Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Both Israel and Hamas reject a cease-fire call issued by the UN Security Council, as Israel expands its ground operations in Gaza (1) (2). Full text and statements for UNSCR 1860 (3). Raghida Dergham tracks Arab diplomacy leading to the vote (9). The UN says that the IDF admits there was no gunfire emanating from the school they shelled earlier this week (4). The BBC reports another Israeli attack on a civilian shelter (5). The UN and Red Cross curtail their aid work in Gaza, citing danger to their staff from continued Israeli attacks (6). A pair of opinion pieces discuss how the current conflict will affect the Arab world and beyond (10) (11). Mouin Rabbani and the Economist examine the origins of the conflict (12) (13). The New York Review of Books surveys a group of memoirs about the failed peace talks during the Clinton Administration (14).

Israel and Hamas Rebuff U.N. Cease-Fire Call
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - January 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Israel and Hamas rebuffed a United Nations call for a cease-fire in the 14-day Gaza war on Friday, with Israel saying continued barrages of rocket fire from its adversaries made the United Nations resolution “unworkable.” In a statement after a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the Israeli military would “continue acting to protect Israeli citizens and will carry out the missions it was given,” according to news reports. Officials from Hamas dismissed the United Nations resolution, according to news reports, although one official said it was being studied.

Israel rejects UN truce resolution, widens Gaza ground op
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid, Shlomo Shamir - January 9, 2009 - 1:00am

The diplomatic-security cabinet rejected on Friday a United Nations Security Council cease-fire resolution and ordered the Israel Defense Forces to expand its current ground operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1860
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from United Nations News Service
January 8, 2009 - 1:00am

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE, DURABLE, FULLY RESPECTED CEASEFIRE IN GAZA LEADING TO FULL WITHDRAWAL OF ISRAELI FORCES Resolution 1860 (2009) Adopted by 14 in Favour, Abstention by United States; Also Calls for Unimpeded Humanitarian Assistance, Welcomes Egyptian Initiative

UN: IDF officers admitted there was no gunfire from Gaza school which was shelled
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar, Barak Ravid - January 9, 2009 - 1:00am

The United Nations is claiming Israeli military officers have admitted there was no Palestinian gunfire emanating from inside an UNRWA school in Gaza which was shelled by an IDF tank. Dozens of Palestinians were killed in the shelling. In addition, UNRWA Thursday announced it will cease activities in the Strip due to the death of an UNRWA staffer in an IDF shelling during Thursday morning's humanitarian hiatus. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told Haaretz yesterday that the army had conceded wrongdoing.

Israel 'shelled civilian shelter'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
January 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli forces shelled a house in the Gaza Strip which they had moved around 110 Palestinians into 24 hours earlier, the UN quotes witnesses as saying. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called it "one of the gravest incidents" since the beginning of the offensive. The shelling at Zeitoun, a south-east suburb of Gaza City, on 5 January killed some 30 people, the report said. Israel said the allegations were being investigated.

U.N., Red Cross curtail aid in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Rushdi Abu Alouf, Richard Boudreaux - January 9, 2009 - 1:00am

On a day of rising tension between Israel and international relief agencies, the Red Cross and the United Nations curtailed operations in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Thursday, and the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution calling for a cease-fire in the Palestinian territory. In a 14-0 vote, with the United States abstaining, the Security Council called for an "immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire" in Gaza that would lead to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces.

100 Survivors Rescued in Gaza From Ruins Blocked by Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Reyham Abdel Kareem, Craig Whitlock - January 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Emergency workers said they rescued 100 more trapped survivors Thursday and found between 40 and 50 corpses in a devastated residential block south of Gaza City that the Israeli military had kept off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross for four days. Relief agencies said they feared more people remained in the rubble of several shattered houses in the Zaytoun neighborhood. Red Cross officials said that they began receiving distress calls from people in the houses late Saturday but that they were blocked by the Israeli military from reaching the area until Wednesday.

Fighter Sees His Paradise in Gaza’s Pain
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Taghreed El-Khodary - January 9, 2009 - 1:00am

The emergency room in Shifa Hospital is often a place of gore and despair. On Thursday, it was also a lesson in the way ordinary people are squeezed between suicidal fighters and a military behemoth. Dr. Awni al-Jaru, 37, a surgeon at the hospital, rushed in from his home here, dressed in his scrubs. But he came not to work. His head was bleeding, and his daughter’s jaw was broken.

The Security Council Resolution is an Opportunity for a New Chapter between the US and the Arabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Raghida Dergham - (Opinion) January 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Shared Arab effort at the level of Foreign Ministers this week in New York was excellent. It aimed at driving the Security Council to adopt a resolution that would demand an immediate and permanent cease-fire in Gaza and the withdrawal of Israeli forces. Such a resolution would also call for deploying a force of UN observers who would monitor the implementation of the cease-fire and an effective mechanism to prevent Hamas from launching rockets from Gaza, and would ensure that no weapons are smuggled to it, as well as opening the crossings into Gaza and lifting the siege.

The Gaza onslaught will impact on the Arab world
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Rami Khouri - (Opinion) January 9, 2009 - 1:00am

The immediate consequences of the Israeli assault on Gaza are being felt primarily by the Palestinians in Gaza, but its political shockwaves will be felt throughout the Arab world, in forms that cannot be easily predicted today. The Israeli attempt to inflict patrie-cide - the murder of a people and state - on Gaza emphasizes a series of transformational trends that have been clear throughout the Arab region for the past quarter-century.

Palestine and the Need for Clarity and Transparency
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Mshari Al-Zaydi - (Opinion) January 8, 2009 - 1:00am

Amid the bombing that has struck Gaza in its entirety and the battles on the ground between Israeli troops and Hamas, there is an Arab and non-Arab regional division, which is deep and complex. Amid the smoke, bloodshed, and Palestinian and Arab division, one should stop and think about the situation even if our words are restricted.

Birth Pangs of a New Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Middle East Report
by Mouin Rabbani - (Opinion) January 7, 2009 - 1:00am

Shortly after 11:30 am on December 27, 2008, at the height of the midday bustle on the first day of the Gazan week and with multitudes of schoolchildren returning home from the morning shift, close to 90 Israeli warplanes launched over 100 tons of explosives at some 100 targets throughout the 139 square miles of the Gaza Strip. Within minutes, the near simultaneous air raids killed more than 225 and wounded at least 700, more than 200 of them critically.

The hundred years' war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Economist
(Editorial) January 8, 2009 - 1:00am

WITH luck, the destructive two-week battle between Israel and Hamas may soon draw to an end. But how long before the century-long war between Arabs and Jews in Palestine follows suit? It is hard to believe that this will happen any time soon. Consider: Israel’s current operation, “Cast Lead”, marks the fourth time Israel has fought its way into Gaza. It almost captured Gaza (behind a pocket containing a young Egyptian army officer called Gamal Abdul Nasser) in 1948, in the war Israelis know as their war of independence.

How Not to Make Peace in the Middle East
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Review Of Books
by Hussein Agha, Robert Malley - January 15, 2009 - 1:00am

1. Foreign affairs had no more than a small part in Barack Obama's presidential campaign, and the Middle East peace process only a fraction of that. Yet the sorry prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians make a break with past US policy on this matter imperative, regardless of the new administration's priorities.

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