Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Israeli forces storm a neighborhood in Gaza city (1) as their ongoing offensive continues (2) (3). Speculation grows about the affect of the Israeli incursion on the strength of Hamas (4) (5) as well as on Mahmoud Abbas’ administration (7), and Israel’s public image (10). Israeli defense officials voice support for an immediate ceasefire (9). Gaza’s underground tunnels continue to cause concern (13).

Israeli forces storm Gaza City neighborhood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
by Ibrahim Barzak, Christopher Torchia - January 14, 2009 - 1:00am

Terrified residents ran for cover Tuesday in a densely populated neighborhood of Gaza City as Israeli troops backed by tanks thrust deeper into the city and sought Hamas fighters in alleyways and cellars. On the diplomatic front, Egyptian mediators pushed Hamas to accept a truce proposal and, in a hopeful sign, Israel sent its lead negotiator to Cairo for "decisive'' talks on a cease-fire. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also headed for the region to join diplomatic efforts.

Hill of Shame where Gaza bombing is spectator sport
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by Yonit Farago, Martin Fletcher - January 13, 2009 - 1:00am

n times of peace Parash Hill is a beauty spot where Israelis from the nearby town of Sderot come to picnic and enjoy the magnificent view across a nature reserve and bright green fields to distant Gaza City and, beyond, the deep blue Mediterranean. There are benches for sightseers, a swing, a sculpture of a man on horseback and fences to stop children tumbling down the steep northern slope.

At the bedside of a badly wounded girl in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Yasser Ahmad, Jeffrey Fleishman - January 14, 2009 - 1:00am

Reporting from The Gaza Strip and Jerusalem -- She was a girl with cuts on her face, lying in a hospital bed near her mother. Hours earlier, before dawn in the Gaza Strip town of Khoza, the Israeli soldiers came and the firefights and shelling rattled and shook the darkness. Everyone without a gun scattered. Ambulances moved out to collect the wounded.

Hamas May Survive Offensive, Israel Says
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Craig Whitlock - January 14, 2009 - 1:00am

TEL AVIV, Jan. 13 -- Israeli military officials said Tuesday that their 18-day offensive in the Gaza Strip had weakened Hamas but that a knockout blow was unlikely. The conflict showed no signs of ending as diplomats reported little progress in negotiating a cease-fire.

At Cairo Hospital, Injured Palestinians Increasingly Voice Support for Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Sudarsan Raghavan - January 14, 2009 - 1:00am

CAIRO -- At Nasser hospital here in the Egyptian capital, the sound of Palestinian Arabic spills out from rooms and floats through the corridors of the fourth floor. "God is great, God is great," Ahmed Hussein, 25, said to a weeping Egyptian woman, one of a stream of visitors coming to pay their respects to those injured by Israeli airstrikes. "May God make you be victorious," she said. "I cannot stand what is happening to your people."

Israel's Gaza offensive stokes anger among Jordan elite
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Borzou Daragahi - January 14, 2009 - 1:00am

Reporting from Amman, Jordan — The boutique sells designer outfits, but the agitated talk among the women in fur coats and leather go-go boots is about politics, specifically Israel's war in the Gaza Strip. "Everyone around here hates Israel," says Dana Abu Zannnad, the anger rising in her voice. The 31-year-old Jordanian homemaker and her husband, a wealthy businessman, are among the country's new jet set. They speak English, shop at deluxe malls and travel abroad, many on earnings resulting from Jordan's status as a jumping-off point for Iraq reconstruction projects.

U.S. sees Gaza rebuilding as opportunity for Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Adam Entous - January 13, 2009 - 1:00am

The United States hopes to use post-war reconstruction of the Gaza Strip to help the Western-backed Palestinian Authority reassert its presence and influence in Hamas's stronghold. U.S. and Western officials said details have yet to be worked out and depended on the extent to which Israel's military offensive, which has killed more than 900 Palestinians, weakens Hamas's hold on power.

