Barbour: Iran biggest threat to global security

HERZLIYA, Israel – Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Wednesday that Iran is the world’s top threat to peace and stability. A potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, Barbour said world leaders should be judged by their success in responding to the threats posed by Iran.

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Palestinian Authority seeks UN status for Bethlehem’s Nativity Church

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BETHLEHEM, West Bank – The Palestinian Authority announced Monday it has asked U.N.’s cultural agency to designate the church built at the traditional birth site of Jesus as the first world heritage site in the Palestinian territories. However, only U.N. member states can nominate sites, calling into question the feasibility of the state-building measure.

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Huckabee: Israel can build in West Bank, Jerusalem

JERUSALEM – Potential 2012 U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told Jewish settlers Monday that attempts to prevent them from building in east Jerusalem are as outrageous as housing discrimination in the United States. Most of the international community – including President Barack Obama – considers the settlements illegal.

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Arab Israeli gets 9 years in prison for spying

JERUSALEM – An Israeli court on Sunday sentenced an Arab-Israeli activist who confessed to spying for Lebanon’s Hezbollah militants to nine years in prison. Court documents said Makhoul used encryption software to send Hezbollah information about Israeli military facilities and defense capabilities.

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Israel arrests man wanted in Srebrenica massacre

JERUSALEM – Israeli police on Tuesday arrested a former Bosnian Serb soldier implicated by Bosnian authorities in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. Aleksander Cvetkovic, 42, is wanted as a suspected member of an eight-man firing squad involved in executing between 1,000 and 1,200 Bosnian Muslims at the Branjevo Farm.

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Merkel visit to Israel in jeopardy over strike

JERUSALEM – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s upcoming visit to Israel may be canceled because of a Foreign Ministry strike, raising concern about the four-week strike’s damage to Israel’s ties with the world. A decision to call off the visit would be an embarrassment for Israel, forcing the cancellation of an annual joint session with Germany’s Cabinet, considered symbolic of the warm relationship between the two nations.

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Paralyzed Palestinian girl given Israeli residency

JERUSALEM – A Palestinian girl paralyzed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza will be allowed to remain in the country for medical care. Nine-year-old Marya Amen, along with her brother and father, can stay in Israel as temporary residents. The status ensures state-sponsored health insurance and compensation for Amen, who needs a respirator to breathe.

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Israel beckons tourists to Virgin Mary sites

JERUSALEM – Israel is inviting tourists to retrace the footsteps of the Virgin Mary, in the latest campaign to bring Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. A new itinerary developed by the Tourism Ministry helps tour operators plan pilgrimages to sites where the mother of Jesus Christ lived and traveled.

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Israeli academics to boycott settlement college

JERUSALEM – At least 165 Israeli professors have declared a boycott against a contentious Israeli college in the West Bank, organizers said Sunday, deepening an internal rift in Israel over the expansion of West Bank settlements.

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Ousted patriarch behind locked doors in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM – Six years ago, Irineos I was the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem with about 100,000 followers. Today, he sits behind locked doors in his Old City apartment, claiming he has been imprisoned by the successor who ousted him in a dispute over sale of church land to Israelis.

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