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Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting – Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

By IAN DEITCH Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) – The prime minister of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Tuesday praised a shooting that killed an Israeli and wounded his wife and son as they drove through the West Bank the previous evening en route to a Seder, the traditional Passover meal that starts the weeklong Jewish holiday.

Speaking in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh said the attack outside the city of Hebron “brought back life to the path of resistance” against Israel and warned of more attacks in the territory. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest incident to threaten peace talks with the Palestinians.

Hamas and Israel are bitter enemies. They have engaged in several rounds of fighting since the militant Islamic group seized power in Gaza in 2007 after ousting forces loyal to the Palestinian Fatah party, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, in fierce street battles. The two Palestinian groups have not reconciled despite several attempts and Hamas now rules Gaza while Abbas governs part of the West Bank.

“We tell the enemy and anyone who thinks he is able to tame the West Bank … the West Bank will be the future point of our struggle with the enemy,” Haniyeh said.

Israeli media said the wounded woman was told in hospital that her 40-year-old husband, a police officer, was killed. It said their wounded son is nine years old.

Israel’s public security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, visited the wounded at a Jerusalem hospital and called the incident “a tragedy.”

The attack almost certainly complicates U.S. attempts to salvage the troubled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war from Jordan and Egypt.

Two decades of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have failed to settle the conflict, and the latest U.S. mediation attempt, launched last year by Secretary of State John Kerry, also seems on the verge of collapse.

Kerry has said he wants to see a deal, or at least the outlines of one, by the end of April. But the two sides remain locked in a dispute over the terms of extending talks, without having made any apparent progress on issues such as borders and security arrangements.

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Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting – Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

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Scarlett Johansson quits Oxfam

US actress Scarlett Johansson has ended her role as Oxfam ambassador following a dispute over her ad campaign for a firm operating in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Johansson’s departure was welcomed by Palestinian activists, although some criticised Oxfam for not acting itself to sever ties with the Hollywood star they branded the ‘new poster girl for Israeli occupation’.

In a statement, Oxfam confirmed accepting Johansson’s decision to step down, saying her promotion of drinks firm SodaStream, which has a factory in a settlement east of Jerusalem, was ‘incompatible’ with her role at the international aid agency.

‘Oxfam believes that businesses, such as SodaStream, that operate in settlements, further the ongoing poverty and denial of rights of the Palestinian communities that we work to support,’ it said.

The 29-year-old actress, who has worked with Oxfam since 2005 and was recently crowned the ‘sexiest woman alive’ by Esquire magazine, came under scrutiny earlier this month after she was named global brand ambassador for SodaStream.

She insisted the company was committed to ‘building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine’, sparking a firestorm of criticism.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement demanding Oxfam immediately sever ties with the Hollywood star over her ‘vocal support for illegal Israeli settlements’.

Following Johansson’s announcement that she was leaving Oxfam, the movement accused her of abandoning her principles to become ‘the new face of Israeli apartheid’.

‘Scarlett Johansson has consciously decided to be the new poster girl for Israeli occupation and apartheid,’ co-founder Omar Barghouti told AFP.

Barghouti also had a few choice words for Oxfam, describing its failure to take its own action to end the relationship with Johansson as an ‘astounding moral failure’.

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Scarlett Johansson quits Oxfam

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Palestinians reject Netanyahu call to drop U.N. initiative

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – The Palestinians will press ahead with a bid to upgrade their status at the United Nations, a senior official said on Monday, brushing off a request by Israel to halt the initiative.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has renewed his call for an immediate resumption of peace talks and has warned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas against making any unilateral moves in the U.N. General Assembly.

“Yesterday I invited President Abbas to start direct negotiations without preconditions,” Netanyahu told Reuters television in Jerusalem, a day after repeating an appeal to the Palestinian leader for renewed dialogue.

“Unfortunately, I have still not heard back from the Palestinian side … I hope they won’t go to one-sided action in the U.N. because that will only push peace back and will only produce unnecessary instability,” he said.

With the negotiations frozen since 2010 in a dispute over Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, Abbas plans to ask the U.N. General Assembly this month to upgrade the Palestinian’s diplomatic status at the world body.

They are currently registered as an “observer entity”, but want to become an “observer state”, granting them access to bodies such as the International Criminal Court, where they could file complaints against Israel.

Commenting on Netanyahu’s call to talk now, Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said any direct talks must await the U.N. vote, which the Palestinians look certain to win in the face of Israeli and U.S. objection to the unilateral move.

“When we return from the U.N. General Assembly and are a non-member state based on 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital, the way to direct negotiations will be open to achieve security and stability on this basis,” Abu Rdainah said.

Netanyahu has said a return to the lines that existed before Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem in a 1967 war would leave it with indefensible borders.

U.S. President Barack Obama drew Israeli ire last year when he called for the borders of Israel and a future Palestinian state to be based on the 1967 boundaries with mutually agreed land swaps.

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Palestinians reject Netanyahu call to drop U.N. initiative

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