June 15, 2011
Posted: 1153 GMT
Israel's foreign minister Tuesday denied that an American-Israeli law student being held as a spy in Egypt worked for Israeli intelligence.
Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman says he has no idea why Ilan Grapel, 27, should be detained.
Avigdor Lieberman has no idea why Ilan Grapel, 27, should be detained, he told Israel Radio.
Posted by: IME Producer
May 17, 2011
Posted: 1220 GMT
Palestinian protesters infiltrate the Israel-Syria border on May 15 near the Druze village of Majdal Shams. Reportedly at least twelve were killed and several injured when Israeli soldiers opened fire on protesters AFP/ Getty Images.
Clashes between pro-Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces erupted along Israel's borders and occupied territories Sunday, leaving at least 12 dead on a Palestinian mourning day marking the birth of the Jewish state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried what he called "violent demonstrations" aimed at undermining Israel's existence.
"We hope for the peace and restfulness to return quickly, but no one should be mistaken - we are determined to defend our borders and our sovereignty," Netanyahu said.
The conflicts broke out on "Nakba Day." Nakba - Arabic for "catastrophe" - marks the period when more than 700,000 Arabs were displaced from their homes during fighting that followed the creation of Israel in 1948.
Two protesters were killed and 170 were wounded Sunday when fighting broke out in the Golan Heights area, the Syrian Arab News Agency said. And at least 10 were killed and 112 others were injured in clashes along the line of demarcation with Lebanon, Lebanon's state news agency reported. Read more...
Posted by: IME Producer
May 6, 2011
Posted: 840 GMT
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Will Osama bin Laden's death weaken extremists? Or does it make the region more dangerous, especially for Israel?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: No, it weakens extremists. When the world's number one terrorist, a man who's responsible for the death of thousands of innocent people is brought to justice and is eliminated, it tells terrorists everywhere there's a price and you will pay it and that's good.
VERJEE: Was President Obama right not to release the photo?
NETANYAHU: He probably has his reasons. I haven't seen the photos but I think it's immaterial (ph). I don't think that anyone really questions the fact that Osama bin Laden has been killed. I think that's a safe fact.
VERJEE: Who would you consider today, the world's most dangerous man, the biggest threat to the world's security after bin Laden?
NETANYAHU: The biggest threat is the possibility of the militant Islamic regime will acquire nuclear weapons or that nuclear weapons will acquire a militant Islamic regime. The first is called Iran. If the Iranian regime gets atomic bombs, it'll change history.
VERJEE: Do you think Ahmadinejad is the biggest threat?
NETANYAHU: I think he's a big threat. I think his boss, Khamenei is a bigger threat. Iran is (ph) the country and he's infused with fanaticism - he wants to get the whole lot – he calls us Israel, "the little Satan" because America is "the great Satan" and I hope that Europe and Britain aren't offended because they're a middle-sized Satan. So all these statements have to be eliminated and, if necessary, they're developing atomic bombs for that affair (ph).
VERJEE: So why haven't you taken action, a targeted action against Iran if you're convinced it needs to be eliminated?
NETANYAHU: Well, because one of the things that we've looked at is the leadership of the international community, led by the United States, to force that regime to stop its nuclear bombs program. I think the sanctions might work if the international community makes it clear that there's a credible military option if the sanctions don't work. And I think that the coupling of those two things - economic sanctions and a military option if sanctions don't work - that's the only thing that will make this regime stop. And I hope to see that determination (ph) in place.
VERJEE: There's a government now that represents all Palestinians in a unity government. Why won't you accept that?
Posted by: Kevin Flower
April 7, 2011
Posted: 806 GMT
"This is our happy-land," said Hamad Awidat standing next to a minefield in Majdal Shams, a village in the Israeli-controlled northern Golan Heights, as he points at the Syrian side of the disengagement line.
Nestled on a hillside with an Israeli Army base situated at its center this Druze village is a mere stone's throw away from Syrian-controlled land, but because of the minefields separating its residents from their families on the other side, it might as well be a world away.
"I would rather live under a Syrian dictatorship, than under an Israeli democracy," said the 26 year-old television producer who harbors no illusions about the economic benefits of living on what he calls the "wrong side of the minefield."
"Economically I can tell you the situation here is not perfect but very good. You can see, it's very good. We live in a nice situation. We are working, making money. It's nice. But because of the pressure of the political situation, we cannot enjoy much with our money. This is the problem," he said, taking another drag on his cigarette.
The political no man's land of people living in Majdal Shams and the villages of Buqata, Mas'ada and Ein Kuniya puts them in a unique situation in the Middle East, a region where the unusual, strange and sometimes downright bizarre meet on a daily basis.
The Druze are a secretive monotheistic religious sect that trace their origins to 11th Century Egypt. They number about a quarter of a million with most concentrated in Syria, Israel and Lebanon.
While many of the Druze living inside Israel today have Israeli nationality and are staunchly loyal to the Jewish State, their counterparts in the northern Golan rejected Israeli nationality in 1981 and have remained loyal to Syria until this day.
Posted by: Dan Morgan
April 5, 2011
Posted: 1942 GMT
Palestinian youths mourn the death of Arab-Jewish actor and director Juliano Mer-Khamis (poster) outside The Freedom Theatre in Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank
Thousands gathered in the West Bank Tuesday in memorials for noted Israeli Palestinian actor, director, and political activist Juliano Mer-Khamis.
Mer-Khamis, 53, was gunned down Monday outside the Freedom Theatre in Jenin refugee camp – an institution he helped found to introduce Palestinian children to the performing arts.
