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February 7, 2014 | By Maher Abukhater
RAMALLAH, West Bank - The Israeli military on Friday evicted Palestinian activists from a camp they set up a week ago in the Jordan River valley in an attempt to challenge any Israeli plan to maintain a presence in the area under a future peace accord. The activists, from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, were encamped at Ein Hijleh, a village abandoned after Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967. The land, in an area east of Jericho, is owned by a local monastery. Israeli officials have suggested, to the angry objection of Palestinians, that any peace agreement allow their nation to maintain a troop presence in the West Bank along the border with Jordan.
February 6, 2014 | By Batsheva Sobelman and Paul Richter
JERUSALEM - Emerging from a black limousine, the tall man in the bushy gray wig lectures a small crowd of Israelis on how their holy city of Jerusalem belongs to followers of all religions - "Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Klingons and Hobbits. " He asks a young passerby, "Do you think I deserve a Nobel Prize?" The two-minute spoof video, released on YouTube this week by ultranationalist Israelis, is the latest sign of how critics of a possible Mideast peace deal have focused their ire on the effort's chief champion, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry.
February 6, 2014 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM -- Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men protested across Israel on Thursday against the government's plans to draft them into the military. Carrying signs and chanting slogans pledging to resist enlistment, the demonstrators shut down major traffic arteries, set fire to garbage dumpsters and even a police vehicle, as police attempted to contain them with water cannons and mounted troops. More than a dozen demonstrators were arrested, according to media reports. The demonstrations followed a Supreme Court ruling this week banning government funding of several thousand students who have failed to comply with draft notices issued by the army.
February 6, 2014 | By Kate Linthicum
SAFED, Israel - The 9-year-old Syrian boy with no legs wheeled himself down a bright hospital corridor, stopping to accept a pain pill from one nurse and a high-five from another. He has been here for a month, ever since a Syrian government warplane flew low over his village and dropped a bomb that killed two of his cousins and blew apart his lower limbs. Both legs had been amputated by an overworked doctor in an improvised clinic in a cellar. The next day, the boy's grandmother took him and several other injured family members to the Golan Heights border half an hour away and asked the Israeli soldiers on the other side for help.
January 30, 2014 | By Kate Linthicum
JERUSALEM - It's a rare thing when a Hollywood actress and a kitchen appliance spark a debate about policies in the Middle East. But that's what happened after Scarlett Johansson filmed a Super Bowl advertisement for a company that employs Palestinians to produce seltzer-making machines in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The company, SodaStream International Ltd., is a target of a growing boycott movement of products made on land seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War and claimed by Palestinians for a future independent state.
January 28, 2014 | By Kate Linthicum
TEL AVIV -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid out clashing visions of a two-state solution here Tuesday during an Israeli security conference. In a taped interview broadcast at the conference, Abbas insisted that Israeli troops pull out of Palestinian territories in the West Bank within three years after a peace agreement is reached. He suggested a third party, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, oversee an Israeli withdrawal and maintain a long-term security presence in the area.
January 27, 2014 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM -- With the nine months initially allotted by U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks more than halfway spent and a rumored American plan nearing, a scrambling for a foothold appears underway. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, over the weekend, Kerry cautioned both sides of the consequences of failure. The demographic dynamic will make it impossible for Israel to remain Jewish and democratic, Kerry said, adding that “the status quo, my friends ... will not last forever.” As for the Palestinians, they will be no closer to sovereignty or controlling their own fate and economy, Kerry said.
January 26, 2014 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM -- Anat Kamm, an Israeli woman convicted of stealing classified military documents during her army service last decade, was released from jail Sunday after being paroled for good behavior. Kamm, now 26 , stole more than 2,000 documents, hundreds of them classified and top-secret, while assigned to the office of a major general during her mandatory military service between 2005 and 2007 -- a case that in some way parallels that of Pfc. Bradley Manning , now known as Pvt. Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of illegally downloading classified documents from a U.S. Army computer.
January 25, 2014
Shulamit Aloni Israeli champion of civil rights Shulamit Aloni, an Israeli legislator who championed civil rights and was fiercely critical of Israel's treatment of Palestinians, died Friday at her home in a Tel Aviv suburb. Meretz, the party she helped found and led, announced her death in a statement but did not reveal the cause. She was widely reported to be 85, but her son Nimrod told the New York Times that she was 86 and born in Tel Aviv in 1927. Aloni fought in the 1948 war that led to Israel's creation; and after winning a seat in Israel's parliament, the Knesset, in 1965, she served for 28 years and held a number of cabinet posts.
January 24, 2014 | By Kate Linthicum
JERUSALEM -- A Palestinian man was killed and another injured Friday in the Gaza Strip when Israeli soldiers opened fire during a protest near the border with Israel, officials said.   The shooting occurred after a group of Palestinians damaged a stretch of border fence and hurled rocks and rolled burning tires toward soldiers on the Israeli side, the Israeli military said in a statement. Palestinians in Gaza regularly hold demonstrations along the border, often after Friday prayers.  According to the Israel Defense Forces statement, soldiers fired projectiles and warning shots in the air to disperse the crowd.
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