Bureau Chief, Brussels
Luke's Feed
Dec 12, 2014
via FaithWorld

Israeli settlements squeeze religious tourism in Palestinian areas, officials say


(People gather after lighting a Christmas tree outside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 6, 2014. REUTERS/ Mussa Qawasma)

Standing on the monumental hillside south of Bethlehem where King Herod the Great was buried more than 2,000 years ago, Fadi Kattan stretches out his arm to point out the nearby Israeli settlements of Tekoa and Nokdim.

Dec 12, 2014

Israeli settlements squeezing Palestinian tourism, officials say

HERODIUM, West Bank, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Standing on the
monumental hillside south of Bethlehem where King Herod the
Great was buried more than 2,000 years ago, Fadi Kattan
stretches out his arm to point out the nearby Israeli
settlements of Tekoa and Nokdim.

“That’s part of the problem,” says Kattan, a Palestinian
tourism expert, explaining the obstacles hindering the growth of
the local industry in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Dec 9, 2014

Netanyahu makes cost-of-living promise ahead of Israeli election

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – In nearly nine years as Israel’s prime minister spread over three terms, Benjamin Netanyahu has been a security hawk, promising to do whatever it takes to combat the threat from Palestinian militants or a nuclear-armed Iran.

But as he opened his campaign for a fourth term ahead of elections set for March 17, Netanyahu stepped away from his security base to make a pitch for the large number of Israelis who are more worried about the high cost of living.

Dec 3, 2014

‘Bibi’ looks right to hold on to Israeli power

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – One of Benjamin Netanyahu’s school teachers once described him as “friendly, disciplined and obedient”. Fifty years on, the Israeli prime minister could be forgiven for wishing coalition politics were the same.

Barely 20 months after forming his latest government, Netanyahu dismissed two cabinet ministers on Tuesday, accusing them of undermining his authority, and announced new elections, which have been set for March 17, 2015, two years early.

Dec 1, 2014

Desperate for cement and bulldozers, Gazans face winter in ruins

GAZA, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Three months after the war in Gaza,
Sadeeqa Naseer still lives in a bomb site. Air strikes turned
the two upper floors of her three-storey apartment building in
the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun into a rubble-strewn ruin.

Thirty-five people shelter on the ground floor, where holes
blasted in the wall by tank shells have been covered over only
by plastic sheeting that does little to keep out the cold wind
and driving rain of the fast-approaching winter.

Nov 26, 2014

Israel’s lurch to the right dims two-state peace prospects

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A cartoon in Israel’s left-leaning Haaretz newspaper showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu studying a poster made by his publicity team of Mahmoud Abbas, the mild-mannered, soft-featured Palestinian president.

The poster depicted Abbas looking fierce, with menacing eyes and bloodied fangs. A disappointed-looking Netanyahu turns to his aide and asks: “Can you lengthen his fangs a tad?”

Nov 18, 2014
via FaithWorld

Timeline: Rising violence in Jerusalem ahead of synagogue attack


(Pools of blood are seen near a religious Jewish text at the scene of an attack at a Jerusalem synagogue in this handout picture released by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) November 18, 2014. REUTERS/Kobi Gideon)

Over the past several weeks, tension and violence have risen steadily in Jerusalem, culminating in Tuesday’s attack on a synagogue in which four worshippers were shot and knifed to death by Palestinians assailants.

Nov 14, 2014

Jerusalem’s tram rides a fine line as city violence worsens

JERUSALEM, Nov 14 (Reuters) – If there has been a constant
target during weeks of unrest in Jerusalem, it is the divided
city’s Light Rail, a sleek tram that snakes through downtown,
past the ancient walls of the Old City, symbolically uniting
Jewish West and Arab East.

Launched in 2011 after years of delays and budget overruns,
the French-Israeli project was hailed as a piece of world-class
infrastructure that would transform the city, bringing Israelis
and Palestinians closer through shared public transport.

Nov 10, 2014

Israel faces tough months as pressure builds on Netanyahu

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to keep his fractious coalition together as talk of early elections grows, but in trying to bolster himself domestically he runs the risk of further alienating international partners.

To satisfy restive far-right parties in his government, Netanyahu has promised more settlement on land the Palestinians seek for an independent state, greatly aggravating the United States and the European Union.

Nov 8, 2014

Palestinians clash with Israeli troops again over holy site

JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian protesters fought with Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank on Friday, the latest clashes in a fortnight of violence over access to Jerusalem’s holiest site.

At the Qalandia checkpoint separating Ramallah from Jerusalem, troops fired rubber bullets as several hundred protesters marched, some throwing rocks and petrol bombs.

    • 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:
      English, Italian, French, Spanish
    • More from Luke

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

    • Follow Luke