Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Egypt's Prime Minister visits Gaza in his official capacity, further eroding Hamas' diplomatic isolation. Exchanges of fire between Israel and militants in Gaza continue in spite of the Egyptian visit. Hamas is testing its strength in the new Middle Eastern strategic environment. Pres. Morsy finds himself trapped between popular and ideological sympathy for Hamas and Egypt's foreign policy. Pres. Obama urges Morsy to help promote calm, and Morsy urges Obama to restrain Israel. Signs are increasing of a possible Israeli ground attack in Gaza. The conflict is also being played out in social media. Rockets fired from Gaza land near Tel Aviv, with both Hamas and Islamic Jihad claiming responsibility. The UN says one of its teachers in Gaza is among the civilians killed during Israeli attacks. Gaza residents are repeating defensive measures they learned in 2008 in order to survive. It's not clear how far Israel wants to take the conflict. Palestinian protesters are increasingly turning to closing roads as a form of nonviolent protest. Palestinian refugees in the Sidon area are trying to stay out of Lebanese sectarian tensions. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood organizes demonstrations protesting Israel's actions in Gaza. COMMENTARY: Hussein Ibish says militant groups in Gaza, particularly Hamas, may be seeking to force Morsy's hand. Zvi Bar'el says Morsy's challenge is to arrange an Israel-Hamas truce that sticks. Dan Williams says Israel is not keen to invade Gaza. AP says the current Israeli offensive is similar to that in 2008, but with more limited aims. The LA Times says it's urgent that Israel and the Palestinians resume negotiations instead of exchanging attacks. Amira Hass says the conflict will probably end up strengthening Hamas politically among Palestinians.Jonathan Freedland says the conflict will resolve nothing. The National says Hamas hasn't learned from previous conflicts and is wrecking chances of Palestinian national reconciliation. Rania Elhilou says Gaza is not going to become unlivable, it is unlivable already.Chelo Rosenberg says Israel must disengage from Gaza altogether. Daniel Kurtzer says the conflict shows why it is vital for the United States to resuscitate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Daniel Byman says both Israel and Hamas have to be very careful in how they proceed, because both have much to lose in the current conflict.

Israel Girds for Ground Assault in Gaza; Egypt’s Premier Visits
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Alan Cowell, Isabel Kershner, Jodi Rudoren - November 16, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — After a morning of heavy rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, the Israeli military seemed to be edging closer to a ground invasion of Gaza on Friday, saying forces were “on standby” and “ready to enter should it be decided that a ground operation is necessary.”

Fire continues during Egypt PM visit to Gaza, despite ceasefire
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
November 16, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - A ceasefire that Israel declared for a visit by Egypt's prime minister to the Gaza Strip on Friday collapsed after Palestinians continued cross-border rocket attacks and Israel launched air strikes in the enclave. Rockets fired from Gaza hit several sites in southern Israel shortly after Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil arrived. The Israeli air force responded with an attack on the house of Hamas's commander for southern Gaza, and a Palestinian was killed in a separate air strike near Gaza City, the Islamist group said.

Bolder Hamas Tests Alliances in a Shifting Arab World
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Jodi Rudoren - November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA CITY — Instead of the wedding drums that typically provide the evening soundtrack in this forlorn coastal strip, the black, still air was pierced by gunshots on Thursday, as citizens fired celebratory rounds after the ruling Hamas faction announced that one of its rockets had hit an Israeli aircraft.

With Gaza Attacks, Egypt’s President Balances Hamas Against Israeli Peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Mayy El Sheikh, David Kirkpatrick - November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

CAIRO — The escalating conflict in Gaza has confronted President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt with a wrenching test of his commitments — to his fellow Islamists of the militant group Hamas and to Egypt’s landmark peace agreement with Israel.

Obama presses Egypt to help rein in Hamas as Gaza conflict escalates
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Chris McGreal, Harriet Sherwood - November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

Barack Obama is pressing the Egyptian leadership to help de-escalate the bloody conflict in Gaza amid concern that a further ratcheting up of violence, such as a major Israeli ground assault, could damage the peace accords between Cairo and Jerusalem.

Egypt asks US to end Israel’s operation in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times of Israel
November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt asked the United States to push Israel to stop its offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, warning that the violence could “escalate out of control,” the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Signs mount of possible Israeli invasion of Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Amy Teibel - November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM —Israeli aircraft pummeled rocket launching operations of Gaza militants on Friday, and as troops, tanks and armored personnel carriers massed near the Palestinian territory, signaling a ground invasion might be growing near. Fighting between the two sides escalated sharply Thursday with a first-ever militant attack on the Tel Aviv area, menacing Israel's heartland. No casualties were reported, but three people died in the country's rocket-scarred south when a projectile slammed into an apartment building.

