JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A long-awaited prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas began before dawn on Tuesday when the first of hundreds of Palestinian inmates were bused from their jails to border crossings where they will be swapped for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
The first phase of the exchange, expected to take several hours, will end a saga that has gripped Israelis over the five years of Shalit’s captivity in Gaza.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel and the Gaza Strip’s Islamist Hamas rulers prepared to implement a prisoner swap on Tuesday in which Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit will be exchanged for hundreds of Palestinians.
The deal was given the all-clear by Israel’s highest court late on Monday after it rejected petitions to block the swap by relatives of Israelis killed by some of the Palestinians to be released.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police Friday arrested a man suspected of defacing a memorial to assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in an apparent protest against an impending Palestinian prisoner swap.
A police spokesman said the man, whom he declined to name, was the son of a couple killed in a Jerusalem pizzeria suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2001.
JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – Prospects of a long-elusive deal with Hamas to secure the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners began to take off in July, Israel’s negotiator said on Tuesday.
David Meidan, who did the talking for Israel, said Israeli intelligence identified three months ago that the Islamist movement which rules the Gaza Strip and holds Shalit had become more pragmatic and was ready to do a deal with Egypt as mediator.
Israeli authorities have granted a residency permit to Jerusalem’s Anglican bishop, Palestinian Suheil Dawani, after months of legal wrangling, the clergyman said in a message to his supporters on Tuesday. Dawani was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem in 2007, and as a non-Israeli is required by Israeli authorities to obtain a temporary residence permit. This was granted in 2008 and 2009, but he was turned down in 2010.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israelis reacted coolly on Friday to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s quest for statehood recognition, and some said his impassioned speech at the United Nations had only succeeded in harming the chances of peace.
Telling the U.N. General Assembly he wanted peaceful relations with Israel, Abbas painted a bleak picture of life for ordinary Palestinians under occupation.
TEL AVIV, Sept 2 (Reuters) – A second-half goal by Sotiris
Ninis helped Greece strengthen their position at the top of Euro
2012 Group F qualifying with a 1-0 victory in Israel on Friday.
Midfielder Ninis struck on the hour with a low shot from
outside the area and the visitors then put all their men behind
the ball for the last 30 minutes to keep the home team out.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Tuesday it had sent two extra warships to patrol the Red Sea but it downplayed reports that they were connected to an Egyptian sweep of the Sinai peninsula for militants.
A military official said the deployment was routine but declined to say what operational duties the ships were performing.
ASHKELON, Israel (Reuters) – Israeli officials on Monday praised the effectiveness of the U.S.-funded Iron Dome anti-rocket defence system, despite its failure to shoot down a rocket fired from Gaza that killed a man in a residential area.
A senior commander said Iron Dome interceptors had shot down 20 incoming projectiles fired by Gaza militants in five days of cross-border violence and said that statistically the fact that one rocket got through did not mean the system had failed.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Palestinian militants fired at least 12 rockets into southern Israel on Sunday, drawing an Israeli threat to step up attacks in the Gaza Strip in a three-day-old surge of cross-border violence.
“The Israel Defence Forces will not hesitate to widen its actions and to respond with as much force as is needed,” Brigadier-General Yoav Mordechai, the military’s chief spokesman, said on Israel Radio, a day after an Israeli was killed in a rocket strike on the southern city of Beersheba.