- Visit 'Peace In Jerusalem'
- for more comprehensive
ongoing reports by Retired Pastor/Teacher James McCutchan - Jmccutchan@aol.com
PALESTINIAN SOURCES SAY FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT TO BE SIGNED IN WASHINGTON
- Sunday, March 2, 2014 [...] Israeli sources revealed that
Obama will ask Netanyahu and Abbas about their future plans in
case of the failure of the negotiations, and will give them the
option to cooperate with the American plan, or face isolation
and live with the difficult reality which awaits them if the
US abandoned the peace process.
Netanyahu continues to insist on Palestinian recognition of the
Jewish identity of the state of Israel, and the presence of Israeli
troops in the Jordan Valley, as well as rejecting the division
of Jerusalem. Netanyahu also wants to adjust West Bank borders
to integrate large Israeli settlements into Israeli territory,
and rejects the return of refugees.
Palestinians insist on the sharing Jerusalem and refuse to recognize
Israel as a Jewish statewhich they see as precluding any
return of Palestinian refugees to what is now Israeli territoryand
also insist on the removal of all Israeli forces from the Jordan
It is likely that Obamas efforts will be focused on Jerusalem
and a declaration of the Jewish identity of Israel, in order
to find a compromise.
Senior Palestinian sources, speaking on condition of anonymity,
told Asharq Al-Awsat that the way to resolve the crisis would
be to announce that Jerusalem was the capital of both states,
with an indication to Israels right to acquire international
recognition as a Jewish state, which would implicitly also mean
the recognition of the state of Palestine.
Kerry previously said both parties had the rightafter signing
the framework agreementto object to, or express reservations
about, any articles and have them registered, in an attempt to
resolve the dilemma of Jerusalem and national identity. Whole
- ISRAELI AGENT JONATHAN POLLARD HOSPITALIZED
- Thursday, March 6, 2014 Israeli
agent Jonathan Pollard hospitalized By GIL HOFFMAN The Jerusalem
- Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard was hospitalized on Wednesday
night after a deterioration of his medical condition.
- Pollard had been suffering from various medical ailments
and has suffered from extreme pain for an extended period of
- Sources close to him hope to receive more information when
it is morning in United States.
- The long list of ailments that he has suffered from over
the years include diabetes, nausea, dizziness, blackouts and
ongoing issues with his gall bladder, kidneys, sinuses, eyes
and feet. He also suffers from Menieres disease, which
causes him to lose consciousness and fall without warning.
- Last month, thousands of people chanted Free Pollard
now and Enough is enough in a demonstration
for the release of Pollard opposite the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.
- Reference: Pollard is an American citizen born in the United
States is also a tribalistic Jew who sold out his country on
the behalf of a foreign state.
- Jonathan Pollard not only sold U.S. national security secrets
to Israel (with Netanyahu as the bagman) and then sold the same
U.S. national security secrets to the then Soviet Union.
- What was sold to the Soviet Union were U.S. computer codes
on a U.S. nuclear first strike vs the USSR, which now the government
of Israel possesses making the United States Military a guinea
pig for Israel's own nuclear arsenal.
- ANNALS OF ESPIONAGE THE TRAITOR - The case against Jonathan
Pollard.- BY SEYMOUR M. HERSH
- EGYPT TO 'REVOKE CITIZENSHIP' OF THOUSANDS OF HAMAS MEMBERS
- BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- March 6, 2014 Egyptian security services
have started to collect information about thousands of Hamas
members who were granted Egyptian citizenship during the rule
of ousted president Mohamed Mursi, according to Egyptian media.
- Egypt's Day Seven news website reported that Egyptian authorities
plan revoke the citizenship of 13,757 Hamas members for being
"affiliated to an offshoot of the terrorist group the Muslim
- Egyptian authorities are investigating whether Hamas members
have been involved in what they describe as "terrorist attacks,"
adding that the prime minister has the right to revoke the citizenship
of Hamas members without a court ruling if it is deemed that
they endanger public security.
- The Egyptian news site blamed Mursi for facilitating the
entry of Hamas supporters into Egypt and granting them citizenship.
- On Tuesday, an Egyptian court banned the activities of Hamas
and ordered its assets seized.
