January 18 to 22, 2010

–  Obama admits U.S. underestimated Israeli-Palestinian deadlock(22/1/2010) – The Guardian

Barack Obama acknowledged in an interview with Time magazine that his administration had underestimated the political obstacles to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The American President thought he could pressure the Israeli government to stop the settlements, but could not get major concessions. According to him, both sides lacked flexibility in their own camp to enter into negotiations. Obama said he wanted to pursue efforts to reach a definition what are the deep-seated interests of each side.

– Israel escaped the recession and preparing to join the OECD (Israël a échappé à la récession et s’apprête à rejoindre l’OCDE) (21/1/2010) – Le Monde

Israel is being tipped to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the course of 2010. Angel Gurria, secretary general of the organization emphasizes how the Israeli government has handled the crisis. If the country is experiencing a growth of 0.5%, and unemployment and a deficit lower than the OECD average, some black spots still remain: latent corruption, households under the poverty line among Arab-Israelis and Jewish ultra-Orthodox, and weak foreign investment. The precarious security, the fear of the reaction of some Arab or pro-Palestinian movements is mentioned as reasons for the latter deficiency.

– The case of Jared Malsin – expelled by Israel (20/1/2010) – The Middle East Blog (Al Jazeera.net)

Jared Malsin, American journalist at the Palestinian Maan news agency was expelled from Israel on Wednesday. Israel motivates its action for security matters, while Maan, supported by international journalists, denounces an eviction for political reasons. Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera journalist points at a fact that did not make the headlines but can have implications for the press freedom in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

– Algeria: placing on probation of the CEO of Sonatrach confirmed (Algérie: placement sous contrôle judicaire du Pdg de Sonatrach confirmé) (18/1/2010) – AFP

The Algerian Minister of Energy Chakib Khelil announced the placing on probation of Mohamed Meziane, CEO of Sonatrach, the largest Algerian hydrocarbon company. The press had announced the indictment of the latter last week following an investigation into the embezzlement occurred in contracting with consulting firms and companies specializing in security. Three Vice-Presidents and several executives of the company have meanwhile been committed. The Minister Chakib Khelil also ensured that those events did not affect the Sonatrach’s oil production.

– Egypt’s Brotherhood gets new leader (16/1/2010) – Al Jazeera.net (en)

The new head of the Egyptian movement, Mohammed Badie is known for being a loyal supporter of radical Islamist thinker Sayyid Qutb, who advocated armed struggle to impose Islamic law. His election followed a dispute within the movement between conservatives demanding a strengthening of the ideological line, and moderates urging a greater public role. Al Jazeera reminds that although the movement is officially banned in Egyptian politics, it holds nearly a fifth of seats in the Egyptian Parliament through independent candidates.