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Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories

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“Big Brother” bumbles into West Bank

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bb2_3112_live_boker5It’s a reality television show whose contestants are isolated from the outside world, but “Big Brother” in Israel has managed to set off yet another controversy over Palestine policies.

Cameras at the studio-cum-commune outside Jerusalem caught Edna Canetti, a 54-year-old liberal activist, telling fellow residents over the weekend she wanted to see a peaceful popular campaign against Israel’s West Bank occupation.

“It bothers me that you’re silent. What’s needed is a revolt,” she declared after refusing to play along with a challenge in which contestants were divided into two groups — “rich” versus “poor” — with a plexiglass barrier between them.

Shifting to Middle East politics, Canetti said Palestinians should similarly tell Israel: “Shove your laws … We’re not going through that checkpoint and we’re not showing you IDs … This is our land.”

In Bilin…every Friday

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Click below for a multi-media ’essay’ on the weekly protests staged in the West Bank to protest the barrier Israel is building in and around the West Bank. Israel says the barrier prevents Palestinian attacks in its towns and cities. Palestinians say the barrier is a land grab as much of it is built on land they want for a future state.

The More Things Change…

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When I was studying Arabic, my teacher insisted on using newspaper articles from the 80s about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The students would always complain–they were studying Arabic to be in touch with the pulse of the Arab streets. They wanted to read articles from today’s news, not twenty years ago.  She would always joke, “and you think the news here changes?”

Glancing through the Palestinian daily paper, Al-Quds each morning, I’m reminded of that her cynical stance.

from Global News Journal:

Austrian far-right leader isolated over Israel stance

Senior figures from across Austria's political spectrum have condemned the head of the far-right Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Strache, over his party's European election campaign directed against Israel and Turkey.

In an advertisement in the newspaper Kronen Zeitung, Freedom opposes the accession of Turkey and Israel to the European Union. Although Turkey is in EU accession talks, Israel is not.

Peace and love between all men – except journalists and security, of course

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Pope Benedict has left the Holy Land bequeathing a message of peace, tolerance and love between all religions and peoples.

We hope that message also filters through to the eternally fractious relationship between journalists and security men – which gets even more strained when a high-profile visitor like the Pope is in town.

from FaithWorld:

Who wrote the pope’s speeches for this trip?

pope-wall-speechWho wrote Pope Benedict's speeches for this trip? Why do his speeches to Muslims hit the spot and those to Jews seem to fall short? Does he have two teams of speechwriters, one more attuned to the audience than the other?

We don't know the answers (yet) but a pattern suggesting that has certainly emerged. Look at what he had to say today in Bethlehem to Palestinians, Christian and Muslim:

On Her Majesty’s Service with a Licence to Blog

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Dust off your tired old cliches of British diplomats being either crusty old relics of the Empire or dashing James Bond-types working undercover to keep the world safe.

We are encouraged to learn that modern British diplomats are *gasp* just like you and me.

Send in the drones

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Israel’s economy is, in large part, mirroring what is happening elsewhere in the world – with job losses, factory closures and all the other symptoms of the global financial meltdown. 

One sector though is defying all the odds.

Elbit Systems – an Israeli company that makes electro-optics, airborne systems, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and command and control systems – announced this week a record 4th quarter with profits rising 32.6 percent and strong forecasts for continued growth in the year ahead.

Foreign Affairs

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lieberman1Israeli newspapers are abuzz this morning as they mull over the possibility that ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman could be appointed foreign minister in the government that Benjamin Netanyahu is working to stitch together.

The strong showing by Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel our Home) party in last month’s election – where it won the third most Knesset seats ahead of the Labour Party - has put the Moldovan-born former nightclub bouncer turned bureaucrat in a strong position in the lobbying for top ministerial posts in the new government.

Because it’s there…

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Despite living in a region steeped in so much history – history central to the beliefs of billions of people around the world – we at AxisMundi would like to think we have an eye on the future as well.

With that in mind – we opened a Twitter account today http://twitter.com/reuteraxismundi.

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