TIME Palestine

Palestinians Set Deadline for Israeli Occupation

Switzerland Palestinians Geneva Convention
Swiss Ambassador and chairman Paul Fivat speaks to the media during a press conference following the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec. 17, 2014. Salvatore Di Nolfi—‚AP

The resolution also welcomes the idea of holding an international conference to launch negotiations on reaching a peace agreement

(UNITED NATIONS) — Israel suffered back-to-back diplomatic setbacks in Europe on Wednesday, while the Palestinians at the United Nations set a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from lands captured nearly 50 years ago by the end of 2017.

In Geneva, the international community delivered a stinging rebuke to Israel’s settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, saying the practice violates Israel’s responsibilities as an occupying power.

The declaration adopted by the conference of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which governs the rules of war and military occupation, emphasized a prohibition on colonizing occupied land and insisted that international humanitarian law be obeyed in areas affected by the conflict between Israel and Palestinians. It called for “all serious violations” to be investigated and those responsible for breaches to be brought to justice.

“This is a signal and we can hope that words count,” said Swiss ambassador Paul Fivat, who chaired the one-day meeting. The U.S. and Israel did not take part.

Israel’s U.N. Mission blasted the gathering, saying: “It confers legitimacy on terrorist organizations and dictatorial regimes wherever they are, while condemning a democratic country fighting terrorism in accordance with international law.”

In Luxembourg, meanwhile, a European Union court ordered the Palestinian group Hamas removed from the EU terrorist list for procedural reasons but said the 28-nation bloc can maintain asset freezes against Hamas members for now.

The Islamic militant group, which calls for the destruction of Israel, hailed the decision, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed outrage.

“It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil 6 million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing,” Netanyahu said, adding that Israel would continue to defend itself “against the forces of terror and tyranny and hypocrisy.”

The EU court ruled that the terrorist listing of Hamas was based on press and Internet reports and not on “acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities.”

The EU, which has two months to appeal, was considering its next step.

In New York, an Arab-backed draft resolution on ending Israel’s occupation of lands captured in 1967 was submitted Wednesday evening to the U.N. Security Council for a possible vote, Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said.

However, Mansour said the Arab-backed resolution does not close the door on further negotiations on the issue, including with the United States, “if they are ready and willing.” The U.S., as a permanent council member, often has vetoed measures targeting Israel in the past.

And Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki earlier said the actual vote might be put off, suggesting a compromise is in the works to avoid a clash in the council.

The draft, sponsored by Jordan on behalf of the Palestinians, sets the end of 2017 as a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from war-won lands the Palestinians are seeking for a state. The deadline has been pushed back from that of November 2016 in the earlier draft.

Israel fiercely opposes any suggestions that the Security Council can set a framework for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which broke down again in the spring after the two sides couldn’t agree on the ground rules.

The resolution also welcomes the idea of holding an international conference to launch negotiations on reaching a peace agreement.

The United States was scrambling Wednesday to avert a showdown at the Security Council. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was talking to European and Arab foreign ministers about a potential meeting this weekend in the Mideast, possibly with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Obama administration is studying the EU’s court decision but the U.S. continues to consider Hamas as a terrorist organization.

The U.S. hasn’t said how it would respond to the Jordanian resolution, but Kerry took a hard line in meetings this week in Europe against any effort that could interfere with Israel’s elections in mid-March.

“We want to find the most constructive way of doing something that therefore will not have unintended consequences, but also can stem the violence,” Kerry told reporters in London on Tuesday. He said the situation marks “a particularly sensitive moment” given rising tensions between Israel and Palestinians.

Israel did one win diplomatic engagement in Europe on Wednesday, this one at the European Parliament. The lawmakers meeting in Strasbourg, France, stopped short of pushing for an outright recognition of a Palestinian state, urging renewed peace talks instead.

Legislators voted 498-88 in favor of a compromise resolution supporting “in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood” — but as part of a two-state solution with Israel. The resolution supports two states on the basis of 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both.

__

Dahlburg reported from Brussels. Associated Press writers John Heilprin reported from Geneva, Mohammed Daraghmen in Ramallah, West Bank; Peter Enav in Jerusalem; Fares Akram in Gaza City, Gaza Strip; Angela Charlton in Paris; Cara Anna at the United Nations and Lara Jakes in Washington contributed to this report.

