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Entries in West Bank (36)


Middle East Today: US Protests Israel Legalisation of 4 West Bank Outposts

Givat Assaf Outpost in the West Bank(Photo: Haaretz)

Iraq: More Deaths in Bombings

At least 13 people have been killed in bomb attacks today in Iraq, a day after a wave of bombings across the country left at least 76 people dead.

In the latest attacks, three people were killed when two bombs went off simultaneously in Tuz Khurmato, a town populated mainly by ethnic Turkmen and claimed by the government in Baghdad and ethnic Kurds.

Gunmen and a suicide bomber killed three people in an attack on an army patrol in a Sunni area of Tarmiyah, 50 kilomatres (30 miles) north of Baghdad.

Further north, six people died and dozens were injured when three bombs exploded in the cattle market in al-Aruba district in Kirkuk.

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Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Obama Visits West Bank

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Wednesday

1331 GMT:Palestine. President Obama's statement on Jewish settlements today, as he stood beside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas:

One of the challenges [to the resumption of negotiations] has been continued settlement activity in the West Bank area. I've been clear with prime minster Netanyahu...that we do not consider continued settlement activity to be constructive, to be appropriate, to be something that can advance the cause of peace.

Asked about the Israeli-backed plan for settlements in the E1 area in the West Bank near Jerusalem, Obama said:

I think that is an example of a public statement by the Israeli government that would be very difficult to square with a two-state solution. And I've said that to prime minster Netanyahu. I don't think that's a secret.

However, Obama declared that the West Bank leadership should not demand a freeze on settlement before resuming discussions with Israel:

What I shared with President Abbas is that if the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time then there is no point for negotiations. It is important to work through this process even if there are irritants on both sides. The Israeli have concerns about rockets firing into their cities last night....

Even though may have areas of strong disagreement maybe engaging in activities that the other side considers to be a breach of good faith, we have to push through those things.

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Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Minister of Finance Tries to Resign Amid Financial Crisis

See also Syria Live Coverage: Fighting on the Iraq Border
Saturday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: At Least 1 Killed in Continuing Protests in Mansoura

Minister of Finance Nabil Qassis2155 GMT: Egypt. One person has been killed and more than 400 injured in clashes between protesters and police in Port Said.

At least 260 of the wounded suffered from tear gas inhalation. A 21-year-old protester was slain and at least 39 people were injured by gunfire, including seven members of the security forces.

There was also confusion with reports of confrontations between the police and the army, as army colonel responsible for the unit at the Governorate building was shot in the leg and a Central Security Forces (CSF) conscript was killed by unknown assailants.

The official spokesperson of the Egyptian armed forces, Colonel Ahmed Ali, denied the reports: "It is completely untrue that armed forces units in Port Said exchanged fired with police forces during the clashes."

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Israel-Palestine Special: Why More Settlements Are Vital to West Jerusalem's Long-Term Strategy

On Monday, Israeli authorities authorised plans to expand the Ramat Shlomo settlement, located on Palestinian territory, with 1500 housing units. Reports followed that a total of an additional 6500 apartments across the 1967 Green Line will be approved this week.

The latest steps have received some international attention, with the US State Department criticising Israel's "pattern of provocation".

But here is the important question: does anyone recognise Israel's long-term agenda behind the "pattern"? These settlements are not just being established as a short-term extension of Israel --- they will be maintained as a "natural" and "inalienable" development, given the Palestinian "failure" to meet West Jerusalem's essential need for "security". These apartments are not being built to derail a would-be negotiation process; they are part of the attempt at Israel's perpetual superiority over the Palestinians.

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Palestine, Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Call to Boycott Israel's Goods

One of the protests challenging the Bahraini regime in Manama today

See also Bahrain Feature: The Story of Taqi Abdulla, a US Citizen Detained by the Regime
Syria Live Coverage: Regime Warplanes Strike in Damascus for 1st Time
Sunday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A "Yes" --- So Far --- on the Constitution?

2030 GMT: Egypt. The head of the Judges' Club, Hamdi Yassin, has said that members will not supervise Saturday's second phase of the referendum on the Constitution.

Yassin said the decision was due to "unfulfilled promises" by authorities that had been agreed upon before the referendum, including arrangements for the supreme referendum committee and associated sub-committees, protection of voters and judges, and banning of electioneering outside the committees.

The vast majority of the Judges' Club membership initially said they would not oversee last Saturday's first phase of the referendum.

