Middle East News Thread

(Check comments daily for updates)

Palestinian flagIsrael evicts Palestinian activists from Gate of Sun camp

Israeli police evicted dozens of Palestinian activists early Sunday from a first-of-its-kind protest camp they set up in a West Bank area slated for Jewish settlement.

Police and activists confirmed that hundreds of Israeli police entered the campsite in the controversial E1 area on the outskirts of Jerusalem at around 2:30 am (00.030 GMT) on Sunday.

They quickly bundled around 200 Palestinian activists at the Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun in Arabic) camp into buses and drove them from the site.

Israeli PM vows to move ahead with E-1 settlement

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to move ahead with building a Jewish settlement in a strategic area of the West Bank, speaking just hours after Israeli troops dragged anti-settlement protesters from the site marked for construction

EU reportedly to offer new Middle East peace plan

The European Union is reportedly formulating a detailed peace plan to re-energize dormant Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

According to Israeli diplomatic sources cited by the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, the goal of the EU plan is to bring about the establishment of an independent Palestinian state  based on the 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem. The report intends to set a clear timetable for negotiations between the two sides in 2013.

The plan is reportedly to be presented in March, once a new Israeli government is in place following the January 22 elections. Sources said that the plan will include land swaps between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as well as a complete freeze on all Israeli construction in the settlements

*Jordan to host Israelis and Palestinians for talks

*Livni hints at joining Likud coalition (But only if Netanyahu-led government pursues peace).

*Netanyahu denies wasting money on Iran attack plan

*Netanyahu: Olmert’s words ‘bizarre and irresponsible’.

*Syrian warplanes bomb rebellious Damascus suburbs

*No end in sight for Syrian battleground

*A Desert Cold and Wet Multiplies the Misery of Syrian Refugees

*Syria to Brahimi: Your peace mission is useless

*Russia urges Syria transition, Switzerland to petition ICC for war crimes

*Egypt court grants Mubarak appeal, orders retrial

*National Salvation Front: current government unable to guarantee impartial parliamentary vote

*Education Ministry faces heat after deleting unveiled feminist from textbooks

*Military source: US arms deal continuing despite lawmakers’ objections

Egypt’s negotiations with the US to acquire F-16 aircraft and M1A1 Abrams tanks are proceeding smoothly, a senior Egyptian military source has said.

The source added that the negotiations are proceeding regardless of statements made by political opponents of US President Barack Obama, in what may have been an oblique reference to calls by US Congressman Vern Buchanan for the suspension of this deal over what he described as the “dictatorship of President Mohamed Morsy.”

*Iraq Sunni leader urges reforms to end protests

*Iran’s Revolutionary Guards hold exercises in Strait of Hormuz

*Iran confiscates over a ton of narcotics a day

*Marzouki: Tunisia becoming arms corridor for Malian jihadists

*Arson attack turns Tunisia prime tourism destination into ashes

*Rome condemns attack on Italy’s consul in eastern Libiya


*Israel avoids public spat with Obama over Chuck Hagel defense nomination

*Syrians need blankets not rockets


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