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By Laura King and Laura King,LOS ANGELES TIMES | December 25, 2004
BETHLEHEM, West Bank - In this Christmas season of hopes and fears, the little town of Bethlehem finds itself suspended somewhere between the two. With lamplight glowing softly on ancient stones and incense's musty fragrance penetrating the damp winter chill, Palestinian Christians, foreign dignitaries and a smattering of tourists celebrated midnight Mass last night in the basilica built on the spot where tradition says Jesus was born. The holiday - marked by its usual disorienting Holy Land melange of army roadblocks and candlelight carols, twinkling lights and olive-drab armored vehicles - has seen some tentative cause for optimism this year: the easing of day-to-day violent conflict with Israel, coupled with greater Palestinian aspirations to democracy in the wake of Yasser Arafat's death.
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NEWS
December 30, 2008
The confrontation between Israel and Hamas on the Gaza Strip can come to no good end. Friends of both Israel and the Palestinian people should urge an early truce before the bloody violence escalates further with tragic consequences. As the aerial assault in Gaza entered its third day, it has become clear that the Israelis are determined not to stop until Hamas ends its rain of rockets that has paralyzed life in some southern Israeli towns in recent days. But with more than 300 Palestinians, including at least 50 civilians, already killed by Israeli bombs, and a ground assault increasingly likely, there has been widespread international condemnation of the scale of the attacks and pleas to both sides for at least a temporary halt in the fighting.
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NEWS
By Peter Hermann and Peter Hermann,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | August 9, 2003
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - As leader of the militant group Islamic Jihad, Mohammed al-Hindi should have little to do these days. A cease-fire between Palestinians and Israelis is in its second month, and all should be quiet. Hindi, a pediatrician by training, sits behind an oak desk, surrounded by leather-bound books on Islamic revolutions, but he is working on a checklist. It's a list of what he says are Israeli violations of the American-backed cease-fire and peace plan - shootings, arrests, raids and the continued construction of a wall cutting through Palestinian villages in the West Bank.
NEWS
By Bassam Aramin | January 24, 2008
This month, President Bush visited the Israeli-occupied West Bank towns of Bethlehem and Ramallah and declared that the occupation must end. These were no doubt welcome words to Palestinians and Israelis alike. They provide hope for peace; for without occupation, peace is truly possible. Unfortunately, for many, including my 10-year-old daughter Abir, it is too late. One year ago, Abir was shot in the head by Israeli border police as she left school. The soldiers allege that they were fighting with children who were throwing rocks.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann and Peter Hermann,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | December 17, 2001
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat urged an end to "armed activities" last night, telling his people in a televised address that attacking Israel only gives Israeli leaders an excuse to escalate their "savage war" in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. "Everybody should respect the cease-fire," Arafat said in the half-hour address on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, a day of feasts marking the end of the monthlong Ramadan fast. "Today, I am reiterating my call for a comprehensive cessation to all the armed activities."
NEWS
By Peter Hermann and Peter Hermann,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | August 1, 2002
JERUSALEM - The deep sounds of the cello reverberate through the outdoor amphitheater, a rock tomb dating back nearly 2,000 years. The music is by a Palestinian composer, writing from an Israeli jail. Not far away, a movie screen flickers with images of a reluctant Palestinian suicide bomber as he blends into a parade of festive Israelis, scans the laughing faces of children and prepares to detonate his explosives with a trigger hidden in his hand. Those two scenes are from two arts festivals, one Palestinian, devoted to music, one Israeli, devoted to film, held in separate parts of a city divided by culture, class, religion and politics.
NEWS
By Ann LoLordo and Ann LoLordo,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | December 16, 1998
JERUSALEM -- When Nihad Zakout met President Clinton during his Middle East tour, the Palestinian schoolgirl made a tearful plea for the freedom of her father imprisoned a decade ago by Israel.She told him she wanted her father home. And she asked the president, "Can you live without your daughter for half a minute?""No," the president replied.What the 11-year-old didn't tell the president -- and what Clinton apparently didn't know -- was that her father, Mohammed, murdered an elderly Israeli scientist on his way home from delivering goods to the poor in the custom of the Jewish holiday of Purim.
NEWS
November 11, 2000
IF BOTH Palestinians and Israelis are losing from their violent impasse, there must be a winner. So far there is one -- Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq. Amid heightened passions, Iraq is regaining its Arab and Islamic standing. Saddam Hussein poses as the Palestinians' champion and would-be destroyer of Israel. Never mind his long history of aggression against Arab neighbors, use of torture or suppression of religion. Planes from many countries are flying to Baghdad to spurn no-fly rules.
NEWS
By Tyler Marshall and Ken Ellingwood and Tyler Marshall and Ken Ellingwood,LOS ANGELES TIMES | June 19, 2005
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Conveying a growing sense of urgency, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Palestinians and Israelis yesterday to intensify contacts and resolve issues vital to an orderly Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. "There is no more time to simply put problems on the agenda," she told a news conference after talks with Palestinian leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. "This now has to be an active process of resolving these problems."
NEWS
By Doug Struck and Doug Struck,Jerusalem Bureau | August 6, 1993
JERUSALEM -- Warren M. Christopher's shuttle diplomacy in the Mideast has apparently restarted the peace negotiations, but they are still in first gear without a map.The U.S. secretary of state will leave the region today with promises from the Arab and Jewish sides to work toward agreement. He helped the Syrians, Palestinians and Israelis at least to swap some position papers, breaking the deadlock.He did not succeed in getting agreement on when -- or if -- there should be an 11th round of formal peace negotiations.
