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Global Post: Bibi in a corner
bibliomaniac
Omar Yussef tracks the killer of a member of the ancient sect of Samaritans in the West Bank -- only to uncover deadly secrets from his best friend's past.
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Obama presses Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop building in West Bank settlements. By Matt Beynon Rees - GlobalPost May 26, 2009

JERUSALEM — One morning late last week, Israeli Border Police showed up at Maoz Esther, an outpost of Israeli settlers in the West Bank near Ramallah. They waited for a Bible study class to finish, tore down the settlers’ five little shacks and ran the residents off.

A few hours later, the settlers returned, nailing together the battered pieces of drywall shunted aside by the government. Maoz Esther rose again.

This kind of half-hearted approach to clearing out illegal outposts is the way Israel has always handled the settlers. Read more...

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Matt, does it seem to you

Matt, does it seem to you that the people at the top of the American government really understand and appreciate all the competing interests and undercurrents in the region?

When I was living in Amman, sometimes I would attempt to look at American policy from the standpoint of the average Muhammad and Fatima on the street. I found it utterly incomprehensible.

For example, while I was there, President Bush appointed Karen Hughes to a State Department position that required her to travel in the region and attempt to generate goodwill. Unfortunately, she hadn't lived or worked in the region, she speaks no Arabic, she wasn't properly briefed on cultural dos and don'ts, she came off as lecturing people, and it was just an embarrassing mess. The locals I knew mocked her. And I was thinking, sheesh, even a 22-year-old Peace Corps volunteer assigned to Jordan could've done a better job. Wouldn't have had the clout and the gravitas, but at least wouldn't have offended people so.