Middle East News: World Press Roundup

An interview with Bassem Khoury, Palestinian Minister of National Economy lays out the PA economic policies (1). A group of Israeli soldiers speak out about widespread abuses they allege took place during the Gaza war (3) (7), while Defense Minister Ehud Barak says that any criticism of the IDF should be directed at him (12). The International Monetary Fund says the Palestinian economy is showing strong signs of growth (6). The World Bank pledges $33.5 million for Palestinian infrastructure initiatives (15). President Obama meets with U.S. Jewish leaders to discuss his approach to Israel and Mideast peace (16).

Interview with Bassem Khoury
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Middle East Progress
(Interview) July 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Q: Mr Khoury, as Minister of National Economy, you obviously have your work cut out for you. Where will you start? A: My first priority has been to draft a 100 day plan for the Ministry. I presented this plan to the Prime Minister on 2 June. The plan has been approved and work has already begun. Q: What are the main priorities set out in the plan?

Israeli Author's Zionist Novel Creates Controversy
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Washington Post
by Howard Schneider, Samuel Sockol - July 15, 2009 - 12:00am

The idea for Israeli author Alon Hilu's latest novel, "The House of Dajani," came to him one day in a Tel Aviv cafe when he began mentally stripping the city to its roots. Where he ended was with an Arab boy in the 1890s, at his family farm near what would become the Jewish metropolis, hallucinating about a future in which an army invades and builds skyscrapers over the land.

Israel soldiers speak out on Gaza
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
July 15, 2009 - 12:00am

A group of soldiers who took part in Israel's assault in Gaza say widespread abuses were committed against civilians under "permissive" rules of engagement. The troops said they had been urged to fire on any building or person that seemed suspicious and said Palestinians were sometimes used as human shields. Breaking the Silence, a campaign group made up of Israeli soldiers, gathered anonymous accounts from 26 soldiers. Israel denies breaking the laws of war and dismissed the report as hearsay.

A disaster for Jews and Israel
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Antony Lerman - (Opinion) July 15, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel's current disastrous policy direction and the responsibility for it shared by American Jewish leaders are exemplified in the recent appointment of Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident and western human rights icon, as chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel (Jafi), the quasi-governmental, $640m-a-year body that promotes Zionism and encourages Jewish migration to Israel.

Welcome to the Middle East, 2030
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Guardian
by Paul Eedle - (Opinion) July 15, 2009 - 12:00am

What if Barack Obama can make peace between the Arabs and Israel? It's easy to see how he might fail. But what if he succeeds and really does create a "new beginning between the United States and Muslims"? Here is a first draft of history for the next 20 years. The events are fantasy, of course, but the logic is based on four big trends:

IMF: Palestinian economy showing signs of growth
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Associated Press
July 15, 2009 - 12:00am

The West Bank economy could post its strongest performance in years in 2009, but only if Israel broadens recent efforts to ease restrictions on Palestinian trade and movement, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday, offering a rare upbeat assessment after years of downturn.

Soldiers say received orders to shoot first, worry later in Gaza war
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
July 15, 2009 - 12:00am

A number of IDF soldiers who took part in Israel's recent Gaza offensive say they were urged by commanders to shoot first and worry later about sorting out civilians from combatants. Accordingly, they say, the force went into Gaza with guns blazing. In print and video testimony published on Wednesday by the activist group Breaking the Silence, the 30 soldiers say the army's imperative was to minimize its own casualties to ensure Israeli public support for the operation.

Arabs must aid US efforts in peace process
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) July 14, 2009 - 12:00am

Israel, and some American Jews, have been crying foul. Both are claiming that the United States has been leaning too hard on Israel in the peace process, while giving the Palestinians a free pass on their obligations. To counter perceptions of a bias towards the Palestinians, Barack Obama met privately on Monday with 15 American-Jewish leaders at the White House. While he reassured the attendees of the US’s continued support for Israel, the meeting included a pointed message.

What About "Evil" Itself?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Asharq Alawsat
by Hussein Shobokshi - (Opinion) July 15, 2009 - 12:00am

Travel and Leisure magazine, one of the most respected in its field, has dedicated a number of pages promoting tourism in Israel. In this advertising campaign the map of Israel was shown as including the West Bank and Gaza, and of course - the Golan Heights. This was not a misprint or inadvertent; it was deliberate and came amidst talks of pressure being put on Israel and its extremist rightwing government to force it to take part in serious peace negotiations, to which the government is absolutely opposed.

Qaddoumi drops a bombshell
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Mohammed Mar’i - July 15, 2009 - 12:00am

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Tuesday harshly criticized Farouk Qaddoumi, secretary-general of Fatah, for accusing President Mahmoud Abbas of involvement in the alleged poisoning of Yasser Arafat. The PLO said in a statement that as part of Qaddoumi’s efforts “to disrupt the sixth convention of Fatah, he made hysterical remarks to reporters during his visit to Amman in the last two days.”

Evading the real issue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Arab News
by Osama Al-Sharif - (Opinion) July 15, 2009 - 12:00am

There is a disturbing feeling that we could be heading toward a form of an abrupt closure in the Palestine question in the coming few months. Like a silent and deadly perfect storm the elements are lining up and no one really knows when and how the tempest will strike. We appear to be suspended in a state of political inertia, but on the ground the undercurrents are picking up speed.

Barak: Criticism of IDF should be directed at me
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Amos Harel - July 15, 2009 - 12:00am

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday criticized an Israeli human rights organization for publishing an Israel Defense Forces soldier's testimony that troops used Palestinians as human shields during Operation Cast Lead last January, despite a 2005 High Court ruling outlawing the practice.

U.K. upholds ban on 'misleading' Israel tourism ad
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
July 15, 2009 - 12:00am

A British advertising watchdog says a tourism poster cannot be displayed because it suggests the West Bank and Gaza Strip are part of Israel. The Advertising Standards Authority on Wednesday upheld complaints about the ad produced by the Israeli Government Tourist Office and displayed in London subway stations. It featured a map of the country that included the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the Golan Heights, seized by Israel in 1967. The watchdog says the ad was misleading because it "implied that those territories were part of the state of Israel."

Akiva Eldar / How to apply PR spin to the settlement issue
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Akiva Eldar - (Opinion) July 15, 2009 - 12:00am

America's best Jewish minds are wracking their brains, trying to find a magic formula that will put the settlements close to the hearts of Israel's supporters, not to mention its critics. A new guide to the perplexed, disseminated by the leadership of the Israel Project, the organization spearheading Israel's public relations efforts in the United States, offers a glimpse into its very own internal confusion.

World Bank to give Palestinians $33.5m. in aid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Tovah Lazaroff - July 14, 2009 - 12:00am

The World Bank on Tuesday announced plans to spend an additional $33.5 million on Palestinian infrastructure initiatives, including $21.5 million for six Gaza projects. The new aid was announced in the morning at a signing ceremony in Ramallah attended by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad and Dina Abu Ghaida, the World Bank acting country director for the West Bank and Gaza (WBG).

Obama still worries some Jewish leaders
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Hilary Leila Krieger - July 15, 2009 - 12:00am

Several Jewish officials said Tuesday that US President Barack Obama's efforts to reassure them on US policy towards Israel had not assuaged their concerns. Though they welcomed Monday's intimate face-to-face discussion at the White House and were pleased that Obama acknowledged that some in the community were worried, they said it was insufficient to dispel their doubts about his approach towards Israel.

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