Caellum Moffat, "Disorder in the ranks of Hamas?": Last Sunday, Hamas government spokesperson, Ghazi Hamad, was alleged to have issued a five page letter in which he criticized and questioned Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip in June. The former editor-in-chief of the Hamas-affiliated weekly Al-Risala has denied the letter’s existence in which he ostensibly declared that the events in June, which resulted in the current duopoly of Palestine, was a “serious strategic mistake that burdened the movement more than it can bear”.
Dion Nissenbaum, "Activists: Israel Pressuring Ill Palestinians to be Informers"
Anne Flaherty, "Rice: MidEast peace in Jeopardy": Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that a "two-state solution" in the Middle East was in jeopardy and described a narrow window of opportunity to push Israel and the Palestinians toward peace.
Marc Santora, "Hawkish Handlers Guide Giuliani on Foreign Policy": Rudolph Giuliani's approach to foreign policy shares with other Republican presidential candidates an aggressive posture toward terrorism, a commitment to strengthening the military and disdain for the United Nations. But in developing his views, Giuliani is consulting with, among others, a particularly hawkish group of advisers and neoconservative thinkers. Their positions have been criticized by Democrats as irresponsible and applauded by some conservatives as appropriately tough, while raising questions about how closely aligned Giuliani's thinking is with theirs. Giuliani's team includes Norman Podhoretz, a prominent neoconservative who advocates bombing Iran "as soon as it is logistically possible"; Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, who has called for profiling Muslims at airports and scrutinizing American Muslims in law enforcement, the military and the diplomatic corps; and Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who has written in favor of revoking the U.S. ban on assassination. The campaign says that the foreign policy team, which also includes scholars and experts with different policy approaches, is meant to give Giuliani a variety of perspectives.
The Guardian, "Images that shock": Occasionally the mask slips and unpalatable truths emerge. The Guardian has filmed rare scenes inside Hamas-controlled Gaza which the various players in the unfolding tragedy of the Middle East would rather we did not see - Hamas beating up Fatah dissenters, Palestinian doctors forced by their Fatah paymasters to go on strike or forfeit their salaries, the militants who log on to Google Earth to search for Israeli targets for their Qassam rockets. The images, now on the Guardian's website, affront our concept of right and wrong, but they serve our understanding of what is going on.
Gulf News, "Breaking the taboo": The general feeling in Washington is that most Americans - there are over 300 million Americans - are not knowledgeable about world affairs, certainly the Middle East, and especially the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In small part, this explains the lopsided US policy towards the region and, in greater part, exposes the failure of Arab governments and to some extent the Arab-American community in meeting this challenge.
Aluf Benn, "Policy in No-Man's-Land": Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's trip to Europe this week once again illustrated that the "peace process" is the most convenient diplomatic situation for Israel. Conducting high-level talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority; Israel's willingness to discuss the principles for ending the conflict; and gestures such as the release of prisoners are in themselves sufficient to remove international pressure on Israel to withdraw from the territories and to end the occupation.
AP, "Chaotic Nablus": The Palestinian president has chosen the West Bank's most chaotic city to show he's in control, winning U.S. praise Thursday for beefing up his security forces here as part of an attempt to reassure Israel that he can implement a future peace deal. However, Mahmoud Abbas' campaign to disarm hundreds of militants in Nablus has had mixed results.
Rimba Rousseau, "Lebanon: Palestinian Refugees Face Systematic Discrimination"
AFP, "Gaza Christians fear 'Those more extreme than Hamas'": The kidnapping and killing of Rami Ayyad, manager of the Gaza Strip's only Christian bookstore, sent shudders through the Palestinian coastal enclave's tiny Christian community.
Clancy Chassey, "Inside Hamas": ... This meant I had the opportunity to have dinner with Hamas, and witness an internal debate within the senior leadership that is rarely seen by outsiders, particularly those from the west.
Dar Al Hayat, "The Damascus Conference Versus the Conference of the Fall Grandstanding at the Expense of the Palestinians"
Alon Ben-Meir, "Rebuilding Trust remains at the core": Since President Bush declared his intention a few months ago to convene a Middle East peace conference, experts on the region and government officials have proposed specific agenda items that should be addressed to insure its success.
Jordan Times, "To speak again in one voice"
Lisa Hajjar, "Israels Military Court System is the model to avoid"
Gideon Levy, "The importance of a failed summit": Do not belittle the Annapolis summit. Despite all the prophecies of failure, justified as they are, this summit could still make an important contribution to the history of Israeli-Arab negotiations: For the first time, it will become crystal-clear who aspires toward peace and, more important, who flees from it as if from fire. Israel is going to Annapolis as if by force. The prime minister's hands are tied. If he were to dare to raise the core issues, which are the only thing to be discussed there, then his political fate would be sealed. Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu have already announced that in such an event, they will bring down his government. One can assume that Ehud Olmert, the survivor, is aware of this danger. Despite the lofty agreements that he will achieve - or not, it will seem as if his biweekly talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas never took place. Eli Yishai won't permit it, Avigdor Lieberman is making threats and even Ehud Barak is making sour faces. An Israel that refuses to discuss the core issues is an Israel that does not want peace. There's no other way to put it.
Gideon Levy, "everything fell apart": The news the day after Sukkot was delivered dryly, as usual: "12 Palestinians were killed during the holiday by Israel Defense Forces fire. More than 30 Palestinians were wounded." On the eve of the holiday, dozens of mortar shells and Qassam rockets had been fired at the Negev; in response, dozens of Israeli tanks entered Beit Hanun.