Daniel Estrin

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In Israel, the new education minister has caused an uproar by saying gay conversion therapy works. The practice has been widely discredited. NPR's Daniel Estrin reports from Jerusalem.

For over a decade, the Gaza Strip — controlled by the Islamist militant group Hamas, blockaded by its neighbors, difficult to leave — has amounted to an experiment in human isolation.

Now there is a new escape route. Egypt suddenly opened its border with Gaza in May 2018, and, facing increasingly unbearable living conditions, tens of thousands of Gazans are believed to have crossed that border and scattered across the world, in the latest chapter in a mass exodus of migrants out of the troubled Middle East.

The White House on Saturday published one-half of its long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan — a multibillion-dollar proposal to upgrade the Palestinian economy. The Palestinian leadership has already rejected it, and so far, it has been widely panned by former U.S. envoys and Mideast policy experts.

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Under orders from the Trump administration, the U.S. Agency for International Development is preparing to lay off most of its Palestinian aid workers in its West Bank and Gaza mission, according to U.S. government communications reviewed by NPR.

It's the latest step toward shrinking a decades-long U.S. aid mission to build the capacity for a future Palestinian state. In response to NPR's request for comment, a USAID official emailed a statement saying that the agency has "begun to take steps to reduce our staffing footprint." He did not want his name used.

When it came down to a final issue for Israeli voters to ponder before Tuesday's elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an extraordinary campaign pledge: If re-elected, he said on Saturday, he would annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Such a move would represent a dramatic, far-right policy change for Israel, staking a permanent claim over lands Palestinians demand for their own state.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is waging a mudslinging re-election campaign on social media, channeling his close ally President Trump in style and substance.

Tens of thousands of Palestinian protesters gathered at the Gaza border Saturday to mark the first anniversary of demonstrations calling on Israel to ease its blockade on the territory.

Gaza health officials report one 20-year-old and three 17-year-old protesters were killed by Israeli troops, and dozens of protesters were rushed to the hospitals with bullet wounds. The Israeli army said it was responding to protesters hurling stones and grenades at the border fence.

Despite the gunfire and grenades, the demonstrations were considered calmer than usual.

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