Russia said today that it will support the United Nations envoy Kofi Annan's efforts to end the fighting in Syria. This could potentially be a break in the standoff over the violence in the country.
As hopes for diplomacy stall once again, the killing goes on in Syria, with a report this morning of dozens dead after an attack by pro-government militia in Homs. This latest violence comes after UN envoy Kofi Annan met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad twice over the weekend, but failed to reach a cease-fire agreement.
At least 25 are dead and dozens more are injured after a suicide attacker's bomb detonated in a crowded district in central Damascus, according to Syrian state television. In the second attack on the Syrian capital in two weeks, the attack was carried out on Friday morning in a busy section of the Midan neighborhood. State media blamed "terrorists." The attack preceded protests scheduled for later Friday. Demonstrators are calling for Arab League peace observers to turn over their mission to the United Nations.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across Syria on Friday in the largest demonstration in months, prompting more violent clashes between protesters and security forces. At least 10 people have been killed, according to reports. Dozens were injured when troops detonated "nail bombs" to disperse crowds in a Damascus suburb. Emboldened by the presence of Arab League peace monitors, activists hope to show their strength to the outside world.
Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank receive more foreign aid per person than any group of people in the world. The EU and its members alone give around a billion Euros a year to the Palestinian Authority. This is one of the main reasons that the Palestinian economy is growing. However, the unity deal recently signed between Fatah and Hamas could jeopardize all that. The BBC's West Bank correspondent, Jon Donnison reports.
Half-Palestinian, half-Israeli actor and leading non-violence activist Juliano Mer-Khamis was shot dead on Monday in the West Bank. Mer-Khanis was a leading figure in the arts and founded The Freedom Threatre in Jenin, a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank. The theater provides opportunities for Palestinian children to get involved in the arts.
Protests are under way in Ramallah, where protesters are demanding unity from their leaders. On Monday, the Palestinian Cabinet submitted its resignation and President Mahmoud Abbas asked rime Minister Salam Fayyad to form a new government. BBC reporter Jon Donnison, provides a view of what is happening on the ground in the strip of Palestinian territory.
Come Christmas, few modes of transportation are as iconic as the donkey. No nativity scene is complete without one — how else would Mary and Joseph gotten to the manger?
It turns out that the donkey is still the cheapest way to get around modern-day Bethlehem. Through decades of conflict, poverty and instability in the territory, the donkey is the only viable option.
The United States is backing away from peace talks on the Middle East that are in flux, thanks in part to Israel's refusal to back down on the issue of new Jewish settlements. Palestinians are saying that direct talks may be over for the time being, and the U.S., after high hopes for progress, is suffering a tarnished record as a negotiator. Has the cause for peace hit another dead end?
The already tenuous U.S.-led peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians are in danger of being torn asunder this morning. Last night, a ten month moratorium on building Jewish settlements in the West Bank expired, putting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the difficult position of deciding whether to continue with the talks. The BBC's West Bank correspondent Jon Donnison reports on the latest from Ramallah.
After two days of internal deliberations, Israel announced today that it will ease its land blockade of Gaza after three years. A spokesman for Israel said it will "liberalize the system under which civilian goods may enter the Gaza Strip, to expand materials for projects inside Gaza that are under international supervision."
The move comes after weeks of mounting international pressure on Israel since its commandos raided an aid flotilla headed to Gaza, killing nine activists on board. The easing of the blockade, however, only applies to land access to Gaza, not to the naval blockade that lead to Israel stopping the flotilla in international waters.
International pressure on Israel to lift a military blockade of Gaza has intensified in the weeks since Israeli commandos stopped a flotilla carrying aid in international waters, killing nine activists. Israel's security cabinet will meet today to discuss a possible easing of the blockade. Middle East Envoy, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said he is "confident" that Israel will partially lift the blockade. To tell us whether his optimism is warranted, the BBC's Jon Donnison reports from Gaza City.
The Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas, are warning people in Gaza and the West Bank to be wary of how they use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. They say Israel is using the personal information people often post to help recruit collaborators.
President Obama is due to bring both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to a meeting at the U.N. in New York today. He'll be looking for ways to restart Middle East peace negotiations. The president wants Israel to stop settlement building in the West Bank, the Palestinians say they won't negotiate until that happens, and the Israelis seem leery of ordering a hard stop. We talk with BBC's Jon Donnison from the West Bank town of Ramallah and hear some Palestinian voices.