TIME

The Most Powerful Protest Photos of 2014

There wasn't a corner of the planet untouched by protest this year, from the tear-gassed streets of Ferguson to the student camps of Hong Kong

In 2011, TIME named the Protester as the Person of the Year, in recognition of the twin people-power earthquakes of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. TIME named the Ebola Fighters as the 2014 Person of the Year, but you could have forgiven if we went back to the Protester. There wasn’t a corner of the planet untouched by protest this year, from the tear-gassed streets of Ferguson, Missouri, to the squares of Mexico City, to the impromptu student camps of Hong Kong. Many of the protests were remarkably peaceful, like Occupy Hong Kong, which was galvanized by public anger over the overreaction of the city’s police. Others turned bloody, like the Euromaidan protests in Kiev, Ukraine, which eventually brought down the government of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, in turn triggering a war that led to the annexation of Crimea by Russia, the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in May and the deaths of thousands of Ukrainians.

Not every protest was as effective as those that began the year in the cold of Kiev. Hong Kongers still don’t have full democratic rights, gay rights are on the retreat in much of east Africa and every day seems to bring news of another questionable police killing in the U.S. But the wave of social action that ended 2014 is unlikely to crest in 2015. The ubiquity of camera phones means no shortage of iconic photographs and videos from any protest, whether in Lima or Los Angeles, and social media gives everyone the means to broadcast. What follows are some of the most powerful images from the global streets in 2014.

TIME West Bank

Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian in West Bank

The man has been identified as 20-year-old Mahmoud Abdalla

(JERUSALEM) — Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man during an arrest operation Tuesday in the West Bank, the military said.

It said Palestinians in the refugee camp of Qalandiya, north of Jerusalem, began throwing stones and explosive charges at soldiers during the operation and that they responded with live fire, killing one man, and wounding another.

Palestinian medical officials identified the dead man as 20-year-old Mahmoud Abdalla.

Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have been high in recent months, mostly over a disputed holy site in Jerusalem.

But violence in the West Bank has been at a low level. Israeli security officials ascribe the relative calm to attempts by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to keep the lid on violence as he pushes for a U.N. resolution on Israeli occupation.

Some Palestinian officials have suggested that Abbas will push for the vote on a draft resolution as early as this week that would set a November 2016 deadline for ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

The Palestinian resolution — which is almost sure to be vetoed by the United States — has prompted a diplomatic push by France that still hasn’t been formally introduced.

The French draft speaks of the 1967 Mideast borders as the basis for dividing the land, which President Barack Obama has publicly backed, but it doesn’t include key Israeli and U.S. conditions, such as Palestinianrecognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

TIME portfolio

The Best Pictures of the Week: Dec. 5 – Dec. 12

From the ongoing protests against police brutality in the U.S. and the dismantling of the main pro-democracy protest camp in Hong Kong to the British royal couple’s first New York visit and Malala Yousafzai receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

TIME Israel

This New Political Partnership Could Shake Up Israel’s Election

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Israeli army's training base complex near the southern city of Beersheba
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Israeli army's training base complex near the southern city of Beershebaon Dec. 10, 2014. Baz Ratner—Reuters

The centrist Hatnuah party's alliance with the Labor Party could be a serious rival to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party in next year's elections

Israel’s former justice minister is expected to join her centrist party with the country’s center-left opposition, in a move that could significantly raise the stakes in the upcoming March election.

Tzipi Livni, who heads the centrist Hatnuah party, was expected to announce a unity deal with the Labor Party in a press conference Wednesday, Reuters reports.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Livni from his cabinet last week amid growing rifts in his coalition and called for early general elections in a bid to renew his mandate in office. Polls have found his center-right Likud party likely to come away with the most votes in the general election set for March 17.

But an alliance between Livni’s Hatnuah party and the larger Labor Party, headed by opposition leader Isaac Herzog, could reshape the electoral outlook. Recent polls suggest that the centrist alliance could take more parliamentary seats than Likud.

Still, Netanyahu could remain prime minister by forming a coalition with right-leaning parties in parliament. His party was expected to decide Wednesday whether to approve Netanyahu’s proposal to move primary elections to Dec. 31 from Jan.6, a move that has drawn criticism from some party members who say it puts other candidates for party leadership — such as former minister Gideon Sa’ar—at a disadvantage.

[Reuters]

TIME Ireland

The Irish Parliament Looks Set to Recognize a Palestinian State

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Irish Parliament in Dublin John Harper—Getty Images

Ireland would be joining the U.K., France, Spain and other countries in extending symbolic recognition

The Irish government accepted a motion Tuesday calling for the symbolic recognition of Palestinian statehood “on the basis of the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital, as established in U.N. resolutions.”

On Wednesday, members of the lower house of the Oireachtas, or Irish Parliament, will continue debating the nonbinding bill, which is being put forward by the opposition, Reuters reports. A government spokesman said it would not oppose the motion.

“Recognizing the independent state of Palestine would be a symbolically important expression of Ireland’s support for the people of Palestine’s right to self determination,” said member of Parliament Dominic Hannigan, according to the Irish Examiner.