1950 GMT: Bahrain. Prominent activist Said Yousif talks to security forces in Manama today amid protests on Martyrs Day --- soon after this photograph, Yousif was reportedly detained (Photo: Hassan Jamali/AP):

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Palestine, Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Hamas Shows Its Strength in West Bank

Thursday's rally for Hamas in the West Bank city of Nablus

See also Saudi Arabia Analysis: Explaining the "Days of Rage" in the Kingdom
Syria Live Coverage: Protests, Bombs, and A Victory That "Cannot Be Ruled Out"
Thursday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Stumbling Towards a Referendum

1535 GMT: Bahrain On January 11, 23-year old Yousef Mowali, who suffers from schizophrenia, left his home for a walk. Two days later, his body was discovered floating in the sea by police. The cause of death was ruled as drowning, however, at the time, his family reported seeing torture marks on his body. In May, Al-Jazeera English revealed that a Turkish forensics expert had secretly entered Bahrain and performed a covert autopsy. She concluded that Yousef had been tortured. In an interview for Hurriyet Daily News, Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı speaks of the experience:

The lawyers in the IRCT [International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims] sent an email to our group and asked for a forensic expert who could take the risk to go to Bahrain and examine the body of a torture victim. I was the most suitable among all of us because I did not need a visa to go inside Bahrain and did not look European at all, so I would not attract any attention.

I bought the surgical equipment in Bahrain, and we also found the necessary chemical solutions to put tissue samples in. I wore a long dress and hijab in order to look like a relative of the family who was visiting to express condolences. There were several police outside the place of the funeral but they were not suspicious of me because they were probably expecting a man and a European

I took tissue samples from the body of the victim at the place of the funeral. The most important thing was the chest bone because the police insisted that he drowned. I took the chest bone and put it in the chemical solution I had brought with me. The most difficult part was making the stitches on my own because I did not have the proper equipment for it. I asked for a quilting needle, and they found it. I finished the work and left the house. However, I heard that police raided the [place] after I left.

We have proved that the scars on the hands and feet were the scars of electrical torture. The victim was most likely unconscious when he was thrown into the sea and this is why he drowned. We sent the report to the IRCT.

1529 GMT: Egypt. As hundreds of supporters and opponents of the Government rallied in Cairo today, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed El-Beltagy accused the US, Israel, and Gulf States of trying to ruin Egypt's democratic process.

El-Beltagy, who is also Secretary-General of the group’s Freedom and Justice Party, said those who say the final draft of the Constitution was rushed are “liars" and assured, “The people are the best judges. A revolt against the legitimate authorities will produce thousands of martyrs.”

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Palestine Analysis: What Did Mahmoud Abbas Win for Palestinians --- and for Himself --- at the United Nations?

Mahmoud Abbas' speech at the United Nations General Assembly, 29 November 2012

Will the UN vote become more than symbol, setting in motion a chain of events for substantive political and economic change, just as the Declaration of Independence led to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority? Or will this another Palestine Independence Day that looks embarrassing in its optimism in years to come?

The possibilities are still too close to call. But Mahmoud Abbas has won one victory, which defies all Israeli and Western criticism that he has engaged in unnecessary posturing --- he has insisted on his political relevance for another day.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Death Toll Rises Again

2136 GMT: Syria. The situation in Aleppo may feel like a stalemate to the residents of the city, but there is plenty of efforts being made by both sides to lift that stalemate. For the last week or so the FSA has been sieging the Air Force Intelligence building in Aleppo. Snipers have pinned down the building periodically, and the FSA has hit it with all sorts of RPGs, small arms fire, and recoilless rifles. Videos have even showed the FSA conducting improvised rocket attacks against the building.

But this video is interesting. It shows insurgents using some sort of small field artillery piece to target the building. An activist translates the talking, and suggests that the insurgents are using a radio to make sure that the shell hits the target, and also to make sure that they are not being targeted by snipers:

2120 GMT: Syria. The FSA is sacking bases around Aleppo, and has the city nearly completely cut off from the outside world. However, while the FSA is advancing in the east, sieging the last vestiges of the Assad regime in Idlib province, making inroads in Daraa, and turning up the heat on Damascus, Aleppo is in much the same position it was a month ago, and the conflict has seen little change in even longer than that. With some of the regime's strongest units still operating in Aleppo, it's clear that while the co0nflict is dynamic, and the the momentum clearly on the insurgents' side outside Aleppo, city itself could remain in this state for some time.

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Israel-Palestine Opinion: Taking Apart Netanyahu's Threats After the UN Vote

So is Netanyahu looking to uproot the political and economic institutions set up since 1993 amid Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and dispute?

No. This "warning" is rhetoric, seeking to hold the line while the Prime Minister pursues his first priority: winning another term in office in the January elections.

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Palestine Analysis: A 6-Point Guide to the "Style and No Substance" of the UN Vote for Statehood

Mahmoud Abbas Addressing the UNThe upgrade in status at the UN will not be produce a two-state solution in weeks. Indeed, there is still no practical alternative to the reality before Palestine, with a political stalemate not only between Israel and the Palestinians but also between Gaza and the West Bank.

A 6-Point Guide....

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