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Israel launched two Palestinians-only bus lines in the occupied West Bank on Monday, a step an Israeli rights group described as racist and which Israel's Transport Ministry called an improvement in service Maan reported.

"Creating separate bus lines for Israeli Jews and Palestinians is a revolting plan," Jessica Montell, director of the B'Tselem rights group, said on Army Radio. "This is simply racism. Such a plan cannot be justified with claims of security needs or overcrowding."


Palestinian protesters have clashed with Israeli troops across the occupied territories in demonstrations held to mark the eighth anniversary of the protests against Israel's apartheid wall, Press TV reported.

On Friday, Israeli troops fired tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets at Palestinians participating in demonstrations in the cities of al-Khalil (Hebron) and Nablus and the village of Bilin in the West Bank.

At least one protester was injured and taken away by Israeli forces in al-Khalil.

The young protester was reportedly shot in the head with a rubber bullet.


Six Syrians were treated at a hospital in Israel for injuries sustained in the conflict and repatriated Wednesday, the Israeli military said, dpa reported.

They were among seven Syrians admitted to a hospital in the northern city of Safed, where some underwent surgery.

The military said the group had approached Israeli troops in the north of the occupied Golan Heights on February 16, and asked for medical treatment.

The six were "released at an undisclosed location for their own safety," while one remained in hospital, the military said.


The world must make it clear to Iran that it will face "military sanctions" if it does not stop its alleged military nuclear programme, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, dpa reported.

"Iran continues to defy the international community, and it does not appear that it is trying to halt its military nuclear programme," he said in Jerusalem while meeting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Paris.


Israel placed its forces in the West Bank on high alert Monday, amid fears that the funeral of a Palestinian who died in an Israeli jail could spark another bout of violence, dpa reported.

Arafat Jaradat was being buried in his home village of Kfar Sa'ir, near Hebron. He collapsed and died Saturday, in a northern Israeli prison.

News of his death brought Palestinian activists to the streets in several West Bank locations, where they burned tyres and threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who responded with teargas and rubber bullets.


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Tuesday for a prompt resolution to the hunger strike by Palestinians under Israeli custody, saying that the detainees' rights should be "fully respected" by Israel, DPA reported.
"Those detained should be charged and face trial with judicial guarantee in accordance with international standards or be promptly released," Ban said.

He said he had received letters from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Araby, warning of the fast-deteriorating conditions of the prisoners on hunger strike.


Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni will be Israel's negotiator in talks with the Palestinians in the emerging coalition government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his bloc said on Tuesday AFP reported .

Livni, who heads the centrist HaTnuah party, would serve as justice minister and "negotiator with the Palestinians to reach an agreement that would end the conflict," Netanyahu's Likud-Beitenu alliance said in a statement.

HaTnuah, which campaigned for renewal of peace talks with the Palestinians, is the first party to join Netanyahu's new coalition.


Several Israeli lawmakers called Monday for a different panel to investigate the apparent prison suicide of Ben Zygier, an alleged agent of the Mossad intelligence agency.

A parliamentary panel - the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Subcommittee for Intelligence - has said it would investigate, dpa reported.

But Labour Party lawmaker Nachman Shai said that panel included members who were not independent because they had held security-related or government positions when or before Zygier died.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a "credible military threat" is needed to stop Iran's atomic program, the risk it poses to the flow of Middle East oil and what he called a global wave of Iran-led terrorism, reported Bloomberg.

"The sanctions alone won't stop Iran's nuclear program," Netanyahu said at a conference in Jerusalem today. "They have to be coupled with a robust, credible military threat." Iran will be at the top of President Barack Obama's agenda next month when he visits Israel and the Palestinian territories, followed by violence in Syria, Netanyahu said.


Cooperation between Israel and Turkey on gas pipeline construction and the supply of Israeli gas to Turkey is not possible due to political disputes, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz said on Friday, Anadolu agency reported.

"As long as Israel does not fulfill Turkey's conditions put forward after the "Flotilla of Freedom " incident, cooperation in the energy sector between Turkey and Israel is out of the question," Yildiz said.