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

New building permits cast shadow over Middle East peace talks

Jewish settlers have permits to start building thousands of new homes within hours of the end of a 10-month construction freeze in the occupied West Bank, an Israeli watchdog revealed.

Middle East peace process: High-level talks but with low expectations

On the ground, there is little agreement over the way forward

Israeli and Palestinian leaders face critics of talks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned Friday from the resumption of Mideast negotiations in Washington to confront internal opposition to his peace moves, just as his Palestinian counterpart faced harsh criticism for agreeing to the talks at all.

Leading article: The blessing of low expectations

Another round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has begun in Washington. And there are plenty of reasons to fear that these negotiations will be as fruitless as all the others that have taken place over the past four decades.

Hamas claims reponsibility for West Bank attack

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas claimed responsibility today for a shooting attack yesterday in which two Israelis were wounded in the occupied West Bank.

Hamas claims drive-by attack ahead of summit

Hamas last night claimed responsibility for the killing of four Israelis in a West Bank drive-by shooting attack 24 hours before President Barack Obama hosts a dinner summit to start the first direct peace negotiations for 20 months.

Israelis killed in West Bank attack on eve of peace talks

Four Israelis were killed last night in a West Bank shooting presumed to be the work of Palestinian militants little more than 24 hours before President Barack Obama hosts a dinner summit to start the first direct peace negotiations for 20 months.

Lieberman: West Bank settlement must go on

Israel's hardline foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman yesterday urged an end to the partial halt to Jewish West Bank settlement building next month and cast doubt on the success of imminent direct peace negotiations.

Israel and Palestinians agree to direct peace talks

Israel and the Palestinians have accepted an invitation by the United States and other powers to restart direct talks on September 2 in a modest step toward forging a deal within 12 months to create a Palestinian state and peacefully end one of the world's most intractable conflicts.

Israel takes down wall near West Bank settlement

The Israeli military yesterday began removing part of an eight-year-old concrete wall which once protected an Israeli settlement from gunfire and shelling, citing sharply improved security as the reason.

US envoy falls short on West Bank mission

The White House's Mideast envoy failed to secure Palestinian agreement to go to direct talks with Israel yesterday, despite mounting pressure from the US to begin negotiations in September.

Israel is impeding Palestinian forces' training, says US

Israeli-caused delays to the transfer of weapons, radios, vehicles, helmets and other equipment are hampering American efforts to train Palestinian security forces in the West Bank, according to an official report by Washington's Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The lawyer who hopes Baroness Ashton can free her from Gaza

Student trapped by blockade wants EU visitor to pressure Israel

Exposed: The truth about Israel's land grab in the West Bank

As President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet, a report reveals 42 per cent of territory is controlled by settlers

Methodists launch boycott over West Bank

The Methodist Church today voted to boycott all products from Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories becoming the first major Christian denomination in Britain to officially adopt such a policy.

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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker