Netanyahu ally wants West Bank 'cultivation' now, not annexation

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top coalition partner wants Israel to shelve planned West Bank annexations and instead focus on improving conditions for Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the occupied territory, two cabinet ministers said on Friday. Centrist ex-general Benny Gantz and the conservative Netanyahu agreed to begin discussing annexations as of July 1, but the plan —

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Israel's Gantz said date for West Bank annexation talks 'not sacred': party source

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top coalition partner Benny Gantz said on Monday that a July 1 target date to begin discussing proposed annexation of occupied West Bank land was “not sacred”, a source in Gantz’s party said. The remarks, which the source said Gantz made during a meeting with U.S. Ambassador David Friedman and White House

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Pompeo says up to Israel to decide on annexation as Trump aides meet

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday it was up to Israel to decide whether to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to do despite international opposition. Senior aides to U.S. President Donald Trump met for a second day to discuss whether to give Netanyahu the

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Palestinians fear Israeli annexation could further limit Dead Sea access

DEAD SEA, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinians are worried their restricted access to the salty waters of the Dead Sea and its mineral-rich beaches could be cut further if Israel annexes land in the occupied West Bank. Israel, citing support from U.S. President Donald Trump, has announced plans to extend sovereignty over parts of the West Bank – including the

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Some Israeli settlers hit out at Trump-backed annexation plan

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s intention to annex parts of the occupied West Bank is being challenged by Jewish settlers who might have been expected to cheer the plan promoted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under a U.S. peace blueprint. A month before the proposed expansion of Israeli jurisdiction is due to be discussed by Netanyahu’s new unity government, some settler

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Palestinian and Israeli farmers pay the price as politicians bicker

JERICHO, West Bank/BE’ER TUVIA, Israel (Reuters) – Israel and the Palestinian Authority have opened a new front in their decades-long conflict by getting locked in a trade dispute – and farmers on both sides of the border are paying the price. Palestinian Mowafak Hashim, who farms fruit and vegetables in sun-baked Jericho in the occupied West Bank, says he supports

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Netanyahu formally indicted in court on corruption charges

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was formally indicted in court on Tuesday on corruption charges after he withdrew his request for parliamentary immunity from prosecution. Netanyahyu was in Washington for meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump ahead of the release of Trump’s long-delayed Israel-Palestinian peace plan when Israel’s attorney-general filed the charges in a Jerusalem court. The

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Israel bars Gaza's Christians from visiting Bethlehem and Jerusalem at Christmas

JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – Christians in the Gaza Strip will not be allowed to visit holy cities such as Bethlehem and Jerusalem to celebrate Christmas this year, Israeli authorities said on Thursday. Gazan Christians will be granted permits to travel abroad but none will be allowed to go to Israel and the occupied West Bank, home to many sites holy to

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In Bahrain, U.S. to launch economic part of Mideast peace plan amid skepticism

MANAMA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The first stage of President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan will be launched on Tuesday at a conference the White House touts as a bid to begin drumming up $50 billion in investment but which Palestinians deride as an “economy first” approach doomed to fail. The two-day international meeting in Bahrain, led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared

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