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Brosh: An Israeli colonist was bludgeoned to death on Friday by suspected Palestinian fighters, police said, in the third violent attack on Israelis in the West Bank within as many weeks.
The attack, in which the retired army colonels wife escaped with minor injuries, prompted right wing Israeli MPs to call for the suspension of low profile peace talks between the two sides and of the expected release of more Palestinian prisoners.
They were beaten with blunt instruments, at Brosh, in the northern Jordan Valley, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.
Army radio named the dead man as Sharia Ofer, a former commander of Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip and of various special forces units.
Police said Ofers wife had been injured, and that they believed the killing was definitely the work of Palestinians.
An army spokeswoman said, however, it was still too early to say what the motive was.
Public radio said the couple were in their home at about 1am when they heard a noise outside and the sound of dogs barking.
Ofer went outside to investigate and was attacked with iron bars and axes by two Palestinians, it reported. His wife, Monique, was also injured but escaped and raised the alarm.
The radio said the couple lived alone at the isolated property, which they ran as a village guest house. There were no visitors at the time of the attack.
News website Ynet cited a witness as saying that as she was taken to an ambulance, Monique Ofer cried out, Leave me, go to him, help him.
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By IAN DEITCH Associated Press
JERUSALEM (AP) – Palestinians wielding axes and iron bars killed an Israeli man outside his home in the West Bank, the Israeli police said Friday, the latest in a series of attacks on Israelis in the area.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the man was “brutally attacked with iron bars and axes” at about 2 a.m. after he went outside to investigate suspicious noises. “We strongly believe this is was a terror attack,” Rosenfeld said.
His partner witnessed the assault from a window and she escaped from a back door of the house, Rosenfeld said.
The Israeli news website Ynet said the woman was lightly injured when she tripped on barbed wire while running away. According to the reports, the slain man was a reservist, a colonel.
The woman, identified as Monic Mor by Channel 10 TV, later spoke to the station from a hospital bed.
“Everybody knew him, he was a military man for many years,” she said. The man, identified by the reports as Seraiah Ofer, had served as commander of the Gaza district and in elite combat units, she said.
The military stopped short of calling the assault a “terror attack,” saying that an investigation was underway and troops were searching the area of the attack.
It was the latest violent attack in the West Bank.
Last week, a 9-year-old girl was wounded in a suspected Palestinian attack while playing outside her home in a West Bank settlement. An Israeli soldier was shot and killed last month by a sniper in the West Bank city of Hebron. And in a separate incident an Israeli soldier was lured to the West Bank and killed by a Palestinian who wanted to trade the body for his brother who is serving time in an Israeli jail for shooting and bomb attacks.
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Posted on September 11, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Updated Wednesday, Sep 11 at 10:41 PM
Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News Email: email@example.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL
HARVEY, La. — Back in February, golf ball-size hail forced many West Bank residents to repair their badly damaged cars and homes, but it has been months and one Harvey man says he is still waiting to get his roof fixed after shelling out thousands of dollars.
The hail damaged cars, windows and roofs in a matter of minutes, leaving West Bank residents like James Russell with thousands of dollars worth of repairs.
“It tore apart the ventilator up there, the roof was damaged and the insurance guy said it was going to be $8,000 or $9,000 minus the deductible, so I paid that,” said Russell.
Russell handed over $8,300 to Busy Bee Restoration to fix his damaged roof.
That was in February. It has been seven months, and still no work has been done on his home.
“I called and they said it was going to be two weeks, then it was one week, then it was two weeks, Russell. “Then I started not getting any calls.”
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QALANDIA REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians in clashes during an arrest raid in the West Bank, a Palestinian official and the Israeli military said Monday, in the deadliest incident in the area in years.
The violence came as Israel and the Palestinians are holding rounds of peace talks in the first such meetings in five years since serious negotiations collapsed. The early morning violence casts a cloud on another round of talks expected later in the day.
An official at a Ramallah hospital said the three died from gunshot wounds sustained in the nearby refugee camp of Qalandia. More than a dozen others were wounded, he said, speaking anonymously as he wasn’t allowed to talk with the media.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah condemned the incident. “Such a crime proves the need for an urgent and effective international protection for our people,” he said in a statement.
Israeli border police spokesman Shai Hakimi said officers were on a raid to apprehend a suspect when hundreds of Palestinians poured into the streets and hurled firebombs, concrete blocks and rocks at the officers.
He said officers used riot control munitions, a term that usually refers to rubber bullets and tear gas. He said police are investigating the incident.
The Israeli military said soldiers rushed to the scene after a different force came under attack. It said soldiers opened fire after they felt their lives were in “imminent danger.”
“Large violent crowds such as this which significantly outnumber security forces leave no other choice but to resort to live fire in self-defense,” said military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.
Hatim Khatib, whose brother Youssef was arrested in the raid, told The Associated Press that undercover troops dressed in civilian clothes arrived at their home at 4:30 a.m. looking for the brother.
“After half an hour we started hearing shooting from the soldiers inside our house, and then people started throwing stones at them,” he said.
