Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Mideast envoy George Mitchell wraps up his weeklong tour of the region (1). As Israel prepares to hold general elections next week, the situation in Gaza is a central issue (2). In Paris today Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attempts to increase diplomatic support for reconstruction of Gaza (4) while public tensions persist between Hamas and Fatah (11) (13). Work continues in Cairo to broker a ceasefire acceptable to both Hamas and Israel (5). An editorial in Haaretz criticizes Israel’s recent decision to invest in a new Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem (12).

Mitchell gets earful from Mideast
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Caryle Murphey - February 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Winding up his week-long tour of the region, President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, met Saudi officials here over the weekend for an exchange of ideas on ending the volatile Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr. Mitchell conferred with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud bin Faisal Saturday night and met with King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Sunday.

Israel's Key Election Issue: Did War End Too Soon?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Griff Witte - February 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Just over a week before Israel holds elections to choose a new government, the outcome of the war in the Gaza Strip has emerged as a central issue in the campaign, with the candidates sparring over whether the massive military operation went far enough. The argument reflects the reality that elections here often turn on a single question: Who looks tougher on national security?

Gaza counts the cost – and assigns blame
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Independent
February 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Two weeks after an uneasy ceasefire ended Israel's 22-day offensive, Gaza is still struggling to come to terms with the cost of more than 1,300 Palestinian lives, more than 5,000 injuries and the total or partial destruction of some 20,000 homes.

Abbas, US envoy push Mideast peace in Paris talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
February 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas headed to Paris on Monday to try to drum up diplomatic support for a unity government and to push for a role in rebuilding the war-shattered Gaza Strip, controlled by rival Hamas. With scattered violence in Gaza straining an informal cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants, Abbas was expected to join French, U.S. and other officials in meetings aimed at finding sturdier solutions for Gaza.

Hamas cites 'positive direction' as Cairo works toward stronger Gaza truce
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
February 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian officials were gathering in Cairo on Sunday amid hopes of bolstering a ceasefire in Gaza, even as Israel threatened to strike at Hamas after Gaza militants fired rockets into Israel. Egypt has been mediating a truce after Hamas and Israel announced ceasefires on January 18, ending a devastating 22-day war that killed more than 1,330 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

Supporters fete Erdogan for stand at Davos over Israeli massacres in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
February 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stood firm Friday of his criticism of Israel's war against the Gaza Strip, in which more than 400 children were killed. Erdogan received a hero's welcome on his return to Istanbul and the Palestinian Hamas movement hailed his "courageous stand" after he walked out of a debate on the Gaza war at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "We will never allow anyone to show disrespect to the prime minister of Turkey," Erdogan told a cheering crowd as he returned home following his clash with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Hamas leader praises Iran for support over Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
February 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal on Monday praised Iran for playing a big role in helping Hamas during Israel's offensive in Gaza. Meshaal met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday during a visit to thank the country for its support. Mashaal told Ahmadinejad that Iran played a role in what he called the "victory of Gaza's people" in the war with Israel, according to Iran's state TV. Ahmadinejad warned Israel could be plotting to launch another invasion of Gaza. On Sunday, Israel threatened a harsh response to more rocket fire from Gaza.

A Wake-Up Call for Arabs and Israelis
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
(Analysis) February 2, 2009 - 1:00am

There is good news and there is bad news associated with U.S. President Barack Obama's Middle East peace initiative. The good news is that there is a president in the White House who is truly dedicated to forge ahead with the peace process. And for several reasons.

Hamas Leads Largest Suicide Operation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Tariq Alhomayed - (Opinion) February 2, 2009 - 1:00am

In Doha [on Wednesday] Khalid Mishal announced his intentions to form a new [alternative representative] authority for the Palestinian people in order to replace the Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO] in what represents the first practical steps to bury the Arab Peace Initiative, and in the process reverting the Palestinian cause back to square one.

Winners and losers in Gaza: A Palestinian perspective
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Daoud Kuttab - February 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Unlike times of tranquility, wartime brings out the best and worse in many people. Wars are also an opportunity for people to shine or to fail. The Israeli war on Gaza certainly has its winners and losers, although the list could change and protagonists can swap from one side to the other. Here is my preliminary list of winners and losers.

Abbas attacks Hamas over PLO call
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Jazeera English
February 2, 2009 - 1:00am

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has said he will not talk with any group that fails to recognise the legitimacy of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) after Hamas called for it to be sidelined. The comments in Cairo came before a meeting on Monday with Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, for talks on Palestinian unity and the fragile ceasefire in Gaza. "We say this with utmost clarity - no dialogue with whoever rejects the Palestine Liberation Organisation," Abbas said as he visited Palestinian victims of the Israeli assault on Gaza in a Cairo hospital.

Bad news from a new neighborhood
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
(Editorial) February 2, 2009 - 1:00am

The news that Israel has invested close to NIS 200 million in Mevasseret Adumim, a new Jewish neighborhood east of Jerusalem where 3,500 housing units are slated to be built, reveals the real intentions of the outgoing government. As Amos Harel reported in Haaretz yesterday, for the past two years, Israel has invested massive amounts of money on infrastructure for the construction of housing units to create a contiguous bloc between Ma'aleh Adumim and East Jerusalem.

Hamas: We're in no hurry to talk with Abbas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
February 1, 2009 - 1:00am

Hamas will not push for Palestinian reconciliation talks if President Mahmoud Abbas insists on the supremacy of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Islamist group said Monday. In a statement mocking Abbas and his supporters, a high-level Hamas official accused Abbas of siding with Israel during its recent invasion of Gaza, and seeking to "return on Israeli tanks" to govern the territory.

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