News A Palestinian man stands amid tear gas smoke during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the village of Beit Furik, near the West Bank city of Nablus

Hamas Islamists governing Gaza reject the account as 'silly fabrications', saying it was an attempt to justify Israeli military strikes in the territory

Police chiefs back water cannon use

Water cannon would be valuable to police forces across England and Wales in a bid to avoid a return of last summer's rioting, a review said today.

Aman surveys the damage after an air strike in Ashdod, Israel

Israeli air strikes kill five Palestinians

Israeli air strikes today killed five Palestinians, including a father and his daughter, as Gaza-based militants fired dozens of rockets into Israel’s south for a fourth consecutive day.

Bombs in the Gaza Strip killed a 12-year-old boy and two other Palestinians yesterday

Israeli air strikes kill 12-year-old boy in Gaza

Israeli air strikes killed a 12-year-old boy and two other Palestinians in the Gaza Strip today as militants fired fresh volleys of rockets at southern Israel on the third day of violence triggered by the killing of a militant leader.

Toll from Israel Gaza strikes now 14 militants

The worst exchange of strikes between Israel and the Gaza Strip so far this year entered its second day today, as Israeli aircraft carried out raids that have so far killed 14 militants according to a Palestinian count, and militants responded with nearly 100 rockets.

Israeli airstrike kills top militant commander in Gaza

An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed the commander of the militant group behind the abduction of Gilad Schalit, an Israeli soldier who was held captive for more than five years and freed in a prisoner swap for more than 1,000 Palestinians.

Children hone their skills at the Gaza Music School, watched by staff

The children finding peace in the beauty of music in war-torn Gaza

It's late afternoon and in a room darkening due to an all-too-familiar power cut, Shaden Shabwan, 10, plays a Czech folk tune on a Yamaha piano as her teacher wills her to avoid mistakes.

Evgeny Lebedev (left) with Saed Ibrahim Abdullah, a 55-year-old unemployed fisherman, and his wife, and (right) Ismail Haniyeh

Rebel without a state: Evgeny Lebedev meets Ismail Haniyeh, Prime Minister of Gaza

As prime minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh is one of the world's most controversial politicians. He talks to Evgeny Lebedev about the Arab Spring, suicide bombing, the Israeli blockade - and the elusive prospect of peace.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on board the Mavi Marmara in Istanbul yesterday

Gaza PM stirs tension by boarding blockade ship

Palestinians plan diplomatic blitz to increase pressure on Israel over peace talks

Tributes paid to Red Cross worker

Tributes were paid today to a "committed" Red Cross worker who died after being attacked on Christmas Day while on holiday in Sri Lanka.

Out Of It, By Selma Dabbagh, Bloomsbury £12.99

The Palestinian conflict is a perennially fashionable cause, endlessly dissected by intellectuals. The turmoil rolls on with no resolution in prospect, creating an ever-widening diaspora of refugees. This is a tale of a fictional family: five Mujaheds, all bound up in the tragedy.

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal leads the Christmas midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

Hundreds pack Bethlehem church for Christmas Mass

Hundreds of Christians, defying lashing rain and wind, filled the ancient Bethlehem church that marks Jesus's traditional birthplace for Christmas Day Mass today.

Crowds gather in Manger Square, next to the Church of the Nativity, as people ready to celebrate Christmas eve in the West Bank city of Bethlehem

Crowds return to enjoy merry Christmas in Bethlehem

Tens of thousands of tourists and Christian pilgrims packed the West Bank town of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations Saturday, bringing warm holiday cheer to the traditional birthplace of Jesus on a raw, breezy and rainy night.

Oh little town: The Church of the Nativity

Journey to the Source: Bethlehem

Tony Wheeler follows the 14-point star to a place of pilgrimage – and dispute

Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters jam Khatiba Square in Gaza City yesterday

Emboldened Hamas renews call for the end of Israel

Gaza rulers stage show of strength, hailing Arab Spring and vowing to liberate 'all of Palestine'

Hamas 'feared Shalit would die before deal'

Hamas, the Palestinian group which held the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, raced to reach a deal for his freedom after he went on hunger strike, an Israeli newspaper claimed.

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