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Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories

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Jerusalem: heart of the Mideast conflict

jerusalem

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:

LATEST NEWS

Israel awaits word, signs are no deal with US

Israel, undeterred, to build in East Jerusalem

FEATURE STORIES

Jerusalem struggle goes on, years after war

Researchers dig up controversy in Jerusalem

ANALYSIS/BACKGROUND

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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from Global News Journal:

Berlusconi charms Israel with EU talk

Berlusconi and Netanyahu shake hands during a meeting in Italy last year

Berlusconi and Netanyahu shake hands during a meeting in Italy last year

Silvio Berlusconi is seldom shy about making headlines, and he's also known to turn on the charm when he meets foreign leaders.

So it was hardly surprising the Italian prime minister kicked off a three-day visit to Israel on Monday by declaring his hope that Israel might one day become a member of the European Union.

“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.

Photo highlights from the Holy Land

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This image shot by Jerusalem based Reuters photographer Ronen Zvulun of storks flying over the Judean Desert is among the latest “Photo highlights from the Holy Land”.
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Click below to view a multimedia presentation by Sharon Perry showcasing some of the best Reuters images from Israel and the Palestinian Territories during the week of August 24-31, 2009.

Tunnel smugglers in Gaza

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By: Suhaib Salem
When you walk inside the border area between Gaza Strip and Egypt, the first thing you see are hundreds of tunnels, used by smugglers to bring goods into the Gaza Strip. Building any tunnel is a hard task that requires precise care. Tunnel smugglers need to supply the underground passageway with electricity, air and a telecommunications unit.
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Working underground is like living on another planet. Going down inside one of these tunnels is a very terrifying venture. Darkness fills the entire tunnel, which runs deep and long. Some small lamps are hung to light the way, cables lie on the ground and intercoms connect one side of the border to the other. These intercoms are used by the smugglers to enable the one who based on the Egyptian side to contact his colleague on the Palestinian side. After walking a few steps inside the tunnel, you hear humming from neighboring smugglers digging their own tunnels. Sometimes one tunnel breaches the wall of its neighbor, putting both in danger of collapse. Different types of tunnels are used for certain tasks. The food smuggling tunnel differs from the tunnel used for smuggling cattle or animals.

Photo Tales from the Holyland

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Click below to view a multimedia presentation showcasing some of the best Reuters images from Israel and the Palestinian Territories during the week of August 2-9, 2009.

An ageing body politic

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The ageing executive body of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction is trying to emerge from its current congress in Bethlehem with a “new look” and a “new image”  – not easy when the youngest member of the executive is 70-years-old and the oldest 87.

“I am sorry. I have Alzheimers,” joked one Fatah member during the congress when he realised he had forgotten to bring the list of candidates that he was supposed to vote for in the group’s first get-together in 20 years.

5 Years On: The ICJ and Israel’s Separation Barrier

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PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s ruling against Israel’s controversial separation barrier, which  is still under construction in and around the West Bank. According to a report from the UN High Commission for Human Rights, about 60 percent of the barrier has been constructed.

Israel says the barrier is aimed at preventing Palestinian terrorism, and says that since the wall has been built there has been a significant drop in attacks. However, the ICJ condemned Israel’s construction of the barrier on land within the West Bank-land Palestinians want for a future state-instead of on the Israeli side of the green line (the 1949 armistice line).

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