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From son of Russian immigrants to one of Israel's most influential and controversial leaders

Houses (foreground) of the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim

Israel goes forward with plan for West Bank building project

Defying mounting international protests, Israel moved ahead Wednesday with plans for a West Bank settlement project near Jerusalem that has been widely condemned as diminishing prospects for a territorially viable Palestinian state.

Israel gives go-ahead for new West Bank settlement hours after historic UN vote on Palestinian statehood

Israel has approved the construction of 3,000 homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, a government official said, in what appeared to be a defiant response to the Palestinians' successful United Nations recognition bid.

Israel threatens sanctions on Palestinian Authority if it goes ahead with plans to seek UN 'non-member state' status

Israel has threatened to slap sanctions on the Palestinian Authority if the PLO goes ahead with plans to seek an upgrade in its UN status to “non-member state” but Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seems determined – not least because he knows that Israel now considers the Palestinian Authority too crucial to fail.

The Dead Sea: This aerial view photo shows sinkholes created by the drying of the Dead Sea, near Kibbutz Ein Gedi

Is the Dead Sea dying? Water loss continues at record rate

The Dead Sea is shrinking at a record rate, prompting calls for Israel and Jordan to stop fertilizer makers from siphoning so much of the water whose restorative powers have attracted visitors since biblical times.

French prosecutors question widow on Arafat death

The widow of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has been questioned by French lawyers investigating his death, it emerged yesterday.

Olmert was close to peace deal, says Abbas

In comments set to stir Israel's election campaign, the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, has said that he and former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert were "two months" away from a peace deal before Mr Olmert stepped down.

UK ready to take on Israel over fate of children clapped in irons

Report funded by Foreign Office details claims of routine abuse for Palestinian youths

Israel to build 850 homes in West Bank

Israel's plans to build hundreds of new homes in Jewish West Bank settlements have put Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at odds again with Washington and the Palestinians, without appeasing settlers furious over the government's plan to dismantle an illegally built enclave.

Israeli Jewish settlement bill defeated after Benjamin Netanyahu threatens to sack ministers who vote for it

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today used a threat to sack rebel ministers to prevent parliament bypassing the country' s Supreme Court and legalising Jewish settlement on privately owned Palestinian land.

Israeli envoy to meet Abbas

An Israeli envoy is to meet meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tonight to submit a letter regarding the possibility of substantive talks.

Leading article: No more excuses, Mr Netanyahu

It says much about Benjamin Netanyahu's world class political skills that no one outside his circle had advance knowledge of the bold stroke by which he brought the centrist opposition Kadima party into the Israeli government in the early hours of Tuesday.

Netanyahu considers calling early election

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, has signalled he might call an early election – a decision that could put Middle East peace efforts on hold for months and cast more uncertainty on Israel's deliberations over whether to attack Iran's nuclear programme.

Netanyahu delays planned eviction of Jewish settlers

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu overruled the planned eviction on Tuesday of Jewish settlers from a building in an occupied West Bank city that is flashpoint of tensions with Palestinians.

Shadid, centre, interviews residents of Embaba, Cairo, last February during the Arab Spring

Anthony Shadid: Writer hailed as one of the finest foreign correspondents of his generation

Anthony Shadid, a distinguished Middle Eastern correspondent who has died suddenly, was taken ill while returning from Syria after spending a week there without the knowledge of the authorities. He died of an asthma attack as he was being guided back to Turkey by smugglers after a New York Times undercover assignment.

Randa Jihad Adnan with a poster of her husband Khader Adnan, an Islamic Jihad leader on hunger strike

Khader Adnan: The West Bank's Bobby Sands

Khader Adnan's two-month hunger strike has made him a hero among Palestinians outraged by Israel's policy of arbitrary detention

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