Anshel Pfeffer

Battle on for control of Israel's Supreme Court

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 10, 2011

Left and right are fighting it out in the Knesset over the future composition of the senior bench of Israel's judiciary.

Next week, the Judiciary Appointments Committee will select three new judges for the Supreme Court in Jerusalem and the politicians are trying to influence its decisions.

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Mossad man got Gilad out. Can he bag Turkey?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 10, 2011

In a new effort at reconciliation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week appointed David Meidan, the former Mossad operative who spearheaded the Shalit prisoner deal, as his special envoy to the Turkish government.

In what is seen as an encouraging move in Jerusalem, Turkey has accepted the move and Mr Meidan will be meeting senior officials in Ankara over the next few weeks in an attempt

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Why did Prosor meet Le Pen?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 10, 2011

Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to the UN, is one of Israel's most canny and prescient diplomats - as many in London will know from his time as envoy to Britain.

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Will the world act on Iran?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 9, 2011

The release of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report on Iran’s nuclear programme this week has ended talk of an independent Israeli strike on Iran — for now.

Israel’s leadership is now waiting to see how the international community — and specifically the Obama administration — react to the report.

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Israel fears Tel Aviv is next target

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 3, 2011

The violent escalation around the Gaza Strip last weekend and the launching of Grad rockets at Israeli cities by Islamic Jihad have raised concerns that Tel Aviv may be soon be a target.

"Hamas in Gaza already has dozens of missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv," said a senior defence official, "and to a lesser degree, Islamic Jihad has similar capabilities.

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Plan to order Arab players to sing Israeli national anthem

By Anshel Pfeffer and Simon Griver, November 3, 2011

After a three-month recess, the Knesset began its winter session on Monday with a slew of nationalist legislation on its agenda.

National Union Party MK Michael Ben-Ari has tabled a plan to require members of Israeli national sports teams to sing the national anthem and to sign a document recognising Israel as a Jewish state or face being banned.

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UNESCO vote prompts Israel anger

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 3, 2011

Israel has responded to the acceptance of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) with a range of sanctions against the Palestinian Authority.

But ministers are split over whether funds to the PA should be cut off.

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More joy as Egypt frees 'spy' Grapel

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 27, 2011

American-Israeli Ilan Grapel is to be released this weekend from prison in Cairo, four months after being arrested on charges of "spying" for Israel.

Mr Grapel, a student at Emory University in Atlanta, spent several years in Israel and served in the Paratroopers Brigade. He is to be released in exchange for 25 Egyptians held in Israel on smuggling charges.

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Quartet in push to jump-start lifeless peace negotiations

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 27, 2011

Representatives of the international Quartet returned to Israel this week in an attempt to reanimate the peace process.

A first round of new talks had been planned for this visit but these are not yet happening.

The Palestinian Authority has issued a number of conditions that Israel must meet before it will agree to negotiations, including a further release of Palestinian prisoners.

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One dilemma down, ten to go

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 19, 2011

Only two weeks ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to be at a political low.

His cabinet had refused to support the much vaunted Trachtenberg Report, which he had hoped would reverse the tide of the social protest that dominated the news agenda throughout the summer.

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How seething Egypt surprised the world and sealed the deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 19, 2011

On October 9, in the most violent demonstrations in Egypt since the revolution, the Christian Coptic minority took to the streets to protest.

Twenty-four civilians and soldiers were killed on that day. But throughout the rioting and the bloody reprisals by the military, Major General Murad Muwafi, director of Egypt's feared Mukhabarat intelligence service remained closeted away.

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Fears over settler terror attack

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 11, 2011

Racist vandalism spread from the West Bank and the north into the centre of Israel over the past week.

Although the latest rash of attacks began last week when settlers set fire to a Galilee mosque, security services do not believe that this weekend's incidents, which took place in Jaffa and Bat-Yam, were carried out by settlers.

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PA calls on Europe to back its UN bid

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 11, 2011

The Palestinian Authority is trying to increase support for its bid for United Nations membership by lobbying various international organisations for endorsements.

Over the past two weeks, the Palestinian leadership has gained various degrees of recognition from the United Nation's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, The Council of Europe and European Parliament.

UNESCO's exec

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Netanyahu battles all sides to boost welfare state

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 11, 2011

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has persuaded his cabinet to back the Trachtenberg recommendations, which include tax relief for low earners and subsidised kindergartens for children from the age of three.

But he still has an uphill struggle to gain Knesset approval for the report, which was produced by a committee of economists set up in reaction to the summer's massive social protests.

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Syrian chaos forces Hamas to relocate

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 6, 2011

The Hamas leadership is seeking to relocate its headquarters from Damascus, in the wake of continuing unrest and pro-democracy protests in Syria, now in their eighth month.

Hamas has three main leadership centres: its political and military wings in the Gaza Strip and the political bureau in Damascus, which functions mainly as the Hamas foreign wing and co-ordinates the shipment of arms and tra

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Israeli writer now 'without religion'

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 6, 2011

Dozens of Israelis have requested the deletion of the word "Jewish" from their Interior Ministry registration this week, following a court ruling last week allowing writer Yoram Kaniuk to do so.

Mr Kaniuk, 81, an Independence war veteran, boulevardier and chronicler of Israel's first years, has been fighting a legal battle for the last six months to change his "religion" status with the Interio

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With reluctance, Netanyahu accepts Quartet proposals

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 6, 2011

The Israeli Cabinet this week accepted, with reservations, the Quartet's proposal for renewed negotiations with the Palestinians.

On Sunday, the Cabinet approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to accept the framework for negotiations proposed two weeks ago by the Quartet.

The proposal includes the resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinians without pre-conditions.

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Blair not flavour of Palestine's week

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 6, 2011

The Palestinian Authority is furious with former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, the Mideast envoy of the international Quartet, for applying diplomatic pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas not to seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN.

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Panetta gets peace pledge in Cairo

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 6, 2011

The Egyptian leadership this week promised the US Secretary of Defence, Leon Panetta, that there were no plans to change the peace treaty with Israel.

Mr Panetta's visit to Egypt on Tuesday came amid uncertainty regarding the future of Egypt's ties with Israel, following the violent attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo last month.

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Mosque attack latest in revenge campaign

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 6, 2011

An arson attack on a mosque in Israel's north this week escalated into a two-day rioting spree increasing the security services' fears of extreme right-wing violence.

The arsonists set light to the mosque in the village of Tuba Zangaria in the Upper Galilee in the early hours of Monday morning, causing major damage to the building's interior and burning hundreds of Korans and other prayer-books

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