- "The Egyptian judge who made the decision did not bring
a single evidence incriminating Hamas. Thus, the movement considers
the Egyptian decision a pure political decision rather than a
judicial decision, and that decision serves the Israeli occupation,"
a Hamas official said following the ruling. Continued:
- NETANYAHU: POLLARD SHOULDN'T BE IN JAIL OF IN THE HOSPITAL
- San Diego Jewish World - JNS news - March 7, 2014
- (JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke
with U.S. President Barack Obama about the issue of convicted
Israeli spy Jonathan Pollards release when the two leaders
met March 3 at the White House, Netanyahu said in an interview
with Israel Hayom that will be published on Sunday.
- Pollard shouldnt be in jail or in the hospital,
Netanyahu said. The time has come to release him. I spoke
about this with Obama.
- The Free Pollard Campaign reported Thursday that Pollard,
in his 29th year in U.S. prison, was hospitalized Wednesday after
his medical condition deteriorated. He has been suffering from
various pains and underwent surgery for an unspecified medical
problem during his hospitalization. Over the last year, Pollards
medical issues have caused him to lose consciousness several
- Pollards wife Esther said, I received word of
his hospitalization, but they did not give me any more details.
The lack of information is very difficult. It really drives you
crazy to go through this after 29 years.
- JONATHAN POLLARD'S ORDEAL CONTINUES IN PRISON AFTER SURGERY
- NETNAYAHU RAISED POLLARD'S RELEASE WITH OBAMA
- Hamodia Staff - Hamodia [NY] - March 10, 2014 - Jerusalem
- The ordeal of Jonathan Pollard continued over the weekend as
he returned to his cell in a federal prison in North Carolina
to recover from surgery.
- Pollard was hospitalized on Wednesday morning suffering from
extreme pain due to malfunctioning of his kidneys, gall bladder
- He is very weak, his wife Esther said after talking
with him by phone. He is totally drained and worn out.
When I asked him how he was feeling, he groaned and whispered
- Esther Pollard described her first conversation with her
husband after the surgery as very alarming, because of the difficulty
he had speaking due to the pain.
- Mostly all he was able to do was to answer yes or no
to my questions, she said. He was not able to speak
more than a few words.
- In their next conversation a day later, he was able to speak
more, though he was still in a lot of pain and she could hear
the strain in his voice. Continued: http://hamodia.com/2014/03/09/jonathan-pollards-ordeal-continues-prison-surgery/
- ARABS SAY NO TO ISRAEL AS JEWISH STATE
- By Agencies - :CAIRO Jordan Times 10 Mar.14:
- Arab foreign ministers on Sunday[0 Mar.] rejected Israels
demands that the Palestinians recognise it as a Jewish state,
saying such a move would undermine the rights of Palestinian
- In a resolution released at the headquarters of the Arab
League in Cairo, the foreign ministers called the issue of Palestinian
refugees an integral part of a comprehensive and just peace.
It blamed Israel for the floundering of peace negotiations, The
Associated Press reported.
- The Arab statement offers strong backing to Palestinian leader
Mahmoud Abbas, who said publicly last week he will never recognise
Israel as a Jewish state despite facing strong international
pressure. Abbas did not identify who is pressuring him.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week
the Palestinians must recognise Israel as a Jewish state to show
they are serious about peace. It was the latest sign that despite
seven months of mediation efforts by US Secretary of State John
Kerry, wide gaps remain between the two sides.
- Abbas is due to meet US President Barack Obama in Washington
on March 17, as part of US efforts to press both sides. Abbas
has said that the Palestine Liberation Organisation recognised
the state of Israel in 1993 and that this is sufficient.
- The seven-page Arab resolution on the Palestinian issue said
it rejects the demand by Israel and some international
parties to identify Israel as a Jewish state, which aims to annul
the right of return and compensation for Palestinian refugees.
Continued: scroll all the way down: http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=63409
- RUSSIA AGREES NUCLEAR PLANTS TO IRAN
- Al Arabya News 12 Mar14: Agence France Presse, Tehran
:Russian. . .that they would not break U.N. sanctions
- Russia has signed a preliminary agreement to build at least
two more nuclear power plants in the Iranian port city of Bushehr,
Iran's official IRNA news agency reported on Wednesday[12 Mar.].