The Irish upper house passed a similar resolution in October.

Spain, the U.K. and France, have also passed symbolic votes of recognition, however some European countries have gone a step further and officially recognize a Palestinian state, with Sweden recently becoming the largest European nation to do so.

TIME Republican

Republican Party Leaders Offered Free Trip to Israel Next Year

Reince Priebus
Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus addresses an audience at the National Association of Black Journalists convention, Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Boston. Steven Senne—AP

Several potential Republican Presidential candidates have already taken advantage of the trips

Members of the Republican National Committee will be treated early next year to a weeklong all-expenses-paid trip to Israel, according to an email from chairman Reince Priebus obtained by TIME.

The 168 members of the committee, three from each state, district, and territory, have been invited to visit the country from Jan. 31–Feb.8, 2015, paid for by conservative political operative David Lane’s American Renewal Project and the American Family Association. The meeting follows January’s winter meeting of the party committee in Coronado, Calif., where Priebus is set to be resoundingly re-elected to his post.

According to Priebus’ email, the trip is not an RNC event, but is reserved exclusively and is being coordinated by the RNC for members and their guests.

An RNC spokesperson said the trip was not officially a committee trip, but is a “spiritual, historic journey through Israel” organized by the groups in concert with RNC faith director Chad Connelly. According to the official, who declined to be named, about 60 members RSVPd to attend, or 36% of the full committee.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a likely Republican presidential candidate, joined Lane on a trip to Israel in 2013. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is considering a second presidential campaign in 2016, joined Lane with other Christian pastors on a tour of Poland and England this year, retracing the steps of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, another possible 2016 Republican candidate, has also visited Israel with Lane.

The American Renewal Project, a conservative non-profit focused on getting Christians more involved in American politics, has recently been working to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for public office in 2016,

Here is a look at the full invitation, which was sent out on Nov. 21.

Dear RNC Members,

As previously announced, the RNC Members have been invited in their personal capacity, to participate on a trip to Israel in early 2015. This incredible opportunity is made possible through the generosity of David Lane’s American Renewal Project and the American Family Association. The trip to Israel will take place January 31 – February 8, 2015.

For RNC Members, the trip includes economy class roundtrip airfare from JFK International Airport to Israel, all meals, accommodations (based on double occupancy per room), tours, and admissions to museums and historic sites. RNC members are permitted to bring their spouse or a guest; however the spouse/guest will have to pay their way entirely including all airfare, hotels and meals. The approximate cost for the guest will be worked out once the agenda is finalized. RNC Members (and guests) will be responsible for their flight from their home airport to New York. The group will travel together from New York to Israel. Upgrades for the flight and single hotel room assignments are available for additional costs.

If you are interested in participating in the trip to Israel, please RSVP to Katie Hrkman in Member Services at ————- by Friday, November 28th.

Once we receive notice from all interested Members, we will notify those who have been selected so that travel arrangements and other details can be arranged.

Please note that although this is a trip for RNC Members and guests, this trip is not an RNC event.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Member Services at ————–.

Reince

TIME Syria

Syria Claims Israel Made Two Air Strikes Near Damascus

SYRIA-SKYLINE-DAMASCUS
The minarets of mosques and the steeples of churches are seen towering above rooftops in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on June 26, 2013 Louai Beshara—AFP/Getty Images

Munitions warehouse could have been the target according to U.K.-based observer group

Syria accused Israel of carrying out two air strikes near its capital Damascus on Sunday.

The Syrian army made a statement on state television claiming that Israeli aircraft dropped bombs close to Damascus airport as well as on the nearby suburb of al-Dimas, the Associated Press reports.

The Israeli military has not admitted to the strikes and said on Sunday it would not rely on “foreign reports.”

At least 10 explosions were heard in the area, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in London. The organization also said an airport warehouse apparently targeted by bombs contained weapons, but it is not clear whether the weapons belong to the Syrian army or to militant group Hizballah.

Israel has launched several air strikes in Syria since the civil war began there in 2011, specifically targeted at weapons it believes are being supplied to Hizballah.

TIME Israel

Israeli Lawmakers Approve Dissolving Parliament

(JERUSALEM) — Israeli lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a motion on Wednesday to dissolve the Knesset in a preliminary vote, paving the way for early elections after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to iron out differences with coalition partners.

Israel’s government, which took office in early 2013, has been riven by divisions from the beginning over major issues facing the country. On Tuesday, Netanyahu fired two rebellious Cabinet ministers and called for elections, plunging the country into a bitter campaign set to culminate in polls early next year.

Wednesday’s vote in the 120-member Knesset, which passed 84-0 with one legislator abstaining, was an initial step. Further votes are expected next week that will officially disband the parliament and usher in new polls.

