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Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Ghassan Khatib
Israel gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to a plan to build 600 new homes in a settlement deep inside the West Bank, a move that drew rebukes from the United Nations and Palestinians and threatened to raise tensions with the U.S. as the prime minister prepares to head to the White House.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has made two overtures to West Bank settlers in the run-up to his party's leadership race Tuesday: It's offering financial incentives to encourage people to move to settlements and opening the door to legalizing rogue settler outposts.
A Palestinian atheist who was jailed and beaten last year for expressing anti-Muslim views on Facebook and in blogs says Palestinian security forces are harassing him again, despite government pledges to respect human rights.
Palestinian spokesman Ghassan Khatib claims in a recent news story, "What is illegal here is the [Israeli] occupation, not the attempts to end it." ("Israeli official warns of Palestinian plans for 'bloodshed,' " Web, Sunday)
The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday set long-overdue local council elections for July 9 in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the government spokesman said. The rival Hamas government that rules Gaza promptly rejected the move.
A former Israeli soldier posted photos on Facebook of herself in uniform smiling beside bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoners, drawing sharp criticism Monday from the Israeli military and Palestinian officials.
Khatib, who returned to academia after his government job, said that at his Bir Zeit University in the West Bank, there are signs of growing radicalization among student activists of Abbas' Fatah movement.
"This bid is going to be politically and PR-wise less rewarding because of the Gaza war," said Ghassan Khatib, until recently the Palestinian Authority spokesman.