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

Robert Fisk: An American bribe that stinks of appeasement

In any other country, the current American bribe to Israel, and the latter's reluctance to accept it, in return for even a temporary end to the theft of somebody else's property would be regarded as preposterous. Three billion dollars' worth of fighter bombers in return for a temporary freeze in West Bank colonisation for a mere 90 days? Not including East Jerusalem – so goodbye to the last chance of the east of the holy city for a Palestinian capital – and, if Benjamin Netanyahu so wishes, a rip-roaring continuation of settlement on Arab land. In the ordinary sane world in which we think we live, there is only one word for Barack Obama's offer: appeasement. Usually, our lords and masters use that word with disdain and disgust.

Abbas presses UN over West Bank settlements

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, has asked for a UN Security Council meeting to discuss the building of Jewish settlements on occupied land.

A rabbi struggles to protect his Palestinian flock

A vandalised car, stolen ladders, irate police. It's all in a day's work for one unlikely hero. Donald Macintyre reports

Israelis 'building 600 new homes in West Bank'

Work has begun on up to 600 new homes in West Bank settlements since Israel lifted its curb on such construction, a senior settler official said.

Google to bring Dead Sea Scrolls to modern world

The 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls, some of the oldest, historically richest and most fragile religious texts in the world, are to be made available to more than a billion internet users thanks to a plan to put digitised images of the manuscripts online from next year.

A child's-eye view of an ancient land

Scrolling through Jordan from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea brings Classical civilisation to life for young travellers – with plenty of thrills on the way

Anger at West Bank protester's sentence

The British Foreign Office last night expressed concern over a one-year prison sentence handed down by a military court to Abdallah Abu Rahma, a leader of unarmed anti-occupation protests in the West Bank.

Israeli settlers 'burnt down West Bank mosque'

Palestinians yesterday accused Jewish settlers of setting fire to a West Bank mosque and scrawling "revenge" in Hebrew on its walls, a provocative move that will heighten tensions amid faltering peace talks.

Palestinian worker killed at barrier

Israeli police shot and killed a building worker from the West Bank village of Sair yesterday, after he used a rope to scale the "separation barrier" meant to keep Palestinians from entering Israel clandestinely.

Ayed Morrar: The West Bank's reluctant movie star

The activist's Palestinian protest movement is the focus of a new documentary film. Donald Macintyre meets him

Palestinians give US mission a week to save peace talks as settlement building resumes

A fresh US-led diplomatic effort was under way yesterday to rescue Israeli-Palestinian negotiations as construction resumed in some Jewish West Bank settlements after Israel's decision to end a 10-month moratorium on building. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas effectively gave US mediators at least a week to resolve the crisis by confirming that he would hold a series of consultations, culminating in an Arab League meeting called for next Monday, before deciding whether to pull out of the negotiations.

Songs of praise as the diggers and cement mixers start up again

Women raised their arms aloft as they swayed to pan pipe music in the setting sun, Christian pilgrims from Finland sang and banged on their tambourines, while supporters released thousands of blue and white balloons, the colours of Israel's flag, into the sky.

Netanyahu urges Jewish settlers not to provoke collapse of peace talks

Israeli premier resists US pressure while preparing right wing for compromise. Donald Macintyre reports from Jerusalem

Middle East peace push faces settlement deadline

A 10-month freeze on new construction in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank expires today, imperilling Middle East peace talks less than a month after their launch by US President Barack Obama.

How far away is a Middle East peace deal? It could be as little as 13 miles

With Jewish settlements the biggest barrier to any agreement, Catrina Stewart visits Ariel, deep inside the occupied West Bank
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One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
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Smash hit go under the hammer

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A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
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Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
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