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Brukin, Occupied West Bank – Mustafa al-Haj was 21 years old when he was arrested and sentenced to life in an Israeli prison.
Today he is 45, and his family is counting the minutes until he returns to his home in Brukin, a sleepy village southwest of the West Bank city of Salfit. Haj is one of 26 prisoners expected to be released early Wednesday ahead of talks between Israel and the Palestinians, a process put in motion by US Secretary of State John Kerry. Seventy-eight more detainees are to be set free in three more phases throughout the year, depending on how the negotiations pan out.
To get to the family home of Haj, one must pass through seemingly endless rows of ancient olive trees, the village of Nabi Saleh, the scene of weekly nonviolent demonstrations, and its neighbour Beit Rima, where posters of detainees held in Israeli prisons adorn the house walls. In Brukin, the Haj family children can be found stringing up little Palestinian flags and yellow banners for Fatah, the ruling party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Two large posters of Mustafa Al Haj with the date he was arrested – 19/6/1989 – hang loosely, covering an entire wall. Loudspeakers blare patriotic songs and Arabic coffee and chocolates are duly distributed to visitors, as word goes around that the village municipality will open its doors to well-wishers for three days. Despite this, his brother, Farah, says preparations were made in haste. “We waited until the very last minute. The names were released [on the Israeli Prison Service] website at 1 am [Monday morning]. I cannot describe to you how happy we are,” he said.
‘We began to have hope’
Haj was arrested for the killing of Frederick Rosenfeld, a US Marine turned settler living in Ariel, near Brukin. Two other Palestinian men from the village were indicted on the same charge, one of whom was released during the 2011 prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held by Hamas for more than five years. Soon after Haj was arrested, Israeli bulldozers flattened his family home and the houses of the two other men.
Haj’s father passed away while he was in prison, and today his four brothers and only sister are holding their breath until his release. “After Shalit was released and many prisoners were set free in exchange, we began to have some hope that Mustafa would come home one day,” Farah said. Their sister Enaya is the only sibling allowed to visit Haj in prison twice a month; the brothers, one of whom lives in the United Arab Emirates, are given permits to see him once a year.
Over the past two decades, Haj was moved around more than four prisons inside Israel. Since that time, his sister Enaya said, all his siblings were married and had children, one of whom was named after him, and all of whom he has never met. “We have always had hope that he would be released in our lifetime,” she said. The family now plans to help Haj start a family and get a job after his release.
Three other tranches of prisoner releases are expected in the next months. But this phased process has stirred controversy among Palestinians because Israeli authorities said it is tied to the negotiations’ progress. Farah said that the Palestinians were not given a say in who gets to go free, and seniority – those who have spent more time in prison – was not made a priority. “Our happiness is palpable but it is not complete,” he said. “Many thousands more are still in prison. Our neighbours son also wasn’t set free.”
There is fear among families, such as the al-Hajs, and prisoners’ support groups, that some of those released will be re-arrested by Israeli authorities . As of now, 12 Palestinian detainees released during the Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011 have gone back to prison. They all face serving out the rest of their original sentences, based on secret evidence held by Israeli authorities.
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AMANDA LEE MYERS, The Associated Press Posted: Saturday, July 27, 2013, 12:16 PM
CINCINNATI (AP) – Two gay men who successfully sued to get their out-of-state marriage recognized in Ohio despite a state ban are at the forefront of what supporters and experts believe will be a rush of similar lawsuits aiming to take advantage of an apparent legal loophole.
John Arthur of Cincinnati, who is dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, won the right to be listed as married on his death certificate and to have his partner of more than 20 years listed as his surviving spouse.
The federal judge’s order Monday came after Arthur and his partner, Jim Obergefell, sued state and local officials to ensure that they can be buried next to each other in Arthur’s family plot, which is in a cemetery that only allows descendants and spouses.
At least four similar lawsuits are pending in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Nevada. On Friday, a Louisville couple filed a federal challenge to Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage, contending the state doesn’t treat them and similar couples equally with other married couples.
Ohio banned gay marriage in 2004 with 62 percent of the vote; Arthur and Obergefell, both 47, got married in Maryland on July 11 and wanted it recognized in their home state before Arthur’s death.
The couple’s attorney, Al Gerhardstein, plans to request that the pair be able to file a joint tax return and get other benefits that other married couples enjoy. “And I cannot see how they will not be granted,” Gerhardstein said.
In his decision ordering the marriage to be recognized on Arthur’s death certificate, federal Judge Timothy Black said Ohio law historically has recognized out-of-state marriages as valid as long as they were legal where they took place, citing marriages between cousins and involving minors.
“How then can Ohio, especially given the historical status of Ohio law, single out same-sex marriages as ones it will not recognize?” Black wrote. “The short answer is that Ohio cannot.”
While Arthur and Obergefell have unusual circumstances because of Arthur’s poor health, Black predicted that similar cases soon will emerge as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last month to strike down part of an anti-gay marriage law.
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Jean-Marc Giboux / for NBC News
Laura Hartman, left, and her partner, Anne Dickey, walk along the Mississippi River with their three-year-old son, Theodore, in Davenport, Iowa, on July 13. They live across the river in Rock Island, Ill., where same-sex marriage is not legal.
