In the middle of the night a few weeks ago, 15-year-old Yusra Hammed watched Israeli soldiers arrest her brother Tareq. Two years older than Yusra, Tareq Hammed was among several Palestinian teenagers taken into custody that night, accused of throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers in their village, Silwad, in the occupied West Bank.
While he was being detained, his mother described him as a patriot.
"He wanted so badly to do as same what his father did, to defend his country," Suhaila Hammed said, sitting on a tawny gold couch in their home in Silwad.
Israeli army Capt. Barak Raz climbs a metal staircase to the top of a high concrete wall that is part of Israel's West Bank barrier. From his perch, he overlooks both the Palestinian village of Bil'in and Modin Illit, the largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank, with some 50,000 residents.
The barrier here used to be a fence. After many confrontations with Israeli soldiers, Palestinian villagers won a court case, and the fence was moved off some of their land. But since the barrier was moved closer to an Israeli settlement, it was rebuilt as a wall.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry heads back to Israel and the West Bank on Thursday for more talks on restarting peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. When he was there last month, he walked away with at least one agreement — to improve the West Bank economy. Here's how he put it as he left Israel:
The webpage Google.ps used to read "Google: Palestinian Territories." On May 1, the company quietly changed that regional search page to say "Google: Palestine."
Google didn't announce the name change, but it didn't have to. In a place where small gestures can carry great symbolism, Palestinians noticed right away.
"Everybody knows about it and they screenshot [and] post on Facebook: 'Yay Google, thank you,' " says Mohammad Kumboz, a 22-year-old graphic designer and computer programmer who lives in the Gaza Strip.
The U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, has been in the Middle East, Rome and Russia this week trying to find some kind of diplomatic end to Syria's civil war. He's also been trying to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Mr. Kerry has been the U.S. secretary of state for just over 100 days, spending more than a third of that time overseas.
NPR's Michele Kelemen reports on how his tenure at the State Department seems to be shaping up.