Israel and Hamas battle on social media as well
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
by Lauren E. Bohn - November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM —The hostilities between Israel and Hamas have found a new battleground: social media.The Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas militants have exchanged fiery tweets throughout the fighting in a separate war to influence public opinion. Shortly after it launched its campaign Wednesday by killing Hamas' top military commander Ahmed Jabari, the Israeli military's media office announced a "widespread campaign on terror sites & operatives in the (hash)Gaza Strip" on its Twitter account.

Hamas, Jihad claimed responsibility for rockets landing near Tel Aviv
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 16, 2012 - 1:00am

GAZA, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The armed wings of Islamic Hamas movement and Islamic Jihad on Thursday claimed responsibility for firing two Iranian-made Fajr rockets that landed in Jaffa and Rishon Kitzion, south of Israel's Tel Aviv. The two groups said in two separate leaflets emailed to reporters that their militants fired the rockets in response to the killing of Ahmed al-Jaabari, head of the Hamas armed wing, by Israel on Wednesday.

UN agency says one of its teachers killed by Israeli airstrike on Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
November 16, 2012 - 1:00am

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- A UN agency working for Palestinian refugees said that one of its teachers was killed in northern Gaza on Thursday by an Israeli airstrike, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here. "The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) says that one of its teachers was killed on Thursday by an Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza," Nesirky said at a daily news briefing here.

Under attack, Gazans preparing to apply lessons of Cast Lead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Abeer Ayyoub - November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

Just like every time: three, four, maybe five days at the max, this round of escalation will be over. This is how Gazans have been dealing with the constant rounds of escalation recently, and unexceptionally, me too. But exceptionally, this time was different: the volume of violence was higher - no surprise, as the resistance went much further. Targeting the jeep on the Israeli border wasn’t something that Israel would let go easily; therefore, an Israeli reaction was definitely expected – just not this big.

Deterrence is the idea behind Israel’s strikes in Gaza, but how far will conflict with Hamas go?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ben Sales - November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

SDEROT, Israel (JTA) -- Wage war to get peace. That’s the idea behind Israel’s strikes this week against Hamas targets in Gaza, including Wednesday’s attack that killed Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari. What’s not clear is how far Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense will go, what price Israeli civilians will pay in the conflict, whether it will succeed in its goal of deterring Hamas from future attacks on Israel and what consequences there might be for Jerusalem’s fragile relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood-led government in Egypt.

Closing Roads as Popular Resistance in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Hayat
by Mohammad Younes - November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

Israeli settlers and soldiers were met yesterday with an unusual Palestinian confrontational approach, as hundreds of youth, accompanied by Israeli and foreign sympathizers, took over roads reserved for settlers and barricaded them with chains or their own bodies.

Palestinians detached from Sidon instability
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Star
by Mohammed Zaatari - November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

SIDON, Lebanon: Palestinian officials are concerned about mounting sectarian tension in Sidon’s Taamir neighborhood, and stress that they want to remain detached from Lebanese affairs. The comments were made following armed clashes which erupted there last weekend between supporters of Salafist Sheikh Ahmad Assir and Hezbollah supporters, killing three. Also, Tuesday night, an explosion ripped through Taamir, close to the site of Sunday’s deadly clashes, damaging seven vehicles but causing no injuries.

Muslim Brotherhood mobilizes protests against Israel in Cairo
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from USA Today
November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

10:36AM EST November 16. 2012 - CAIRO – Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets Friday protesting Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, waving Palestinian flags across the Egyptian capital and demanding the Egyptian government cut ties with Israel. "We're here today to say to Israel: Go to Hell," said Mustafa Kamel from a Cairo neighborhood called Imbaba at a demonstration outside Al-Azhar Mosque that was planned by the Muslim Brotherhood. "Muslims are strong. In Egypt, we refuse Israel and the politics of America."

Morsi's Gaza Challenge
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Daily Beast
by Hussein Ibish - (Opinion) November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

Reports that open areas near Tel Aviv or waters off its coast were struck by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip have transformed the politics and psychology of the conflict, making a major Israeli ground offensive in the Gaza Strip much more likely.

