Middle East News: World Press Roundup

Continued coverage of the Palestine Investment Conference offers a host of perspectives, including an ATFP translation of an interview with Dr. Ziad Asali in Al-Ayyam Daily (1) (4) (9). A New York Times opinion piece suggests that Arab media sources could be a potentially powerful ally in the Middle East (2). The J Street lobby is looked to as a counterbalancing influence for AIPAC in a Newsweek interview (3). Peace talks continue between Israel and Syria in Turkey (6) (7). Pending Israeli demolition in the West Bank threatens 3,000 Palestinian homes (10).

A Firmer Hand
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Newsweek
by Dan Ephron - (Interview) May 27, 2008 - 6:02pm

Thanks in part to the influence of the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC, the U.S. government rarely gets tough with Israel, even on issues like Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank, which Washington views as harmful to the peace process. A new lobby group formed last month, J Street, wants to change that. Founded by a number of liberal Jews, J Street wants to see the administration press Israel not only for an end to settlement construction, but also a real peace effort between Israel and Syria and possibly talks between Israel and Hamas.

Palestinian Business Projects More Optimistic Reality
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Financial Times
by Tobias Buck - May 27, 2008 - 6:10pm

Anywhere else in the region, such a conference would barely have raised an eyebrow. There were men in suits discussing deals and swapping business cards, company stands showing off little models of construction projects, investors hurrying to the next lecture about the future of the local financial services industry. Yet here, in the occupied Palestinian territories, the smooth normality of a humdrum business event struck many as nothing short of spectacular.

Ehud Olmert Received Money In Envelopes, Says Key Witness
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Times
by James Hider - May 27, 2008 - 6:12pm

An American entrepreneur described to an Israeli court yesterday how he gave wads of cash in envelopes to Ehud Olmert, the Prime Minister, who is now at the centre of a bribery investigation. Morris Talansky, 75, a businessman and rabbi who was giving his deposition for the prosecution, also spoke of the Prime Minister’s taste for exclusive hotels, expensive watches and first-class air travel.

Turkish Fm: Israel, Syria Forming 'common Ground'
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
May 27, 2008 - 6:13pm

Turkey said on Tuesday the indirect peace talks it is mediating between Israel and Syria could be upgraded to face-to-face encounters if progress is made. Israel and Syria announced last week they had begun a dialogue with the aim of a comprehensive peace, the first confirmation of negotiations between the long-time enemies in eight years. "A common ground is now being formed and that common ground is considered to be satisfactory by both sides," Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan told a news conference in Brussels.

How The Arabs Failed In Bethlehem
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed - (Opinion) May 27, 2008 - 6:16pm

The Palestinian Authority failed last week to attract the interest of Arab governments and major economic establishments to help it develop its economy. No one appears to be willing to consider Palestine more than just an issue of political conflict with Israel. The conference's failure proved that the Palestinians would not get Arab support unless an Israeli shell fell on the Intercontinental Hotel, the conference venue, and Palestinian television showed scenes of bodies, wounded, blood, and shouts. No aid without disasters. This is the only emotional engine.

Israeli Demolition Threatens 3,000 Palestinian Homes: Un
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Agence France Presse (AFP)
May 27, 2008 - 6:17pm

Thousands of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank risk being displaced as the Israeli authorities threaten to tear down their homes and in some cases entire communities, a UN agency said on Wednesday. "To date, more than 3,000 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank have pending demolition orders, which can be immediately executed without prior warning," the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report.

Us Professor Shares Israeli Prize With Palestinians
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Barbar Ferguson - May 27, 2008 - 6:18pm

Here’s a story of a man with guts... and a big heart. The recipient of one of Israel’s most prestigious prizes donated his $33,333 portion of the shared award yesterday to a Palestinian university and an Israeli human rights group that tries to ease Israeli travel restrictions on Palestinian students.

Lebanon Falls... And The West Bank Rises
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Ephraim Sneh - (Opinion) May 28, 2008 - 6:18pm

Amid the excitement of the latest events - including the announcement of negotiations with Syria and the developments in the latest Olmert corruption scandal - not enough attention was paid to the most significant event of last week: the fall of Lebanon in oil-rich Qatar.

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