JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s right-wing foreign minister on Friday defended U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry whose Middle East peace drive has seen mounting criticism from within the Israeli government.
The conciliatory remarks by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has previously been a vocal critic of international efforts to set up a Palestinian state on Israeli-occupied territory, could help Kerry cobble together consensus for pursuing the peace negotiations.
TEL AVIV , Jan 31 (Reuters) – Watching old Arab enemies reel
with sectarian insurgencies and international diplomacy capping
the Iranian nuclear drive, Israel’s military is confounded by a
new challenge: quiet.
The relative tranquility, for Israel at least, poses its own
dilemma for commanders tasked with preparing for an array of
potentially unpredictable future adversaries while trying to
stave off steep cuts to their budget.
HERZLIYA, Israel (Reuters) – Israel accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas on Wednesday of putting “thousands” of bases in residential buildings and said it would destroy these in a future conflict, even at the cost of civilian lives.
The unusually explicit threat by air force chief Major-General Amir Eshel appeared to be part of an effort by Israeli officials to prepare world opinion for high civilian casualties in any new confrontation with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Some of the al Qaeda militants going to fight in Syria have bases in neighboring Turkey and can easily access Europe from the NATO member state, Israel’s military intelligence chief said on Wednesday.
Major-General Aviv Kochavi, presenting a map of the Middle East marked with areas of al Qaeda presence, told a security conference al Qaeda fighters from around the world entered Syria weekly, “but they do not stay” there.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – An international deal capping Iran’s nuclear work set the program back by just six weeks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday, accusing Tehran of using the hiatus to hone technologies with bomb-making potential.
Iran this month began implementing the interim nuclear accord it clinched with world powers in Geneva in November, and which Netanyahu has condemned as a “historic mistake” for easing sanctions on Israel’s arch-foe while letting it retain the infrastructure to make fissile materials.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas proposed on Tuesday that Israel carry out a gradual three-year withdrawal from the occupied West Bank as part of any future peace deal, an offer that fell short of Israeli demands.
He gave the timeframe in an interview shown at an international security conference in Tel Aviv, where Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon challenged the effectiveness of the Palestinian leader’s current security commitments.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The complexities and contradictions of the Middle East conflict come into play in both the real-life production story and fictional plot of “Omar”, Palestine’s contender for a best foreign language film Oscar.
The movie’s director and lead actors are Israeli Arabs who identify as Palestinian. And while it depicts lovers literally walled-off by Israel’s West Bank barrier, and a hero brutalized by Israeli secret police, the $2 million drama was filmed mostly in Nazareth, northern Israel, without hindrance.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israel and the Palestinians disagreed sharply on Tuesday over the effectiveness of security measures by the regional Palestinian administration in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, deepening doubt about peace prospects in U.S.-brokered talks.
Foreign powers have been helping build up Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s security services in the West Bank to prevent militant attacks on Israelis and ward off any challenge from breakaway Hamas Islamists who control the Gaza Strip.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Wednesday it had arrested two Palestinians from East Jerusalem who were planning to carry out attacks for al Qaeda with the help of foreign suicide bombers posing as Russian tourists.
The men were recruited by another al Qaeda agent in the Gaza Strip, said Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency – the second Israeli report in as many months suggesting the militant network was taking root among Palestinians.
TEL AVIV, Jan 15 (Reuters) – Turkey has accepted assurances
a planned NATO missile defence system in which it is playing a
part is not designed to protect Israel as well, the alliance’s
deputy secretary-general said on Wednesday.
Alexander Vershbow said objections by Prime Minister Tayyip
Erdogan’s government had resulted in part from confusion about a
Turkish-hosted NATO radar. Ankara had been further assuaged by
alliance Patriot anti-missile batteries assigned to protect its
territory from Syria.