ADL: “An Israeli soldier is being held hostage by the terrorist organization Hamas since his capture in the summer of 2006. The continued captivity of this young man with little word as to his fate is unacceptable and a clear violation of international protocol. Cpt. Gilad Shalit, 21, was kidnapped on June 25, 2006 during a cross-border attack by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas on a military installation near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom in southern Israel. Two soldiers were killed and three wounded during the raid. Shalit is still being held by Hamas at an undisclosed location in the Gaza Strip. On July 16, 2008, the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah from Israeli soil on July 12, 2006, were returned to Israel as part of a prisoner exchange. Their kidnapping sparked the 2006 Lebanon War. Over the two years the soldiers were held captive, Hezbollah never provided information as to the soldiers condition or fate. The return of their bodies was the first acknowledgement by Hezbollah that the soldiers were dead.
The international community must do all it can to free Gilad Shalit now
Jeruslaem Post: Binyamin Netanyahuhas now clarified his position on the issue of two states. The White House has rightly accepted the proposals. There appear to be early grumblings of opposition from the Palestinian leaders but they should grasp the opportunity for lasting peace, it is a fair proposal:
Herb Kelnon in The Jerusalem Post: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lifted the shroud from his diplomatic endgame on Sunday night, saying at the BESA Center at Bar-Ilan University that he would support a Palestinian state if he received international guarantees that it would be demilitarized, and if the Palestinians accepted Israel as the Jewish homeland.
“If we receive this guarantee regarding demilitarization and Israel’s security needs, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, then we will be ready in a future peace agreement to reach a solution where a demilitarized Palestinian state exists alongside the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said to applause – the first time he has said he would accept a Palestinian state.
US President Barack Obama welcomed the prime minister’s speech, calling it an important step forward.
“The president is committed to two states, a Jewish State of Israel and an independent Palestine, in the historic homeland of both peoples,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement. “He believes this solution can and must ensure both Israel’s security and the fulfillment of the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for a viable state, and he welcomes Prime Minister Netanyahu’s endorsement of that goal…”more
President Barack Obama has said the US can help to get serious Middle East peace negotiations back on track, despite differences with Israel over settlement building in the occupied West Bank.The president also spoke to the BBC‘s North America editor Justin Webb about Iran’s nuclear programme, saying he wanted to see progress but did not believe in artificial timetables.
US President Barack Obama and the Middle East. President Barak Obama’s policy discussed on Radio 4 Today programme – audio clip.
We have seen the decline of the left in Israel in recent elections, the prospects for social democrats in Israel looks bleak at a time when a strong Labour party is needed more than ever. The Haaretz article below by Bradley Burston explores what has happened:
BRADLEY BURSTON, HAARETZ: “The social democratic movement that brought this country into being, Labor, has entered what may be the final stage of a remarkable and tragic transition from colossus to hospice.
Its self-styled healer, Ehud Barak, also constitutes the most lethal symptom of its affliction. It has begun to dawn on the heirs to the Labor estate, those who still possess a modicum of youth and vigor and vision, that the disease, and in particular, the treatment, may soon drain the inheritance to nothing…”
Pope Benedict XVI is today visiting Israel with a message of peace and was welcomed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres:
PM Netanyahu, President Peres welcome Benedict XVI to the Holy Land.
“Thank you for your warm welcome to Israel, a land which is holy to millions,” Benedict said. “I appreciate the opportunity to come here.”
JERUSALEM POST:“I come, like so many others before me, to pray at the holy places, to pray especially for peace – peace here in the Holy Land, and peace throughout the world,” the pope continued, adding that although the name Jerusalem meant “city of peace,” it was all too evident that peace had eluded the region…”
Is the Israeli Labour Party about to split?
HAARETZ: “Barak is pushing for a split in the party with all his might and if he continues to avoid confronting us then the party members will have to consider their futures,” Peretz said. The former defense minister added that Barak is dragging Labor to the right-wing camp rather than its former place in the peace camp…”
See the link below: