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May 27, 2015

Blair to leave Middle East envoy post after years of struggling diplomacy

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Former British prime minister Tony Blair is standing down as the Quartet representative in the Middle East, the organisation said on Wednesday, after eight years struggling to break ground in peacemaking between Israel and the Palestinians.

Officials close to the Quartet of the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia, said Blair, 62, would continue to play an informal role in trying to forge a two-state solution between the Palestinians and Israel.

May 27, 2015

Blair to step down as Middle East envoy: diplomatic sources

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will step down as the representative of the Quartet of Middle East powerbrokers at the end of June, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.

Blair wrote to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday that he would step down from the role he has held for eight years. The decision will come into effect at the end of June, a source close to the Quartet said.

May 27, 2015

Alleging racism, Palestinians seek to have Israel suspended from world soccer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Dressed in the black and yellow of Beitar Jerusalem soccer team and holding aloft banners reading “Pure Forever” and “Beitar Good For The Jews”, La Familia is Israel’s most notorious soccer gang, denounced by the club they purport to support.

As the Palestine Football Association (PFA) pushes ahead with a vote at FIFA this Friday calling for Israel to be suspended from world soccer’s governing body, the behavior of some Beitar Jerusalem fans is at the heart of the PFA complaint.

May 22, 2015

Gaza’s economy “on verge of collapse” says World Bank

JERUSALEM, May 22 (Reuters) – Gaza’s economy is in a worse
state than any other in the world, with unemployment at a global
high, output contracting sharply and the long-term prospects
worrying, the World Bank said on Friday.

Repeated rounds of conflict, internal divisions and the
embargo Israel and Egypt impose have left the territory “on the
verge of collapse”, the report sad, with its 1.8 million
population facing poverty and destitution despite vast aid.

May 19, 2015

Palestinians stare down Israel as FIFA suspension vote looms

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – On top of land, settlements, resources and borders, Israel and the Palestinians can add another dispute to their long history of conflict — football.

In 10 days’ time, at the request of the Palestine Football Association, FIFA will hold a vote among its 209 members at a Congress in Zurich on whether Israel should be suspended from the world football body for violating rules relating to racism, the free movement of players and where clubs are based.

May 19, 2015

Soccer-Palestinians stare down Israel as FIFA suspension vote looms

RAMALLAH, West Bank, May 19 (Reuters) – On top of land, settlements, resources and borders, Israel and the Palestinians can add another dispute to their long history of conflict – football.

In 10 days’ time, at the request of the Palestine Football Association, FIFA will hold a vote among its 209 members at a Congress in Geneva on whether Israel should be suspended from the world football body for violating rules relating to racism, the free movement of players and where clubs are based.

May 14, 2015

Vatican move on Palestine adds fuel to European debate

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Vatican’s decision to recognize the state of Palestine in a treaty for the first time has drawn a stern response from Israel, but it may usher in a freer debate in Europe about how to proceed on the vexed Palestinian question.

The Holy See has referred to Palestine since 2012, but the treaty concluded on Wednesday, which covers the Church’s activities in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, marks a more formal recognition, which Vatican officials said they hoped would benefit Israeli-Palestinian ties in time.

May 8, 2015

Europe and U.S. keep watchful eye on Israel’s legislative plans

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Benjamin Netanyahu’s formation of one of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history has fueled concerns in Europe and the United States about further settlement building and dimming prospects for peace.

But it also has diplomats on edge about wider policy proposals, particularly on social and judicial affairs, where the far-right Jewish Home party, an influential member of Netanyahu’s coalition, is determined to leave its mark.

May 6, 2015

Hamas-Fatah face-off leaves hard road ahead for Palestinians

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – In recent weeks, a flurry of envoys has beaten a path to Gaza’s door: representatives from Qatar, Turkey, the United Nations, the European Union and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter have all visited or tried to visit.

Yet the result has been the same: no success in reconciling Hamas, the Islamist movement that has controlled Gaza since 2007, and Fatah, the more secular, Western-backed party that runs the Palestinian administration from the West Bank.

May 5, 2015
via FaithWorld

Ethiopian Jews’ protests draw attention to racism in Israel

Photo

(Israeli protesters, Jews of Ethiopian origin, participate in a protest on what they say was police violence against their community in Jerusalem April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Images of Israeli police firing stun grenades are usually set in the West Bank and involve Palestinian protesters. But on Sunday the situation was quite different – riot police battling thousands of Ethiopian Jews in the center of Tel Aviv.

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