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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main coalition partner threatened to quit on Monday unless bickering ministers agreed to a proposal to end wholesale military draft exemptions for Jewish seminary students.
A government-appointed committee failed on Sunday to finalize a draft law that limits the number of those exempted from compulsory army service each year to 1,800 ultra-Orthodox scholars, instead of the tens of thousands of students who are let off annually now.