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Jewish Prisoners Forbidden to Sit With Families


The wife of a Jewish security inmate – jailed for 15 years without vacations for an attempted bombing against an Arab target – refuses to bring her children to visit their father unless new harsh jail conditions are eased.

This week, the Jewish security prisoners jailed throughout Israel were informed of yet another decree – possibly the hardest one of all. They can no longer freely touch their children during their weekly visits in prison; a window separates between them.

Obama Confident of Progress on Mideast Peace

By VOA News & Reuters

President Barack Obama said Thursday that he is confident of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, following his talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House.

Speaking with reporters, Obama said Israel must halt the expansion of its West Bank settlements as part of a broader deal toward Middle East peace. He said Palestinians, too, must do their share by providing security in the West Bank and reducing incitement and anti-Israeli sentiment.

Obama also said the creation of a separate Palestinian state is in Israel's best interest to ensure that it remains safe and secure. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has yet to endorse a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Abbas confirmed Palestinian commitment to the so-called roadmap for peace. He also noted that Arab nations are willing to normalize relations with Israel if the Jewish state withdraws from all occupied land.

Obama said he raised the issue of settlements and the creation of a separate Palestinian state during talks with Netanyahu last week. Earlier, Israel's government dismissed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's call to freeze all settlement construction in the West Bank without exception.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said Israel would abide by its commitments to dismantle unauthorized outposts and not build new settlements. But he said construction must be allowed to continue in existing settlements to accommodate population growth.

Abbas has said he would not resume peace talks with Israel until it stops settlement activity and accepts a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During last week's meeting at the White House, Netanyahu told Obama he is committed to re-launching peace talks. Fatah

Obama made clear that he would continue to push Netanyahu, who has dismayed Washington and the Palestinians with his resistance to call for a total freeze on settlement construction in the occupied West Bank. "I'm a strong believer in a two-state solution...We can't continue the drift ... We need to get this thing back on track," Obama told reporters.

Asked about the Israeli position on the two-state solution, Obama said he thinks it's important to "assume the best," especially since his conversation with Netanyahu "only took place last week" and it is too early to assume otherwise. He said he's confident that, if Israel looks at its long-term interests, it will realize the two-state solution is in the interests of the Israelis as well as the Palestinians.

Obama said he would discuss his proposal for the Mideast peace process in some fashion during his speech from Cairo next week, because not to do so would be "inappropriate," adding that he also plans to deliver a broader message about improving the sense of understanding between Americans and Muslims around the world, in part by talking about the importance of Muslim Americans in American society.

Previewing next week's trip to Saudi Arabia, Obama said that he would tell King Abdullah not that the U.S. is trying to eliminate oil imports, but rather that it wants to "advance clean energy" in the interest of stable energy prices and the control of greenhouse gases.

Obama stressed that Israel's obligation under a 2003 Middle East peace "road map" includes "stopping settlements and making sure that there is a viable Palestinian state." He said the Palestinians had to make more progress in improving their security forces and reducing anti-Israel "incitement."

Iran: Holocaust is West's Achilles' Heel


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday that the Holocaust is "the Achilles' heel of the West and its main weakness," explaining that this was the reason for its continued mentioning of the subject.

Responding to comments made by his opponents in an upcoming nationwide election, Ahmadinejad told a radio station that "the West has created a situation of false pity for itself and is using it to oppress other nations," adding "We attacked the issue of the Holocaust and even they didn't believe such a thing occurred, because we attacked their main weak point."

The Iranian president has recently come under attack by his reformist opponents, who accuse him of promoting policies that caused Iran's isolation as well as its high inflation and unemployment rates.

Ahmadinejad also told the radio station that his country currently boasts more than 7,000 centrifuges at its underground facility in Natanz, though he did not give an exact figure. "The West dare not threaten us now," he said.

Iran Report: Arab Nations Encourage Israeli Attack on Iran


An article in the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' weekly paper Sobh-e Sadeq reported that Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia are encouraging Israel to launch a war against Iran in order to put an end to the Iranian threat. The article warned those countries that they would also be punished in the advent of an attack.

A senior member of the editorial board at Kayhan also reported that Arab nations are collaborating with Israel. According to the Iranian News Agency report, Saadollah Zarei said that Israel is likely to attack Iran from Jordanian and Iraqi airspace, or via the Red Sea and Turkish airspace. He warned that countries collaborating with Israel would suffer consequences.

Zarei also said that an Israeli land attack on Iran from U.S. bases in the region would be considered a declaration of war by the U.S. on Iran, and that American troops would come under Iranian fire.

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