Anshel Pfeffer

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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Defence cuts 'madness' say IDF chiefs

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 27, 2011

The battle for social justice, demanded by hundreds of thousands on the streets of Israel throughout the summer, is swiftly becoming the battle for the defence budget.

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Palestinian UN bid: so much for the diplomatic tsunami

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 27, 2011

Mahmoud Abbas's first stop upon his return to Ramallah on Sunday was at the grave of his predecessor, Yasir Arafat. Ostensibly he was paying homage to the father of the Palestinian national movement. In reality he was finally claiming the leader's mantle.

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Israel moves to reduce power of big business

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 22, 2011

Two high-level government committees are about to change the way Israel's economy functions.

One of the two bodies addressed the issue of cross-ownership in a report issued on Monday. The other, which is due to deliver its initial report next week, will propose new priorities for the government's budget.

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Yachimovich wins Labour election

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 22, 2011

Shelly Yachimovich, a former journalist and broadcaster, will be the next leader of Israel's Labour Party, only six years after entering politics.

Ms Yachimovich won the second round of leadership primaries with around 55 per cent of the votes, beating her former political patron, Amir Peretz.

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PA security keep the peace in the West Bank

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 22, 2011

"So far, the Palestinians are sticking by our arrangements," said the senior IDF officer as he looked from afar at the small group of Palestinian youths throwing stones and bottles at the Kalandia Crossing, north of Jerusalem, on Wednesday.

The stone-throwing at what has become over years the "traditional" flashpoint between Israeli forces and Palestinian demonstrators, surprised no-one.

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A perilous yet defining moment

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 22, 2011

Despite the frenzy of diplomacy surrounding the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations headquarters this week, it was still unclear on Wednesday what would happen.

An Israeli offer to renew talks, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to postpone his demand that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state, was turned down by the Palestinians since it did not inc

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Ambassador's villa in Israel up for sale

By Anshel Pfeffer and Marcus Dysch, September 22, 2011

The residence of Britain's ambassador to Israel is to be sold, amid plans to move the diplomat to a more modern, accessible property.

The Foreign Office has put the luxurious villa on the market following spending cuts.

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Interview: Ddov Shefi

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 15, 2011

Hagay Shefi always was early for things. In his 20s he already headed a unit in Israel's Defence Ministry's budget department.

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Fiery election hints at a new beginning

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 15, 2011

Labour party members will go back to the polls next Wednesday after none of the four leadership candidates gained the 40 per cent of votes necessary to win Monday's primaries.

For the party that founded Israel and governed it for its first three decades, the choice will be between two avowed social-democrats, Shelly Yachimovich and Amir Peretz, who emerged from this week's vote almost on level

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IDF prepared for worst, but 'uprising unlikely'

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 15, 2011

"We are preparing for the worst," said an officer in the IDF's Central Command this week, "but we honestly do not believe that there will be an escalation this month."

Tens of thousands of soldiers and police officers have undergone special training for dealing with mass non-violent demonstrations over the past three months and the army and police have stockpiled £13m worth of new riot-control

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Late rush to stop Abbas bid at UN

By Anshel Pfeffer and Martin Bright, September 15, 2011

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to deliver a speech today in which he is expected to announce the Palestinian Authority's finalintentions regarding the UN General Assembly at the end of the month.

Mr Abbas has been under intense diplomatic pressure from all sides in recent days over his decision.

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Egyptian street: the big worry

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 15, 2011

While maintaining close ties with Israel, Egypt's former leader Hosni Mubarak never did anything to counter the virulent animosity towards the Jewish state found throughout Egyptian society.

Meanwhile, his temporary successors, the military government, will not go out on a limb to defend the Jewish state - not while the Palestinians are challenging Israel at the UN and Turkey is ramping up its

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