Rivilin visits vandalized Mount of Olives cemetary

Rivlin

By ZACK PYSER
Tazpit News Agency

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin inspected the Afghan section of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives Monday, a site which has seen repeated vandalism and destruction by some of East Jerusalem’s Arab residents.

Rivlin was accompanied by four relatives of people buried in the Afghani section, which is located in a more remote area of the expansive site. Representatives from the Rabbinate, Police and Afghani Jewish community were also present.

At the time of the inspection, 62 graves had recently suffered severe damage from vandalism. While some were strewn with litter, including human excrement, others had been set on fire.

In addition to the horrifying disrespect to the dead, visitors to the graves often come under stone throwing attacks and other serious assaults.

The president noted that the attacks barely receive coverage in the Israeli press.

“In any other place across the world, there would have been a tremendous outcry if such things would occur,” he argued. Rivlin has spent much of his time in office pressing for an end to racism across all sections of Israeli society.

Rivlin, whose family moved to Jerusalem in 1809, said, “We have returned to our homeland, yet even during ups and downs, we never abandoned it.” The president was in the area having paid his respects at his parents’ graves nearby.

“It cannot be so that in our state, we are unable to stop such terrible vandalism,” the president remarked solemnly. “We must not despair nor give up, we will never be moved from here,” he vowed.

Photo by Mark Nyman

Iran nuke deal could be imminent

Kerry

After more than two weeks of marathon negotiations, Iran and six world powers were close to nailing down an historic nuclear deal on Sunday that would bring sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s atomic program. But Iranian and Western officials said it was highly unlikely they would be able to finalize an agreement as soon as hoped, saying the earliest a deal could be ready was more likely Monday.

“I think we are getting to some real decisions,” said Secretary of State John Kerry.

Boehner: No deal with Iran is better than a bad deal

Boehner

Appearing on the CBS News program Face the Nation, Secretary of State John Boehner warned against the United States and five other western nations agreeing to a bad deal with Iran over its nuclear program. Saying it’s better to have no deal than one that’s bad.

Boehner says, if President Obama were to back out of talks, he would applaud him. But he fears that won’t happen.

“From everything that’s leaked from these negotiations, the administration has backed away from almost all of the guidelines that they set out for themselves,” he said.

Netanyahu: While negotiating with Iran, listen to what its supreme leader says

Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying – once again – to convince the world that any deal with Iran over its nuclear program would be a bad one. Noting that – even as both sides engage in sensitive talks, Iran’s supreme leader is calling for a fight against the United States. No matter whether there’s an agreement or not.

Palestinian hunger striker released

Adnan

He came home to a hero’s welcome. Islamic Jihad activist Khader Adnan – who refused food for 56 days. In protest over being held by the Israelis for a year without trial under administrative detention – used by Israel to prevent violence.

Both those heralding his release and the Israelis were afraid Adnan might die if not released. This is the second time he’s been held and released after going on hunger strike.

Adnan says Israel, which he refers to as “the occupier” “made a mistake” each time he’s been arrested.

They’re still talking in Vienna

Iran talks

Negotiations between Iran and the P-five-plus-one group of countries over a final deal on Iran’s nuclear energy program continue in Vienna.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have discussed the remaining differences over the text of the deal in a meeting. They were also joined by Iran’s Deputy Foreign Ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-e Ravanchi.

Earlier today, Kerry also held a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. On Friday, Foreign Minister Zarif said that Iran knows no deadlines over the agreement. He said reaching what he described as a good deal is possible provided the P5+1 shows a strong political will.

Hezbollah leader: Israel mother of terrorism

Hezbollah

The leader of Lebanon’s resistance movement, Hezbollah, has slammed Israel as a hypocrite entity, which is the source of terrorism and is now claiming to fight terrorism.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah who was speaking on the occasion of International Quds Day said Israel was initially created by a terrorist organization and through committing acts of terror. He said Israel has formed an alliance with certain Arab regimes and they are now supporting Takfiri militants in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

The Hezbollah secretary general also criticized some Arab leaders for what he called selling out the Palestinian cause, nation and the holy city of Jerusalem al-Quds. According to Nasrallah, Israel and its allies, are trying to topple the Syrian government, a member of the axis of resistance, because if Syria falls then Palestine will fall and al-Quds will be lost forever.

Hamas: No prisoner swap until Israel releases rearrested captives

Hamas

Hamas says it will not enter into talks to swap prisoners with Israel until people who were rearrested following a previous prisoner swap are first released. Hamas says more than 70 Palestinians who were freed in a deal in previous exchange have been rearrested. Hamas says they must be released first before they’ll consider trading two Israelis who are being held in Gaza for even more Palestinians held by Israel. This even though Hamas hasn’t actually publicly acknowledged holding the two Israelis who voluntarily crossed over into Gaza and then disappeared.

Israeli officials say they want to hold talks with Hamas regarding the exchange of prisoners. prisoners.

Hamas official: We did not fire rockets 1st

Hamad

Hamas’ deputy foreign minister says it’s untrue that they fired rockets from Gaza into Israel before the Israelis attacked Gaza in a much criticized effort a year ago.

“We did not start this aggression,” said Dr. Ghazi Hamad. “Israel started this aggression against Palestinians. They started targt(ing) civilians, target(ing) homes, hospitals, mosques,” he told Britain’s Channel 4 News.

When the reporter challenged him, saying, “Your rockets came first,” Hamad flatly denied it. “This is not true, this is not true,” he responded.

Hamad also defended the summary executions of Palestinians without trial for what he says was their treasonous collaboration with Israel.