If the upcoming parliamentary votes pass as expected, the current legislature will have served for one of the shortest periods in the country’s history.

The elections are expected to be held on March 17 — two years ahead of schedule — and early polls show Netanyahu’s Likud party leading with about 22 seats.

“The coming elections are about one question, who will lead the government amid the huge challenges that Israel faces?” Netanyahu told a Likud party meeting. “The Likud is the only party that should be considered.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said his center-left Labor party would “do everything to bring change and hope to Israel.” Labor, a traditional force in Israeli politics that has lost support in recent years, is poised to pull in 13 seats, according to the early polls.

The polls were conducted separately for Israeli Channel 2 and Channel 10 on Tuesday. The Channel 10 poll surveyed 545 people and had a margin of error of 4.3 percent. The Channel 2 poll asked 500 people and had an approximate margin of error of 3.4 percent.

Netanyahu’s fractious center-right Cabinet has been bickering for weeks over the budget, a housing tax break and a bill that would enshrine into law Israel’s status as a Jewish state. Rising violence between Palestinians and Israelis has also been an issue, as have the government’s Jewish settlement policies in the West Bank.

The friction came to a head on Tuesday with the dismissal of Netanyahu’s finance minister, Yair Lapid, a major coalition partner, and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. Netanyahu accused the two of levelling unwarranted criticism at him and of orchestrating a “putsch.”

The coalition includes Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid, which rose to power with promises of economic relief for Israel’s middle class; Livni’s Hatnuah, which is focused on reaching peace with the Palestinians; Jewish Home, a hard-line party linked to the West Bank settler movement; and Yisrael Beitenu, a nationalist party that seeks to redraw Israel’s borders to rid the country of many Arab citizens.

Netanyahu’s own Likud party is divided between more-centrist old timers and a young guard of hard-line ideologues.

The elections would come at a time of growing violence between Palestinians and Israelis and deepening despair over the prospects for peace. Israelis are also concerned about a rising cost of living and a sagging economy.

TIME

Morning Must Reads: December 3

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Woman Sues Bill Cosby Alleging Child Sexual Abuse

A southern California woman sued Bill Cosby on Tuesday, becoming the latest of more than a dozen women to allege sexual assault, claiming the comedian molested her around 1974 when she was 15 in a bedroom at the Playboy Mansion

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Israeli Leader Looks to Reboot

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s move to sack two ministers and call for elections cemented his interest in establishing a right-wing government

Transgender Teen Awarded $75,000

A court in Maine awarded the family of a transgender teenager $75,000 in a lawsuit against a school district that forced the student to use a staff restroom rather than one for pupils. The district was told to let students use restrooms “consistent with their gender identity”

National Guard Pulls Back From Ferguson

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a National Guard drawdown in Ferguson as protests continue to subside in the St. Louis suburb, roughly a week after boosting security following the announcement that a grand jury would not indict police officer Darren Wilson

China Tumbles in Annual Corruption Index

China fell 20 spots in this year’s corruption rankings, despite President Xi Jinping’s massive campaign to weed out graft that has disciplined more than 60,000 government officials. Denmark held onto first place as the country seen as least corrupt

Walking Dead Spinoff Casts First 2 Actors

The Walking Dead companion series has cast its first two victims, er, actors: British actor Frank Dillane and Alycia Debnam Care. The young actors will play the kids of one of the show’s main characters, a female guidance counselor who is not yet cast

Obama Renews Calls for $6 Billion Ebola Fund

U.S. President Barack Obama renewed his call for Congress to approve more than $6 billion in funding to help tackle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. “If we want other countries to keep stepping up, we will have to continue to lead the way,” said Obama

Decision in Chokehold Case Imminent

A decision is expected soon on whether or not to indict New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo over the death of Staten Island man Eric Garner. Garner died in July after being put into what appeared to be a banned chokehold by Pantaleo

Rolling Stones Sax Player Bobby Keys Dies at 70

Bobby Keys, the saxophone player who performed with the Rolling Stones on many of their biggest hits, along with other acts like The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd and John Lennon, died on Dec. 2 at his home in Franklin, Tenn.

Texas to Kill Schizophrenic Man

Scott Panetti, who is scheduled to die on Wednesday, becoming the state’s 11th execution this year, has a long history of severe mental illness. In 1992, Panetti shaved his head, dressed himself in camo and fatally shot his in-laws in front of his wife and daughter

Bipartisan Push to Improve Military’s Handling of Sex Assault

The former chief prosecutor of the Air Force has thrown his weight behind Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s second push to change how the military handles sexual-assault allegations. The bill needed only five more votes last time

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