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Oct 31, 2014

Clashes erupt as Israeli police kill Palestinian

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police on Thursday shot dead a 32-year-old Palestinian man suspected of having tried hours earlier to kill a far-right Jewish activist, leading to fierce clashes in East Jerusalem and fears of a new Palestinian uprising.

The Al-Aqsa compound, or Temple Mount, a holy site at the heart of the latest violence, was shut down for almost an entire day to all visitors as a security precaution. It was the first full closure of the site, venerated by both Jews and Muslims, in 14 years. Late on Thursday Israeli police reopened the complex.

Oct 30, 2014

Israeli police kill Palestinian suspected of shooting far-right activist

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police on Thursday shot dead a 32-year-old Palestinian suspected of having tried hours earlier to kill a far-right Jewish activist, leading to clashes in East Jerusalem and fears of a new Palestinian uprising.

Moataz Hejazi’s body lay in a pool of blood among satellite dishes on the rooftop of a three-story house in Abu Tor, a district of Arab East Jerusalem, as Israeli forces sealed the area and repelled stone-throwing Palestinian protesters.

Oct 24, 2014

Chief Palestinian negotiator issues statehood ultimatum

RAMALLAH West Bank (Reuters) – The Palestinians’ chief peace negotiator has laid out in the clearest terms yet plans to establish an independent Palestinian state within three years, even if it means ignoring pleas from the United States not to push ahead.

Expressing deep frustration and a degree of resignation that years of efforts to forge a two-state solution with the Israelis have made next to no progress, Saeb Erekat said there was no option other than to make a unilateral push for statehood.

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.

    • 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."
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