I stumbled across this fascinating website about Arabic books published in English. It Is actually the log of a bookclub and is filled with all sorts of wonderful pieces of information.
To check it out, see: http://readkutub.wordpress.com/category/books-we-have-read/
I have read some of the books that they recommend and the translations are excellent and the subject matter quite enthralling. If you are trying to steer clear of any hype about Israel/Palestine then I recommend that you avoid those books written by Palestinian authors.