Israel may be considering revisiting peace talks with Arab leaders. In a statement this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to a recent call from Egypt’s president to resume peace talks with a seemingly hopeful tone. The possible new talks would involve the proposed 2002 peace initiative: As The Daily Beast explains, Israel would receive formal diplomatic recognition from Arab nations, and the Palestinians would receive statehood. Netanyahu said,
The Arab peace initiative includes positive elements that can help revive constructive negotiations with the Palestinians. We are willing to negotiate with the Arab states revisions to that initiative so that it reflects the dramatic changes in the region since 2002 but maintains the agreed goal of two states for two peoples … To this end, we welcome the recent speech by Egyptian President [Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi and his offer to help advance peace and security in the region.
His statement comes as international leaders from 20 nations, including the U.S., will meet in France on June 3 to discuss peace in the area. Israeli and Palestinian leaders are not attending.
Tensions in the region remain extremely high. In recent months dozens of Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians—mostly in knife attacks—and Israeli security forces have killed nearly 200 Palestinians. Some of them were killed in clashes with police, though, according to Reuters, Israel says that at least 134 of them were preparing for attacks. Discuss
It turns out that American Christians may care more about Israel than Israeli Christians do. In 2013, 82 percent of white evangelicals believed God gave the land of Israel to the Jews, according to Pew Research Center. But only 19 percent of Christians actually born, raised and living in Israel believe that God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people. More than half (66 percent) believe this is not true in a literal sense, while another 9 percent don’t know what to think. The study also found that only 12 percent of Christians think the Israeli government is making a sincere effort to bring about peace with Palestine, while 80 percent said there was no sincere attempt. They were more generous to Palestine—half of Israeli Christians think the “Palestinian leadership” is making a genuine effort for peace and 37 percent said it was not. What is even more surprising is that the vast majority of Israeli Christians—86 percent—believe the U.S. is too supportive of Israel. Just 6 percent said the American government wasn’t supportive enough, while 7 percent said the level of U.S. support was just right. In contrast, the Pew study found that only 18 percent of American Christians said the U.S. is too supportive of Israel. Far more thought the U.S. was not supportive enough (29 percent) or the level of support was about right (41 percent). Discuss
Last year, the U.S. spent $35 billion providing 142 foreign countries with financial aid. Now you can see where most of the money went in a single map. The site HowMuch.net created an infographic that resizes each country based on how much U.S. aid it received. As you can see, with $3.1 billion, Israel received more than double the aid of any other country. As Market Watch notes, most of that was military spending. Other leaders included Egypt ($1.5 billion), Afghanistan ($1.1 billion), Jordan ($1 billion) and Pakistan ($933 million). Overall, global health programs received the biggest portion of foreign aid, with 24 percent. You can go here to see a full-size image of the map. Discuss
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a surprise trip to Jerusalem this week, calling for peace after renewed violence has heightened tension in the region. In the last month, 10 Israelis and 43 Palestinians have been killed in the violence. Throughout parts of Israel, there have been knife attacks and stabbings targeting Israelis that have killed at least eight and injured 75 more. The U.N. head will meet with both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, and during a press conference, he said he hopes his visit can help the two sides come together to end the violence. “My visit reflects the sense of global alarm at the dangerous escalation in violence between Israelis and Palestinians. I am here to encourage and support all efforts to lower tensions and prevent the situation from spinning out of control. It’s not too late to avoid a broader crisis.” The most recent clashes were sparked by disputes over access to a holy site that is significant to both Jews and Muslims. Discuss
In response to a wave of attacks on Jerusalem that a half-dozen people dead, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced today that he will take “aggressive steps” to stop the violence.
"Today we will decide on a series of additional aggressive steps in our war against terrorists and inciters," Netanyahu said in a speech to parliament, reports AP. "We will use, and not hesitate to use, all means at our disposal to restore calm."
This has been the most recent in a long string of attacks in recent months. Check out the full video report over at the AP.Discuss