State officials: Barak encouraging Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roni Sofer - January 14, 2009 - 1:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak's statements regarding the nearing end of the Israeli offensive in Gaza have earned him harsh criticism from top Jerusalem officials, who have said that Hamas interprets such statements as Israel trying to find a way out of the fighting. "Leaking details of ministers' private initiatives is irresponsible and regrettable," said a state official.

Israel defense officials back immediate Gaza cease-fire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - January 14, 2009 - 1:00am

Senior defense establishment officials believe that Israel should strive to reach an immediate cease-fire with Hamas, and not expand its offensive against the Palestinian Islamist group in Gaza. During meetings of the Israel Defense Forces General Staff and of the heads of the state's other security branches, officials have said that Israel achieved several days ago all that it possibly could in Gaza. The officials expressed reservations about launching the third phase of Operation Cast Lead, preferring for it to remain a threat at this stage.

Diplomats: Gaza op causing long-term harm to Israel's image
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Barak Ravid - January 14, 2009 - 1:00am

A few days ago, I met a European ambassador stationed in Israel. The man, a great friend of Israel, launched an emotional monologue and spoke from the bottom of his heart. "Make no mistake," he said. "I understand why you embarked on the operation in Gaza, and many of my colleagues also understand and even support it, but a few days ago you started to cross red lines."

Israel thinks Hamas waiting on Obama for Gaza truce
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff - (Analysis) January 14, 2009 - 1:00am

Some reservists called up earlier this month were sent home on furlough on Tuesday. This may be a hint that Israel is still delaying the third stage of its offensive in the Gaza Strip - a significant deepening of its ground operation. Meanwhile, the diplomatic efforts to bring the fighting to an end are continuing, albeit slowly. As expected by many analysts, Hamas offered a less than clear response to the Egyptian cease-fire initiative. The deputy head of the Hamas politburo, Musa Abu Marzouk, explained that some changes to the proposal are necessary.

Egypt tells Hamas it must commit to one year cease-fire in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff, Barak Ravid - January 14, 2009 - 1:00am

Egypt continued on Tuesday to urge Hamas to accept its cease-fire proposal for the Gaza Strip. Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman told Hamas representatives to the talks in Cairo that the organization would have to commit to a one-year cease-fire. Hamas officials told the Egyptians that it would be willing to accept the proposal if the changes demanded by the organization are made.

Gaza tunnels: No path to peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Boston Globe
by David Schenker - (Opinion) January 14, 2009 - 1:00am

EGYPT has long been considered a "bridge" between the East and West. Yet, two weeks into the Israeli campaign against Hamas in Gaza, Egypt is probably better known for its role as a tunnel, serving as the primary smuggling route for Hamas weapons into militant-controlled territory. As pressure mounts for a cease-fire, the disposition of these tunnels - and specifically, what actions Cairo is prepared to take to close them - seems likely to prove the difference between war and peace.

Why Israel Can’t Make Peace With Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Jeffrey Goldberg - (Opinion) January 13, 2009 - 1:00am

IN the summer of 2006, at a moment when Hezbollah rockets were falling virtually without pause on northern Israel, Nizar Rayyan, husband of four, father of 12, scholar of Islam and unblushing executioner, confessed to me one of his frustrations. We were meeting in a concrete mosque in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza. Mr. Rayyan, who was a member of the Hamas ruling elite, and an important recruiter of suicide bombers until Israel killed him two weeks ago (along with several of his wives and children), arrived late to our meeting from parts unknown.

How to beat Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - January 14, 2009 - 1:00am

Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel and yesterday shots were fired from its territory at a Border Police patrol north of Eilat. Shots were fired from Syria at an Israeli unit and Katyusha rockets from Lebanon struck the center of Nahariya. Turkey is furious, Saudi Arabia is boiling and Qatar is boycotting Israel.

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