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Hamas, Fatah to Reunite

Israel says it will end peace process

(Newser) - Palestine's long-feuding Hamas and Fatah factions have agreed to reunite, they announced today, following a meeting in Gaza yesterday. The groups plan to form a unity government in the next five weeks, and then hold national elections in six months, the Jerusalem Post reports. This isn't the first... More »

Israel Arrests 25, Including Palestinian Lawmakers

Hamas condemns roundup in West Bank

(Newser) - Israel today arrested three Palestinian lawmakers amid a roundup of 25 Hamas members in the West Bank, Global Post reports. Israel didn't explain the arrests but has discussed plans to detain more suspected militants in the wake of civil unrest , notes Breitbart . One of the detainees, still unidentified, was... More »

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood to Hamas, Fatah: Work It Out

Moderate shift seen to strengthen Palestinian position

(Newser) - As the Muslim Brotherhood takes power in Egypt, it is already exerting its influence by pressuring Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, to compromise with Fatah, the Western-backed party that runs the West Bank, reports the New York Times . The Brotherhood had previously had a close relationship with Hamas,... More »

Hamas, Fatah Agree to Unite

And this time, they mean it

(Newser) - Palestine's rival factions, Hamas and Fatah, say they've finally agreed on a deal for a unified government, hoping to present a united front in their negotiations with Israel. Of course, they said the same thing last spring . That deal hit the rocks because the sides couldn't agree... More »

Egypt Bolsters Relations With Iran, Hamas

Government will end Gaza blockade

(Newser) - As Egypt regroups after Hosni Mubarak’s exit, it is realigning its diplomatic ties: Officials plan to end the Gaza border blockade and forge closer ties with Iran and Hamas. As elections approach, officials say they’re working toward policies that better fit public opinion; meanwhile, they hope to regain... More »

Palestinians Try Less Violent Resistance

Peaceful protests, boycott of Israeli products gain traction

(Newser) - Burnt out on both armed struggle and diplomacy, Palestinian leaders are looking to a third path: political resistance that seeks to be non-violent. The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority's new strategy to try to end Israeli occupation includes unarmed protest marches, boycott campaigns against goods produced by Israeli settlers, and illegal tree-planting... More »

Palestinians' Abbas May Not Seek Reelection

Move could be a feint to jump-start peace negotiations

(Newser) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will not seek reelection next year, insiders say. Abbas has seen his credibility with Palestinians damaged during peace negotiations with the US and Israel, now stalled. “The president insists on not running in the upcoming election,” an official tells the Guardian, though some believe... More »

PLO Leader Killed in Lebanon Roadside Blast

(Newser) - Top PLO official Kamal Medhat and at least three of his bodyguards were killed by a roadside bomb near a refugee camp in southern Lebanon today, security officials tell al-Jazeera. Television footage showed Medhat’s car being blasted into a large crater. A Fatah spokesman said Medhat had been “... More »

Clinton Visits West Bank, Names Syrian Envoys

(Newser) - Hillary Clinton met separately with the Palestinian president and prime minister in the West Bank today, after sitting down with Israeli leaders yesterday, and announcing the appointment of two senior envoys to Syria. Palestinian leaders implored Clinton to push for a freeze on expanding Israeli West Bank settlements, and open... More »

Mitchell Calls for Lasting Peace as New Violence Hits Gaza

18 injured in Israeli counterstrike

(Newser) - Fresh violence in Gaza today threatened the fragile ceasefire as George Mitchell called for a lasting truce between Hamas and Israel, AFP reports. An Israeli air strike wounded 18 Palestinians, including 11 children and a pregnant woman. The Israeli army said it was targeting a Hamas policeman responsible for a... More »

Israel Warns Attacks Will Intensify

(Newser) - Israel dropped leaflets on the Gaza strip today warning inhabitants of an escalation in the 2-week offensive against Hamas militants, the BBC reports. The leaflets assured civilians that the action was against “Hamas and the terrorists only” and urged people to stay away from military targets. The development could... More »

Hamas Support Grows in West Bank

Palestinians call for tougher stance from president

(Newser) - As violence continues in Gaza, support for Hamas is growing in the Fatah-controlled West Bank, the New York Times reports. Though demonstrations of solidarity with Hamas have thus far been relatively small, West Bank residents see Gaza as “part of themselves,” writes Steven Erlanger. Still, there’s little... More »

How Far Does Israel Go? Each Answer Carries Risks

If group falls, Jewish state may be responsible for problematic Gaza

(Newser) - The ground offensive against Hamas raises all kinds of vexing questions for Israel, writes Ethan Bronner in the New York Times. Perhaps the biggest is this: When the smoke clears, who's going to be in charge of Gaza? If Israel sticks to a limited military aim of knocking out Hamas'... More »

Why Hamas Courted Israeli Attacks

Lack of results confirmed the case for violence

(Newser) - Hamas has long argued that negotiating with Israel won’t help Palestine—and that belief drove its decision to end a six-month ceasefire on December 19, writes Stephen Farrell in the New York Times. While it's possible Hamas leaders underestimated the scale of the Israeli response, which has cost more... More »

Pop Culture Battles Fundamentalists in Gaza

Western imports ease daily stress, but fuel the fundamentalists' ire

(Newser) - Culture is the quiet battleground in Gaza, where Jennifer Lopez pouts on CD covers beside religious paperbacks on store shelves, the New York Times reports. Combating daily food shortages and feeling isolated, Gazans escape with soap operas, sitcoms, and music—homegrown or imported from the West. But recent incidents—from... More »

Israel Releases 198 Palestinians

Freed prisoners intended to shore up Fatah PM Abbas; some in Israel fuming

(Newser) - Israel today released 198 Palestinian prisoners in an effort to bolster Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, the AFP reports. The release, on the eve of a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, included two prisoners held since the late 1970s who were convicted of murdering Israelis. One of them,... More »

Olmert Proposes New West Bank, Gaza Borders

Abbas rejects plan, which doesn't include contiguous Palestine

(Newser) - Ehud Olmert has presented Mahmoud Abbas with a plan to withdraw from most of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip once the Palestinian Authority retakes Gaza from Hamas. The centerpiece of the proposal is a new permanent border that would keep 7% of the West Bank in... More »

Obama, in Israel, Vows to Work for Peace as President

Notes weakness of current governments

(Newser) - Barack Obama touched down in Israel late today, promising work on peace negotiations “starting from the minute I’m sworn into office.” He said that while the “historic and special relationship” between the US and Israel “is not going to change,” an American president could... More »

Abbas Calls for Renewed Talks With Hamas

About-face signals frustration with Bush-led peace talks

(Newser) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered an unexpected olive branch to Hamas yesterday, reports the New York Times. Abbas, in control of only the West Bank since the Islamic militant group seized Gaza last year, said it was time for national unity talks aimed at forming a new government. The move... More »

Gaza Fighting Kills at Least 23

Reuters journalist among the dead in Israeli offensive

(Newser) - Three Israeli soldiers and at least 20 Palestinians were killed today as Israeli attacks rocked the Gaza Strip, the AP reports. Fadel Shana, a Reuters cameraman, was among the dead in fighting that undermined an Egyptian-negotiated peace effort and saw the highest death toll in a month. More »

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