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Saturday
Dec222012

Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Netanyahu Dismisses Criticism of Settlements

See also Kuwait Analysis: Has the Emir Halted the Protests?
Syria Live Coverage: "The Land Where Assad Killed Santa Claus"
Friday's Iraq (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Security Forces Raid Minister of Finance's Home and Offices


1945 GMT: Israel-Palestine. Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to disband the Authority, handing full control of the West Bank back to Israel, if West Jersualem does not halt its expansion of settlements: "We will not be guards of Israel's security and will never be a tool at Israel's hand to implement its plans on the Palestinian territories."

Abbas told his Fatah Party's Advisory Council that Israel's construction in the E-1 zone on Palestinian territory is "a red line and we will never allow it to happen", as it aims to "sabotage the peace process".

1925 GMT: Egypt. The Governor of the Central Bank, Farouq El-Oqda, has resigned his position.

El-Oqda, head of the Bank since 2003, was nominated earlier this year to become Prime Minister, but he declined the offer. He repeatedly wanted to resign his position since the uprising against the Mubarak regime in early 2011.

President Morsi met El-Oqda on Sunday, but there were no official statements.

1725 GMT: Tunisia. Hundreds of Islamist demonstrators have protested outside a hotel where the secular opposition party Nidaa Tounes was commemorating the alleged murder of one of its officials.

The meeting marked the end of 40 days of mourning for the death of Lotfi Naguedh, who Nidaa Tounes claim was beaten to death in October during a demonstration in the southern city of Tataouine.

Some demonstrators threw rocks at Nidaa officials and later broke through a police and military cordon, gathering at the hotel entrance and threatening to attack if the opposition officials were not expelled.

Nidaa Tounes (Call of Tunisia), founded in July and led by former premier Beji Caid Essebsi, is accused by Tunisia's ruling coalition of regrouping former officials of the Ben Ali regime and seeking to undermine the Government.

1620 GMT: Egypt. Vice President Mahmoud Mekki has resigned.

Mekki said, "I realized a while ago that politics does not suit my natural profession as a judge."

Earlier this month, Mekki had a leading role in an attempt at "national unity" talks, amid the tension caused by President Morsi's attempt to expand his powers through decree.

Mekki, a reformist judge, pursued judicial reforms in challenges to the Mubarak regime that peaked in 2005-2006, opposing the claimed rigging of the 2005 Parliamentary elections.

1550 GMT: Bahrain. An opposition protest today calling for the removal of Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, Prime Minister since 1974, and a transitional Government:

1450 GMT: Yemen. Sanaa University students and revolutionary youth protest against the "militarisation" of the university:

Blogger Sarah Jamal posts an account of the march.

1140 GMT: Egypt. An Al Jazeera English report on this morning's voting in the second stage of the referendum on the draft Constitution:

0820 GMT: Egypt. Egyptians vote today in the second stage of the referendum of the draft Constitution, with balloting in 17 Governorates.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, linked to President Morsi, claimed 56.5% approval in last week's first stage, but turnout was reportedly low, with just over 30% of registered voters participating.

Ahram Online is offering Live Updates.

0710 GMT: Israel-Palestine. In a televised interview last night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed this week's international criticism of settlement expansion --- from the 196-6 vote in the United Nations General Assembly to the European Union's expression of concern to the US State Department's caution against "patterns of provocation".

Netanyahu responded, "We live in a Jewish state, and Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The Western Wall is not occupied territory. We will build in Jerusalem because this is our right. What the UN says doesn't interest me."

The Prime Minister said the recent approval of hundreds of apartments and homes on Palestinian territory had nothing to do with January's elections: these were "urban legends". 

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    Terrific page, Carry on the useful work. thnx!

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