Anshel Pfeffer

Egypt protests: start of a new Middle East?

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 3, 2011

The hundreds of thousands of protesters crowding Tahrir Square this week seemed to have little idea of what they wanted to happen next.

"We must have multi-party elections and then all Egyptians can decide what they want to happen," said Sayyed Nasri, a civil engineer from Cairo's Giza neighbourhood, who had come to the square every morning to join the call for democracy and the end of the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

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Israel trembles as Egypt quakes

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 3, 2011

There is no single emotion that defines a revolution. Across Cairo, 30 years of autocracy are pouring out in streams of tears and screams of joy.

But the hope, fear and uncertainty coursing through the Egyptian uprising is shaking Israel.

Peace with Egypt under President Hosni Mubarak has been, according to one defence official, "Israel's second biggest strategic asset after the United States".

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Are the revolts across the Arab world linked?

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 27, 2011

It is tempting to lump the unrest sweeping the Arab world this week into one tidal wave, but the scenario in each country is unique.

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Palestine leak - what they forgot to say

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 27, 2011

One message stood out from the publication this week of internal documents of the Palestinian negotiation team by Al Jazeera and the Guardian newspaper: Israel had destroyed the best chance that it had ever had of making peace with the Palestinians.

But the claim, that in talks held from late 2008 to early 2009, Israel refused generous territorial and demographic concessions offered by the Palestinians, presents only part of the picture.

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Palestinians arrested for Jerusalem tourist stabbing

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 26, 2011

A group of Palestinian men involved in both terror and criminal activity have been arrested in connection with the stabbing of two women in the Jerusalem Hills last month. Two of the men were indicted for the murder of American tourist Kristine Luken and the serious wounding of her friend, British immigrant Kaye Wilson.

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Tunisia violence: not best place to be Jewish

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 20, 2011

It's not hard to find Jews in Tunisia, even while there is a revolution on. Head down to the Avenue de Liberte in Tunis in time for shacharit and you can find worshippers leaving the main synagogue. And it's not hard to see that they have reason to be worried.

As one man leaving the shul, in his 60s and wearing a black beret, said: "It's a good time to be quiet and put your head down."

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Hizbollah practises taking over Beirut

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 20, 2011

Tension in Lebanon has reached a fever pitch as the international tribunal investigating the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 delivered its indictments to the International Criminal Court in Hague on Monday.

Last week, Hizbollah toppled the Lebanese government when it led a walkout of ministers from the administration headed by Saad Hariri, the assassinated PM's son. They were protesting against the government's co-operation with the tribunal.

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Tycoon property war erupts in Jerusalem

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 13, 2011

Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian millionaires are trying to go beyond politics and decide the future of east Jerusalem using their money and business acumen to wage real-estate battles against each other.

This week the demolition of the Shepherd's Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah, owned by the settlers' patron, American millionaire Irwin Moskowitz, made headlines around the world.

But another tug-of-war has been fought behind the scenes over a planned Jewish neighbourhood in east Jerusalem.

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NGO probe plan stirs up storm in Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 13, 2011

The Knesset vote in favour of a parliamentary commission of enquiry into the foreign sources of finance for Israeli human-rights groups has caused a political storm, not only between the right and left but also within the ruling Likud party.

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Moshe Katzav: Shock and anger sweep Israel - but also pride

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 6, 2011

Moshe Katzav is planning to appeal against his conviction - but he may have to do it from a prison cell.

The judges' damning verdict leaves little doubt that he will be handed a lengthy prison term before he is able to take his case to Israel's Supreme Court.

But despite fierce criticism of the conduct of the trial by Katzav and his supporters, opinion polls suggest most Israelis think he received fair treatment.

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Halutz: we didn't have intelligence to get Gilad Shalit

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 6, 2011

Former IDF Chief of Staff, retired Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, said that Israel had insufficient intelligence to retrieve Gilad Shalit following his capture by Hamas four and a half years ago.

Mr Halutz, who gave a lecture in Beersheva on Shabbat, is trying to rebrand his image in attempt to win political office. The former general resigned four years ago following the Second Lebanon War and is widely seen by the Israeli public as one of those responsible for the less than spectacular results of Israel's war against Hizbollah.

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US realised settlement freeze was wrong tactic

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 6, 2011

The Israeli government was prepared to extend the settlement freeze by three months but the American administration decided at the last moment to change course, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week.

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Debate over death of Palestinian woman in Bil'in

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 6, 2011

A Furious debate has broken out in Israel and across the blogosphere over what caused the death of a 36-year-old Palestinian woman over the weekend.

The villagers of Bil'in in the West Bank claim Jawaher Abu Rahme was suffocated by tear-gas shot, by Israelis soldiers. The IDF maintain she died of an illness that she was already suffering from.

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Ex-president Katzav guilty of rape

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 30, 2010

Israel was shocked this morning as former president, Moshe Katzav was found guilty of two counts of rape, one of an obscene act, one of sexual harassment and of attempting to subvert the course of justice.

The Tel-Aviv District Court, headed by Judge George Kara, upheld the claims of three un-named women who had worked in Mr Katzav's office when he served as president and previously as tourism minister. The court's verdict was total and devastating, rejecting the defence's claims and describing the former president's version as "riddled with lies."

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Hamas loads the launchers once again

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 29, 2010

Hamas has escalated its rocket attacks from Gaza, two years after Operation Cast Lead. But Israeli officials believe that the movement is not interested in a return to open hostilities and is, for now, "testing the limits".

Before this month and since the end of the Gaza conflict two years ago, Hamas had refrained from taking part in the attacks against Israeli patrols on the border and from carrying out missile launches against Israeli towns and kibbutzim.

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WikiLeaks set to turn on Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 29, 2010

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has promised that future documents to be published from the trove of leaked American diplomatic cables, will shed light on operations of the Mossad and Israel's Second Lebanon War in 2006.

According to Mr Assange, in an interview with Al-Jazeera, of the 3,700 cables - out of the 260,000 in WikiLeaks' possession - that deal with Israel, three quarters were sent by the American Embassy in Tel-Aviv.

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Archaeological find may change story of mankind

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 29, 2010

Archaeological finds in central Israel could challenge the accepted version of the evolution of modern humans and place the origin of mankind in the Holy Land.

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Scandal clouds top cop appointment

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 22, 2010

The appointment of a new national chief of police has failed to bring calm to the scandal-prone force.

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch announced on Sunday that he was appointing the commander of the Police's Southern District, Yochanan Danino, as the next Commissioner General of the Police, instead of Dudi Cohen, who will retire in May 2011.

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Orthodox get IDF exemption

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 22, 2010

A series of reforms of yeshivah students' stipends and the announcement of their exemption from army service have become the subject of a coalition disagreement and a rift between the government and the IDF.

The cabinet voted on Sunday 14-8 in favour of a plan formulated by the Prime Minister's Office to continue paying stipends to yeshivah students for another five years, gradually cutting off the payments when they reach the age of 29.

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Oil sparks new Israel-Turkey crisis

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 22, 2010

A new agreement on exploration rights at sea between Israel and Cyprus has once again pushed Israel's relationship with Turkey into a diplomatic crisis. Meanwhile, the talks to end the impasse over Israel's apology for the incident of the Gaza flotilla have bogged down.

Three weeks ago, Turkey's willingness to help Israel fight the blaze on Mount Carmel, signalled by sending two fire-fighting aircraft to battle the flames, gave hope that the stormy relations between the two nations - not long ago strategic allies - could be on the mend.

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