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Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories

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from FaithWorld:

Jerusalem: heart of the Mideast conflict


Jerusalem, December 8, 2009/Ammar Awad

Next week is the time of year when millions of people around the world look to Jerusalem as the source of inspiration for the Christian festival of Easter and Jewish Passover celebrations. But this week the city is also the recurrent focus of bitter dispute. The United States has directed rare strong criticism at Israel over its plans to expand Jewish settlements there, saying the building undermines U.S. efforts to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

SETTLEMENT2Want to know more? Following are links to a sampling of recent Reuters stories about Jerusalem and a Reuters graphic on new Israeli construction in East Jerusalems:


Israel awaits word, signs are no deal with US

Israel, undeterred, to build in East Jerusalem


Jerusalem struggle goes on, years after war

Researchers dig up controversy in Jerusalem


Leaders' Jerusalem rhetoric mirrors conflict

Q+A-Jerusalem: What's at stake? Why does it matter?

Jerusalem clashes could signal more trouble

Jerusalem, focus of faith, conflict

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Wanted: an ethical code of war



    International law governing the conduct of war is based on the traditional model of two armies on a battlefield. It fails to apply effectively to ‘terrorist conflicts’ and provides insufficient response to the ethical dilemmas that arise.

    Until effective international law is developed to regulate the ‘war on terror’, no decisive ethical code will exist. This is not only a challenge for the Israeli military. It is shared by all Western armies fighting to preserve core democratic values.

from FaithWorld:

Soldier says rabbis pushed “religious war” in Gaza

gazaOur Jerusalem bureau has sent a very interesting report about criticism within the Israeli army of the Gaza offensive in January. What caught my eye was that it brings up the issue of a religious war, a term usually used in relation to Muslims. (Photo: Israeli air strike near Gaza-Egypt border in southern Gaza Strip, 26 Feb 2009/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

The story starts off as follows:

Here’s the scoop on bulldozers


bulldozerIn the Middle East, a region bristling with weapons of the most sophisticated kind, the bulldozer has become a symbol of simple, crude violence, causing fear and anxiety among people on both sides of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Yesterday’s attack in Jerusalem by a Palestinian construction worker who used a bulldozer to try and ram a police car into an empty bus was the third time in less than a year that Palestinians have employed bulldozers as weapons.

from Global News Journal:

Gaza damage more than even the ‘fixer’ can fix

I first met Raed al-Athamna when he was driving a journalist friend of mine around Gaza in his yellow, stretch-Mercedes taxi during the tense and violent days after Gaza militants captured Gilad Shalit, a young Israeli soldier, in the summer of 2006.

Raed seemed to be a good 'fixer' - attentive, sensible and with far-from-perfect but perfectly understandable English.

from Global News Journal:

Politics and pop culture mesh in Gaza conflict

Israel's offensive against Hamas in Gaza has made headlines around the world.

But beyond the raw realities of war -- more than 1,100 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead -- the three-week conflict has also created a peculiar intersection with music, literature and cinema, in the surreal way that wars sometimes do.

The latest away-from-the-headlines development is that Israel's entry for the Eurovision song contest, the annual pan-European song-fest that pits some 40 nations against one another, is suddenly under pressure because of the war.

from Global News Journal:

Twittering from the front-lines

Who remembers the Google Wars website that was doing the viral rounds a few years back – a mildly amusing, non-scientific snapshot of the search-driven, internet world we live in?

It lives on at where you can enter two search terms, say ‘Lennon vs. McCartney’ or ‘Left vs. Right’, and let the internet pick a winner by the number of search hits each word gets.