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Aug 13, 2013

Palestinian prisoner release on track after court ruling

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel was set to free 26 Palestinian prisoners within hours to help underpin renewed peace talks, after its High Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal against their release by relatives of some of the Israelis they killed.

Authorities planned to transport the group from jail in the dead of night in the early hours of Wednesday. The men, arrested between 1985 and 2001, were to return to homes in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Aug 12, 2013

Israel names Palestinians to be freed before peace talks

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel named on Monday 26 Palestinians who it will free from jail this week under a deal enabling U.S.-backed peace talks to resume, but the goodwill gesture was clouded by Israeli plans to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The 26 prisoners are the first of a total of 104 that Israel has decided in principle to free as part of an agreement reached after shuttle diplomacy by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to renew talks for Palestinian statehood.

Aug 12, 2013

Israel names Palestinian prisoners to be freed before peace talks

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel on Monday named 26 Palestinian prisoners to be freed this week under a deal enabling U.S.-backed peace talks to resume, although Palestinians said these had been undermined by newly announced plans to expand Israeli settlements.

Some Israelis reacted angrily to the scheduled release on Tuesday or Wednesday of the long-term Palestinian prisoners.

Aug 11, 2013

Israel markets settler homes two days before Palestinian prisoner release

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Sunday it was marketing nearly 1,200 new homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, just two days before a planned release of long-serving Palestinian prisoners.

Israel has made a major push on settlements since the resumption on July 30, after a three-year break, of U.S.-brokered talks on Palestinian statehood.

Jul 7, 2013
via FaithWorld

Israeli cabinet approves law to conscript ultra-Orthodox Jews


(An Israeli soldier straps on a phylactery to his forearm as he stands next to ultra-Orthodox Jewish men at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem’s Old City February 22, 2012. REUTERS/Baz Ratner )

Israel’s cabinet approved a draft law on Sunday to abolish wholesale exemptions from military duty granted to Jewish seminary students, stoking ultra-Orthodox anger over the break with tradition.

Jul 7, 2013

Israeli cabinet approves ultra-Orthodox conscription law

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s cabinet approved a draft law on Sunday to abolish wholesale exemptions from military duty granted to Jewish seminary students, stoking ultra-Orthodox anger over the break with tradition.

Many Israelis have long bridled over state privileges handed to the conservative believers or “Haredim” – a Hebrew term meaning “those who tremble before God”.

Jul 4, 2013

Israel takes cautious approach to Mursi’s ouster

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s government avoided any show of satisfaction on Thursday over the ouster of Egypt’s Mohamed Mursi, an Islamist president who alarmed many in the Jewish state but quickly made clear he would not renege on a peace treaty.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment on Mursi’s removal by the Egyptian army. But a Netanyahu confidant, Tzachi Hanegbi, expressed hope the appointment of Adli Mansour would lead to the restoration of largely frozen contacts with the Cairo government.

Jun 16, 2013

Netanyahu urges no let-up in world pressure on Iran after vote

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Sunday for no relaxation of international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear efforts after the election of a new president widely hailed as a moderate.

Netanyahu said it was Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and not the newly elected president, Hassan Rohani, who set a nuclear policy that has been challenged by tough economic sanctions and the prospect of military action.

Jun 5, 2013

Netanyahu signals readiness to consider 2002 Arab peace plan

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled readiness on Wednesday to consider a 2002 Arab peace plan whose terms were recently softened to include possible land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians.

“We are listening to every initiative – the Arab initiative has been mentioned – and we are prepared to discuss initiatives that are proposals and not edicts,” he said in a speech in parliament.

Jun 3, 2013

Israel says it has struck deal to resettle Eritrean migrants

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An unidentified country has agreed to take in Eritrean illegal immigrants living in Israel, according to Israeli court documents.

Humanitarian agencies say many of the 60,000 African migrants who have walked into Israel from Egypt should be considered for asylum. Israel regards most of them as illegal job-seekers, and a national debate on deporting them has stirred strong emotions in a Jewish state founded by war refugees and immigrants.

    • About Jeffrey

      "Heller joined Reuters from United Press International in Tel Aviv in 1984 and transferred to London in 1987. He returned to the Middle East in 1992 as a senior sub-editor on the Middle East and Africa desk before taking up a post as correspondent, Jerusalem a year later. He is currently editor-in-charge in the Jerusalem bureau."
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