- The deal was reached during a visit to Tehran on Tuesday[11
Mar.] by a senior official of Russia's state atomic energy agency
Rosatom, IRNA said.
- "Iran and Russia reached a preliminary agreement to
build at least two new nuclear power plants," Iranian Atomic
Energy Organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told the news
- The two new 1,000 megawatt plants will be built alongside
the existing power station in Bushehr, which was also built by
Russia, Kamalvandi said.
- Further talks will be held on technical and financial aspects
of the project but a final agreement is expected to be signed
"very soon," he added.
- Iran, which still faces tight Western sanctions on its oil
and banking sectors despite a landmark agreement reached with
major powers in November on its controversial nuclear program,
is expected to fund the project on a barter basis.
- Iran's ambassador to Russia, Mehdi Sanaei, said last month
that the close trading partners have been negotiating Iran's
delivery of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day in
return for Russian goods and services, including the planned
new nuclear plants. Continued: http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=63425
- JORDANIAN PARLIAMENT GIVES GOVERNMENT TUESDAY DEADLINE TO
RESPOND TO DEMANDS FOR ACTION AGAINST ISRAEL
- Lawmakers give government time until Tuesday to respond to
- Amman, March 12 (Petra) - The Lower house of Parliament on
Wednesday gave the government time until next Tuesday to respond
to its demand with regards to the killing of Jordanian judge
Raed Zuaiter by Israeli soldiers on Monday.
- During a session held on Wednesday, the MPs said withdrawal
of confidence from the government is linked to the efficacy of
its response to the MP's demands during the House's session next
- Lawmakers approved a proposal to expel the Israeli ambassador
to the Kingdom and to withdraw the Jordanian ambassador to Israel
as well as release Ahmad Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier, who has
been in jail for 17 years for killing female Israeli students
in the Jordan Valley.
- The House also approved a proposal to contact the concerned
authorities to release all Jordanian and Palestinians prisoners
in Israeli jails.
- They also voted for carrying out an investigation, that would
involve Jordanian experts, into the killing of the Jordanian
judge and punish the perpetrators.
- The MPs rejected a proposal that called for reopening Hamas
offices in Jordan but approved another proposal that called on
the government to take an initiative to achieve reconciliation
between Hamas and Fatah.
- MOSSAD DETERMINES THAT MISSING IRANIAN JEWS WERE MURDERED
- March 20, 2014 The Mossad Brings to a Conclusion the Affair
Regarding Iranian Jews who went Missing in the 1990's (Communicated
by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
- The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations (i.e.
the Mossad; has brought to a conclusion the affair regarding
the Iranian Jews who have been missing since the 1990's. Eight
of the eleven families of Iranian Jews who went missing in the
1990's received notification from the Intelligence and Heritage
Commemoration Center that their loved ones were murdered while
en route to immigrating to Israel.
- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged the Mossad with
deepening the investigation into the disappearance of eleven
Iranian Jews who tried to escape from Iran during the 1990's.
Mossad Director Tamir Pardo took up the mission. The Mossad led
to an intelligence breakthrough that enabled the issue to be
brought to its conclusion.
- The task of tying up the loose ends was assigned to David
Meidan, the Prime Minister's coordinator for captives and those
missing, who had served as the Prime minister's personal representative
in the negotiations for the return of soldier Gilad Shalit. Meidan
retired from the Mossad approximately two years ago after 35
years' service in command and operational posts in Israel and
abroad. Continued http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=63487
- CHRISTIAN ARABS TO EU: ISRAEL IS OUR SAFE HAVEN
- March 24, 2014 | Ryan Jones - Some 150 Israeli Arabic-speaking
Christians on Sunday demonstrated outside the European Union
mission in Tel Aviv, demanding that the international community
stop nitpicking against Israel and start combatting the severe
persecution of Christians everywhere else in the Middle East.
- Nations, organizations and international missions are
quick to raise an accusing finger against Israel at every opportunity,
said Father Gabriel Nadaf, spiritual father of the Israeli Christian
Recruitment Forum, which organized the rally.
