Middle East News: World Press Roundup

An op-ed in The Washington Times by ATFP President Dr. Ziad Asali examines how continued settlement expansion threatens prospects for peace (1). Fighting continues on the ground in Gaza as Israel expands its offensive, while Israeli tanks attack a UN school, killing forty-two (2) (3) (8) (9). In a transcript of a CNN interview, Dr. Asali addresses the current crisis (4). A pair of opinion pieces discuss the role of Hezbollah in the conflict (5) (6). An editorial in the Los Angeles Times urges the international community to intervene in support of a cease-fire (7). International envoy Tony Blair sees the closure of Hamas’ underground tunnels as the key to attaining a cease fire (10). United States Congressman David Price stresses the importance of diplomacy in an op-ed for the Charlotte Observer (14).

Mideast political conundrum: Settlement expansion is a threat to peace negotiations
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Times
by Ziad Asali - (Opinion) January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

The renewed violence between Israel and Hamas, in which 1.5 million innocent Palestinians are caught, is yet another definitive demonstration that there is no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel will not be able to secure its future, normalize its relations with the region and live in peace without an agreement with the Palestinians; Palestinians will not achieve liberation and independence without an agreement with Israel.

Israeli Strike Hits Refugees Near a U.N. School in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Taghreed El-Khodary, Isabel Kershner - January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Despite mounting diplomatic pressure to end its offensive in Gaza, Israel’s military onslaught unfolded for an 11th day on Tuesday amid reports that it had struck near a United Nations school, killing at least 30 people among hundreds who had sought refuge from the fighting.

Forty-two killed after Israeli shell hits UN school in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Forty-two women and children were killed in an attack at a UN-run school in Gaza today, the third such assault in 24 hours. The attack, which appeared to come from an air strike from two Israeli F16s, happened at the al-Fakhora school in Jabaliya refugee camp, causing carnage inside and outside the building, where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge from fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants. Initial reports had said the devastation was caused by a tank shell exploding.

CNN NEWSROOM TRANSCRIPT EXCERPT: Crisis between Gaza and Israel deepens
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from CNN
January 5, 2009 - 1:00am

Aired January 5, 2009 - 09:00 ET HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Two huge stories and the world is watching this morning. Sirens well and explosions thunder in Gaza. The crisis with Israel deepens. And in Washington, an incoming president and his new challenges. Barack Obama gets to work today on the nation's lousy economy. New details on his plans and what they could mean to you. Good morning, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. Today is Monday, January 5th and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM…. Joining us now from Washington, Dr. Ziad Asali. He's with the American Task Force on Palestine.

Hezbollah…. Is this your Vision for Gaza?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) January 5, 2009 - 1:00am

One can only feel sadness with regards to what is happening in the Gaza Strip, which can only be described as a brutal and ruthless Israeli attack in the face of clear international inability to call a halt to this continued aggression on almost 1.5 million Gazans.

Two Years Later: Two Wars and One Ideology
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Elias Harfoush - (Opinion) January 5, 2009 - 1:00am

The confrontation between the Israeli army and the Hamas movement following the ground invasion of Gaza is similar in many aspects to the confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah in summer 2006.

Broker a Gaza cease-fire now
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
(Editorial) January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

In the densely populated Gaza Strip, Hamas is ensconced in houses, schools and mosques, fighting under cover of civilians. Israel, meanwhile, has bombed extensively, sent in ground forces to cut off Gaza City and taken up positions atop apartment buildings, with residents inside. More than 550 Palestinians have been killed and 2,000 wounded since the Israeli offensive began Dec. 27. At least a quarter of the victims are civilians, many of them children.

Israel hits UN school, nears major Gaza towns
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak, Steve Weizman - January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli forces edged closer to Gaza's major population centers on Tuesday and attacked new sites, including a U.N. school, taking more civilian lives after ignoring mounting international calls for an immediate cease-fire. A Palestinian rocket attack wounded an Israeli infant. The United Nations said three civilians were killed in the airstrike on its school, where hundreds of people from a Gaza City refugee camp had gone to seek shelter from Israel's blistering 11-day offensive against the Hamas militant group.

Gaza civilian death toll rises steeply
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Rory McCarthy, Chris McGreal - January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

The civilian death toll in Gaza increased dramatically today, with at least 12 members of an extended family, including seven young children, killed in an air strike on their house in Gaza City while the bombing of two United Nations schools being used as shelters took 13 lives. The bodies of the Daya family were pulled from the rubble of a house in Gaza City's Zeitoun area after it was hit by two Israeli missiles. The dead included seven children aged from one to 12 years, three women and two men. Nine other people were believed to be trapped in the rubble.

Blair: Closing smuggling routes key to ceasefire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
by Andrew Woodcock - January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

A ceasefire in the Gaza Strip is attainable within days if the smuggling routes which supply arms and money to Hamas can be shut down, international envoy Tony Blair said today. Mr Blair said that the Hamas movement, which holds power in the Palestinian enclave, is in contact with Egypt over the issue and that Cairo is prepared in principle to take action. All "responsible" players in the region should be working towards an immediate cessation of the hostilities which have now entered their 11th day, he said.

French President Sarkozy: Deal on Gaza truce 'not far away'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Tuesday a deal for a cease-fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip was "not far" away. "I'm convinced that there are solutions. We are not far from that. What is needed is simply for one of the players to start for things to go in the right direction," he told reporters during a visit to French United Nations peacekeepers in south Lebanon. Sarkozy said he was returning to Sharm el-Sheikh to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to work out the details of a peace plan.

As the Troops Enter, We Fear the Worst
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Eyad El-Sarraj - January 4, 2009 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY How much worse can it get? After a horrifying week, the Israelis have arrived once again at our doorstep. What now? Already we have experienced so much terror and want. When the Israeli strikes first began, my wife and I were worrying about lentils. She said we could not have lentil soup for lunch because there were no lentils in the shops. Nor any rice or flour. Suddenly there was a deafening noise, followed by a succession of blasts the likes of which I had never experienced. Our house was rocking, the windows rattling in their panes.

Incursion Into Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
(Editorial) January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

With its ground incursion into Gaza, Israel has gambled that it can finally silence the Hamas rockets that have terrorized its people for years. We sympathize with that goal. But we are concerned that short-term success on the battlefield might encourage the Israelis to keep pressing further and longer in an attempt to decimate Hamas and wrest Gaza from its grip. That is also a goal we can sympathize with — there is no justification for Hamas’s attacks or its virulent rejectionism. But it is highly unlikely, and there is a point of diminishing returns that could be easy to miscalculate.

U.S. must act now in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Charlotte Observer
by David Price - (Opinion) January 6, 2009 - 1:00am

For observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict committed to a peaceful and lasting two-state resolution, the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza brings the temptation to throw one's hands in the air in despair. Mistaken assumptions and lessons left unlearned seem to guide each of the protagonists down a course antithetical to the long-term interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.

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