No compromise with Israel
Eleven extremist Palestinian groups based in Syria warned on Sunday against a “concession and compromise” policy ahead of a possible round of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The message from the groups, which include Gaza rulers Hamas as well as the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine factions, appeared directed at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is under pressure to enter direct talks with Israel after months of U.S.-brokered proximity talks between the two sides. Damascus-based Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal said Sunday that the factions’ representatives issued the statement after talks held at his house in the Syrian capital and that they rejected all compromise with Israel.
Israel to buy F-35 fighters
Israel’s defence minister has approved a $2.75-billion deal to buy the world’s most advanced warplane from the United States. Ehud Barak on Sunday approved “in principle” the purchase of 20 U.S.-built F-35 warplanes, reportedly capable of evading radar. The fighters will be delivered between 2015 and 2017, Reuters reported. Final approval by Israel’s cabinet is expected in the fall. Eight international partners that helped develop the plane have signed purchase agreements: Canada, Turkey, Britain, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Australia and the Netherlands. Israel would mark the first foreign military sale of the new jet.
Migrants killed at border
Israeli media reported that six African migrants trying to cross into Israel were killed by their smugglers and by Egyptian forces. The smugglers opened fire last Friday after an altercation over the fee to help about 100 migrants cross the border into Israel, killing four, according to reports. Two more were killed by Egyptian forces while trying to cross the border. Several of the dead were Eritrean. Some 22 other migrants were detained by Egyptian police. Twenty-eight African migrants have been killed so far this year trying to cross into Israel, 24 by Egypt’s police and four by smugglers.
Follow-up panel arrives
A United Nations committee charged with following up on the Goldstone report on the Gaza war arrived in the coastal strip. The 16 committee members crossed into Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt late Saturday night, the news agency AFP reported. They’re scheduled to spend three days in Gaza and evaluate judicial procedures that Israel and the Palestinians can take in light of the Goldstone report. The Goldstone commission report, headed by former South African judge Richard Goldstone, accused the Israelis and the Palestinians of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the month-long Gaza war in 2008-2009. The report recommended that if Israel and Hamas don’t conduct credible investigations, then it will transfer its findings to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Israel’s military has completed its investigations in all but one of 30 cases singled out in the Goldstone report, the Israel Defence Forces said.
Alleged killer extradited
Israeli media reported that an Israeli suspect in a series of killings and attacks in three U.S. states waived his extradition to Michigan. Elias Abuelazam, 33, a Christian Arab from Ramla, appearing in an Atlanta court last Friday, did not contest his extradition to the state where most of his attacks allegedly took place. Abuelazam will be extradited in the next two weeks. He’s expected to face an attempted murder charge in one of the attacks. Following a trial in Michigan, Virginia will likely request his extradition. Some of the attacks also took place in Ohio. Abuelazam reportedly was living legally in the United States on a green card he got when he married a U.S. citizen, from whom he’s now divorced. Nearly all of the attacks, which included at least a dozen non-fatal stabbings and five deaths, involved dark-skinned victims.
Files from JTA