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Nov 5, 2013

Israel, Palestinians grim on peace talks before Kerry visit

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli and Palestinian officials said on Tuesday the three-month-old peace talks pressed on them by Washington are going nowhere, painting a grim picture for a visit this week by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Few details have emerged from negotiating sessions held at unannounced times and at secret locations in line with pledges to keep a lid on leaks.

Oct 24, 2013

Poverty drives change among Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jews

JERUSALEM, Oct 24 (Reuters) – Better trained in wrestling
with complex religious texts than in martial arts, the
ultra-Orthodox Jewish youths drop to the floor to give their
combat instructor a dozen push-ups.

Black skullcaps slip off their heads and a pair of glasses
goes flying across the room as the khaki-clad trainer barks out:
“I will kick your ass if you do not keep time.”

Sep 13, 2013

Across enemy lines, wounded Syrians seek Israeli care

NAHARIYA, Israel, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Not a hundred miles
from Damascus, a Syrian rebel lies in a hospital bed, an Israeli
sentry at the door. Nearby a Syrian mother sits next to her
daughter, shot in the back by a sniper.

What started this year as a trickle is now a steady flow of
Syrians, scores of civilians and fighters wounded in the civil
war and being discreetly brought across the Golan frontline into
Israel – a country with which Syria is formally still at war.

Jul 31, 2013

In raging Middle East, Israel wins time with Palestinian peace talks

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Pressured by Washington, worried about its international standing and perturbed by Middle East turmoil, Israel had many reasons to return to peace talks with the Palestinians this week after a three year hiatus.

On the surface, Israelis saw little reason to jump back into negotiations. The status quo in the occupied Palestinian territories was holding and the question of the so-called peace process had largely fallen off the domestic political agenda.

Jul 29, 2013

For Palestinians, Israelis new peace talks offer little hope

JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – When Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators break bread at a Muslim feast in Washington on Monday, it will be a diplomatic breakthrough of sorts after almost three years of deadlock.

Back home, however, it seems Israelis and Palestinians hold out little hope for their leaders’ renewed peace drive, the outcome of months of intensive mediation by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to get the sides back to talks, with the hope of resolving a decades-old conflict.

Jul 20, 2013

Israel, Palestinians still at odds over borders ahead of talks

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel will not bow to the Palestinians’ demand on the borders of their future state before peace talks begin but will meet their request for the release of some prisoners, Israeli officials said on Saturday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that Israel and the Palestinians had laid the groundwork to resume talks after an almost three-year stalemate, but that the deal was not final and required more diplomacy.

Jul 20, 2013

Israel agrees Palestinian prisoner release to resume peace talks

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel has agreed to release Palestinian prisoners in order to resume peace talks, but will not yield to other demands the Palestinians say must be met before they return to the negotiating table.

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Saturday that Israel was prepared to release some “heavyweight” prisoners but could not accept Palestinian demands over the borders of their future state before talks begin.

Jul 20, 2013

Israel to free Palestinian prisoners for peace talks: minister

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel has agreed to release Palestinian prisoners in order to resume peace talks, but will not yield to other demands the Palestinians say must be met before they return to the negotiating table.

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Saturday that Israel was prepared to release some “heavyweight” prisoners but could not accept Palestinian demands over the borders of their future state before talks begin.

Jul 10, 2013

Israel strengthens Syria border with an eye on Hezbollah

BOOSTER MILITARY OUTPOST, Golan Heights (Reuters) – Israel is bolstering its forces on the once-quiet frontier with Syria where it believes Lebanese Hezbollah militants are preparing for the day when they could fight Israel.

Syria’s civil war has brought an end to decades of calm on the Golan Heights, a strip of land which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war. Battles between rebels fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syrian villages nearby are being watched intensely by Israel’s military.

Jun 7, 2013

Golan fighting spells more Syria trouble for Israel

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Brush fires from stray mortar bombs were still ablaze on the occupied Golan Heights on Friday as Israeli farmers returned to their fields, a day after battles in Syria’s civil war reached a U.N.-manned border crossing.

Once the smoke clears, Israel could find itself facing more trouble from multiple threats on its northern front.