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Palestinians Postpone First Congress in 20 Years

Palestinian officials said Wednesday that a first congress in nearly 20 years set for mid-September will be postponed to an undetermined date amid speculation over the intentions of President Mahmoud Abbas.

The postponement should not be more than three months, Salim al-Zanoon, head of the Palestinian National Council, told reporters, with key members of the Palestinian leadership calling for more time to prepare.

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Palestinians Want Their Flag Raised at U.N.

The Palestinians on Thursday asked the United Nations to allow their flag to be raised at the world body ahead of next month's meeting of heads of state.

The move comes as the Palestinians seek to bolster their bid for statehood despite fierce opposition from Israel.

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Aid Groups Slam 'Surge' in Israeli Home Demolitions in West Bank

Aid groups Friday denounced Israeli demolitions of homes in the West Bank where the U.N. said 63 houses and other structures were destroyed this week alone, making 132 Palestinians homeless.

In a joint statement, 31 international organizations including Oxfam and Amnesty International slammed the "surge" in demolitions and urged world leaders "to take urgent action" to put an end to it.

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Israel Denies Talks with Hamas

Israel said Monday it was not engaged in talks with Hamas following a flurry of media reports suggesting the two sides were discussing a long-term ceasefire.

"Israel is officially clarifying that it is not holding any meetings with Hamas, neither directly, nor via other countries or intermediaries," the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

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Clashes outside Hospital of Hunger Strike Palestinian

Arab supporters and Jewish detractors of a Palestinian held by Israel without trial clashed Sunday with police near the hospital treating him after he lost consciousness during a hunger strike.

Police said they arrested more than 10 Jews and Arabs, including Palestinians from east Jerusalem, for throwing stones at officers and disrupting public order in the southern city of Ashkelon where 31-year-old Mohammed Allan is being treated.

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Palestinian Shot Dead after Stabbing Israeli in West Bank

Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian who stabbed and lightly injured an Israeli civilian Sunday at a petrol station in the occupied West Bank, Israeli authorities said.

"In a stabbing attack at a gas station... between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, one civilian was wounded and a suspect shot and wounded by soldiers," an army statement in English said.

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Lawyer: Palestinian Hunger Striker to be Force Fed

Israeli authorities have declared their intention to force feed a hunger-striking Palestinian, his lawyer said Saturday.

If carried out it would be the first case since the adoption last month of a new law permitting the practice.

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ICRC Says Palestinian Hunger Striker at Risk of Death

A Palestinian detainee on hunger strike in an Israeli jail for 50 days is now "at immediate risk" of death, the International Committee of the Red Cross warned Friday.

The ICRC said Mohammed Allaan was in critical condition in an Israeli hospital and called on the authorities to allow an immediate family visit.

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Explosion Kills Four, Wounds 30 at House in Gaza

An explosion that ripped through a house in the southern Gaza Strip Thursday killed four people and wounded dozens, an official said, but the cause of the blast was unclear.

"Four Palestinians were killed and 30 others wounded" in a blast inside a house in Al-Shabura (refugee) camp near Rafah, Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, updating an earlier toll of two.

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EU Urges Israel to Show 'Zero Tolerance for Settler Violence', U.S. Slams 'Vicious Terrorist Attack'

The EU urged Israel Friday to show "zero tolerance" for settler violence after an arson attack blamed on settlers in the occupied West Bank left a Palestinian toddler dead.

"The Israeli authorities should ... take resolute measures to protect the local population. We call for full accountability, effective law enforcement and zero tolerance for settler violence," a spokesperson for EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogeherini said in a statement.

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