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Israeli court convicts ex-PM Olmert in bribery case

By Rami Amichay TEL AVIV (Reuters) - An Israeli court convicted former prime minister Ehud Olmert of bribery on Monday over his ties to a real-estate deal while in his previous post of Jerusalem mayor, likely ending any prospect of a political comeback. Olmert, a centrist credited internationally with working towards a peace settlement with the Palestinians, had denied wrongdoing in the Holyland apartment complex deal, as well as other corruption allegations that forced his resignation as premier in 2008.

Peres praises Kerry after attacks by Israeli hawks

Israel's President Shimon Peres Tuesday praised John Kerry's peace efforts, after Israeli hawks attacked the top US diplomat for warning of the growing boycott threat to the Jewish state. "We thank (Kerry) for his efforts. We encourage him and hope to soon achieve positive results," Peres said in remarks broadcast on military radio after two days of verbal attacks against the US secretary of state by Israeli cabinet ministers.

Peres praises Kerry after attacks by Israeli hawks

Israel's President Shimon Peres Tuesday praised John Kerry's peace efforts, after Israeli hawks attacked the top US diplomat for warning of the growing boycott threat to the Jewish state. "We thank (Kerry) for his efforts. We encourage him and hope to soon achieve positive results," Peres said in remarks broadcast on military radio after two days of verbal attacks against the US secretary of state by Israeli cabinet ministers.

Israel's Peres opposes Netanyahu peace demand

Israeli President Shimon Peres privately opposes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's insistence that Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state, saying it obstructs peace talks, local newspaper Israel Hayom said Wednesday. "In conversations held by Peres in the past weeks with senior diplomatic and political figures, he explained that this insistence by Netanyahu was 'unnecessary,' as he put it, since it could derail the peace negotiations," the paper wrote.

Prime Minister Harper holds meeting with Israeli president Shimon Peres

JERUSALEM - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has received a warm welcome from Shimon Peres at the Israeli president’s office as he continues his tour of Israel. Harper stepped out of a motorcade and was greeted by Peres at the end of a red carpet in a courtyard amid several towering cedar trees. After entering the building, Harper sat in an elegant vestibule and penned a lengthy message in a guestbook. In his welcoming remarks, Peres said Harper is visiting during a challenging time, adding that "Syria is broken, Iran is broken."

Mideast may flare up if peace talks fail: Israel's Peres

The Middle East could erupt into violence if the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapse, Israel's President Shimon Peres warned on Monday. "It is crucial that these negotiations will be completed successfully," Peres said after meeting Romanian President Traian Basescu. "A failure to do so would be tragic for the Middle East. The situation in the Middle East can flare up overnight if the talks fail." Israel and the Palestinians embarked upon a nine-month track of direct negotiations at the urging of US Secretary of State John Kerry, at the end of July.

Canada PM Harper to make first official Mideast trip

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make his first official trip to the Middle East from January 18 through 25, stopping in Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. There, Harper will meet with political and business leaders and others to discuss trade and security matters, including "persistent threats posed by the Iranian regime, the ongoing instability in Syria and the Middle East peace process," his spokesman Jason MacDonald told a briefing.

Sharon funeral highlights conflicting views of Israeli leader

By Matt Spetalnick SYCAMORE FARM, Israel (Reuters) - Israel buried former prime minister Ariel Sharon at his family farm on Monday, celebrating the military achievements of a man regarded as a war hero at home but as a war criminal by many in the Arab world. Eulogized first in a ceremony in Jerusalem, and later in the green fields of his estate, speakers hailed a life entwined with that of Israel since its 1948 creation, gently alluding as well to the controversies that also defined his career.

Israelis pay respects to controversial 'warrior' Sharon

Thousands of Israelis on Sunday filed past the coffin of Ariel Sharon, paying respect to a former prime minister whose controversial life inspired admiration and provoked revulsion in equal measure. Celebrated as a military hero at home, recognised as a pragmatic politician abroad and despised as a bloodthirsty criminal by the Palestinians and the Arab world, Sharon was nothing if not a polarising figure.

Israelis pay respects to controversial 'warrior' Sharon

Thousands of Israelis on Sunday filed past the coffin of Ariel Sharon, paying respect to a former prime minister whose controversial life inspired admiration and provoked revulsion in equal measure. Celebrated as a military hero at home, recognised as a pragmatic politician abroad and despised as a bloodthirsty criminal by the Palestinians and the Arab world, the former premier was nothing if not a polarising figure.
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