- Those same nations and organizations dont life
a finger against the ethnic cleansing of Christians in the Middle
East, the priest continued.
- Father Nadaf went on to explain that from Syria to Egypt
to Iraq to the Palestinian Authority, Christians on a daily basis
suffer intimidation, harassment, desecration, coercion, torture,
rape, physical abuse and murder. According to the statistics,
a Christian is murdered every five minutes [in the Middle East],
and the Western world is silent about this, he lamented.
- In messages posted to its Facebook page during the Tel Aviv
rally, the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum insisted that
there is no place but Israel that is safe for Christians
in the Middle East!
- While the rally was largely ignored by the mainstream Western
media, the Israeli press took great interest, and forum spokesman
Shadi Khalloul, a veteran of the IDF, was interviewed by various
television and print media outlets.
- PALESTINIANS SAY NOT OPPOSED TO POLLARD RELEASE IF IT HELPS
- By Gil Hoffman - The Jerusalem Post - March 24, 2014 - The
Palestinians have said they would leave the negotiating table
if the Israeli Arab prisoners are not released. Palestinian and
Israeli Arab officials said Monday that they would not oppose
a possible US-brokered deal in which Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard
be released as an American gesture to help the Israeli cabinet
pass a proposal to free 14 Israeli Arabs convicted of terrorist
- Israel committed to release the fourth and final round of
Palestinian prisoners Saturday night. But American mediators
incorrectly told their Palestinian interlocutors that Israel
would agree to release 14 Israeli Arabs as part of the deal.
- The Palestinians have said they would leave the negotiating
table if the Israeli Arab prisoners are not released. There is
currently no majority in the Israeli cabinet to release them.
But the release of the Israeli Arabs would pass easily if Pollard
- Kadoura Fares, who directs the Palestinian Prisoners' Club,
said releasing Pollard could be a positive step.
- "I never opposed Pollard's release," he said. "We
think it could be something good that could contribute to progress
between the two sides."
- Ashraf al-Ajrami, a former minister for prisoner affairs
in the Palestinian Authority, said Pollard had nothing to do
with the Palestinians but that they would not interfere if he
was included in a deal.
- "If the US wants to release him as a goodwill gesture
we will not oppose it," he said. Hadash MK Hanna Sweid said
Israeli Arabs would also not be against such a deal. Continued
- SAUDI KING DECREES FORMER INTELLIGENCE CHIEF HALF BROTHER
MUQREN TO BE
- Reuters, Thursday 27 Mar 2014 - Saudi Arabia's Prince Muqrin
bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence chief in the conservative
Islamic kingdom, has been appointed deputy crown prince, Saudi
state television reported on Thursday, making it more likely
he will one day become king.
- The appointment makes Muqrin, the youngest son of the kingdom's
founder King Abdulaziz al-Saud, next in line to succeed in the
world's top oil exporter and birthplace of Islam after his half-brothers
King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman.
- "King Abdullah appoints Prince Muqrin as king in case
the positions of king and crown prince become vacant," al-Arabiya
television said, quoting a statement from the royal court.
- The announcement gives more assurance to the kingdom's long-term
sucession process at a moment when sees itself as being a lone
island of stability amid conflict and political turmoil across
the Middle East.
- King Abdullah turned 90 last year and Crown Prince Salman
is 78. Muqrin was 70 last year.
- Muqrin already holds the position of second deputy prime
minister, a role to which he was appointed a year ago and was
traditionally but informally seen as being equivalent to crown
prince in waiting.
- Continued: http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/97711/World/Region/BREAKING-Saudi-king-decrees-
- MEMRI: U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE KERRY IN NEW AND UNPRECEDENTED
- April 1, 2014 MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series Report
No.1080 U.S. Secretary Of State Kerry In New And Unprecedented
Statement: 'President Obama And I Are Both Extremely Welcoming
And Grateful For The Fact That [Iranian] Supreme Leader [Khamenei]
Has Issued A [Nonexistent] Fatwa' Banning Nuclear Weapons
In a March 22, 2014 Voice of America interview marking Norooz,
the Persian New Year, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said
that he and President Obama were "grateful" that Iranian
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had issued a
fatwa banning the possession, development, and use of nuclear
weapons. The following are excerpts from the interview. "Question:
Supreme Leader Khamenei, who is [sic] fatwa is mentioned, is
being mentioned again in the President's Norwuz message, [but
he] still says Americans are not trustworthy. How important is
this fatwa in your opinion, the nuclear fatwa?
