April 27, 2011

West Bank's Growing Economic Power

Juliane von Mittelstaedt, Der Spiegel

AP Photo

Bashar Masri is sitting behind a yellow desk in Ramallah with two Israeli newspapers open in front of him. A large photo of Masri is featured in one of the dailies and his wife Jane is pictured in the other. As he speaks, he plugs the text into Google for a translation.

"Palestinian tycoon," he reads, shaking his head. He doesn't like the word. He prefers the headline of the piece next to it: "We Need Peace, or We'll Face an Economic Catastrophe." The editorial was written by Idan Ofer, one of Israel's wealthiest businessmen. Masri smiles and then reaches for the phone and calls Ofer. "Great article," he says. They have a short conversation and then Masri hangs up. Ofer and Masri, the tycoons of Tel Aviv and Ramallah, are friends.

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TAGGED: West Bank, Israel, Palestinians

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