His death at the hands of an unknown masked gunman, sent shock waves through Jenin and the artistic community in both the West Bank and Israel where his work in local theatre was well-known.
Born to an Israeli-Jewish mother and a Palestinian Christian father, Mer-Khamis believed theatre and music could be used to empower Palestinian children to fight against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
The theatre opened its doors in 1988 in the middle of the first Palestinian intifada and amidst several closures, attacks, and robberies managed to stay in operation teaching thousands of Palestinians children.
In a 2008 video Mer-Khamis described the Freedom Theatre project as “a venue to join the Palestinian people for their struggle for their liberation”
“We believe that the third intifada, the coming intifada should be a cultural intifada with theatre, music, cameras and magazines.” he said.
“We hope this theatre will generate a political artist movement of artists who will raise their voice against women discrimination, against children discrimination, against violence, unnecessary violence against civilians, to bring back a just cause – we are not terrorists. To me freedom is The Freedom Theatre"
Palestinian police say they have arrested several men in connection with the shooting but have not named a suspect.
The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was quick to condemn Mer-Khamis’s death saying “This despicable crime will not be tolerated under any circumstances; it constitutes a severe violation of our principles and values and goes against our peoples’ morals and beliefs in co-existence.”
Mer-Khamis is survived by his wife and two children from a previous marriage.
In a testimonial to their former mentor a group of current Freedom Theatre students wrote “your children are going to stay, following your path on the way to the freedom battle, and we will go on with your revolution’s promise, the Jasmine revolution.”
Posted by: Kareem Khadder
March 29, 2011
Posted: 1643 GMT
In the preceding post we wrote about the controversy over the Facebook group page that called for a third Palestinian intifada. Now Facebook has pulled down the page in question. For more read our story here.
Posted by: Kevin Flower
March 28, 2011
Posted: 1724 GMT
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at a company event November 15, 2010 (Getty)
After publicly calling for the removal of a Facebook page it said promoted "wild incitement," the Israeli government says it is now satisfied that the social media giant is effectively monitoring the "Third Palestinian Intifada" group page for compliance with its terms of service.
Gal Ilan, a spokesman for Israel's Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, told CNN that following a letter of complaint sent last week to Facebook founder and chairman Mark Zuckerberg by Minister Yuli Edelstein, the internet company had done a better job at policing and removing content that in some instances promoted "the killing of Israelis and Jews and the 'liberating' of Jerusalem and of Palestine through acts of violence."
In that letter Edelstein wrote:
"As Facebook's CEO and founder you are obviously aware of the site's great potential to rally the masses around good causes, and we are all thankful for that. However, such potential comes hand in hand with the ability to cause great harm such as in the case of the wild incitement...I turn to you with the request that you order the immediate removal of this Facebook page. I write to you not only in my capacity as Israel's Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs who is charged with monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, but as someone who believes in the values of free speech, and knows that there is a difference between freedom of expression and incitement. "
Posted by: Kevin Flower
March 26, 2011
Posted: 900 GMT
Palestinian relatives of Dirar Abu Sisi attend a Gaza demonstration calling for his release from an Israeli jail on Tuesday.
Jerusalem (CNN) - In the latest chapter of an unfolding story that reads like a spy thriller, a Palestinian engineer who was allegedly abducted by Israeli intelligence services in the Ukraine over a month ago will be kept in custody for at least another week after an Israeli court ruling.
After being held for over 30 days in an Israeli jail under mysterious circumstances, Dirar Abu Sisi's incarceration will last at least one more week after a judge in a Petach Tikvah court Thursday granted an Israeli government request to keep Abu Sisi behind bars in order for the state to produce evidence against him.
"This request means that Israel does not have, even after 34 days of interrogation, sufficient evidence to indict Dirar Abu Sisi with any offense under Israeli law and under these circumstances we argue that he should be released, " Abu Sisi's attorney Smadar Ben-Natan told CNN following his court appearance.
Read the rest here
Posted by: Dan Morgan, Kareem Khadder
March 24, 2011
Posted: 1054 GMT
A woman was killed and more than 50 other people were wounded in a blast near Jerusalem's central bus station, as the evening rush hour began Wednesday, authorities said.
Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the terrorist attack as "cowardly."
The explosion took place in a crowded area with "a lot of civilians and two buses," said Yonatan Yagadovsky, a spokesman for Israel's emergency services.
"Three to four are in critical condition. The rest of the casualties are moderately to lightly injured," he said before the woman's death was announced. The injuries came from both the force of the blast and from flying shrapnel, he said.
Wednesday's explosion was caused by a medium-sized device in a bag that had been left near the bus station, Israeli police and medical officials said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the terrorist attack.
David Horovitz, the editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, said it was odd for an unattended bag to go unnoticed in security-conscious Israel.
All the people hurt in the blast were located between the bus station and a bus, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Read more...
Posted by: IME Producer
March 22, 2011
Posted: 652 GMT
Following in the footsteps of several other Republicans considering a presidential bid, Sarah Palin was in Jerusalem Monday to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and take in some local sight-seeing. Media was not high on her list of priorities so we were only able to catch up with her at a hastily arranged photo-op at the Western Wall. No public word from her camp about this Telegraph report that says a visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem was aborted at the last-minute for reasons unknown.
Filed under: General Israel Jerusalem Netanyahu Video
This blog has now been archived and commenting has been switched off. Visit the Inside the Middle East site for news, views and video from across the region.
Read more about CNN's special reports policy