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Entries in Israel (345)


Israel-Palestine: Swap of 1027 Palestinians for Gilad Shalit Under Way (Al Jazeera English)

Israel Special: How Gilad Shalit Saved Prime Minister Netanyahu

UPDATE 1445 GMT: Al Jazeera English has updated on developments, including details of the 477 Palestinians --- the first of two sets of detainees to be released --- who were freed today:

In Israel, 96 Palestinian prisoners left the Ketziot prison, bound for the Ofer military camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah, public radio reported early on Tuesday morning.

Another 334 were transferred to the Kerem Shalom crossing, at the southern-most point of the Israel-Gaza border. The first prisoners were dressed in civilian clothes, with their hands and feet manacled, the radio report said.

A convoy of vehicles left the Israeli Katsiout prison in Naqab, near the Egyptian border, before dawn on Tuesday. Vehicles carrying female prisoners also left HaSharon Prison in central Israel.

At the Beituniya border crossing, a "great sense of excitement" quickly evaporated after a last-minute change of plans meant that prisoners would not be brought in through the checkpoint to meet their families, Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford reported.

After the announcement, the assembled crowd threw stones at the Israeli border post, prompting them to retaliate with tear gas and water cannon.

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Israel Special: How Gilad Shalit Saved Prime Minister Netanyahu

In July, we speculated that --- given the Palestinian application for United Nations recognition, deadlocked negotiations, and collapsed diplomatic manoeuvres ---the Obama Administration might acknowledge Hamas behind closed doors, give Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas a guarantee that Ramallah will never need to recognise a “Jewish state”, and promise a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in a year. None of that has happened; however, we also noted htat “a sign can be given to Netanyahu that he can be a peace-making hero ahead of Israeli elections. How? The release of Gilad Shalit, the detained Israel soldier, by Hamas.”

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US-Israel Feature: A Message to Iran? Washington Sells "Bunker-Buster" Bombs to the Israelis (Lake)

Obama had finally authorized military deals the Israelis had been waiting for for years. It is support that has drawn the two nations’ militaries increasingly close even as their leaders seem politely distant.

The aid, U.S. and Israeli officials confirmed to Newsweek, includes the long-delayed delivery of 55 powerful GBU-28 Hard Target Penetrators, better known as bunker-buster bombs, deemed important to any future military strike against Iranian nuclear sites. It also includes a network of proposed radar sites—some located in Arab neighbors—designed to help Israel repel a missile attack, as well as joint military exercises and regular national-security consultations.

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Palestine Video and Transcript: Mahmoud Abbas Makes Statehood Bid at UN General Assembly



Ladies and Gentlemen,

I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.

The time has come to end the suffering and the plight of millions of Palestine refugees in the homeland and the Diaspora, to end their displacement and to realize their rights, some of them forced to take refuge more than once in different places of the world.

At a time when the Arab peoples affirm their quest for democracy --- the Arab Spring --- the time is now for the Palestinian Spring, the time for independence.

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Turkey Feature: Erdoğan at UN --- A Blast at Israel, A Criticism of Assad, and a Warning to Cyprus

Israel's rulers must make a choice. They must see the fact that the real security comes with the real peace. They must see that it is not possible to maintain the state of conflict in the Middle East permanently. It is necessary to show that Israel is not above the law.

The most important step to be taken in this matter is the Palestine's taking part in the UN. Turkey's support to Palestine is unconditional.

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Turkey's Erdogan Threatening Cyprus: "We Will Do What is Necessary!"

This feature has been re-titled, "Turkey Feature: Erdoğan at UN --- A Blast at Israel, A Criticism of Assad, and a Warning to Cyprus", and moved to the top of EA Worldview....


Iran Interview: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Runs Circles Around ABC News' Stephanopoulos

Another forum in New York for President Ahmadinejad to put out his talking points --- "Show me one dictatorship in the world that has not been supported by the United States government or some European governments" --- while knocking back any thought of violations of political, civil, and legal rights after his disputed 2009 re-election: "Don’t you distinguish between those protestors who have something to say and who have some demands, and those who set buildings on fire?"

Like NBC News' Ann Curry in Tehran a week ago,  ABC News' George Stephanopoulos gets his prize in the opening exchange with the prospect of a release of the US hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer --- this time, it actually came true in the following 24 hours --- and then the rest of the interview is a broadcast wasteland.

Stephanopoulos is ill-prepared to follow up on some questions, such as the repression in Iran, and unable to to catch up with an evasive Ahmadinejad on others, such as Syria. While for once, this is an interview that doesn't put a priority on the nuclear issue, Stephanopoulos cannot even get the Iranian President to respond meaningfully on the US call for military communications with Tehran to avoid an accidental conflict --- Ahmadinejad shows his interviewer up, "You mean the US is in a Cold War with Iran? Is that what you mean?"

And there is even a gift tied with a bow for Ahmadinejad with Stephanopoulos' presentation of foreign-supported "regime change": "The Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said earlier this year that it’s just a matter of time before this revolution hits Iran.  What did you make of that?"


STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. President, thank you for joining us again.  I want to begin with a topic that  many Americans are interested [in], of course, the Americans, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer.  Last week you raised a lot of hopes here in the United States saying they would be released in a couple of days as a humanitarian gesture.  Many expected them to come back here with you.  Yet they’re still imprisoned in Iran.  Why?

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Israel-Palestine Feature: Trip by US Envoys Backfires, Palestinians Proceed to UN with Statehood Bid (DPA)

US Envoys David Hale & Dennis RossA last-ditch U.S. attempt to sway the Palestinian Authority away from its planned statehood bid at the United Nations and toward resumed negotiations with Israel achieved only in convincing the Palestinians that recognition in the UN was their only possibility, a PA official said on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters in Ramallah, Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said that a plan
delivered at the last minute by U.S. envoys David Hale and Dennis Ross did not meet several Palestinian demands, thus convincing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the U.S. was not serious in trying to negotiate peace.

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When Israel & Turkey Co-operated: West Jerusalem Asks Ankara for Help with Hamas

In a week when Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to punish Turkey by supporting the Kurdish insurgency PKK, this document, released by WikiLeaks, is a useful reminder of public illusions and private politics --- even as Israel criticised Ankara's acceptance of Hamas as a legitimate political force, it was trying to take advantage of Turkey's relationship with the Gazan leadership.

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Palestine: World Bank Hands Out Urgent Political and Economic Advice

So an economic report from the World Bank gives clear advice to Ramallah not to insist on the UN vote on statehood, in the face of the resistance from Washington: with continuing, sustainable advances in its economy, the West Bank is an excellent candidate to become a state. In the meantime, there are steps to be taken: donations, an easing of Israeli restrictions, and a Palestinian Authority focused on institution-building. And the negotiating table is the "best" way of achieving the sustainable economy as well as political settlement.

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