"John Kerry: Well, I have great respect for a fatwa. A fatwa
is a very highly regarded message of religious importance. And
when any fatwa is issued, I think people take it seriously, and
so do we, even though it's not our practice. But we have great
respect for what it means. And but the trick here the trick the
art, the requirement here, is to translate the
fatwa into a legally binding, globally recognized, international
understanding. And so I hope that's achievable. And I think it's
a good starting place. And President Obama and I both are extremely
welcoming and grateful for the fact that the supreme leader has
issued a fatwa declaring that [emphasis MEMRI's]. That's an important
statement. But now we need to take that and put it into a sort
of understandable legal structure, if you will, that goes beyond
an article of faith within a religious belief or a process into
a more secular process that everybody can attach a meaning to."
- YULIA TYMOSHEMSO: 8 MILLION RUSSIAN IN UKRAINE MUST BE KILLED
- Infowars.com March 24, 2014
- "ICH: 'POLLARD-FOR-PRISONER' DEAL SAID OFFERED BY US
TO SAVE THE PEACE TALKS"
- Date: Thursday, 27-Mar-2014 19:37:19 ['N' comments: Watching
the Pollard situation for decades (!!!), maybe most of my life
(!!!), this is absolutely earth-shattering. O & team must
be scraping the bottom and have nothing else to leverage the
situation, to give up this one. Wow.]
- The United States has proposed freeing Israeli spy Jonathan
Pollard in a trade-off deal in which Israel would agree to proceed
with the next round of prisoner releases, including Israeli Arab
prisoners, and the Palestinian Authority would agreed to extend
the current peace talks, Israels Army Radio reported Wednesday.
- It said the offer had been conveyed to Israel and the PA,
but there was no official confirmation. State Department spokeswoman
Jen Psaki was quoted telling journalists accompanying Secretary
of State John Kerry to a meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas
Wednesday morning that there were currently no plans to release
Pollard, who is serving a life sentence.
- In exchange for Pollard, Israel would agree to release 26
prisoners, among them around 20 Arab Israelis, and the Palestinians
would agree to continue talks until the end of 2014, according
to Army Radio.
- Kerry reportedly made the offer after Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu made clear his intentions to forgo the final stage
of a prisoner release, previously agreed to as a bargaining chip
for starting peace talks this past July, unless Abbas agreed
to extend the talks past the upcoming April deadline.
- Right-wing Israeli politicians have objected to the prisoner
release, particularly letting inmates who are Israeli citizens
go, but the inclusion of Pollard in the deal would likely help
bring them aboard.
- Pollard, a US naval analyst, was jailed by the US in 1987
after being caught spying for Israel. Successive Israeli governments
have lobbied Washington for his release, with no success. He
is due to be paroled late next year.
- Israels Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home)
said he was skeptical over the reported deal.
- I dont believe it will happen, he said.
- MK Miri Regev (Likud) said that while she wanted Pollard
to go free, she did not believe Israel should release murderers.
- Kerry cut short a trip to Europe to meet Abbas in Amman in
a last-ditch effort to salvage the peace talks, which are due
to end next month. He was also set to speak to Netanyahu.
- Kerrys trip aims to continue to narrow the gaps
between the parties, Psaki said on Tuesday.
- His unexpected visit setting off from the Italian
capital just hours after arriving came as fresh tensions
rose over the peace talks, which Kerry is struggling to keep
on track beyond an April 29 deadline.
- Negotiations also risked being waylaid by a row over the
release of prisoners by Israel.
- FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, ISRAEL SUSPICIOUSLY CLOSES
ALL EMBASSIES & CONSULATES WORLD WIDE!
- Pastor Paul Begley of Indiana will explain why the Malaysian
Missing Plane may be the cause of war
- ISRAEL CLOSES EMBASSIES AROUND THE WORLD AS DIPLOMATS STRIKE
- By Allyn Fisher-Ilan - JERUSALEM Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:09am
EDT (Reuters) - Israeli diplomats launched an unprecedented strike
on Sunday, forcing the complete closure of embassies around the
world as they escalated a dispute over pay, officials said.