NEWS
By David Wood and David Wood,Sun reporter | November 25, 2007
WASHINGTON -- A crush of diplomats is converging for Tuesday's Middle East conference in Annapolis, most of them arriving from a region trembling with instability and growing extremism. From Pakistan's political turbulence to Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions, from beheadings of police in Afghanistan to street assassinations in Gaza to airstrikes in Iraq, the level of confrontation and fear has never seemed higher in a region that has perfected the practice of suicide bombing and has already seen more than its share of conventional war. Yet the dismaying context for the conference may be what drives it toward success.
NEWS
By David Wood and David Wood,Sun reporter | November 21, 2007
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government sent formal invitations to more than 100 diplomats expected to attend a Middle East conference in Annapolis on Tuesday, according to U.S. officials who formally announced the conference last night after a daylong delay. The conference, intended by President Bush to give impetus for future hard negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, was formally announced only after Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made last-minute calls to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and others, White House and State Department officials said.
NEWS
By Jeffrey Fleishman and Jeffrey Fleishman,Los Angeles Times | October 14, 2007
CAIRO, Egypt -- The coming Israeli-Palestinian peace conference resembles a dinner party with a less-than-inspiring menu and a bunch of well-tailored yet exasperated guests who, if they show up at all, doubt that anyone will go home happy. Posturing and recrimination often characterize such negotiations, but Arab capitals, including Washington's closest allies, are criticizing the November conference in Annapolis as a miscalculated photo-op by a Bush administration desperate to repair its image across the Middle East.
NEWS
By John Murphy and John Murphy,Sun foreign reporter | September 16, 2007
BEIT SIRA, West Bank -- Every day, thousands of Israeli drivers speed through the olive-tree-dotted hills and valleys of the West Bank on Highway 443, a popular four-lane roadway connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. But this convenient commuter shortcut comes at a heavy price for Palestinians. Since the beginning of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000, only Israelis have been allowed to use the highway because of security concerns - though it is built on Palestinian land and, according to Israeli courts, is meant primarily for the benefit of thousands of Palestinian villagers who live alongside it. The ban has effectively marooned about 40,000 Palestinians living in a half-dozen villages that have long depended on the 15-mile highway.
NEWS
By James Moran and Marc Gopin | September 4, 2007
There is much to be said for President Bush's plans to host a fall conference on the future of Palestine. First, it gives an important boost to Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, as well as Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. If there is ever a chance for a broad spectrum of Israeli society to agree to negotiate, it is with these leaders at the helm. This is also the right team to engage bipartisan American leadership. Second, the administration's new engagement gives a needed boost to surrounding moderate Arab states that are paying a heavy price for supporting a comprehensive settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
NEWS
By New York Times News Service | January 14, 2007
JERUSALEM --Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Israeli counterpart declared yesterday their support for a bilateral diplomatic strategy enabling moderate political leaders across the Middle East, but offered little new to push ahead any agreement with the Palestinians. Rice played down expectations for any breakthrough during her travels. "I expect this trip to really be one in which we have intensive consultations," she said, opening weeklong travels across the Middle East and the Persian Gulf before consulting with allies in Western Europe.
NEWS
By Peter Hermann and Peter Hermann,SUN FOREIGN STAFF | February 12, 2002
JERUSALEM - In almost any other city, it would be just a wall with a bulge. Almost anywhere else, the wall would be repaired without people taking notice. This wall, however, is part of Jerusalem's most disputed religious site, may be in danger of collapse and has sparked another argument between Palestinians and Israelis. A bulge 35 feet long has appeared in the southern retaining wall built 2,000 years ago during the reign of King Herod at the base of the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
NEWS
July 21, 2003
ONE MAN'S security fence is another's political border. In the contentious Middle East, that's the debate. At issue is Israel's construction of a 118-mile barrier between the Jewish state and Palestinian areas of the West Bank. But the Bush administration can't accept both views of the project, and progress on the road to peace. Recognizing that fact, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has told Israel that its fence looks like a unilateral border. That's certainly the view of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who arrives in Washington this week for talks at the White House.
NEWS
By Nomi Morris | November 19, 2006
After this month's midterm election, President Bush finally announced his willingness to reassess his Iraq policy. Why stop there? Now that a fresh wind is blowing through Washington, it is the perfect time for the White House to revise its policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well, by restarting active diplomacy. The administration's "stay the course" approach on Israel has proved just as disastrous for that part of the Middle East as have its miscalculations on Iraq and Iran.
NEWS
By JOHN MURPHY and JOHN MURPHY,SUN FOREIGN REPORTER | June 27, 2006
JERUSALEM -- Israeli tanks and troops were massed at Israel's border with the Gaza Strip this morning, preparing to launch a military operation against Palestinian militants, including members of Hamas, in retaliation for the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier Sunday. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and diplomats from Egypt and other countries were working feverishly to negotiate the release of the captured soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit. The 19-year-old Israeli was abducted by Palestinian militants during a raid on an Israeli military post that left two other Israeli soldiers dead and significantly heightened tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.
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