Pope Francis officially announced on Sunday that he will visit Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority in May, reports Reuters. Francis, who has made many appeals for peace in the Middle East since his election in March, announced the trip to thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday address. Read Full Article
In an intensifying diplomatic effort, Secretary of State John Kerry is making a major push to secure what Obama administration officials are calling a “framework” accord that would be a critical first step to a comprehensive Mideast peace agreement. But critics are already branding it as an effort to play for time. The framework document is aimed at achieving enough of a convergence on core issues that the two sides can make headway toward a formal peace agreement leading to an independent Palestinian state. Read Full Article
While the EU and the United States cheered a deal that world powers reached with Tehran over its nuclear ambitions, Israel was fierce in its criticism Sunday, which PM Netanyahu believes Iran nuclear deal was a historic mistake. “For years the international community has demanded that Iran cease all uranium enrichment. Now, for the first time, the international community has formally consented that Iran continue its enrichment of uranium.” Read Full Article
Mr Netanyahu reacted angrily when the 1967 proposal was made by Barack Obama in May but was now said to be offering to trade Israeli territory on its side of the line for West Bank land where its main settlements were located. “We are willing in a framework of restarting the peace talks to accept a proposal that would contain elements that would be difficult for Israel and we would find very difficult to endorse,” said an official, answering a question about the Obama proposal. Read Full Article
American and European diplomats warned that if peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are not renewed, the Quartet, may formally recognize a Palestinian state, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.
“We have more than 130 nations set to recognize the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders,” said Abbas,”and even if we make no further efforts, that number could be increased to 140 or 150.”Speaking to the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, Abbas also said the PA would fulfill the vision of U.S. President Barack Obama, who said he wanted to see a Palestinian state established in September as determined by the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers. Read Full Article
AFP – The United States and other world powers called Friday for the Palestinians and Israel to resume direct peace talks within a month and commit to seeking a deal by the end of 2012. The Quartet of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations acted after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas formally submitted his request to the United Nations for Palestine to be admitted as a full member. Read Full Article
London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat reports that U.S. President Barack Obama presented his version of peace in the Middle East to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during the latter’s visit to Washington last month, as well as to two Eygptian officials. The plan reportedly calls for a process that will finalize a Palestinian state within two years. Read Full Article
TSA research proposal to body-scan pedestrians and train passengers has now extended to scanners and other surveillance technology capable of identifying and recording the voices and conversations of pedestrians. Participants at major events, like the upcoming Super Bowl, can now welcome the invasion or abhor the violation of body scanners at entrances.
The Department of Homeland Security has been planning pilot programs to deploy mobile scanning units that can be set up at
public events and in train stations, along with mobile x-ray vans capable of scanning pedestrians on city streets. Read Full Article
WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State John Kerry hopes to narrow differences between Israelis and Palestinians in peace talks this week that are intended to guide the sides toward a deal in April, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday. Read Full Article