World news

Peace talks no comfort for jaded Golan Druze

By Paula Slier, May 30, 2008

As Israel and Syria start talks, a community mulls its divided loyalties

In the central square of Majdal Shams, the largest of the four Druze villages in the Golan Heights, towers a large statue of Sultan Basha El-Atrash.

Engraved below the Syrian resistance hero who fought French colonialism are two lines in Arabic by the Tunisian poet Abu El-Qassem El-Shabi: “If one day the people desire freedom and life, then inevitably destiny will comply — and inevitably darkness will melt away, and inevitably the chains will be broken.”

More..

PA economy is a 'coiled spring'

By Ben Lynfield, May 30, 2008

A festival for Jericho celebrating it as the world’s oldest city; call centres providing jobs in the West Bank; a water desalination project for Gaza.

These and visions of new towns in the Judean hills were on offer last week at the Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem, hosted by Tony Blair and the Palestinian Prime Minister, Salaam Fayyad.

“The Palestinian economy is like a coiled spring. It has been put down and down and down and it is ready to bounce back,” Sir Ronald Cohen, head of the Portland Trust, told the conference.

More..

Ex-slave lobbies Israel to aid Darfur refugees

By Ben Lynfield, May 30, 2008

While he was settling into his new life in the United States in 1991 Simon Deng saw a newspaper headline proclaiming that human beings were for sale in Sudan for 10 dollars.

“It brought out everything I had been through as a child,” he said over coffee at a Jerusalem hotel this week. “I almost lost it. I did not sleep for three days. My choice was to live in denial or come out of the closet. I realised I had to come out and tell the world that that newspaper was true because I myself was a slave as a child.”

More..

Hizbollah ‘eager’ to do prisoner swap

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 30, 2008

Hizbollah has indicated that it is eager to reach a prisoner-swap deal with Israel, which will include the two captured Israeli soldiers and six Lebanese prisoners being held by Israel.

Lebanese media outlets close to Hizbollah have been reporting an impending deal this week, although Israeli sources suggest this is an effort by Hizbollah to push the negotiations forward.

More..

McCain’s pastor isolated after saying Shoah was ‘God’s plan’

May 30, 2008

John Hagee, the controversial American preacher and endorser of Republican presidential nominee John McCain, has vowed “to fight antisemitism and to support Israel” as he hit back at criticism over his contentious Holocaust theology.

Mr McCain recently cut his ties with the preacher — who founded Christians United for Israel — after a sermon by Mr Hagee came to light in which he explained the Shoah as a divine plan.

More..

Durban II set for Geneva

May 30, 2008

The 2009 UN World Conference Against Racism is to be held in Geneva. Its 2001 predecessor in Durban, South Africa, was criticised for singling out Israel for censure.

More..

Kosher boss set to resign

May 30, 2008

Sholom Rubashkin, the CEO of US kosher meatpacking plant Agriprocessors Inc, is to resign after police raided the factory looking for illegal immigrants.

More..

Saudis invite WJC to talks

May 30, 2008

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has invited the World Jewish Congress to attend an interfaith summit. WJC head Ron Lauder said the move was “laudable”.

More..

Neo-Nazi gang to go free

May 30, 2008

Charges have been dropped against  four members of a neo-Nazi gang who attacked a Jewish school and abused pupils in the Russian town of Bryansk last year.

More..

Synagogue didn’t dig deep for my wages, claims cemetery worker

By Candice Krieger, May 30, 2008

A Jewish cemetery worker is accusing the United Synagogue of racial discrimination, claiming that non-Jewish workers were paid more than him for working at Christmas.

Peter Sollosi, 48, who was employed by the US as part of its chevrah kadisha (burial committee), said he felt “bullied” by the US which, he claims, made unlawful deductions from his wages.

He alleges that though he was paid double his daily salary for Christmas Day 2006, non-Jewish workers were paid five times their normal rate.

More..