Bureau Chief, Brussels
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Oct 22, 2014

Amid regional turmoil, Israel looks to its firm bond with Jordan

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – If there were a heat map showing instability in the Middle East, the area around most of Israel’s borders would have turned a steadily deeper shade of red over the past few years.

With attacks by Hezbollah from Lebanon, the threat from Islamic State and the Nusra Front in Syria and growing unrest in Egypt’s Sinai, the north and south are on edge. By comparison, the eastern frontier with Jordan looks like an oasis of calm.

Oct 19, 2014

Half-mumbled prayers and friction at Jerusalem’s holiest site

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli and Palestinian police kept a tight watch over the al-Aqsa mosque compound on Sunday amid high tension between Muslims and Jewish visitors to the holy site and calls from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to defend it by “all means”.

Clashes have flared repeatedly in the past few weeks as increasing numbers of Jews have visited the sacred area during the Jewish holidays, angering Palestinians who see this as part of an Israeli agenda to alter a long-preserved status quo.

Oct 14, 2014

Europe examining ways to press Israel over settlements: diplomats

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – European officials are looking at new ways to press Israel to halt its building of settlements on land the Palestinians want for a state, as frustration over the construction program reaches a new high, European diplomats say.

The discussions are at an early stage, but officials say the European Union may look at stopping Jewish settlers convicted of crimes from visiting the EU and could examine the fine print of a free-trade agreement, although there is no talk of sanctions.

Oct 1, 2014

Israeli high-tech entrepreneur turns his focus to politics

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Erel Margalit has packed a lot in, from frontline combat in Lebanon to a PhD in philosophy at Columbia University, advising Jerusalem’s former mayor and launching a billion dollar venture capital firm. Now his focus is politics, and trying to reboot the original “start-up nation”.

Dressed in a designer black t-shirt and dark jeans, 53-year-old Margalit retains the air and style of a multi-millionaire high-tech entrepreneur. With fluent, American-accented English, he is as much at home in Silicon Valley or New York as Israel.

Oct 1, 2014

Cyberark listing puts Israeli venture capital fund in the spotlight

JERUSALEM, Oct 1 (Reuters) – Within sight of Jerusalem’s Old
City stands a modernist building housing one of Israel’s most
successful venture capital firms, the backer of scores of
start-ups over the past 20 years that have generated nearly $18
billion for investors.

Jerusalem Venture Partners has picked a string of high-tech
winners over the years despite its location away from the rest
of Israel’s flourishing industry, which is largely based on the
Mediterranean coast north of Tel Aviv.

Sep 30, 2014

Jewish settlers occupy Palestinian homes in Old City’s shadow

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police guarded Jewish settlers as they moved into seven homes in a Palestinian neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday while stunned and angry Palestinians looked on, aware that there was little they could do.

The homes in Silwan, which sits in the shadow of Jerusalem’s Old City, were purchased by Elad, a pro-settlement group that uses funds from Jewish supporters in the United States and elsewhere to buy properties in Palestinian districts.

Sep 18, 2014

Insight – After Mahmoud Abbas, who will lead the Palestinians?

JERUSALEM/RAMALLAH West Bank (Reuters) – Most Palestinians have known only two leaders: Yasser Arafat, the stubble-chinned firebrand fond of chequered scarves and olive fatigues, and Mahmoud Abbas, a smooth-shaven father figure who favours Western suits and ties.

Arafat died in Paris in 2004, having led the Palestine Liberation Organization since 1969, and Abbas has been in the driving seat since, trying to forge a still-elusive peace deal with Israel.

Sep 18, 2014

After Mahmoud Abbas, who will lead the Palestinians?

JERUSALEM/RAMALLAH West Bank (Reuters) – Most Palestinians have known only two leaders: Yasser Arafat, the stubble-chinned firebrand fond of chequered scarves and olive fatigues, and Mahmoud Abbas, a smooth-shaven father figure who favors Western suits and ties.

Arafat died in Paris in 2004, having led the Palestine Liberation Organization since 1969, and Abbas has been in the driving seat since, trying to forge a still-elusive peace deal with Israel.

Sep 11, 2014

Dry West Bank ridge becomes focus of Israel-Palestinian tension

A West Bank (Reuters) – The rocky valley north of Jab’a, scattered with olive and pine trees and dry streams long evaporated by the searing heat, would be unremarkable had it not become the latest point of friction between Israel and the Palestinians.

Days after a ceasefire was reached in the war in Gaza last month, Israel announced that 400 hectares (988 acres) west of Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, was now “state land” – that is territory for Israel, not land that will be part of any future Palestinian state.

Sep 10, 2014

Palestinian salaries dispute puts Gaza peace at risk

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Tensions between Fatah and Hamas, the two main Palestinian parties, are close to breaking point over the non-payment of salaries to Gaza’s public sector workers, raising the risk of a return to conflict in the territory, officials say.

The ceasefire struck last month to end Israel’s war with Hamas included stipulations that the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, should take over civil administration in Gaza from Hamas, an Islamist movement.

    • About Luke

      "Luke is bureau chief for Reuters in Brussels. The 25-strong, multimedia bureau covers all European Union issues, from trade, energy and agriculture to foreign policy, competition, regulation and economic affairs. The bureau is also responsible for coverage of NATO and Belgian politics, economics and company news. In his beat, Luke covers foreign affairs, with a focus on the Middle East and Iran, and writes about EU economic policy. He was previously based in London, where he was defence correspondent, and before that had postings in Jerusalem, Baghdad, Rome and Johannesburg."
      Joined Reuters:
      1997
      Languages:
      English, Italian, French, Spanish
    • More from Luke

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      Under Fire: Untold Stories from the Front Line of the Iraq War
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