The industrial action has already threatened to postpone a visit
by Pope Francis to Israel planned for May - one of 25 trips by
foreign officials affected by a work slowdown the diplomats began
on March 5 when wage talks broke down.
- By escalating the action to a full strike - the first by
the diplomatic corps since the country's establishment in 1948
- the diplomats will close all of Israel's 102 missions abroad,
paralyzing most diplomatic work with other countries and the
United Nations. "We are completely shutting down the (foreign
ministry) office and missions abroad. This is the first time
ever," ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. Another ministry
official told Reuters: "As of now, the foreign ministry
doesn't exist. It's not possible even to submit complaints".
- FOREIGN MINISTRY GOES ON STRIKE, ALL ISRAEL'S EMBASSIES AND
CONSULATES ABROAD TO CLOSE
- By HERB KEINON - 03/23/2014 15:50 - Foreign Ministry - Protest
banners on Foreign Ministry building in Jerusalem: The fight
for home starts abroad Photo: Courtesy Foreign Ministrys
workers committee declared a full-fledged strike on Sunday, closing
the ministry and all the countrys embassies and consulates
around the world for the first time. The strike is the latest
development in a nearly two-year-old work dispute that the workers
declared for improved salaries and work conditions.
Related: Netanyahu cancels planned trip to Latin America due
to Foreign Ministry workers dispute
- Seven months of mediation efforts exploded on March 4 when
the workers rejected a Finance Ministry proposal.
- The workers then resumed crippling labor measures that had
been put on hold during the mediation period.
- ['T' Comments: WHAT WOULD THIS MEAN AND WHAT WOULD IT BE
EXPECTED TO ACCOMPLISH?
- EMAIL RESPONSE: March 23, 2014: "The Foreign Ministry
will be completely closed for all activity, including Israel's
103 embassies around the world from New Zealand, through ...
In time of war, a nation will close its embassy in those nations
in which it is at war. Since Gods chosen people are at war with
the entire human race, it should come as no surprise to anyone
that they are closing their embassies around the world. This
is probably the prelude to all out conflict. ].
- ROCKETS STRIKE ISRAEL, JEOPARDIZING TRUCE TALK
- [Ednote: as usual, that's how they get dollars from the US.
Bad behavior gets rewarded endofnote]
By IBRAHIM BARZAK - From Associated Press - March 13, 2014 2:03
JERUSALEM (AP) The Palestinian militant group Islamic
Jihad said Thursday it had agreed to halt a wave of rocket fire
on Israel, signaling an end to the heaviest fighting between
the sides since 2012, though soon after the announcement seven
rockets fired from Gaza exploded inside Israel.
- The Islamic Jihad denied it launched the attack and it wasn't
immediately unclear who fired the rockets. Cease-fire declarations
have not always been honored by militants and the barrage raised
doubts about the cease-fire offer made by Islamic Jihad.
- The Israeli military said militants fired at least seven
rockets Thursday from Gaza, with most coming in the evening after
the cease-fire claim. It said its "Iron Dome" defense
system intercepted one rocket.
- Israeli officials previously refused to confirm any cease-fire
deal was in place.
- In two days of violence, militants fired some 70 rockets
into Israel, while Israel has carried out a series of airstrikes
in Gaza. No serious casualties have been reported.
- Continued: http://time.com/23456/rockets-strike-israel-jeopardizing-truce-talk
- EGYPTIAN COURT SENTENCES NEARLY 530 TO DEATH
By MAGGIE MICHAEL - From Associated Press - March 24, 2014 3:42
PM EST - CAIRO (AP) An Egyptian court Monday sentenced
to death nearly 530 suspected backers of ousted President Mohammed
Morsi over a deadly attack on a police station, capping a swift,
two-day mass trial in which defense attorneys were not allowed
to present their case.
- It was the largest single batch of death sentences in the
world in recent years, Amnesty International said. The U.S. State
Department said it "defies logic" that so many people
could get a fair trial in just two sessions.
- The verdicts by a court in the city of Minya are subject
to appeal and are likely to be overturned.
