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Settlement Freeze, Iran, Peace Talks to Headline Vital Obama-Bibi Meeting

06/30/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The joke making the rounds in Jerusalem ahead of next week's Netanyahu-Obama summit: Time to bone up on geology.

Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, told reporters this week that he was misheard when he was quoted as telling Israeli diplomats that a "tectonic rift" was emerging between Israel and the United States. The Israelis didn't get it, said the U.S.-born Oren: He meant there was a "tectonic shift."

Shalit Family, Supporters Begin Cross-Israel March

06/29/2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- The family of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and thousands of supporters began a protest march to mark the four years of his captivity.

Under the slogan "Gilad is still alive," at least 2,000 supporters on Sunday joined Shalit's family on a march from northern Israel to Jerusalem, a 120-mile walk that is expected to take about 12 days. The march, which left from the family's home in Mitzpe Hila near the Lebanese border, will make stops in sites significant to the family.

Engel slams Chavez for Calling Israel 'Genocidal'

06/29/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Latin American subcommittee slammed Venezuela's president for calling Israel a "genocidal" state.

Hugo Chavez, this week hosting Syrian president Bashar Assad, described their countries as having "common enemies": "The Yankee empire, the genocidal state of Israel."

U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said Chavez needed to distract attention from his own problems.

With BP’s Spill in Mind, Israel Considers Delivery of Natural Gas

06/28/2010
JTA

TEL AVIV (JTA) – More than a year after a massive natural gas find in the Mediterranean Sea off the Israeli coast sparked hopes in Israel of a new era of energy independence, the project is running into concerns about how the gas can be delivered safely.

The BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico has raised concerns in Israel about processing the gas and its delivery within the country.

New Zealand Jews Plan to Fight for Kosher Slaughter

06/28/2010
JTA

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Barring a last-minute policy reversal, Jewish leaders in New Zealand appear certain to launch legal action against the government over its controversial new law banning kosher slaughter.

Israeli Foreign Ministry employees stage slowdown, could affect Netanyahu's U.S. visit

06/28/2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israeli Foreign Ministry employees have stopped making arrangements for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington next month.

The action is part of a partial strike to achieve better wages for Israeli diplomats, Haaretz reported Monday.

U.S. House Unanimously Calls for Shalit’s Release

06/25/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously called for the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit on the eve of the fourth anniversary of his capture by Hamas.

The bill passed Thursday, initiated by U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), demands that "Hamas immediately and unconditionally release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit" and that the terrorist group allows "prompt access to the Israeli captives by competent medical personnel and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross."

Congress Passes New Iran Sanctions

06/24/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Congress overwhelmingly passed expansive new Iran sanctions.

The sanctions passed Thursday in both houses: 99-0 in the Senate and 408-8 in the U.S. House of Representatives, and now go to President Obama for signing.

The sanctions expand existing sanctions targeting investment in Iran's energy sector to encompass trade with the energy escort and business with the banking sector.

U.S. Calls Flotillas to Gaza ‘Irresponsible’

06/24/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The Obama administration said sea-bound aid to Gaza is "irresponsible."

"Mechanisms exist for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza by member states and groups that want to do so," a U.S. State Department release said Wednesday, in response to a reporter's question about Lebanese plans to ship aid to the Gaza Strip. "Direct delivery by sea is neither appropriate nor responsible, and certainly not effective, under the circumstances."

Oren ‘Clarifies’: Pollard Spied for Israel

06/23/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israel's ambassador to Washington "clarified" that Jonathan Pollard spied for Israel and was not run by rogues, as he had said earlier.

Michael Oren in an interview Tuesday on the Washington news station WTOP was answering questions about whether Israel still ran spies in the United States. He was making the case that such allegations are long out of date.

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