EILAT, Israel (Reuters) – An airliner full of carefree vacationers dips out of a cloudless sky on a final descent to Eilat and the desert around Israel’s toehold on the Red Sea sizzles with unseen military activity.
The scene repeats every half hour or so, servicing the busy Israeli hotels squeezed into the 11-km (7-mile) sliver of coast between Jordan and Egypt. But with the threat of anti-aircraft missile attacks from Egypt-based militants increasing, security precautions are being stepped up to unprecedented levels.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tentative agreement to revive U.S.-sponsored peace talks with the Palestinians met skepticism and scorn on Sunday from some members of his rightist coalition government, including within his own party.
With no date yet set for negotiations to begin, let alone a public blueprint for their terms, Netanyahu did not yet appear at risk of a political crisis. Rare praise for him from the center-left opposition suggested they were willing to replace any nationalist allies he might lose over a future peace accord.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A Palestinian secretly held by Israel after he vanished during a visit to Egypt last month was indicted on terrorism charges on Friday, though Israeli authorities kept a lid on how and where he was detained.
Any indication that Wael Abu Rida was seized on Egyptian soil, whether by Israeli undercover agents or in cooperation with Cairo, could fan popular hostility toward the Jewish state in the politically chaotic Arab power.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel sentenced an Arab citizen to 30 months’ imprisonment on Monday for endangering national security by briefly joining Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
Hikmat Massarwa’s case was unprecedented, and the relatively light penalty handed down to him as part of a plea bargain reflected Israel’s indecision about who – if anyone – to back in its northern neighbor’s civil war.
Israel announced a crackdown on Monday against Jewish ultranationalists who vandalize Palestinian property, saying they were tantamount to terrorists and their attacks could fan sectarian violence.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel announced a crackdown on Monday against Jewish ultranationalists who vandalize Palestinian property, saying they were tantamount to terrorists and their attacks could fan sectarian violence.
The move followed the arrest of a 22-year Israeli from an Orthodox Jewish town near Tel Aviv for the vandalism of a Christian monastery in the occupied West Bank last year. The attack was carried out in solidarity with hardline Jewish settlers.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Palestinian administration in the West Bank has tried to help the latest U.S. peacemaking drive by quietly cutting off funds for grassroots campaigners against Israel’s occupation of the territory, a senior Israeli general said on Tuesday.
The allegation, which the campaigners contested, underscored the sensitivity of the Palestinians’ security coordination with Israel at a time of deadlocked diplomacy over their independence drive and censure from rival Hamas Islamists.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, may prevail in the more than two-year-old uprising against him, Israel’s intelligence minister said on Monday.
Though the assessment was quickly disavowed by others in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government, it reflected the difficulties facing Israel and Western countries in predicting Syria’s destiny and weighing intervention.
VIENNA/JERUSALEM, June 2 (Reuters) – Iran aims to start a
reactor next year which the West fears could arm an atomic bomb;
Israel, which has bombed such construction sites around the
Middle East before, may try to stop the plant being completed.
The timetable for the planned start-up of the Arak
heavy-water research plant is closely watched: Israeli and
Western experts say any attacker would probably prefer to act
before it becomes operational – to avoid generating radioactive
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel could overcome advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles if they were deployed in Syria but any strikes on the system would be difficult and risk alienating its supplier, Russia.
Israel has pledged to take preventive action, seeing a future Syrian S-300 as a “game-changing” threat to its own airspace as well as to the relative free rein with which it now overflies its northern foe and neighbouring Lebanon.