Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israel’s attack on Gaza now includes a major ground offensive (1, 2). Several analyses probe both Israel’s and Hamas’ war intentions and prospects of success (3, 4, 5). Arab and Palestinian reaction to the conflict remains sharply divided (6, 7). Ha’aretz suggests that an Arab regional effort is needed to craft a workable cease-fire, Sultan Al Qassemi in The National argues that whatever happens, Hamas should step down from power (8, 12). Reema Ali and Aaron David Miller explore the requirements for progress on a peace agreement, (9, 10). An original ATFP translation of a Hassan Khadr article from the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam argues that the Arabs are not learning the lessons of the past (13). The Dallas Morning News investigates the long-term effect of the Holy Land Foundation case on Muslim charitable giving, especially for Palestinian humanitarian causes (14).

Israeli Troops Advance, Bisecting Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Taghreed El-Khodary, Isabel Kershner - January 4, 2009 - 1:00am

GAZA — Israeli troops advanced into Gaza on Sunday under cover of heavy air, tank and artillery fire after opening a ground war against the militant group Hamas on Saturday night. Witnesses said the Israeli forces had punched across Gaza, bisecting its northern and southern parts, and had taken over certain strategic areas, including what the military has described as rocket launching sites.

International community giving Israel time to weaken Hamas in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Aluf Benn - January 4, 2009 - 1:00am

The international community, headed by the U.S. and Egypt, is giving Israel time to carry out the ground offensive in Gaza, so it will severely damage Hamas' regime. The rationale behind such a move is that a weakened Hamas would improve the chances of achieving a stable agreement in Gaza once the fighting subsides. And so there is a degree of foot-dragging in the diplomatic efforts to reach a cease-fire. The most visible sign of this was the decision to postpone the United Nations Security Council discussion on Gaza planned for Monday.

Is the Real Target Hamas Rule?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - January 4, 2009 - 1:00am

EREZ CROSSING, on the Israel-Gaza border — As Israel’s tanks and troops poured into Gaza on Saturday, the next phase in its fierce attempt to end rocket attacks, a question hung over the operation: can the rockets really be stopped for any length of time while Hamas remains in power in Gaza? And if the answer is determined to be no, then is the real aim of the operation to remove Hamas entirely, no matter the cost?

Invasion Offers Benefits but Also Risks to Both Sides
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from
by Sudarsan Raghavan, Griff Witte - January 4, 2009 - 1:00am

In the first eight days of Israel's battle against Hamas, the conflict was fought from the air, with Israeli fighter jets striking from the skies on targets in Gaza, and with Hamas firing unguided rockets with the hope they would land on Israelis living in cities as far as 25 miles away.

The New Meaning of an Old Battle
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Steven Lee Myers - January 3, 2009 - 1:00am

WASHINGTON — In unleashing a series of punishing attacks in Gaza last week, Israel clearly aimed to hand Hamas a defeat from which it could not recover anytime soon. The campaign may succeed, experts here and in Israel say, but it could also backfire. Either way, the political consequences could reverberate throughout the Middle East, all the way to Iran, and help determine the ability of President-elect Barack Obama to pursue his stated goals of calming the Middle East through diplomacy.

Attacks Further Split Arab Rulers, People
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Anthony Shadid - January 4, 2009 - 1:00am

"War on Gaza" was the description the satellite channel al-Jazeera gave for the Israeli ground invasion that began Saturday, a culmination of eight days of bombing that have killed hundreds of Palestinians in the crowded seaside strip. But across the Arab world, the struggle was as noteworthy for what was becoming a war at home.

Palestinians' factional split deepens over Gaza conflict
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux, Ashraf Khalil - January 3, 2009 - 1:00am

Reporting from Ramallah, West Bank, and Jerusalem — Israel's week-old assault on the Gaza Strip has widened the rift between Palestinians who back the search by moderate leaders for a peace accord with the Jewish state and those drawn to Hamas' call for armed struggle. The breach was on display Friday in the West Bank as the territory's U.S.-backed Palestinian Authority leadership, striving to contain rising anger over the death toll in Hamas-ruled Gaza, sent police to put down pro-Hamas demonstrations.

Solution to Gaza crisis requires pan-Arab effort
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - January 4, 2009 - 1:00am

The intensification of the military operation in Gaza has not yet led to a similar increase in the Arab states' diplomatic efforts. A lasting diplomatic solution to the Gaza situation demands more than an agreement between Hamas and Israel - it demands pan-Arab reconciliation. Turkish Prime Recep Tayyip Erdogan's shuttle diplomacy took him to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, and it seems he is now coming to understand the tremendous weight of the mission he has taken upon himself.

Why Peace Now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Times
by Reema I. Ali - January 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Whether the United States continues to advocate the preemptive war doctrine or becomes a 'green' and 'soft' superpower, and whatever maps the new administration looks at, the central apparent issue that cannot be and should not be ignored is the stability of the Middle East and the impact this has on U.S. strategic national interests. Key to the stability of the region is the resolution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict through the implementation of a two-state solution along the lines of international consensus of the pre-1967 borders.

If Obama Is Serious, He should get tough with Israel.
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Newsweek
by Aaron David Miller - January 4, 2009 - 1:00am

Jews worry for a living; their tragic history compels them to do so. In the next few years, there will be plenty to worry about, particularly when it comes to Israel. The current operation in Gaza won't do much to ease these worries or to address Israel's longer-term security needs. The potential for a nuclear Iran, combined with the growing accuracy and lethality of Hamas and Hizbullah rockets, will create tremendous concern. Anxiety may also be provoked by something else: an Obama administration determined to repair America's image and credibility and to reach a deal in the Middle East.

Gaza: Caught Between Butchery and Trade!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - January 3, 2009 - 1:00am

The brutal killings currently taking place in the Gaza Strip are saddening. It is also saddening that the Gaza Strip is being betrayed on two fronts; on one front by Israeli brutality, and on the other by countries that are exploiting Hamas and the Palestinian cause in order to serve their own interests in our region including a misleading media campaign.

Hamas has failed – it is time they stepped down
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Sultan Al Qasemi - January 4, 2009 - 1:00am

Regardless of the outcome of the barbaric Israeli Operation Cast Lead, one thing is certain; it is high time for Hamas to step down as the keeper of Gaza. This is where people will object and remind us that they were democratically elected. My answer to that is: Yes, but they are incompetent.

No light at the end of the tunnel!
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Ayyam
by Hassan Khadr - December 30, 2008 - 1:00am

If the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel did not exist today, most of the population of the Gaza Strip would have already been pushed into Sinai. And, if the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel did not exist today, most of the population of the West Bank would have already been driven onto the East Bank of the Jordan River. Therefore, those existing peace treaties have in fact been the best guarantee to avoid the mass expulsion of Palestinians.

Holy Land Foundation case puts burden on Muslim charities
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Dallas Morning News
by Jason Trahan - January 3, 2009 - 1:00am

American Muslims are finding it more difficult to donate money to help Palestinian refugees and other Middle Eastern causes because of court decisions showing that some charities were using the money for terrorism. On Nov. 24, the formerly Richardson-based Holy Land Foundation and five of its organizers were found guilty in a Dallas federal court of sending millions of dollars to Palestinian charity committees controlled by banned group Hamas.

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