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Is Hamas robbing the poor?

GAZA CITY, Gaza — On a hot day in early April, men and school-age boys dig for stones and pieces of brick in the crumbling ruins of the Erez Industrial Zone. This former settlement housed Israeli and Palestinian textile, clothing and furniture factories that employed 4,000 Gazans before Israel’s 2005 unilateral disengagement. The raw materials now scavenged from the Erez rubble are largely forbidden under the Israeli blockade, yet desperately needed for construction projects across Gaza.

A who's who of corrupt Israeli officials

JERUSALEM — The heads of all the crime families in New York used to get together every Wednesday night at the Ravenite Social Club on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. If you were looking for an Israeli parallel, you could do worse than the gym I work out at.

Why Israeli gays opt for US surrogate births

TEL AVIV, Israel — At an age when most people are welcoming their first grandchildren into the world, Avishay Greenfield, 59, gets little sleep as a father of twin babies.

Gaza smugglers — serving the community

RAFAH, Gaza — On a peaceful day in war-ravaged Rafah, seven-year-old Yousef burst into his home with blood gushing from his left eye. A playmate had lobbed a small rock, which struck Yousef directly in his pupil. A doctor at a local clinic stopped the bleeding, but claimed there was nothing more he could do. Mother and father then decided to take matters into their own hands.

Opinion: The war Israelis and Palestinians are really planning

JERUSALEM — There’s an old Arab aphorism: “A man with a plan takes action; a man with two plans gets confused.” Apply that to the Israelis and to the Palestinians, and the nonsensical sequence of recent events in the Middle East starts to fall into a comprehensible pattern. It’s not a pleasant pattern, because it leads to war. First, before we get to the fireworks, let’s recap all the nonsense.

Opinion: Israel takes it to the limit one more time

LONDON, U.K. — Britain's Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, was invited Tuesday to a ceremony marking the re-opening of Israel's embassy in London following extensive renovations. Instead, he went to the House of Commons and announced the British government was expelling an Israeli diplomat, reported to be Mossad's top man in Britain. The British papers have universally described the incident as marking the lowest point of relations between the two countries in 25 years. The back story:

Chatter: What we're hearing

Need to know: It's been a week of back and forth between U.S. and Israeli officials. This morning Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Israel's moves to reduce tension "useful and productive." (New York Times)

Opinion: Lines in the sand matter in the Middle East

BOSTON — President Obama is once again eye-ball-to-eye-ball with Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu over Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. Obama lost the last one when he called for a complete settlement freeze soon after he was elected. Netanyahu ignored him, and there were no consequences. At least, not for Netanyahu’s government.

Watching the Palestinian "Day of Rage" is like watching a very bad sequel

I’ve seen this movie before. It’s called “Day of Rage.” And it’s not worth the price of admission. The images of what may be yet another “intifada” in East Jerusalem are playing out on CNN and the BBC right now as hundreds of Palestinians take to the street to protest what appears to be yet another collapse in talks aimed at trying to breathe life back into the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Rachel Corrie case stirs fresh pain and hope

HAIFA, Israel — Shortly before Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer on March 16, 2003, she said in a video interview that she marveled at Palestinians’ ability to “hold onto their humanity as much as they have.”
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