Connect to share and comment

Israeli diplomats end strike that closed embassies

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli diplomats on Wednesday ended a 10-day strike that closed embassies around the world after the government agreed to improve their job conditions. The dispute had threatened to delay a visit by Pope Francis to Israel planned for May - one of 25 trips by foreign officials affected by what first started as a work slowdown on March 5, when wage talks broke down.

Palestinians to pay 'heavy price' for UN move

Renewed Palestinian action to join UN agencies and international treaties could push Israel to annex territory in the occupied West Bank, a hardline minister warned on Wednesday. "If they are now threatening (to go to UN institutions), they must know something simple: they will pay a heavy price," Tourism Minster Uzi Landau told public radio. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday said he had begun steps to join several UN agencies, abandoning a pledge to freeze such action for the duration of peace talks -- which end in just four weeks.

A bargaining chip named Jonathan Pollard

Releasing US-born Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to advance the Middle East peace process is an idea that failed in the past, largely because of fierce opposition by the CIA. Pollard, now 59, was arrested in Washington in November 1985 and sentenced to life in prison for spying on the United States for Israel, which granted him citizenship in 1995. On March 31, sources close to crisis-hit peace talks said that the release of Pollard, who is said to be ailing, could lead to Israel freeing 26 Arab prisoners.

Palestinians hope Kerry will renew peace push 'in days'

The Palestinians want US efforts to salvage the peace process to continue, a senior official said Wednesday, just hours after they renewed controversial moves to seek international recognition. "We hope (US Secretary of State John) Kerry's efforts will be renewed in the coming days," Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's executive committee, told reporters in Ramallah. "Kerry knows the reality. We don't want these efforts to finish."

Palestinians hope Kerry will renew peace push 'in days'

The Palestinians want US efforts to salvage the peace process to continue, a senior official said on Wednesday, just hours after Ramallah renewed controversial moves to seek international recognition. "We hope (US Secretary of State John) Kerry's efforts will be renewed in the coming days," Yasser Abed Rabbo told reporters in Ramallah. "Kerry knows the reality. We don't want these efforts to finish." jad-jjm/hmw/bpz

Proposed release of Israeli spy raises U.S. spies' ire

By Mark Hosenball, Patricia Zengerle and Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. proposal to consider freeing a jailed Israeli spy caught many American intelligence officials off-guard and will face stiff opposition if the Obama administration decides to go ahead with it in a bid to salvage Middle East peace talks, officials said.

White House: No new information to offer on convicted Israeli spy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday it had no new information to provide on the situation of Jonathan Pollard after sources close to negotiations aimed at salvaging Middle East peace talks said the convicted Israel spy and groups of Palestinian prisoners could be released in a deal under consideration.

Kerry returns to Israel after Paris talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to Israel on Monday and will land in Tel Aviv, a senior US official said in France. Kerry, who held talks on the Ukraine crisis in Paris with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov at the weekend, will possibly also hold meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah over Monday and Tuesday, the official said. "Our negotiating team has been working with both parties on the ground to help them agree on a path forward, and Secretary Kerry has kept in close touch with his counterparts by phone," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Qatar approves record $62 bn budget

Gas-rich Qatar, pushing ahead with a massive infrastructure drive in preparation for hosting the 2022 football World Cup, unveiled a record budget Sunday of almost $62 billion. The emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, approved a budget of 225.7 billion riyals ($61.98 billion) for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, up 3.5 percent from last year, said Finance Minister Ali Sharif al-Emadi. The budget for the Qatari fiscal year which runs from April 1 to March 31 was based on an oil price of $65 per barrel.

Qatar approves record $62 bn budget

Gas-rich Qatar, pushing ahead with a massive infrastructure drive in preparation for hosting the 2022 football World Cup, unveiled a record budget Sunday of almost $62 billion. The emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, approved a budget of 225.7 billion riyals ($61.98 billion) for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, up 3.5 percent from last year, said Finance Minister Ali Sharif al-Emadi. The budget for the Qatari fiscal year which runs from April 1 to March 31 was based on an oil price of $65 per barrel.
Syndicate content