May 22nd

No Feathers In Bush's Hat
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by George S. Hishmeh - (Opinion) May 22, 2008 - 4:49pm

The US President George W. Bush has just returned from his five-day Middle East trip without any feathers in his hat, primarily because of his tunnel vision regarding the war-or-peace issues in that region. More so, his lacklustre pronouncements in his waning days at the White House were by and large inarticulate, narrowly focused and out-of-line. He hurt people in the region as much as he has disappointed, if not, embarrassed his fellow Americans, including the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama.

What's Pushing Old Foes
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - (Opinion) May 22, 2008 - 4:48pm

The diminishing fortunes of the Bush administration and the resurgent fortunes of Hezbollah may be behind the surprising announcement that Syria and Israel are renewing peace talks. The announcements Wednesday by the two countries, which said Israel and Syria would launch talks in Ankara under Turkish auspices, came despite longstanding U.S. opposition to talks with Syria. The news garnered only tepid endorsement from the Bush administration.

Where In The World Is Uncle Sam?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Times
(Editorial) May 22, 2008 - 4:47pm

In the world of high politics, as in the world of intelligence and counter-espionage, people have a hard time believing in coincidences. One such 'coincidence' occurred yesterday leaving a number of Middle East analysts asking themselves: were two major regional developments coincidental; or can a link be found between Lebanese rivals forging a deal, and Syria and Israel announcing a resumption of talks?

Olmert's Deft Golan Deal
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Der Spiegel
by Pierre Heumann - May 22, 2008 - 4:44pm

The announcement from the office of the Israeli prime minister in Jerusalem was short, dry and dramatic. Peace negotiations are underway between Israel and Syria, with Turkey serving as the intermediary. In making the announcement, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert confirmed for the first time what Syrian President Bashar Assad had already disclosed a month ago. At the time, Olmert had remained silent, only indirectly confirming Assad's statement.

Abbas: 'east Jerusalem Must Be Returned'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Khaled Abu Toameh - May 22, 2008 - 4:43pm

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday opened the Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem by declaring that east Jerusalem belonged to the Palestinian people and must be returned to them. "East Jerusalem is ours and it's an occupied territory," Abbas said in his speech. "It must be returned." The conference, the first of it kind in the PA, is aimed at boosting the Palestinian economy by encouraging local, Arab and international businessmen to invest in various projects.

U.s. Agency, Palestinian Firm Sign Deal To Boost Palestinian Exports
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Associated Press
May 22, 2008 - 4:42pm

A U.S. government agency on Thursday presented a political risk insurance program to help guarantee investments in the West Bank, part of an international effort to help develop the local economy and pave the way for an independent Palestinian state. The measure, announced at an international investors' conference in this biblical town, is meant to allay concerns by investors about risking their money in the turbulent Palestinian territories, especially at a time when the fate of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is uncertain.

Palestinians Aim To Win Investment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al Jazeera English
May 22, 2008 - 4:41pm

Hundreds of business and political leaders are attending a conference aimed at boosting the stagnant economy in the occupied West Bank through private investment.   The first ever Palestine Investment Conference, which started on Wednesday in Bethlehem, is aimed at encouraging investor interest by showcasing business opportunities and projects. 

At West Bank Conference, Dreams Of Investment
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The New York Times
by Isabel Kershner - May 22, 2008 - 4:40pm

Hundreds of potential investors and dignitaries from the Middle East and beyond gathered here on Wednesday for the start of a vaunted conference under the slogan, “Palestine is open for business.” The Palestine Investment Conference, scheduled to last three days, is perhaps the most upbeat happening in Bethlehem since crowds packed Manger Square to see 2,000 doves of peace released at millennium celebrations at the end of 1999. Months later, the second intifada broke out, sending the Palestinian national enterprise into a tailspin of violence and chaos.

May 21st

Four articles present continued coverage of the Palestine Investment Conference, currently underway in Bethlehem (1) (2) (3) (4). An editorial in the Middle East Times examines how the U.S. has been conspicuously absent in the latest round of regional negotiations (6). ATFP Board Member George Hishmeh offers his thoughts on Bush’s recent Middle East visit in an opinion piece in the Gulf News (8). An article from the Kuwait News Agency points to the increasing disparity between high-level peace talks and the facts on the ground for average Palestinians (10).

May 20th

5 Questions: Does Israel Need Rescue?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shmuel Rosner - (Blog) May 20, 2008 - 4:04pm

I got so much feedback to the interview with Jeffrey Goldberg two weeks ago (Is Israel finished? Five questions), that it was only natural to try a second round. This time, the topic is Goldberg's New York Times article, about "Israel's 'American Problem'". Goldberg is blogging here. Here is the (written) interview:

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