- But the outcome stunned human rights activists and raised
fears that the rule of law is being swept away in the crackdown
waged by the military-backed interim government against Morsi's
Muslim Brotherhood since his overthrow last summer.
- The government is conducting a series of mass trials of Brotherhood
supporters, some with hundreds of defendants.
- "It turns the judiciary in Egypt from a tool for achieving
justice into an instrument for taking revenge," said Mohammed
Zarie, a Cairo-based human rights lawyer.
- Egypt's Foreign Ministry brushed off the criticism, saying
in a statement that the judiciary is "entirely independent
and is not influenced in any way by the executive branch of government."
- ISRAEL TO CONSIDER WAR CRIMES CASE
Israel's Supreme Court will hear evidence that officials committed
war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza.
- Jonathan Cook Last updated: 29 Mar 2014 12:58 - Nazareth,
Israel - For the first time Israel's Supreme Court is set to
consider evidence on April 2 that senior Israeli political and
military officials committed war crimes in relation to major
military operations in Gaza and Lebanon.
- Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his Foreign Minister
Tzipi Livni, the current justice minister, are among the high-level
figures accused of breaking the laws of war when they launched
attacks on Lebanon in 2006, and on Gaza in the winter of 2008-09.
- The allegations have been levelled by Marwan Dalal, the only
Israeli lawyer to have served as a senior prosecutor in one of
the international criminal courts at The Hague in the Netherlands.
- Dalal, who spent three years as a prosecutor at the International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, belongs to Israel's
Palestinian minority, which comprises a fifth of the country's
- He said he had based his petition to the court on "strong
factual and legal findings" from public sources, including
the reports of Israeli official inquiries.
- His evidence includes statements from senior Israeli officials
in which they appear to implicate themselves in actions - including
killing, collective punishment and attacks on civilian infrastructure
- not justified by military necessity. Such acts are breaches
of the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as Israeli law.
- Dalal will argue before the court that the Israeli police
are required to investigate the evidence in preparation for possible
indictments for war crimes.
- "The evidence is in the public realm and obliges Israeli
prosecutors to order investigations," he said. "The
failure to do so is unreasonable conduct and the court must rectify
- Official 'impunity'
- The action is the first brought by Dalal under the auspices
of Grotius, an organisation he founded last year to collect information
on war crimes. Although Grotius' focus is on Israel and the occupied
territories, it has also provided information to the special
tribunal for Lebanon, investigating the killing in 2005 of Lebanon's
Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Continued: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/03/israel-high-court-consider-war-crimes-case-
- ISRAEL SHUNS PALESTINIAN PRISONER DEAL TO SAVE THE PEACE
Israel tells Palestinians it will not release fourth group of
prisoners by March 29 deadline, jeopardising peace talks.
Last updated: 28 Mar 2014 12:19
Irael had made a commitment to release a final group of 26 veteran
Palestinian prisoners on March 29 [AFP]
- Israel is to renege on a commitment to release a fourth group
of Palestinian prisoners on Saturday, a move that delivers another
blow to US-brokered peace talks.
- A senior Palestinian official, Jibril Rajub, told AFP news
agency on Friday that Israel had informed the Palestinians via
US mediators that it would not abide by its commitment to release
the prisoners on Saturday, March 29.
- "Israel has refused to commit to the names that were
agreed upon of prisoners held by Israel since before the 1993
Oslo agreements," Rajub said.
- The Palestinians have threatened to walk away from the peace
talks if the prisoners are not released.
- Israeli officials had no immediate comment.
- Final release blocked
- Under the US-brokered deal that relaunched the peace talks
in July, Israel said it would release 104 Arabs held since before
the 1993 Oslo peace accords in exchange for the Palestinians
not pressing their statehood claims at the United
- Israel has so far freed 78 prisoners, but members of the
cabinet said they would block the final release if the Palestinians
refused to extend the peace talks beyond their April 29 deadline.
- The peace process has teetered on the brink of collapse,
with Washington fighting an uphill battle to get the two sides
to agree to a framework for continued negotiations until the
end of the year.
- Israel's move follows an announcement by Arab leaders on
Wednesday which blamed Israel for a lack of progress in the talks,
and said that they would never recognise Israel as a Jewish state.
