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Jul 8, 2014

Mideast political minefield keeps ‘Tyrant’ producer nimble

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – It’s hard to keep up with the social and political hurly-burly of the Middle East, but U.S. TV producer Howard Gordon got a hit out of it with “Homeland” and hopes to do the same with new series “Tyrant”, even if it requires last-minute tweaks.

    While fellow Americans celebrated over the July 4 weekend, Gordon was back in Israel for his latest whirlwind visit to fine-tune upcoming episodes, based on feedback he has received about the series set in a Middle Eastern dictatorship buffeted by demands for change arising from the Arab Spring.

Jul 6, 2014

“Homeland” will still thrill despite Brody’s death, creator says

TEL AVIV, July 6 (Reuters) – “Homeland” may have lost its
sleeper terrorist anti-hero Nicholas Brody to an Iranian
gallows, but the hit U.S. television show will continue to
thrill, its creator says.

Howard Gordon described surviving cast members, led by the
gutsy yet emotionally troubled CIA analyst Carrie Mathison, as
having plenty of dramatic mileage in the fourth season due to
premiere in the fall on premium cable channel Showtime.

Jul 4, 2014

Israel says Iran nuclear deal unlikely by July 20 deadline

JERUSALEM/VIENNA (Reuters) – Israel does not expect world powers to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran by a late July deadline, a government minister said on Friday, accusing Tehran of maintaining a “hard line” at talks under way in Vienna.

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz spoke on the second day of what could be the final round of talks aimed at ending a decade-old international dispute over Iran’s nuclear program that Israel sees as a threat to its existence.

Jul 4, 2014

Israel ready to help Jordan fend off Iraq insurgents if asked

JERUSALEM, July 4 (Reuters) – Israel is ready to meet any
Jordanian request to help fight off Islamist insurgents who have
overrun part of neighbouring Iraq, an Israeli official said on
Friday, although he believed Jordan was capable of defending

Jordan is one of two Arab countries – along with Egypt – to
have full peace treaties with Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu on Sunday praised Amman’s stability while echoing
Western powers in pledging support to safeguard it.

Jul 4, 2014

Palestinian fury at Israel boils at funeral for slain youth

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Palestinians infuriated at a kidnap and killing they blame on far-right Jews clashed with Israeli police in Jerusalem on Friday, while cross-border shelling in the Gaza Strip abated under Egyptian mediation.

“With our souls and our blood we will redeem you, martyr,” chanted hundreds of mourners who gathered for the funeral of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair after prayers marking the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Jul 4, 2014

Kurdish diplomat cool to independence advocacy by Israel

JERUSALEM, July 4 (Reuters) – A Kurdish diplomat has played
down the significance of Israeli advocacy of independence for
her people, saying it was not coordinated with the autonomous
Kurdish government in Iraq and may be intended to served
Israel’s interests.

While acknowledging that Israel had sway in Washington,
which wants to prevent a break-up of sectarian war-torn Iraq,
Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) envoy Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman
suggested this was potentially counter-balanced by the hostility
that perceived Israeli allies risked drawing in the Middle East.

Jun 30, 2014

Israel not working for Iraqi Kurd independence – foreign minister

JERUSALEM, June 30 (Reuters) – Israeli Foreign Minister
Avigdor Lieberman described Iraqi Kurdish independence as a fait
accompli on Monday but said his country was taking no action to
help the Kurds achieve formal statehood.

The remarks appeared aimed at heading off potential
confrontation with the United States, which wants to keep Iraq
united, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on
Sunday called for support for the emergence of a Kurdish state.

Jun 29, 2014

Israel cranks up media campaign ahead of Iran nuclear deal deadline

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged international negotiators on Sunday not to “surrender” to Tehran, as he launched a media blitz three weeks ahead of a deadline for an Iranian nuclear deal.

In interviews to broadcasters from the six world powers involved in the talks, Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s long-held demand Iran be stripped of its uranium enrichment and other technologies, saying that to do otherwise would leave nuclear weaponry within reach.

Jun 26, 2014

Israel tells U.S. Kurdish independence is ‘foregone conclusion’

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel told the United States on Thursday Kurdish independence in northern Iraq was a “foregone conclusion” and Israeli experts predicted the Jewish state would be quick to recognise a Kurdish state, should it emerge.

Israel has maintained discreet military, intelligence and business ties with the Kurds since the 1960s, seeing in the minority ethnic group a buffer against shared Arab adversaries.

Jun 25, 2014

Palestinians end hunger-strike after Israel makes concessions

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Scores of Palestinians on hunger-strike ended their protest against detention without trial on Wednesday after winning limited concessions from Israel but no major change of policy.

About 120 Palestinians on so-called “administrative detention” began fasting on April 24 and were joined over the past two months by 180 others. About 75 needed hospitalization, fuelling debate in Israel over a proposed force-feeding law.