Anshel Pfeffer

Al Qaeda and ice create refugee hell in Middle East

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 19, 2013

As Syria’s civil war drags on towards its fourth year without an end in sight, the plight of over two million refugees has worsened as the region faces its most bitter winter in living memory.

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Isolated Hamas buries the hatchet with Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 19, 2013

Hamas announced last week that it was “resuming” its relations with Iran after the Palestinian movement’s position on the Syrian Civil War caused it to fall out with the Assad regime’s main backers.

The announcement was made by senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar in Gaza following talks between Hamas officials and Iranian diplomats in Beirut last month.

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Israel fears sanctions tsunami

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 19, 2013

Israeli diplomats are concerned that a large wave of sanctions could hit the country if the current round of talks with the Palestinians fails.

A recent spate of boycott actions in Europe and the US will have a limited effect but Israelis fear that they could be just the beginning.

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Israel storm of the century

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 19, 2013

Weather historians are still arguing whether this was the worst snowstorm to hit Israel in 21, 60, 93 or 140 years, but its results are hard to argue with.

From Thursday afternoon, 48 hours of rain, hail and snow — which in Jerusalem piled up as high as 70cm — paralysed transport around the country.

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Diskin attack on Netanyahu a sign of leadership ambition

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 12, 2013

Former Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin emerged last week as a possible future rival to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he sternly criticised the government’s policy on Iran and the talks with the Palestinians.

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Knesset 'infiltrators law': Migrants’ ‘open’ detention

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 12, 2013

The Knesset passed on Tuesday an amended version of the “infiltrators law” that was struck down by the Supreme Court three months ago. A new detention centre for African migrants was due to open by the weekend in the Negev not far from the Egyptian border.

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Bedouin land plan shelved by Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 12, 2013

The Israeli government has shelved the Prawer-Begin Plan for the Bedouin villages in the Negev.

The legislation was halted amid mounting opposition within the coalition.

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President Obama: we have to try diplomacy

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 12, 2013

US President Barack Obama made an effort last weekend to reduce the tensions between his administration and the Israeli government over the interim agreement signed three weeks ago with Iran.

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Mandela: For Israel, memorial turns into farce

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 12, 2013

While dozens of heads of state and prime ministers came to Nelson Mandela’s memorial service on Tuesday, Israel was represented by a parliamentary delegation following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision not to spend millions of shekels on a flight.

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EU ‘wasted millions’ in Gaza

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 12, 2013

An auditing report has raised serious question marks over EU aid money worth hundreds of millions of euros that has been given to the Palestinian Authority.

According to the report, prepared by the European Court of Auditors and revealed by the Financial Times this week, funds transferred to the PA for Gaza were paid to civilians with ties to Fatah who were no longer working.

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Kerry looks to boost peace talks

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 6, 2013

US Secretary of State John Kerry met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this week in an attempt to revitalise the talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The talks, which began five months ago as a result of Mr Kerry’s efforts, have become bogged down amid mutual accusations.

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Iran’s response to Geneva deal under close scrutiny

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 5, 2013

Israeli and Western intelligence services are closely observing Iran’s nuclear development to see whether or not it will comply with the interim agreement signed with the world powers two weeks ago in Geneva.

Iran has committed to stopping work at its new plutonium reactor at Arak and limiting its uranium enrichment programme over the next six months in exchange for sanctions relief.

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Israel to join West at UN Human Rights Commission

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 5, 2013

Israel’s isolation at the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) is about to come to an end as it joins the Western group of nations (WEOG) at the commission.

Israel has officially been invited to join the group as part of the deal in which it agreed to end its unofficial boycott of the UNHRC last month.

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Peres: I’m 90, so maybe time to retire — in politics

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 5, 2013

Shimon Peres, who celebrated his 90th birthday this year, has ruled out remaining the president of Israel after his seven-year term ends next year.

Last week, during a state visit to Mexico, he told reporters: “I will end my role as president in July 2014 and am against any attempt to extend my term or change the legislation.”

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Anger over Israeli government settlements plan for Galilee towns

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 5, 2013

A government programme to promote Jewish settlement in the Galilee has raised objections from Arab-Israeli politicians and environmentalists.

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Analysis: Israel agonises over Bedouin land crisis

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 5, 2013

Ironically perhaps, as the world waits for the Prawer-Begin Plan for the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev to clear its final legislative hurdles in the Knesset and the bulldozers to start demolishing the homes of over 30,000 Bedouin slated for resettlement, the only person who has actually lost out so far is Benny Begin.

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Herzog won Labour by talking diplomacy

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 28, 2013

Hilik Bar, secretary-general of the Israeli Labour Party, is sitting puffy-eyed in his Knesset office. As the party’s organisational head, last week’s primaries were his responsibility and he is still catching up on lost sleep.

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How will the nuclear inspections work?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 28, 2013

The interim agreement signed by Iran and the world powers is based on the assumption that a six-month period will be sufficient to ascertain whether Iran has begun developing its nuclear programme for peaceful or military purposes.

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Baroness Catherine Ashton: The diplomatic and political novice who makes the negotiations happen

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 28, 2013

American Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are the undisputed parents of the nuclear agreement reached on Sunday morning in Geneva, with certain bragging rights going to the diplomats who tended the secret and unofficial back-channel meetings that took place between the two countries in the months before the deal.

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Israel’s leaders divided over Iranian nuclear deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 28, 2013

The interim agreement signed in Geneva in the early hours of Sunday morning was met with a mixture of derision and alarm by most of Israel’s political leadership. However, former intelligence chiefs and President Shimon Peres gave the deal a much more nuanced reception.

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