- The Arab League issued a communique at the end of a two-day
summit that rejected "the continuation of settlements, Judaisation
of Jerusalem, and attacks in its Muslim and Christian shrines".
- US Secretary of State John Kerry then met Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas in Amman on Wednesday night in a bid to salvage
- Kerry brought Israel and the Palestinians back into negotiations
on July 29, 2013, after a three-year gap, and said at the time
that "our objective will be to achieve a final status agreement
over the course of the next nine months".
- As the April deadline approaches, US officials have scaled
back their ambitions, saying they are now trying to forge a "framework
for negotiations" by then.
- THE POLITICS BEHIND THE PRISONER SWAP
- By Phyllis Bennis is a Fellow of the Institute for Policy
Studies and of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam.
The deal has been discussed since Shalit was captured in 2006,
now the time has come for 1028 families to be reunited.
- Like so many other diplomatic and political initiatives in
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the recent announcement of
a new prisoner release is based on the same solution that has
been proposed dozens of times before - only to collapse because
the time, and often Israeli political will, wasn't right.
- In this case, the separate announcements made by Hamas leader
Khaled Meshal and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,
asserted that Hamas would release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit,
captured by Hamas in 2006, while Israel would release 1,027 Palestinian
prisoners, some of whom have been in jail for decades.
- As Tony Karon wrote in Time magazine's blog: "Win-win
outcomes are all too rare in the Middle East, but the agreement
that will see Hamas free captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit
in exchange for a reported 1,000 Palestinian prisoners will allow
each of its stakeholders to claim victory."
- That arrangement has been bandied about for years. The fact
that it now appears imminent (though its success cannot be claimed
until all the prisoners walk out of jail) reflects two seemingly
contradictory realities: Israel, the occupying power, continues
to control the lives of the occupied Palestinian population,
and new regional and international conditions are challenging
Israel in dramatic ways.
- Asymmetry of power Continued: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/10/2011101710357404529.html
- HEATED JERUSALEM PEACE TALKS END IN IMPASSE
- Heated Jerusalem peace talks end in impasse Published today
(updated) 03/04/2014 12:25
- JERUSALEM (Ma'an - Independent Palestinian news agency) --
A long and heated meeting between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators
in Jerusalem ended early Thursday without any signs of bringing
both sides back to the negotiating table.
- Palestinian sources told Ma'an that the nine-hour meeting
with US Special Envoy Martin Indyk was attended by PLO negotiator
Saeb Erekat, Head of Palestinian intelligence Majid Faraj, and
Israeli negotiators Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho.
- The sources described the meeting as a "fierce political
battle", with Martin Indyk struggling to control heated
exchanges between both sides.
- Erekat reportedly told the Israeli side that "we are
here to negotiate in the name of the UN-recognized State of Palestine,
not in the name of a Palestinian Authority whose inputs and outputs
are controlled by Israel."
- Israeli negotiators responded by threatening to put "endless"
sanctions on the Palestinians, the sources said.
- During the heated exchanges, US special envoy Martin Indyk
reiterated his support for Israel's security.
- Majid Faraj responded by stressing that the Palestinians
were there for "political, not security" talks and
to negotiate about Jerusalem as the future capital of an independent
- PLO NEGOTIATORS HAVE 7 CONDITIONS TO RENEW TALKS
- Published today (updated) 04/04/2014 00:42 BETHLEHEM (Ma'an)
-- Palestinian negotiators have posed seven conditions that must
be met by Israel to continue negotiations beyond April 29.
- The conditions were announced during a 9-hour meeting Wednesday
with Israeli negotiators in Jerusalem, a high-ranking source
in the PLO told Maan.
- The following are the conditions, according to the source.
- 1. To receive a written letter from Israel's premier recognizing
the Palestinian borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.
- 2. The release of Palestinian prisoners who former Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to free including Marwan Barghouthi,
Ahmad Saadat, and Fuad Shweiki.
- 3. Implementing a border-crossing agreement and lifting the
siege on Gaza.
- 4. The return of exiles deported in the 2002 Bethlehem siege.
- 5. Stopping settlement activity in Jerusalem, and opening
closed institutions in Jerusalem.