Entries in Prime Minister Netanyahu (4)


Israel P.M. Working on New Peace Initiative

Jim Hollander - pool/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- After months of no movement on Mideast peace talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he's working on a new peace initiative to break the deadlock. Among other incentives, Netanyahu is expected to recognize a Palestinian state within temporary borders. And now a new detail has emerged about his ideas for security along those borders. 

On a visit to the Jordan valley, Prime Minister Netanyahu said the Israeli army must maintain its presence along the border with Jordan under any future peace deal -- that would mean Israeli soldiers along the eastern front of a future Palestinian state. Calling the border a key line of defense, Netanyahu said soldiers must prevent the smuggling of arms and militants. Palestinian leaders swiftly rejected the idea.  "We are not going to allow the Israeli army to stay in the Jordan valley or in a centimeter of Palestinian territory," says spokesman Nabil Shaath.

The current borders were drawn in 1967. Palestinian leaders do not want the Israeli army -- which they see as an occupying power -- playing any role in their future state. Palestinian leaders have publicly hinted that a United Nations peacekeeping force may be acceptable on the Jordanian border, but Israeli officials don't believe such a force would be effective.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Israel Asks Obama Administration to Release Convicted Spy

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told parliament Tuesday that he has written a letter to President Obama asking him to release Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of spying for Israel and has been in prison for 25 years.
The U.S. State Department said Tuesday that it has received a letter from Netanyahu and will be reviewing it, but did not confirm its contents or offer any comment.
This isn’t the first time Netanyahu has asked for Pollard’s release -- he did so back in the 1990s and the case came up again a couple months ago as the U.S. was scrambling to find a way to entice Israel to make concessions that would allow the stalled Mideast peace talks to resume. Both times the U.S. has balked at the requests.
It’s unclear if Netanyahu will make this a prerequisite to a renewed settlement freeze that could restart talks, but his public appeal for Pollard’s release comes as the Obama administration is dispatching top aides to the region in an effort to find a way forward in the new year.
Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst, was detained in 1985 and convicted of passing classified information on to the Israelis about Iraq and other subjects.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Foreign Aid Arrives in Israel to Help Fend off Forest Fire

Photo Courtesy - Uriel Sinai/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Israel is still having trouble containing a fire that has burned through an estimated 7,000 acres of forest and left at least 41 people dead.

Israeli firefighting planes, and a few from Greece and Bulgaria, arrived at Carmel Forest Thursday night and have been dumping water on the fire, but officials say very little progress is being made. A powerful eastern wind is continuing to strengthen and spread the fire, inching it closer and closer to Israel's third largest city, Haifa.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu held an emergency security cabinet meeting, calling the conflagration an unprecedented disaster. He expressed condolences to the families of the 41 Israelis who died, most of them on a bus that got caught in the flames.

Netanyahu also thanked Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey for acting quickly and sending nearly a dozen planes and helicopters to help battle the fire. More assistance, he said, is coming from  Russia, Eygpt, France, and the U.S.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


US Offers Incentives for West Bank Resettlement Ban

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Israel's cabinet is reportedly considering a package of incentives offered by the United States in hopes of a construction freeze in West Bank settlements, but not in East Jerusalem.  The BBC reports the incentives include a pledge to fight international resolutions critical of Israel, several security promises and a pledge to not seek to extend the resettlement ban beyond 90 days. 

The resettlement issue could shut down the restarted peace talks with Palestinian officials that resumed in September after a 20 month interruption.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly discussed the matter with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton In the U.S. on Thursday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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