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Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories

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Following the money from Washington to the West Bank…

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By encouraging foreign investment in the Palestinian economy, and notably the part of it controlled by President Mahmoud Abbas rather than the Hamas Islamist-ruled Gaza Strip, the United States and its allies hope to create conditions more conducive for long-stalled peace talks with Israel to succeed.

Israel, too, led by the government installed this month under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is hoping for an “economic peace” with the Palestinian Authority.

Reuters has reviewed aid and investment promotion programmes developed by Washington, the European Union and other donors. 

In a series of stories running this week, Reuters will explore U.S. aid contracts won by firms run by Abbas’s sons, a shift in the structure and governance of a Palestinian investment fund, and the role of a small group of politically-powerful Palestinian companies linked by a web of cross holdings. 

Wanted: an ethical code of war

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    International law governing the conduct of war is based on the traditional model of two armies on a battlefield. It fails to apply effectively to ‘terrorist conflicts’ and provides insufficient response to the ethical dilemmas that arise.

    Until effective international law is developed to regulate the ‘war on terror’, no decisive ethical code will exist. This is not only a challenge for the Israeli military. It is shared by all Western armies fighting to preserve core democratic values.

Captured Israeli soldier’s parents take protest to Olmert’s doorstep

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Dubbed Israel’s most polite protesters by one Israeli newspaper columnist, the parents of captured soldier Gilad Shalit have set up a protest tent outside Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Jerusalem residence to press for his release.

 

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Shalit, 22, has been held since 2006 by militants from Hamas and two other groups who tunnelled into Israel from the Gaza Strip. Hamas has demanded Israel release hundreds of its members held in Israeli prisons in exchange for the soldier.

Top job in the new government? No thanks!

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By Tova Cohen

Though it’s considered one of the top three cabinet posts in Israel’s government,  in these troubled times there seems to be no takers in Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party for the job of finance minister, according to the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.

Netanyahu, who is in the process of putting together a government after last month’s general election, is seeking to give the finance post to someone in his own party, but senior members are reluctant to step into this “honey trap”, the country’s top selling daily reported.

Foreign Affairs

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lieberman1Israeli newspapers are abuzz this morning as they mull over the possibility that ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman could be appointed foreign minister in the government that Benjamin Netanyahu is working to stitch together.

The strong showing by Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel our Home) party in last month’s election – where it won the third most Knesset seats ahead of the Labour Party - has put the Moldovan-born former nightclub bouncer turned bureaucrat in a strong position in the lobbying for top ministerial posts in the new government.

from Global News Journal:

Gaza damage more than even the ‘fixer’ can fix

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I first met Raed al-Athamna when he was driving a journalist friend of mine around Gaza in his yellow, stretch-Mercedes taxi during the tense and violent days after Gaza militants captured Gilad Shalit, a young Israeli soldier, in the summer of 2006.

Raed seemed to be a good 'fixer' - attentive, sensible and with far-from-perfect but perfectly understandable English.

from Global News Journal:

Twittering from the front-lines

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Who remembers the Google Wars website that was doing the viral rounds a few years back – a mildly amusing, non-scientific snapshot of the search-driven, internet world we live in?

It lives on at www.googlebattle.com where you can enter two search terms, say ‘Lennon vs. McCartney’ or ‘Left vs. Right’, and let the internet pick a winner by the number of search hits each word gets.

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