Morsi's challenge: An Israel-Hamas truce
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Zvi Barel - (Opinion) November 16, 2012 - 1:00am

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is facing one of the most difficult diplomatic challenges of his brief tenure. Recalling his ambassador from Israel for “consultations” hasn’t eased the pressure for stronger action from his own party and others. His decision to send Prime Minister Hisham Qandil to Gaza on Friday is thus in part an effort to show his own people that his government supports Hamas and the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Israel not rushing to invade Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Dan Williams - (Analysis) November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Israel's threat to reprise its Gaza invasion of four years ago if its air strikes against Hamas do not end rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave masks important differences between then and now. Two days into the assault, the absence of the saturated aerial bombing seen at the start of the last Gaza war in 2008 suggested the Israelis were not yet carving safer access points for ground troops.

Israeli Gaza offensive similar to 2008-2009 campaign, but aims to be more focused
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
(Analysis) November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM — The major operation Israel launched to stop Gaza rocket fire bears some striking similarities to a punishing three-week campaign it unleashed against Hamas militants four years ago. Both began with a sudden series of airstrikes that caught Hamas off guard, included a threat to invade the coastal strip and came shortly after an American election and before an Israeli one. But the rules of the game have changed. That means Israel is now likely to carry out a briefer, more focused operation.

Middle East peace takes a beating
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Los Angeles Times
(Editorial) November 16, 2012 - 1:00am

After months of relative quiet — broken, in this country, only by the pandering of the presidential candidates — the century-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict has burst back into the news. It began last week when the Palestinian Authority revived its plan to seek an upgrade in the United Nations to "non-member observer status." On the face of it, that's hardly a game-changing power grab, and it seems unlikely to dramatically alter the regional balance of power.

Has Israel learned the lessons of Operation Cast Lead?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf Times
by Amira Hass - (Opinion) November 16, 2012 - 1:00am

Unlike Operation Cast Lead, in which the Israel Defense Forces shelled crowded places like police stations near schools from day one, this time it’s clear the IDF is trying to avoid heavy Palestinian fatalities. This conclusion cannot console the family members of those killed and wounded so far. Nor does it allay the fear of what could still happen. By Thursday afternoon at least four Palestinian civilians had been killed in air strikes − an 11-month-old, a 3-year-old girl, a young pregnant woman and a 60-year-old man. Dozens of civilians were wounded.

The battle between Israel and Gaza solves nothing
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Jonathan Freedland - (Opinion) November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

This is a horror movie we've seen before. In the days following a US presidential contest, an Israeli government, about to face an election of its own, decides it can tolerate Hamas rocket-fire no longer. It hits back hard, determined to show the Israeli public that it is not sitting idle as a million of its citizens huddle in bomb shelters, their children unable to go to school, but that it is tough, ready to do whatever it takes to "restore deterrence". It will bring quiet to its southern towns by forcing Hamas to fear its wrath once more.

Violence in Gaza kills Palestinians' chance at unity
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) November 16, 2012 - 1:00am

When will Hamas ever learn? A flurry of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza this week quickly started another cycle of reflexive escalations, one that could lead to another full-scale Israeli incursion. That, at least, is what Israel is threatening, and what Hamas seems to be agitating for.

Israeli strikes hit a Gaza that grows darker by the day
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Rania Elhilou - (Opinion) November 16, 2012 - 1:00am

Two-year-old Ashraf Shadi Kali died early this week, and his parents and one-year-old brother were injured, in a fire sparked by candles the family was forced to use because of Gaza's continuing electricity shortages. Their home was destroyed. The family is just one of many forced to rely on kerosene, candles or, if they can afford it, a generator to provide a bit of light and warmth as the dark, cold days of winter approach.

Israel Must Disengage from Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'ariv
by Chelo Rosenberg - (Opinion) November 14, 2012 - 1:00am

So long as our leaders continue to blabber and adopt threatening tones, reality will not change. They must come to the masses and say publicly: We must sever our ties to Gaza completely.

The Peace Process Isn't Dead
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Daniel Kurtzer - (Opinion) November 16, 2012 - 1:00am

In Jerusalem last week with my Princeton University students, I hailed a taxi one day from my hotel to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. The driver asked whether I would need him for the rest of the day. "If you can take me to Ramallah," I replied, "that would be great. Otherwise, no thanks."

Israel's Gamble in Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Affairs
by Daniel Byman - (Opinion) November 15, 2012 - 1:00am

Israel's latest campaign in Gaza, which began on Wednesday with the killing of Hamas' military commander, Ahmed Jabari, and air strikes on the group's long-range rocket launchers, is a gamble -- and one that Israel might lose. Its goal is to compel Hamas to stop shooting rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip and to crack down on other groups who are also doing so. Hamas, however, will find it hard to bend to Israeli pressure. In turn, it will be up to outside states, particularly Egypt, to foster a deal to end the fighting.

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