Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

More joy as Egypt frees 'spy' Grapel

    Out after four months: Grapel
    Out after four months: Grapel

    American-Israeli Ilan Grapel is to be released this weekend from prison in Cairo, four months after being arrested on charges of "spying" for Israel.

    Mr Grapel, a student at Emory University in Atlanta, spent several years in Israel and served in the Paratroopers Brigade. He is to be released in exchange for 25 Egyptians held in Israel on smuggling charges.

    The exchange comes on the coat-tails of the Egypt-brokered deal between Israel and Hamas for the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit.

    Both Shalit and the freed Palestinians were welcomed home with tumultuous celebrations. But, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is enjoying a boost to his popularity following the deal, his Palestinian counterpart has not made gains among his constituency. Mahmoud Abbas's ashen face said it all as he was forced to share a platform with his Hamas rivals in Ramallah last Tuesday at the ceremony to welcome back dozens of Palestinian prisoners.

    The Palestinian President greeted the returning "heroes" in his speech, but no one in the crowd was buying it. Mr Abbas played no part in the deal; indeed, in the past, he had tried to prevent it from behind the scenes. The release of the 1,027 prisoners in return for Shalit highlighted how little of substance he has achieved.

    The majority of the prisoners released are affiliated to Hamas, and Israeli security officials stressed this would be an organisational boost for the Islamist movement as much as a publicity coup.

    Shin Bet chief, Yoram Cohen, who signed the deal off on the Israeli side, said two weeks ago that one of the chief motivations of the Hamas leadership to do a deal over Shalit has been their desire to upstage Mr Abbas's campaign to gain United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state through a mega-event of their own.

    The Fatah-Hamas unity agreement of six months ago is dead. None of its main components has been carried out.

    There is no joint cabinet, no co-ordination over security or diplomatic matters and no progress on elections. Meanwhile, each side is entrenching its control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip respectively.

    At the same time, jealous Fatah members, who are supposedly part of the Palestinian Authority that is working with Israel on security matters, are talking about kidnapping an Israeli soldier themselves.

World

It's Chanucah Song time!

Michael Moran

Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's Chanucah Song time!
World

Trump picks ex-Goldman Sachs banker as Treasury...

JC Reporter

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Trump picks ex-Goldman Sachs banker as Treasury...
World

Theresa May agrees to look into case of British...

Rosa Doherty

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Theresa May agrees to look into case of British...
World

Will the Austrian election make Norbert Hofer E...

Sonia Zhuravlyova

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Will the Austrian election make Norbert Hofer E...
World

'Neo-Nazi codes' appear in German supermarket a...

Toby Axelrod

Thursday, December 1, 2016

'Neo-Nazi codes' appear in German supermarket a...
World

"This is probably the last election for me" Hol...

Michael Moran

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"This is probably the last election for me" Hol...
World

Australian abuse report

Henry Benjamin

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Australian abuse report
World

Fire-ravaged Israelis ‘may no longer be married...

Michael Moran

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fire-ravaged Israelis ‘may no longer be married...
World

Tatiana Navka, wife of Putin’s press secretary,...

Michael Moran

Monday, November 28, 2016

Tatiana Navka, wife of Putin’s press secretary,...