses ahead of time to warn inhabitants of an impending attack. In some cases, it also fired a sound bomb to warn away civilians before flattening the homes with powerful missiles, Palestinians and Israeli defense officials said.

Fighting in dense Gaza brings child casualties
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
January 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Samar Hamdan ran weeping through the street, trying to touch the body of her dead 11-year-old brother during a funeral procession in this northern Gaza town. Just a day before, the 15-year-old girl's two sisters were also buried, victims of the same strike from an Israeli missile. As Israel steps up its attacks on the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated spots on Earth, children are paying the price. "In this crowded strip, everything is beside everything else," said Karen Abu Zayd, a top U.N. official in Gaza.

IDF sending Hamas a message: Now it's personal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Opinion) January 2, 2009 - 1:00am

The killing of senior Hamas official Nizar Ghayan Thursday in an Israel Air Force strike in Jabalya is a significant development at this stage of the war in the Gaza Strip, due not only to his high position in the Gaza leadership but also because of the message his assassination sends to the Palestinians.

Thousands of Gazans near Rafah displaced by IAF bombing of tunnels
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amira Hass - January 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Rafah residents came to the realization on Tuesday that the air force has adopted a new method for destroying weapons smuggling tunnels in the town. On Monday, the military fired 10 missiles which are believed to have destroyed 10 tunnels. Palestinians say IAF drones fired seven missiles on Tuesday at the same number of tunnels. The buzz of the drones and the shrieking missile fire interspersed with the exploding bombs were heard all day and all night. A total of 12 ordnances were counted on Tuesday, though 12 explosions were not heard.

Israel tries diplomacy to explain fighting
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Press International (UPI)
January 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel turned to diplomacy to try to explain its operation in Gaza Thursday amid reports that a Hamas military commander was killed in an Israeli airstrike.

Israel's politics in play as it hits Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Chicago Tribune
by Joel Greenberg - (Opinion) January 2, 2009 - 1:00am

The Israeli government's decision to launch a punishing offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip was triggered by developments on the ground, but it came as two political clocks were ticking at home and abroad: an approaching election in Israel and a transition of power in Washington later this month. For the three leaders guiding the military campaign—Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni—security concerns, political considerations and diplomatic calculations were all part of the mix as they charted their course, analysts say.

Egypt FM: Hamas gave Israel the excuse to launch Gaza attacks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
January 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Egypt's foreign minister said Thursday that Hamas must ensure rocket fire stops in any truce deal to halt Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip, criticizing the Palestinian militants for giving Israel an excuse to launch the bombardment. Ahmed Aboul Gheit's comments came as Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, part of a tour by the Turkish leader to work out an Egyptian-Turkish initiative to end the violence.

Clinton, Familiar With Pitfalls of Mideast Politics, May Face Early Test in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mark Lander - (Opinion) January 2, 2009 - 1:00am

When Hillary Rodham Clinton ran for a New York Senate seat nine years ago, she labored to persuade skeptical Jewish voters of her support for Israel, after an incident in which she stood by as the wife of Yasir Arafat delivered an inflammatory attack on Israeli policies.

The Palestinian Blood at the Service of the Extremists
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Elias Harfoush - (Opinion) January 2, 2009 - 1:00am

This is not the first time throughout the lengthy history of the bloody conflict between the Palestinians and Israel that the Israeli killing machine devotes its most intense slaughtering tools to annihilate the largest number possible of the Palestinians.

Humanity’s stake in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Vaclav Havel, Hans Kung, Mike Moore, Yohei Sasakawa, Karel Schwarzenberg, El Hassan bin Talal, Desmond Tutu - (Opinion) January 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Wasted time is always to be regretted. But in the Middle East, wasting time is also dangerous. Another year has now passed with little progress in bridging the divide between Palestinians and Israelis. The current air strikes on Gaza, and continuing rocket attacks on Ashkelon, Sderot and other towns in southern Israel, only prove how dire the situation is becoming.

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