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Israel's Arabs Vote En Masse to End Netanyahu Era

Arab Israelis formed long lines outside polling stations Tuesday as they turned out to cast their ballots hoping to end the six-year reign of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"This is the first time that I've seen so many people here to vote," said Ehab Hamam, 37, as he waited with some 50 people at a polling station in Haifa, a mixed Jewish-Arab city. 

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Israel Court Hears Appeal over U.S. Activist's Death

Israel's Supreme Court on Wednesday heard an appeal by the parents of a U.S. activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer in 2003.

The parents of Rachel Corrie asked for a decision clearing the military of any responsibility for her death to be overturned, alleging "negligence" in the treatment of the case by an Israeli court.

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Arab League Backs Palestinian Stance in Peace Talks, Skeptical on Israel's

The Arab League said on Sunday it supported the Palestinian stance on the announcement of resumed peace talks with Israel, but that it was skeptical of Israeli intentions.

The League "is forming a political support network for the Palestinian side in case it accepts to go to the negotiations with the Israeli side," Mohammed Sabih, deputy secretary general for Palestinian affairs and occupied Arab territories, told reporters.

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U.N. Experts Demand Immediate End to Israeli Settlements

Israel must immediately begin withdrawing its settlers from the Palestinian territories, a U.N. expert told diplomats Monday, even as the new Israeli government appeared set to strengthen the hand of the Jewish settler lobby.

Israel must "immediately and without preconditions cease the settlement activity and to initiate a process of withdrawal from the settlements," Christine Chanet told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, lamenting a "rampant annexation" of Palestinian territories.

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Report: Kerry to Visit Jerusalem, Ramallah in February

Senator John Kerry, on track to become the next U.S. secretary of state, is to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah in February to examine ways of reviving the peace process, an Israeli daily reported on Friday.

Quoting senior Israeli officials, the left-leaning Haaretz said Kerry was interested in visiting as soon as possible, even before a new Israeli government is appointed following Tuesday's general election.

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Palestinians Don't See 'Peace Coalition' after Israel Vote

Israel's elections, which saw an even split between rightwing and center-left blocs, are unlikely to produce a coalition bent on reviving peace talks, a Palestinian official said Wednesday.

"I don't see a peace coalition or a peace camp emerging now and revitalizing itself," Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official with the Palestine Liberation Organization, told reporters.

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Israel Politicians Trade Barbs over Meshaal Visit

With a snap election looming next month, the Israeli government and opposition traded barbs on Sunday over Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal's landmark weekend visit to Gaza.

The Hamas leader-in-exile's first-ever visit to the territory, during which he gave a speech pledging the movement would not cede "an inch" of historic Palestine, prompted anger in Israel and political recriminations.

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Netanyahu 'May Endorse Report Backing Settler Outposts'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to adopt parts of a controversial report which proposes the government legalize unauthorized settler outposts, Israel's public radio said on Wednesday.

According to the radio, Netanyahu is looking to adopt some of the principles laid out in the so-called Levy report which was put together by three prominent Israeli jurists and presented to the ministerial committee on settlements in July.

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Israel MPs Poised to Vote for Snap Election

The Israeli parliament was to vote on Monday on a motion to dissolve itself and clear the way for a snap election, likely to be set for January 22, officials said.

At the session, which was to start at 14:00 GMT, MPs were expected to approve a government bill to dissolve the parliament, or Knesset, paving the way for early elections which were called last week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Israel Starts West Bank Outpost Evacuation

Residents of Israel's Ulpana settlement outpost neighborhood in the West Bank began evacuating their homes on Tuesday after a court ruled their homes illegal and ordered them razed.

The evacuation was proceeding peacefully, with 15 of the neighborhood’s 30 families moving their possessions to a nearby temporary neighborhood -- also in the West Bank -- with help from defense ministry workers.

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