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A Palestinian woman walks past a mural of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza City AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS

Yasser Arafat’s body to be exhumed

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed on Wednesday to exhume former leader Yasser Arafat’s remains following allegations that he was poisoned with the radioactive element polonium-210 in 2004. “President Mahmoud Abbas has issued orders to the committee investigating President Yasser Arafat’s martyrdom to follow up on all new information and reports regarding this issue and to …

Ahmed Aboulenein

To normalize or not to normalize with Israelis?

By Tahseen Yaqeen RAMALLAH: Toward the end of January a group of young Palestinians held a silent demonstration in front of the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah, demanding that their leadership halt the negotiations that were taking place in Amman between the Palestinian Authority’s representative Saeb Erekat and Israeli chief negotiator Yitzhak Molcho. This small …

DNE

Barak says Israel never ruled out attacking Iran

Aron Heller / AP JERUSALEM: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday his country has never promised the United States it would hold off from attacking Iran while nuclear talks were taking place. The comments, in which Barak said that a diplomatic push to reach a compromise with Iran was a waste of “precious time,” …

DNE

Israel steps up campaign for convicted spy

By Josef Federman / AP JERUSALEM: Israel is ratcheting up calls on Washington to release convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, in a campaign that has reopened a long-running feud with its closest and most important ally. Israeli leaders say that after 27 years the former civilian intelligence analyst for the US Navy should be freed. But the …

DNE

Why ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’ J Street still matters

By Moriel Rothman JERUSALEM: Recently, the self-described “pro-Israel, pro-peace” American organization J Street held its third annual conference in Washington, DC. Many on the American Jewish left have been increasingly critical of J Street, either for shifting to the right, or for failing to bring about any meaningful developments in terms of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Some of …

DNE

Israeli historian: Israel needs borders for its own good

By Ben Lynfield JERUSALEM: With international attention distracted by Iran and Syria, Israel’s fateful entanglement in the West Bank hardly gets a mention in the news these days. Over the years, much has been written about the now 45-year-old Occupation’s deleterious effect on Palestinians. But in a significant new book, The Unmaking of Israel, launched recently …

DNE

Israeli lawmaker backs Suleiman as Egypt leader

By AP JERUSALEM: An Israeli lawmaker with close ties to the ousted Egyptian regime says former spy chief Omar Suleiman would be the best president for Egypt in terms of Israeli interests. Legislator Binyamin Ben-Eliezer says a Muslim Brotherhood leader would threaten Israel’s 1979 peace deal with Egypt. Ben-Eliezer told Army Radio on Monday that …

DNE

Pilgrims fill Jerusalem for Good Friday, Passover

By AFP JERUSALEM: Christians and Jews in the Holy Land were set to begin marking their most important festivals of the year on Friday, with Good Friday and the Jewish holiday of Passover coinciding. Jewish families were completing last-minute preparations for Passover, which begins at sundown and commemorates the Israelite’s exodus from slavery in Egypt, …

DNE

German author Grass says Israel endangers world peace

By Gareth Jones/Reuters Nobel Prize-winning German writer Guenter Grass has described Israel as a threat to world peace and said it must not be allowed to launch military strikes against Iran, in a poem that led one German newspaper to brand him “the eternal anti-Semite”. Grass, 84, a seasoned campaigner for left-wing causes and a critic …

DNE

Egypt denies rocket was fired from Sinai

By Agencies CAIRO/JERUSALEM: Egypt denied in an official statement Thursday that the rocket that slammed into the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat was fired from the Sinai Peninsula. Egyptian officials said publicly that the attack was not staged from Sinai. Mahmud al-Hifnawy, south Sinai’s security chief told AFP there had been no attack from …

DNE

Netanyahu wants deal to prevent ‘binational state’

By Dan Perry/ AP JERUSALEM: Israel’s prime minister has said that he still hopes to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians, because the alternative would be absorbing them into Israel and destroying the Jewish character of the state. “I want to solve the conflict with the Palestinians because I don’t want a binational state,” Netanyahu …

