Middle East News: World Press Roundup

An Egyptian soldier is killed and several Palestinians injured as violence erupts at the Gaza border, and Israel reportedly drops leaflets into the Strip. Egypt says it is "losing patience" with Hamas. A convoy of international activists is allowed into Gaza, and a Holocaust survivor explains to the LA Times why she joined the effort. An Israeli human rights group distributes video cameras to Gaza residents. US urges the international community to support new peace talks, and denies that the White House Chief of Staff threatened a suspension of engagement. Special Envoy George Mitchell says peace talks can be concluded in two years. Jeremy Ben-ami of J Street responds to Israel's ambassador to the United States. A report in a leading Israeli newspaper suggests PM Netanyahu may be amenable to a workable peace agreement. Daoud Kuttab analyzes the controversy over ownership of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Gunfire at Gaza Protest Near Egypt
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - (Analysis) January 6, 2010 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — An anti-Egypt rally in southern Gaza turned deadly on Wednesday when demonstrators rushed the border fence and stoned Egyptian troops on the other side, leading to an exchange of gunfire and the death of an Egyptian soldier. Nine Egyptian soldiers and a dozen Palestinians were wounded from stones and gunfire, witnesses and medics said.

Putting Lens on Lives in Suspended Animation in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Ethan Bronner - (Opinion) January 5, 2010 - 1:00am

GAZA — In the year since Israeli fighter jets and troops invaded this coastal Palestinian strip to stop rocket fire, time seems to have stood still. A blockade imposed by both Israel and Egypt to isolate the Hamas government bars the vast majority of goods and people from moving in or out. That means there is no reconstruction of destroyed buildings. Thousands remain homeless. Winter has arrived.

ISRAEL, GAZA: Holocaust survivor explains why she became Palestinian rights activist
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Los Angeles Times
by Daniel Siegal - (Analysis) January 6, 2010 - 1:00am

Hedy Epstein is what some might see as a contradiction in terms: a survivor of the Holocaust and also a staunch advocate for the Palestinian people. Born in 1924 in Freiburg, Germany, Epstein was 14 when she escaped from Nazi persecution via the Kinderstransport to England. Since her 1948 arrival in the U.S., Epstein has been an advocate for peace and human rights.

Reports of 14 projectiles launched into Israel as fliers warn Gazans
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Editorial) January 7, 2010 - 1:00am

Gaza – Ma’an – The Popular Resistance Committees claimed a third round of mortar launches Thursday afternoon, following two early morning barrages aimed at Israeli targets in and around the Gaza Strip, sources said. The total number of confirmed launches stood at 11 by the mid-afternoon, with three more reported after 2pm, while Israeli media sources said 10 of the mortars landed in the southern Negev. One of the projectiles landed near the Kerem Shalom crossing, prompting its closure.

Following clashes, convoy enters Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
(Editorial) January 7, 2010 - 1:00am

Gaza – Ma’an – Medical aid and 518 activists entered Gaza Wednesday night after protests against the Egyptian government refusal to admit 400 of the group lead to clashes along the divided border town. An Egyptian soldier was shot dead during the clashes, Egyptian state television reported, and at least 12 Palestinians were injured during a a demonstration against perceived Egyptian complicity in an Israeli-led blockade called by the de facto government of the Strip as they denounced what they said were attacks on the Viva Palestina convoy.

U.S. urges world to help revive Mideast talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Avi Issacharoff, Natasha Mozgovaya, Barak Ravid - (Analysis) January 7, 2010 - 1:00am

Washington wants the international community to issue a joint call next week for renewed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Jerusalem officials said on Wednesday. The American administration wants the statement to be issued at the end of a meeting held in Brussels of the Quartet - the United Nations, United States, Russia and the European Union. U.S. envoy George Mitchell intends to brief the Quartet at the meeting on his talks with Israel and the Palestinian Authority in a bid to resume the negotiations between the sides.

U.S.: Emanuel 'didn't threaten to walk away' from Mideast peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Natasha Mozgovaya - (Analysis) January 7, 2010 - 1:00am

The White House had rejected claims that Barack Obama's most senior aide blasted Israel and the Palestinians for foot-dragging and warned that the U.S. could walk away from the Middle East peace process. The comments come after reports that Rahm Emanuel recently told an Israeli diplomat that the U.S. is fed up with both sides, and said that Washington would reduce its involvement in peace efforts if no significant progress was made.

Egypt says losing patience with Hamas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Roee Nahmias - (Analysis) January 7, 2010 - 1:00am

Clashes followed by threats: Egypt warned Hamas on Wednesday night that there was a limit to its patience and that any attempt to provoke the Egyptian security forces would claim a price. The Foreign Ministry in Cairo made the announcement following Wednesday's violent clashes on the Gaza-Egypt border, which left an Egyptian border guard killed by sniper fire and nine policemen injured. Dozens of Palestinians were also hurt in the riots.

Being Israel's ambassador
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Jeremy Benami - (Opinion) January 6, 2010 - 1:00am

Being an Israeli ambassador these days can't be easy. On the one hand, you're working for a prime minister whose strong suit is public relations, who at least talks of peace with the Palestinians and who has consistently judged that engaging in the diplomatic process rather than refusing to talk plays better with domestic and international audiences.

Mitchell: Peace talks can end in 2 years
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
(Editorial) January 7, 2010 - 1:00am

US Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell called on Israel and the Palestinians to resume negotiations, in comments made to a US television station Wednesday night. Speaking on the "Charlie Rose" television program on PBS, Mitchell said he believed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians could be concluded within two years from the moment they begin.

'Hamas-Iran alliance harms Palestinians'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh, Herb Keinon - (Opinion) January 7, 2010 - 1:00am

A senior Palestinian Authority official on Wednesday accused Hamas of serving Iran's interests in the region at the expense of the Palestinians and Arabs. Tayeb Abdel Rahim, Director-General of the PA Presidency and member of the Fatah Central Council, claimed that Hamas had forged an alliance with Iran in a way that harms Arab national security and Palestinian interests.

Is Bibi Ready for '67 Lines? So Says Maariv Report on New U.S. Peace Bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by J.J. Goldberg - (Opinion) January 5, 2010 - 1:00am

Maariv published a story (in Hebrew – my translation is below) on Monday, January 4, by its top political correspondent, Ben Caspit outlining what is described as a detailed American initiative to reconvene Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and reach a permanent agreement in two years. What is particularly surprising is the clear implication that Washington has Netanyahu’s consent to enter a negotiation that will result in a return virtually to the 1967 borders.

Dangerous situation
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
(Editorial) January 7, 2010 - 1:00am

The situation at the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt is becoming dangerous. Yesterday, an Egyptian border guard was killed by what officials say was sniper fire from the Palestinian side. The shooting reportedly came after Egyptian guards opened fire at Palestinian demonstrators protesting the delay of an aid convoy, which is being held up in Egypt. The aid convoy follows another multinational popular effort to break the siege on Gaza, which was refused permission to travel to Gaza by the Egyptian authorities.

Growing up in Bethlehem with the Dead Sea Scrolls story
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) January 7, 2010 - 1:00am

The latest news about Jordan’s demands that Canada seize the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were on display in Toronto, brings back many childhood memories for me. For perspective this is what has happened. Jordan has requested Canada to take custody of the scrolls, citing the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to which both Jordan and Canada are signatories. On display at the exhibition were artefacts taken from the Palestine Museum (also called the Rockefeller Museum) in East Jerusalem.

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