June 5th, 2013. Obama extends waiver keeping US Embassy in Tel Aviv. JTA, TimesofIsrael.com
“Barack Obama extended a waiver for an additional six months that delays moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Obama’s waiver, issued June 1, follows in the footsteps of predecessors Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who also extended the waiver every six months since a law was passed in 1995 mandating moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Presidents are permitted to delay the move on national security grounds.
Some Jewish groups have pushed for the United States to move the embassy as a way to bolster Israeli claims to the city. Those favoring the use of the waiver say that moving the embassy would anger the Arab world and put the United States in the position of taking sides on an issue that should be settled in peace talks.”
June 5th, 2013. Abbas: No peace without J’lem as Palestinian capital. By Khaled Abu Toameh, Jpost.com
“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared Wednesday that there would be no peace or a Palestinian state without Jerusalem as the capital of that state.
“We won’t accept any city other than Jerusalem as our capital,” Abbas said during a speech at a conference on Jerusalem in Ramallah.
“The responsibility for defending and restoring Jerusalem and purifying its holy sites is not that of the Palestinians alone, but the entire Arab, Islamic and Christian nation.”
Abbas urged Muslims and Christians to visit Jerusalem and its holy sites “to affirm the Arab and Islamic depth of the holy city.”
Abbas claimed that Israel does not like to see any Arab, Muslim or Christian in Jerusalem.
“There will be no peace without Jerusalem,” he emphasized. “There will be no Palestinian state without Jerusalem. There will be no security and stability without Jerusalem. They mention Bethlehem, Ramallah, Hebron. These cities are all dear to our hearts. But our capital is Jerusalem.”
Abbas also accused Israel of working toward “isolating Jerusalem from its Palestinian surrounding and emptying it from its [Arab] residents in violation of international law.”
He also claimed that Israel has begun changing Jerusalem’s demographic and geographic character by demolishing Arab houses, expelling Arab residents and building settlements in the city.
‘Peace and settlements won’t meet,” Abbas said. “If they are thinking of settlements, there won’t be peace. This land belongs to us and they must uproot their settlements in order to achieve peace.”
June 6th, 2013. Fatah leader: Release 120 prisoners as gesture to PA. Jpost.com
“The Palestinian Authority is urging Israel to release 120 Palestinian prisoners that have been jailed since prior to the Oslo Accords, Fatah Central Committee member Hussein al-Sheikh told Israel Radio on Thursday.
The list of 120 names has been passed on to both Israel and to US Secretary of State John Kerry, and while the PA leadership is still awaiting answer, a few Israeli officials have expressed a “positive position” on the matter, according to al-Sheikh.
Al-Sheikh said this gesture of good will on Israel’s part will help advance the peace process.
“Releasing 120 Palestinian prisoners, I am certain, will provide a good atmosphere, and will encourage the Palestinian leadership to consider its position on the negotiations carefully,” he said.
He claimed an objection to releasing the prisoners would be a political one, as “the Israeli defense system knows there is no security risk in releasing these prisoners.”
“Israel released 1,500 prisoners in negotiations with Hamas [in the Gilad Schalit deal]. Can it not give a partner for peace 100 or 120 prisoners? That’s a big question mark,” al-Sheikh said.