DNE

Israel seizes sarcophagus lids stolen from Egypt

By AP JERUSALEM: The Israel Antiquities Authority says inspectors have seized two stolen Egyptian sarcophagus covers at a bazaar in Jerusalem’s Old city. The two plaster-covered wooden lids had been sawed in two, causing irreparable damage. The covers were adorned with decorations and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The authority says one dates between the 16th and …

DNE

Tunisia Islamist leader rules out normal ties with Israel

By AFP TUNIS: The head of Tunisia’s governing Islamist party has said the country cannot normalize ties with Israel, the official TAP news agency reported Sunday. Rached Ghannouchi said that “Tunisians’ problem is with Zionism, not with Judaism”, but TAP said “the president of Ennahda stressed … there can be no normalization with Israel.” The …

DNE

Palestinian sent to Gaza with end of hunger strike

By AFP GAZA CITY: Israel expelled a Palestinian prisoner Sunday to the Gaza Strip as part of a compromise deal that persuaded her to end her 43-day hunger strike. Under the terms of her release, Hana Shalabi, a 30-year-old Islamic Jihad supporter from the West Bank, must remain in the seaside strip for the next …

DNE

A PALESTINIAN VIEW: Learning the lessons

By Ghassan Khatib Violence has always been a prominent characteristic of how Israel handles its relationships in the neighborhood. The state was created through violence wielded against the indigenous Palestinian population, resulting in the exile of 800,000 Palestinian refugees to surrounding countries. Afterwards, the use of force became a doctrine in Israel, used to intimidate its …

DNE

AN ISRAELI VIEW: Not only violence has failed

By Yossi Alpher In reviewing more than six decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a cost/benefit analysis of the two sides’ reliance on violence produces a very mixed record. Whereas Israel has generally triumphed in its conventional wars against neighboring Arab states, success in fighting non-state actors — primarily the Palestinians but also Hezbollah — has been much …

DNE

Israel weighs UN rights council boycott

By AFP JERUSALEM: Israel should boycott the United Nations Human Rights Council after it voted to authorize a probe of Israeli settlements, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told public radio on Sunday. “This hypocritical organization has nothing to do with human rights. Its bias and lack of objectivity are obvious and we have no reason to …

DNE

Israel mourns as victims of French attack buried

By Yoav Lemmer / AFP JERUSALEM: Thousands of weeping mourners attended the funerals at a Jerusalem cemetery on Wednesday of three French-Israeli children and a teacher killed in a shooting spree at a Jewish school in France. Among the 2,000 or so people gathered at the sprawling Givat Shaul cemetery on the western outskirts of …

DNE

Israel and the Muslim Brotherhood: Facing the bittersweet reality

By Alon Ben-Meir NEW YORK: Since the fall of the Mubarak regime, the conventional wisdom in Israel has suggested that the emergence of an Islamist government in Egypt would necessarily be hostile to the Jewish state. Egypt’s parliamentary elections, in which the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) won close to 50 percent of the vote, only reinforced this …

DNE

The jury is still out

By Mamdouh G. Salameh In 2006, American oil company Noble Energy of Houston and Israeli company Ratio Oil Exploration received a license to explore “Leviathan”, a deep-water gas field in the Mediterranean about 130 kilometers from Israel’s coastline. At the end of 2010, the two companies announced that Leviathan contains 450 billion cubic meters of natural …

DNE

Lone rocket hits Israel as Gaza truce firms up

By AFP JERUSALEM: Just one rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel during the first 12 hours of Friday, the military said, as a fledgling truce in and around the Palestinian territory firmed up. “Only one rocket has been fired at Israel since midnight (2200 GMT) on Thursday, an army spokeswoman told AFP early on …

DNE

Israel and Islamic Jihad agree to Egypt-brokered truce in Gaza

By Adel Zaanoun / AFP GAZA CITY: Israel and Islamic Jihad in Gaza agreed on Tuesday to an Egyptian-brokered truce deal after four days of violence in which 25 Gazans died and 200 rockets were fired at Israel. Under the agreement, which came into force at 1:00 am (2300 GMT on Monday), both Israel and militants …

DNE