By Miranda Leitsinger, Staff Writer, NBC News
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — The right to get married for some lesbian and gay couples is mere miles away, or just a hop across the river.
Take same-sex couples in western Illinois, who upon crossing the Mississippi River enter Iowa, where gay marriage was legalized in 2009. Gay and lesbian couples living in states like Nebraska, Oregon, West Virginia, Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania experience similar frustration: an easily traversed body of water separating them from a slew of rights and recognition. For them, marriage is close but out of reach — a reality that didnt change despite recent Supreme Court decisions advancing gay rights.
You feel the freedom, said Dennis Henry, 65, of traveling to his home state of Iowa from Monmouth, Ill., where he lives with his partner, Larry Shaw. You cross this divide, the Mississippi River, and you get over there and you’re a full-fledged American citizen with the same rights everybody else in the country has.
And then you have to turn around, come back, and you leave them. You leave those rights, added Shaw, 67. The couple has been together nearly 35 years.
The high court in June struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, effectively ordering federal recognition of same-sex marriage in the 13 states where it is legal, and opening access for those couples to more than 1,100 federal benefits theyd been previously denied. The court also declined to weigh in on a case challenging Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples in California. Gay and lesbian couples resumed marriage ceremonies there on June 28.
But like Shaw and Henry, a majority of the nations 650,000 same-sex couples live in one of the 35 states where same-sex marriage is banned, mostly by voter-approved constitutional amendments. Four states allow civil unions, including three that — like Illinois — dont permit gays and lesbians to tie the knot, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another three states that ban same-sex marriage allow domestic partnerships.
(The) constitutional amendments have made America a house divided, in which families on one side of a border are denied crucial protections and personal dignity that they can see on the other side of the border, and this is intolerable, said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, which campaigns for LGBT rights. Americans should not have their families vulnerable and their marriages sputter in and out like cell phone service depending on what side of a border they find themselves.
Began tour group so others can learn, engage
Blooming Grove resident Sam Sussman is a co-founder of Extend Tours, a small organization that brings young American Jews to the West Bank to learn more about the Palestinian people and the region. American Jews spend so much time talking about the West Bank, but have typically never been there. Most havent even met a Palestinian, Sussman said.CHET GORDON/Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM – 07/18/13
BLOOMING GROVE The vehicle carrying 10 young Americans pulled last month into a small West Bank village.
There, the group made up mostly of Jewish students, visited the home of a Palestinian, 14, confined to house arrest for allegedly throwing stones at an Israeli tank.
The Americans learned that 99.7 percent of cases heard before an Israeli military tribunal end in a conviction.
And they learned the teen was just one of the roughly 900 Palestinian children arrested each year.
“That really opened a lot of eyes on our trip as to what it means to not have a state,” said tour organizer Sam Sussman, 22, of Blooming Grove.
Sussman received his first introduction to the West Bank in 2012, when a mutual friend allowed Sussman to meet several Palestinians following a free Birthright trip to Israel.
The conversations motivated Sussman to team up with a college classmate and find a way to share that experience with other young adults.
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TRENTON Gay marriage supporters staged a rally on the Statehouse steps Thursday as part of an effort to press legislators and courts to take action on a New Jersey law recognizing same-sex nuptials after the U.S. Supreme Courts decision to strike down parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
But activists who wanted lawmakers to act quickly to override Gov. Chris Christies veto of a gay marriage bill that was approved by the Legislature last year likely left Trenton disappointed, as neither the state Senate nor the Assembly was expected to hold override votes during their Thursday voting sessions the last scheduled before fall.
Leaders of gay and civil rights groups said they werent discouraged by the lack of legislative action.
I stand before you today and say that whether its through litigation or legislation, I promise you, with no reservation, that New Jersey will have marriage equality before the end of the year, said Troy Stevenson, executive director of Garden State Equality, New Jerseys largest gay rights group, during the rally.
A crowd of more than 100 gay marriage supporters cheered Stevenson and other speakers and chanted, What do we want? Equality! When do we want it? Now!
Participating in the rally were Bobbie Keane and Bunny Casella. The Maple Shade couple said they have been together for 31 years and are optimistic that they soon might be able to wed in their home state.
Its exciting. I remember the days when youd have to sneak down a back alley to go to a gay bar, Keane said. The country is moving forward. This is something we didnt think would happen in our lifetime. Now its about getting equal rights in New Jersey.
A legal resolution may wind up becoming the faster of the two routes toward New Jersey recognizing gay marriage, as the lawyer for a group of gay couples suing the state for the right to marry said they planned to file a motion in Superior Court on Wednesday asking for a speedy judgment based on the federal decision.
Lambda Legal attorney Hayley Gorenberg, who represents the plaintiffs, said the U.S. Supreme Courts decision creates a clear path for a legal victory in their case.
The high courts ruling struck down several provisions of the 1996 DOMA that were determined to be unconstitutional, and asserted that same-sex couples who are legally wed should receive the more than 1,000 federal benefits that other married couples receive.