Abbas: 'Second intifada was a mistake'

By Jessica Elgot, May 26, 2010

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that peace in the Middle East could be achieved in just one week if Israelis were willing to negotiate. But in a surprise move, he expressed regret over the second intifada.

Speaking to Egyptian media, Mr Abbas said that both he and former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat did not want the intifada in October 2000.

He said: “The second intifada was one of our worst mistakes. Arafat didn't want the intifada to erupt, but he couldn't stop it.”

During the past week Mr Abbas has made encouraging sounds about the proximity talks.


Amnesty steps up its campaign on Israel

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2010

Amnesty International's UK branch is continuing to highlight Israel's treatment of the Palestinians with an exhibition in London next month directed against its security barrier.

The event follows a meeting last week hosted by Amnesty International UK entitled "Capital Murder: Inside the Israeli authorities' regime of discrimination and control in Occupied East Jerusalem".

Journalist Ben White, author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginners Guide, described what was happening as "a microcosm of Israeli apartheid".


Anti-Israel demo planned for David Cameron

By Jessica Elgot, May 14, 2010

Film director Ken Loach, Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge, comedian Jeremy Hardy and Sir Gerald Kaufman MP are signatories to a petition which will be delivered to Downing St as part of an anti-Israel march this weekend.

It will be the first organised rally outside Downing Street since David Cameron became Prime Minister.

Representatives of the Green Party, UNITE, UNISON, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition and CND are also planning to attend.


BBC's Bowen: Problems in US-Israel relations 'enjoyable'

By Jessica Elgot, May 14, 2010

The BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen has said that a report where he described the tension in US-Israeli relations as “enjoyable” was down to an editing glitch.

In his piece ‘Analysis: Bleak climate for Mid-East talks’ for the BBC News website, Mr Bowen wrote: “It has been an unusual and enjoyable new experience to be able to look on as the Israelis argued with their most important ally.”


Palestinian boy 'shot by settlers', reports claim

By Jessica Elgot, May 14, 2010

Palestinian witnesses claim a 14-year-old boy was shot dead by Jewish settlers in the West Bank last night.

The witnesses, including the boy’s cousin, told police the boy was shot on Highway 60, a short distance from Ramallah after Palestinians threw stones at the car of the settlers.

He has been named locally as Ayssar Yasser from the village of Mizra al-Sharqiah, but this has not been confirmed by Israeli police.

The IDF said the body of a teenager had been found and the cause of death was unclear.


Amnesty steps up action against Israel

By Simon Rocker, May 13, 2010

Amnesty International’s UK branch is continuing to highlight Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians with an exhibition planned in London for next month directed against its security barrier.

“Against the Wall” features art and graffiti on the wall in the West Bank “which cuts through Palestinian communities with devastating effect”, according to the publicity.

The event follows a meeting last night on Israeli policy in East Jerusalem entitled “Capital Murder: Inside the Israeli authorities’ regime of discrimination and control in Occupied East Jerusalem”.


New Palestinian city irks settlers

By Nathan Jeffay, May 6, 2010

When smart new houses spring up in the West Bank, it is normally settlers commissioning the building and Palestinians protesting. But in one place, they are trading places.

Construction in Jewish areas is slow due to the settlement freeze. But six miles north of Ramallah, builders are working non-stop on the first planned Palestinian city. And the settlers are furious.

Construction crews broke the ground at the new city, Rawabi, in January. In the first phase of construction, they are building 5,000 units across 23 neighbourhoods to house 25,000 people.


'Proximity talks' stall before they begin

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 6, 2010

The Israeli government is concerned that the Palestinian Authority is trying to blame it for the failure of the "proximity talks" before they have even started.

The indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians were scheduled to begin on Wednesday but despite the arrival in the region of American mediator George Mitchell, the Palestinian Authority had still not agreed to attend the talks at press time.


Leeds student paper pulled for antisemitic interview

By Jessica Elgot, May 3, 2010

Leeds University’s newspaper Leeds Student has been pulled from shelves by the Students’ Union after it published an antisemitic comment by Palestinian Telegraph owner Sameh Habeeb.

The interviewer asked Mr Habeeb: “Do you believe mainstream media organizations have a hidden agenda?”

He replied: “They are certainly pro-Israeli. I think you have to ask yourself who controls the media.”


Analysis: Settlers are the next threat to peace

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 22, 2010

On Tuesday, Israel's Independence Day, hundreds of settlers travelled to IDF outposts and took them over. Well, they took over the kitchens and cooked the soldiers barbecue dinners.

But not all was sweetness and light between the army and the settlers. At least in one spot on the West Bank, no one was doing anyone any favours. A clash between security forces and a group of youngsters from Yitzhar left at least two soldiers wounded by stones and a growing number of settlers under threat of arrest.