Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Mideast envoy George Mitchell meets with Israeli and Palestinian Authority leadership (1) (2). The new tone of Middle East policy articulated in President Obama’s recent appearance on Al-Arabiya television is widely well received (3) (4). The United Nations launches an appeal for $613 million to aid the people of Gaza (5). A Spanish court approves a motion by a Palestinian group to probe Israeli officials for suspected war crimes (6). An Israeli human rights group accuses the IDF of subjecting Palestinians captured during the Gaza offensive to inhumane conditions (7). The choice of George Mitchell as Mideast envoy raises concern for Israeli settlers (8).





Gaza Violence Complicates Mitchell Mission
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - January 29, 2009 - 12:00am


A day after President Obama’s special Middle East envoy called for a consolidation of the fragile Gaza cease-fire, the truce came under new strain on Thursday when the Israeli military said Palestinians fired a rocket into Israel at dawn and Israel launched an air attack into southern Gaza.


U.S. peace envoy rolls up his sleeves in Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Richard Boudreaux - January 29, 2009 - 12:00am


George J. Mitchell, the new U.S. envoy to the Middle East, arrived in Israel on Wednesday to begin testing his axiom that there's no such thing as a conflict that cannot be ended. Yet even as Israeli and Palestinian leaders offered ideas on how the Obama administration can help bring about peace, the prevailing mood on both sides was that their decades-old fight had become almost hopelessly deadlocked.


Analysis: A kinder, gentler sheriff
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - (Analysis) January 29, 2009 - 12:00am


US President Barack Obama spent his first week in office taking steps to signal to the nation and the world that the Bush administration is over. He ordered the Guantanamo military prison to close, the CIA to stop using controversial interrogation practices and environmental agencies to move toward stricter fuel efficiency.


After the War on Terror
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Roger Cohen - (Opinion) January 29, 2009 - 12:00am


In his first White House televised interview, with the Al Arabiya news network based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, President Obama buried the lead: The war on terror is over. Yes, the with-us-or-against-us global struggle — the so-called Long War — in which a freedom-loving West confronts the undifferentiated forces of darkness comprising everything from Al Qaeda to elements of the Palestinian national struggle under the banner of “Islamofascism” has been terminated. What’s left is what matters: defeating terrorist organizations. That’s not a war. It’s a strategic challenge.


UN launches $613m appeal for Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
January 29, 2009 - 12:00am


The UN has launched an appeal for $613m to help people affected by Israel's military offensive in Gaza. "These needs are massive and multi-faceted," the body's top official Ban Ki-moon said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He added that funds would be used to "help overcome at least some measures of this hardship". The announcement came amid fears of a collapse of unilateral ceasefires by Israel and the Hamas militant group. Two rockets have been fired at Israel, while Israeli air strikes hit southern Gaza.


Spanish court to probe Israeli officials for alleged 'crimes against humanity'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
by Roni Sofer - January 29, 2009 - 12:00am


Spanish court to probe Israeli officials for alleged 'crimes against humanity' Madrid Court grants motion by Palestinian group to probe several senior defense officials for their involvement in 2002 hit on Hamas operative Salah Shehade; which left 14 dead, 100 wounded. Defense minister calls announcement 'delusional', says he will do all in his power to have charges dropped Roni Sofer and AFP


Gaza detainee treatment 'inhuman'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
January 28, 2009 - 12:00am


Palestinians seized during Israel's operation in Gaza faced "appalling" conditions and "inhuman" treatment, Israeli human rights groups have said. The seven groups say they have gathered 20 testimonies which indicate detainees were kept in pits without shelter, toilets or adequate food and water. Some detainees also said they had been held near tanks and in combat areas, the groups said. The Israeli military says it is investigating the allegations.


Settlers not thrilled with Obama's Mideast envoy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Nadav Shragai - January 29, 2009 - 12:00am


The settlers are not thrilled with George Mitchell - and that is an understatement. Mitchell, who first arrived here as an envoy on behalf of the Democratic Clinton administration eight years ago, asked then that Israel freeze settlement construction, even if the building activity was intended to meet natural population growth. To a large extent, he was successful in attaining what he requested.


Hamas and the Firewood of Victory
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Jameel Theyabi - January 26, 2009 - 12:00am


Now that the offensive is over, we have the right to write bitterly about what we have seen and heard with respect to the tragedies of the "heinous" Israeli war on the Gazans, especially since the uncontrollable inter-Palestinian verbal battle has returned to the television screens and newspapers even prior to the end of the war.


Obama's Messages to the Arabs
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Dar Al-Hayat
by Abdullah Iskandar - (Opinion) January 28, 2009 - 12:00am


The new American administration has revealed - in an unquestionable manner - that the Middle East issues and the relation with the Muslim world top its priorities. President Barack Obama apparently attributes the turmoil that plagued the US policy in this regard to mistakes and failed methods of treatment. Therefore, during the first days of his tenure, he sent many political messages to the Middle East and the Muslim world.


Thirty years of Tehran rhetoric blocking the road to peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Karim Sadjadpour - January 29, 2009 - 12:00am


The Iranian government’s feeling towards the state of Israel is straightforward. In times of peace it is utter contempt; in times of war it is visceral hatred. The question is, why? After all, Iran is not an Arab country, has no direct land disputes with Israel, has no Palestinian refugee problem, has a long history of contentious relations with the Arab world and is home to the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside Israel itself.





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