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MIDEAST FLASHPOINT
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Palestinian leader: Factions committed to Lebanon's security

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BEIRUT (AP) -- Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas began a three-day visit to Beirut on Thursday, saying Palestinian factions are committed to preserving security in refugee camps around Lebanon....

Israel reinstates life term of Hamas prisoner freed in swap

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- An Israeli court has ordered a senior Hamas member to complete his life sentence after he was freed in a 2011 swap of hundreds of inmates for an Israeli soldier held by the militant Islamic group, a Palestinian activist said Thursday....

Israeli court rejects plea bargain in ex-Chief Rabbi case
JERUSALEM (AP) -- A Jerusalem court rejected a plea bargain with a former chief rabbi of Israel over corruption charges, adding another year of prison time....

Egypt denies reports about giving Sinai to Palestinians
CAIRO (AP) -- The spokesman for Egypt's president is categorically denying Israeli reports that Egypt has proposed giving up part of Sinai Peninsula for the Palestinians to set up an independent state....

Media: Israel to conclude Arab car ramming wasn't attack
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted by Israeli media Thursday as saying he may have been wrong to call an Israeli Arab driver who struck and killed a policeman and was fatally shot last month a terrorist, as Israeli media reported that a preliminary investigation has determined that the car ramming was unintentional....

Israel names conservative judges to Supreme Court
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel's justice minister says new conservative judges named to the supreme court will make right-wing Israelis trust the court, which has long been accused of liberal bias....

In Lebanon gyms, playtime and escape for Syrian children

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BEIRUT (AP) -- Every Sunday, the gymnasium along Beirut's airport highway echoes with the shouting and laughter of dozens of Syrian children enjoying a rare escape from a grim and confined life in exile....

Israeli prime minister hopes to triple trade with Australia
SYDNEY (AP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that he hoped to triple bilateral trade with Australia as the countries forge closer technology and aviation ties....

Gazans excited over territory's new indoor mall

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- In a welcome sign of normalcy, a new Western-style indoor shopping mall - complete with an international retail chain, three-story bookstore and bustling food court - has opened in the Gaza Strip....

Sentencing of Israeli soldier in shooting deepens fissures

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JERUSALEM (AP) -- An Israeli soldier was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison for killing a badly wounded Palestinian assailant as he lay on the ground, in a landmark decision that deepened fissures in Israeli society and drew Palestinian criticism for being too lenient....